The Value of Storytelling
The Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF) exists to serve, and we can only continue improve our service when we know what works. Even more, we can only continue to function when we are able to share our success stories with the larger world to inspire, gain support, and continue creating ripple effects of change.
We’re so excited you can help us capture YTF’s impact with your story. Thank you for your time and your willingness to share your experience.
Below you will find some guidelines to help you create and submit content that is readily usable on YTF’s platforms.
- Send us less than 500 words.
- Make sure your Word document includes your name and any title/headline you want for your story.
- Before you write, think through the story you want to tell.
- Write an outline, and then fill in the details.
- Your story should follow a logical path, including an opening and closing.
- Paragraphs should start with a sentence introducing the paragraph, or an intriguing statement to bring the reader in.
- What’s the point?
- Don’t forget to give us the outcome and some thoughts for the future.
- Did you learn a lesson? Do you have a recommendation?
- Include details on YTF programming and your experience.
- You’re writing for YTF platforms, so help readers make a direct connection. Don’t assume we know what YTF program you’re in, what country you’re from, or what YTF activities you benefitted from that help shape your story.
- Paint a picture for the reader. They likely won’t know details about your country, your personal background, etc. Give enough context so the reader knows exactly why telling this story is so important to you.
- Include fun details that help give flavor to your story, like internal thoughts, a funny dialogue exchange, what type of technology you used in your YTF classroom, and more.
- Are there numbers to include?
- How many people are in your classroom?
- How many community members have you served?
- How many years have you been associated with YTF?
- Keep it succinct. Make sure all the details you include are relevant to the story you want to tell. Tangents or too much explanation will distract the reader from your main points.
- Use familiar language. Readers will appreciate language that is easy to read and understand, so avoid using super complex sentences or uncommon words.
- If you use an acronym, spell it out the first time.
- If you refer to a program or course, take a sentence or two to explain what it is.
- Avoid jargon. Replace words or phrases used only in your field of study or community with understandable terms. Remember, YTF has a global audience!
- Proofread! Does your story make sense when you read it again? Did you spell names and places correctly?
VIDEO AND PHOTO
- If possible, video files should be in the .mp4 file format.
- Photo files should be sent as .jpeg or .png file formats.
- Send a total of 5 minutes or less of video, including your story and any b-roll.
- Send no more than 5 of your best photos.
- Include written context, either a full written story to accompany your video, or at least:
- Video title
- The name of the main person speaking
- Any other names you want credited for filming, or that are part of your story
- Locations and programs that you mention (so we can get the correct spelling!)
- A short (1-2 sentence) summary of the story you captured in the video
- Avoid posed group photos.
- Focus on photos showing your experience with YTF:
- Working at a computer.
- In your community, doing work you’re able to do through YTF.
- Avoid too many posed photos. Have someone capture photos during a real classroom setting or a real day on the job.
- Check for quality.
- Is the photo in focus?
- Is the lighting too washed out or too dark?
- Can we tell what the subject is? Avoid clutter, or too much activity in the photo. Isolate the subject by moving closer or finding a new location to shoot.
- Can you include YTF branding in the photo? Consider a banner in the background, a t-shirt, etc.
Video Filming Tips
- Test before you film.
- Can you hear the speaker? If not, move closer or move to a quieter location.
- Can you see what you’re filming? If not, make sure the sun or light in the room is behind the camera, facing the person on camera. A light source behind the person on camera will make their face too dark.
- Keep it steady.
- Use a tripod if possible to help keep your camera steady, especially if you’re filming a person speaking directly to the camera.
- No tripod? Rest the camera or your elbows on a sturdy surface.
Video Storytelling and Visual Tips
Note: if you send multiple video files including clips like an interview, another of someone speaking directly to the camera, and b-roll clips (no more than 5 minutes total!), the YTF team can help put the clips together into one video.
- Mix it up.
- Consider having someone interview you as a different way to tell your story. Speaking directly to the camera is ok sometimes, but not for an entire video.
- Send b-roll, or video that captures the scene.
- This could be video slowly panning your YTF classroom, or capturing work you’re able to do with YTF training. Basically anything that would help show more about your YTF experience by showing instead of telling.
- B-roll doesn’t have any narration, and any people filmed in b-roll shouldn’t address the camera.
- This video can be plugged into a video to help tell the story.
- Make it succinct. Think through what you’ll say before filming, and practice with a friend or colleague to make sure your story is engaging and clear.
Ready to submit? Head to www.youthfortechnology.org/send-your-story/ and send us your best material!
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org