After watching this video, write a new blog post and explain a story that you’re familiar with in terms of Vonnegut’s approach. Pick a movie, TV show, book, poem, song, etc. The idea is to outline the shape of that story in a visual and descriptive form. Use some kind of media to do this, make it drawing or video or whatever you like. Be creative!  Make sure to put it under a category of your choosing.

If you have ever seen the movie, (500) Days of Summer, then you will know what an emotional roller coaster it is. The protagonist of the story, Tom Hansen, has trouble of falling in love too fast and hard; however, when he meets Summer, it is instant love and it only leads to trouble. Initially, Tom is not able to make up his mind about her and when they finally start dating, it is perfection…at first. Everything is happy and warm, like it’s summer (the season not the character). Then everything gets cold like winter, and Summer gradually becomes more distant. Eventually the situation turns for the worse, and Summer breaks Tom’s heart. Thus begins Tom’s epic fall in the story where he wallows in his own self pity for weeks, which puts the movie at the very bottom of the story line. Finally Tom puts himself back together again and the story line begins slowly but surely to continue to move back up until he finds a new girl, Autumn. I felt that this movie would be perfect to show that stories have shapes because it is so complicated and dynamic and it makes for an interesting diagram.

In my diagram, you can see that his story was not as clear cut as Kurt Vonnegut made all of his story models seem in his video, there were more spontaneous ups and downs to (500) Days of Summer. To make this diagram, I first had to write down the main events of the movie and decide what kind of shape that would make, which was a little difficult since the movie goes up and down so much. Then I drew the shape and the actions that went with each turn, then scanned it onto my computer using my HP printer/scanner. Once the document was uploaded to my computer, I uploaded the picture to Flickr, then put in this blog post! It was a pretty cut and dry process (unlike gif making).

Story Shape

If I had not watched this video of Kurt Vonnegut, I would have never thought about the different shapes to stories. I always assumed there was just the one that they teach you in English class and the one mentioned in Paul Zak’s video, the dramatic arc. After watching Vonnegut’s video, I see now that there can be several different ways to tell a story. I will definitely be examining the shapes of my stories for any upcoming assignments and paying close attention to how I tell them so that they follow some sort of pattern because as Zak’s video shows, the way you tell a story can have a direct impact on the audience’s emotions.

In addition, find an example of something you have seen recently on the internet or elsewhere that you might describe as a digital story. It need not be just be a video. In your post about the shape of stories include a description of what you selected and why you would call it a digital story (do not forget to link and/or embed).

Here is my own digital story that I recorded over five years ago. It takes place at lovely family reunion. Some of these family members haven’t seen each other in years, some even a decade. Everyone is having a great time, catching up, reminiscing with each other. All the while there is a faint hint of conspiracy happening in the background.

Although there has been plenty of other family reunions since the incident thirty years ago, Aunt Juanita, thought that this particular reunion was the right time to get back at her niece, Pam. Now you may be asking what could have happened so long ago that Aunt Juanita would never forget it. Well I’ll tell you. One summer there was a smaller family reunion where all the kids at the time stayed at my grandparents house. That was about 10 cousins living together for two weeks so of course, chaos and pranks ensued. There was one particular day when Pam wanted to get back at her cousin Warren by pieing him in the face. Warren happened to be smarter than your average bear and realized what Pam was about to do and he scrammed. Unfortunately for Aunt Juanita, she did not know Pam’s plan and out of frustration, Pam pied poor Aunt Juanita instead.

Juanita never forgot that day and wanted to make sure Pam knew that and that is what this video is all about.

This is a digital story because, 1) it’s a video, 2) it’s been uploaded to a social media site, and 3) it tells a story behind the story. The shape of the video itself would start about in the middle of the diagram and dramatically drop down from there but then build back up as laughter and memories build. The story behind the video, would look slightly different. It would start off in the middle, then drop dramatically after Aunt Juanita is pied in the face, then there would be a straight line as Juanita waits until the perfect moment to seek her revenge. Once Pam is pied in the face, the conflict has been resolved and the line shoots straight because Juanita is happy to have had her sweet revenge. This video is a digital story because it has a story behind the story but it also tells a story of a family that pranks each other constantly but still somehow loves one another just the same.

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