The Stories Our Superpowers Tell

We’ve all said it many times when trying to get through a difficult situation; “What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.” We have all been able to call on inner strength in different moments, but what if there was something challenging in your life bigger than just a moment?  What would your inner strength be capable of developing then, and where would it take you?  Most importantly, what great stories would you have to share as a result?

Photo Courtesy of BK

Photo Courtesy of BK

Realwheels Theatre is exploring this in a community storytelling project, #SuperVoices.  They are inviting storytellers who self-identify as having some form of disability to share with them in written, pictorial or video form, their superpower.  Everyone is invited to engage and benefit from the inspirations that are so often sparked by stories so bold and honest. Being that this is a digital project, they are hoping that even those with limited mobility will be able to participate.

In some cases a superpower is an exceptional talent that emerges, as in the case of Stephen Wiltshire, who is known as the human camera.  In the video below you can see Stephen fly over Rome and then draw everything he saw down to the exact number of windows on buildings.

In other cases, superpowers are a new sense of intuition or knowledge that becomes heightened as self awareness blossoms into new capabilities.  One of the #SuperVoices participants, @freeandclear1, is able to smell toxic chemicals and avoid them as a result of migraines.  One of the most powerful stories shared so far in this campaign is by Lynnthargic, who wrote a very poetic blog on all that she is now able to see. It is simply titled, Superpowers.

If you would like to share your superpower, please do so with the #SuperVoices hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, or by posting your story on the WheelVoices Facebook page or G+ Community. You may also email it to Realwheels directly at: realwheelstheatre@gmail.com. Tell your story using your own preferred technique; photos, videos or written word.

Instacollage : Apps My Kids Use

Instead of sharing a whole album of photos, I’ve noticed that my kids compile their favourite shots from an event and share them as just one photo collage.  It’s something they’re always excited to do when we get home.  They sit on the couch and go through all the pics we took, then go about creating their work of art.  I actually like this process because, rather than mindlessly uploading everything all at once to an album, they spend a long time reminiscing about the day and then enjoy a period of creativity.  The App they have come to love for this is Instacollage.

This is a free App, which actually provides a lot of options within it.  You start by selecting the layout you want to use.  This works best if you’ve already decided on how many photos you will be using.  There are standard straight line options, as well as many other interesting shape combinations.

This is only a small sampling of options.  If you swipe to the right while on this screen (which you can do several times), you will have even more to choose from.

This is only a small sampling of options. If you swipe to the right while on this screen (which you can do several times), you will have even more to choose from.

Once you’ve chosen the layout the fun begins! You upload your chosen photos either one at a time or all at once.  You can resize them and move them around.  You can play around with background colours and add text or special effects! You pretty much have the option to change the colour of everything.

 This is the beginning of a collage I'm thinking about making to showcase all the meals I've cooked with pumpkin so far this year!

This is the beginning of a collage I’m thinking about making to showcase all the meals I’ve cooked with pumpkin so far this year!

Adding the finishing touches is the best part.  There are multiple frames to outline your collage and the kids love the ‘stick’ feature which allows you to place fun and quirky stickers anywhere you like. Decision making has never really been my thing, so I spent quite a long time creating my first Instacollage!

Here it is! My first one made with guidance from the kids using shots from our garden! I love the white picket fence.

Here it is! My first one made with guidance from the kids using shots from our garden! I love the white picket fence.

Within the App you have the option to share your collage directly to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, your camera roll, email, and Flickr.

That’s the inside teen scoop from my house to yours!

Do you have a different collage app that you like to use? We’d love to hear about it, and what you like about it!

Garden Sketch, A New App For Garden Lovers

As we are approaching Autumn, your garden is probably finishing up quite a round of transformations as it went from buds, to blooms, to full Summer glory, and now an Autumn harvest! This is where the creative genius Maija Leivo and Ian Herring comes in. Inspired by their own gardening experiences, they have created and recently launched Garden Sketch App, an interactive iPad experience that lets you plan out your garden design strategy now to have an even more delightful, invite everyone over to enjoy your garden kind of story for next year!

Essentially, the Garden Sketch App is a planning tool where you can plot out various arrangements if you are looking to transform your garden space, or if you find yourself with a yard you’ve never tended to before and you need to dream up some ideas to transform it into a beloved garden.  Once you enter the dimensions of your space, you can map out as many different designs as you want, making your time spent on this App almost as Zen-like as gardening itself.  You really are creating your own storyworld that you get to live in through next year’s growing season! We’d like to illustrate the technology for you in a before/after scenario.

BEFORE.  You begin with a blank slate made to the size of your own property's dimensions, which you enter upon starting. Choose the house shape that most resembles yours and begin to create!

BEFORE. You begin with a blank slate made to the size of your own property’s dimensions, which you enter upon starting. Choose the house shape that most resembles yours and begin to create!

AFTER! Picture yourself enjoying a lemonade on your porch swing, or a morning croissant under your shady tree.

AFTER! Picture yourself enjoying a lemonade on your porch swing, or a morning croissant under your shady tree.  In our case, we’d be accompanied by a good book to read or notebook to start crafting one of the many stories that wanders through our imaginations.

The technology of this App over the old paper/pencil method gives you more freedom to create, move around and delete. For a full tutorial on how the above garden was created, visit the Garden Sketch site.  There are also great stories coming out of Maija’s and Ian’s own garden, which you may enjoy checking in with on their blog.  Like most gardeners, they enjoy sharing information, tips, recipes, and chatting about horticulture in general.  Join in the community love on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

 

Video Star : Apps My Kids Use

This is the first post of a new monthly series on Apps My Kids Use, keeping a tune to what’s keep our kids amused in our mobile world.

I will sometimes see my kids using a new App that I have never heard of and the next thing you know, all of their friends are using it and soon after the app becomes a big deal and a household name.  My kids are currently in high school, by the way, for a bit of age context here.  Later we shall get Erica adding to this column with apps that her much younger nieces and nephews use.  Some Apps ignite a strong addiction while others are over and done with and deleted quickly.  One App that has been used consistently in our house for over a year now is Video Star.  It has become a means of creating memories of family vacations and momentous outings, not to mention the great babysitting tool it has been for them to entertain kids!

Video Star

Within the Video Star App you create a music video.  You select a song from your own iTunes account, select a special effect to use for your scene, record a little action and stop when you are done.  When you are ready to record your next scene the App will automatically continue where you left off in the song.  This is amazing, because it allows you to film at different locations, even days apart and not have to do any editing!

Here’s a video that I made for Erica on the occasion of her birthday.  In her honour I was as silly as I could be!

You can see how this would be perfect for travel, as you can take a short clip of each place you go and end up with a music video showcasing memories from your whole vacation.  I feel you could even take this App into the business world. For example, if you are working on a film, TV, or theatrical show, you could use Video Star to get some fun behind the scenes clips to share with everyone at the end of the show.  You could certainly prepare some fun material for presentations, and get students up and active during workshops.

The only downfall with Video Star is that for sharing purposes you need to upload it to YouTube in order to maintain the digital quality.  Sharing with others via email or messaging sends a very grainy low quality version.  I hope you give yourself permission to have some fun and maybe capture a video to paste a smile on the face of your family, friends or staff this Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, or other winter holiday! As Erica will tell you, it makes the perfect gift!

The Collection of Happiness Stories Continues

We always enjoy working with the Vancouver Theatre Company, Realwheels, and one of their latest quests has been particularly fun for us.  A short while ago we launched a campaign with them to find out the different things that make people happy. This was done in collaboration with OneStory, the video interview App.  Realwheels was curious to know how different people define their identity regardless of physicality by showcasing the universal concept of happiness and obstacles.

OneStory has proven to be the perfect place to collect people’s thoughts.  You can see what is there so far by visiting the OneStory site.  The different ideas of happiness are simple and inspiring, and everyone’s honesty with regards to obstacles is sincere and refreshing.  Here I am getting in on the action:

[youtube q3dW5vX_IVw]

We’d like to know your story and have you add your voice to this project.  Interview your friends while you’re at it.  After all, someone has to hold your iPhone to interview you, why not turn it around on them? There are two questions we’d like you to answer, that will then be stitched together to form a seamless spot.

1. What is your name and what makes you happy?

2. Is there an obstacle to that happiness?

To do this you simply need to download the OneStory App for free on your iPhone or iPad.  Once you open the App you will see different categories of interviews.  Feel free to give a listen, people have some really interesting things to say! Our topic is found within the Featured interview topics, as well as within the Health related topics.

OneStory App

When you are ready to record your interview click on the red record button with an image of a camera on it in the top right corner of the screen.  Scroll down and select ‘What Makes You Happy?’ Press Next in the top right corner and then enter the name of the person who will be speaking.  Press Next again and then press the button that says ‘Record Answer’  when you are ready to answer the first prompt.

Share your story through your feeds using #WheelVoices and enjoy being a part of the Realwheels community where everyone has a story and everyone has a voice.

Exploring Happiness ~ OneStory Together with Realwheels Bring You a #WheelVoices Campaign

This week marks the launch of a digital video campaign rooted in storytelling. We are thrilled to be participating alongside the innovative creative geniuses of OneStory, and the collectively inspirational group at Realwheels.

Realwheels is interested in your views on self-identification.  How do you define and articulate your identity? They are exploring the sources of identity that are universal among all people, regardless of physicality.  In order to gather and share as many different view points as possible, they have collaborated with OneStory, as it is a grand interview style sharing platform.  Anyone at all who is interested is encouraged to either be recorded or record themselves answering two simple questions:

  • What is your name and what makes you happy?
  • What is the obstacle to that happiness?

Everyone’s videos will be available for viewing on the OneStory App, but you can also join in the fun by sharing your own and other people’s videos across your social media feeds with the #WheelVoices and #DisabilityArts hashtags, and by following and engaging with the #WheelVoices and #DisabilityArts hashtags on your social media feeds.

As an example, here is Realwheels’ Lindsey Adams’ OneStory on What Makes Her Happy …

 

[youtube bNi9HHCWgrk]

 

You can record your story directly on the OneStory App, which is a free download.  Simply:

  1. Download the free OneStory app to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch;
  2. Create an account and verify your email address;
  3. Click on the campaign or topic “What makes you happy?”;
  4. Click on the camera button in the top right corner;
  5. Enter the name of the storyteller and answer the questions in the interview;
  6. Change the title of your video; and
  7. Press ‘Post’. The link will be delivered within minutes of completing the interview.

Also, as of last night, you can now also create OneStories directly from your computer! Here are the instructions for recording yourself on your computer:

1.  Go to the Realwheels campaign page at: http://www.onestory.com/campaigns/what-makes-you-happy

2. Click on the ‘Share your story’ button

Step #2 Click on the 'Share your story' button

Step #2 Click on the ‘Share your story’ button

 

3.  This will launch a pop up window that offers two options for story capturing. One is to download the iPhone / iPad app from the App Store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/onestory/id605376655 or the other is just to click on ‘Start Recording.’

 

Step #3 Chose your option for capturing your story

Step #3 Chose your option for capturing your story

 

4. This allows the user to record directly from their computer, no app or interviewer required. After ‘Start Recording’ click on the ‘Continue’ button and then ‘Allow’ the program to have access to your camera and microphone.

 

Step #4 Recording directly from your computer, no app needed

Step #4 Recording directly from your computer, no app needed

 

5.  Then simply wave to camera and be cued with a countdown to start recording your first answer with the OneStory Recorder. After completing that you will be given the option to choose to watch, re-record or move onto the next question (which you may have to ‘allow’ permissions for once more).

6.  Once you are finished recording your answers, you will need to create an account or login to an existing one and then you can automatically upload your edited video to OneStory.com

7. Spread the word and share your OneStory videos, along with others you find inspiring, through social media using the #WheelStories and #DisabilityArts hashtags.

We are really looking forward to the stories that unfold!

Canada Remembers

Thanks to Thomega Entertainment and their Canada Remembers Documentary Series, we are reminded every year at Remembrance Day of the importance of this day, and the importance of taking the time for some quiet reflection of the freedoms and safety we enjoy, thanks to those that have faced unimaginable horrors on our behalf.  Tony Towstego has taken the time to help the Veterans to share their stories, before we have lost them, reminding us how important it is to thank these soldiers.

 

Canada Remembers Documentary Series

Thomega Entertainment’s Canada Remembers Documentary Series

 

For us, these stories have touched our souls and impacted our conscience that much more profoundly, as we spent weeks poring over the videos in the making of Educational Guides to accompany the Canada Remembers Documentary Series. That, and with our travels through Roamancing, it is continually driven home for us just how very fortunate we are that our Veterans and present soldiers have fought for the freedoms we enjoy. As a result, we feel it is important on Remembrance Day to both Remember and to Act.  What I mean by Act, is to get out and thank a Veteran or Soldier, and / or to share with our youngsters the importance of the day – Lest We Forget.

This Remembrance Day, Thomega Entertainment has shared with us their latest Canada Remembers Documentary on Henry Beaudry, the Story Keeper  …

 

[youtube z6yx9OfjWVA]

 

You can also catch their 2011 Canada Remembers: Festival for Heroes on City TV Saskatchewan TONIGHT at 11 pm …

 

[youtube tJcSis1R3ig]

 

Thank you Tony for raising our conscience and awareness for Remembrance Day, and for sharing the stories of our Veterans and Soldiers before they are lost forever!

In the Online Classroom this Autumn, Teaching Interactive Storytelling

BCIT StoryToGoWe are excited to be starting a whole new chapter of teaching and storytelling for us this Autumn, with our first post-secondary accredited online course in Interactive Storytelling available through BCIT StoryToGo’s Media Storytelling Department (formerly Part-Time Broadcast Studies). This means that anybody can register and take this course from anywhere in the world, on their time, and they don’t have to be a regular student of BCIT. Pretty cool!

It also means for us, that we, ourselves have been experimenting with both new methods of digital storytelling and teaching to better reach our students. So we have created course videos, webinars, step-by-step technology manuals, interactive quizzes, and discussion boards … and that is just been the beginning. We look forward to experimenting with new ways of connecting and engaging with our students as the Course gets underway.  As the Course content has already all been built, we also love that this now places the emphasis in teaching, on engaging with our students, and trouble-shooting with them, as they begin to build their own interactive storytelling projects. Here’s a little of what you can expect from the Course:

 [youtube Cm3WBgelWS8]

Our course is not the only new online storytelling course this term through BCIT StoryToGo‘s Media Storytelling Department. Thanks to Steve Dotto, Marty Strong and I discussed storytelling and the online courses available through BCIT StoryToGo last week on the Dotto Tech Radio Show on AM 650. You can listen to the broadcast here:

The three Courses available online through BCIT StoryToGo’s Media Storytelling Program this Autumn, include:

You can also catch an online course with Steve Dotto, as he launches his own series of online courses in Email Management and ProTECHtivity.

‘Tis The Season-For Back To School!

As summer winds to a close, it’s time to gear up for another school year.  We would like to offer  some helpful advice to make the most efficient use of the time you have to prepare.  The whole family needs work and play together to make the mental and physical adjustment successful.

Yes...It IS that time again!

Yes…It IS that time again! (photo by Quinn Dombrowski)

Begin by slowly moving your sleep and wake schedule closer to that which will be required during the school year.  You don’t want that first early morning to be a shocker!

Play some family games that require thinking.  Fall back on the oldies, but goodies: Pictionary, Charades, Scattegories and trivia related games.  A new personal favourite of ours is Snake Oil, a very creative game that builds strong communication skills.

If your children have not been doing any academic work throughout the summer, it would be a good idea to print out some cummulatative review worksheets from the grade level they just completed.  Have them begin to write compositions by providing purpose driven topics.  For example, ‘Write a review of all the television shows you watched this summer, or video games you played’,  ‘Review and recommend different phone apps’.

In order to avoid last minute stress, start organizing school materials now.  For once, take the time to find out which markers are dried out and which pens no longer work! Start planning for those dreaded daily lunches and experiment to find different options with ‘summer taste tests.’

If your child is a school-age actor, plan to have a meeting with his/her teacher within the first week of school.  Gather the teacher’s contact information and decide on a mutual policy for missing school.  This will save you time when your child books a role.  We recommend creating a set kit that is always ready to go.  Be sure to pack paper, pencils and other miscellaneous school supplies.  Days on set can be long so we suggest  including a good book and educational games.  A mini version of your set kit can be made to take along on auditions.

At Ahimsa Media we are always available to help you with transitions between home, school and set.  We hope everyone has had incredible summers and that all of our past and future students have a successful school year.

Happy New Year!

Hope you have enjoyed a holiday filled with good health, enjoyable company, and relaxation.

As people head back to work this week, we thought we’d take a moment to wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year, best said in pictures in our Holiday Card.

 

Ahimsa New Year

 

If you still have time off this week or wish to revert into holiday mode on your weekends this month, here are some ways to unwind with our tradition of sharing a holiday activity: Vegetable Scrap Gardening (on Erica’s new speaking site) and Holiday Decorations for the Birds (on a client’s site).

Enjoy!

With Warmest of Wishes,

Erica, Lori, Emme, Brie and the rest of the Ahimsa Media Team