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February 13, 2013

Sharing Your Story Through Video

This post is brought to you by Christina DaCosta, Online Media Manager for SAGE. Christina will be teaching a 4-week course titled “Sharing Your Story Through Video” for LGBT older adults in the NYC area, as part of SAGE Story. SAGE Story is a national digital storytelling program for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. The purpose of our program is to strengthen the storytelling skills—and draw on the unique life experiencesof LGBT elders to diversify the public narratives on aging, long-term care and LGBT rights.

Video storytelling has become a powerful tool for nonprofits, the largest for-profit corporations in the world, and everyday people. Why? Because stories have power. From Greek mythology to fairy tales, to campfire ghost-stories, people love to tell and hear stories. Nowadays, videos, and the ease of creating and posting videos online, are the modern-day equivalent of storytelling. The rise of affordable smartphones, tablets and webcams has led to more and more individuals and companies uploading their own content to the web to tell their storyand you can, too!

Reports show that 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. You read that right, every minute! With that staggering fact, you may wonder if your story is important enough to share, and I’m here to tell you, IT IS.

As a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) older person, the story of just one experience out of the many in your life can create a ripple effect! You could help change a Senator’s mind on the Older Americans Act; you could give a young lesbian girl hope; you could create respect in a work environment; you could inspire someone to volunteer—and so much more.

If you have zero experience in online videos and are turned off by technology, I urge you to give it a try. It’s not as hard as it looks! And if you are a pro (or somewhere in between), these tips are good refreshers.

Here are some easy ways to get started:

  1. Figure out what story you want to tell. Maybe it’s the first time you met your partner or realized you were gay. Maybe it’s when your boss fired you for being a lesbian. Or maybe it’s when you received acceptance from a relative or when you didn’t. Your life story is important and valuable, share what you think will resonate with someone—anyone!
  2. Practice your story in front of a mirror. Note where you trip up. Speak slowly, loudly and clearly.
  3. Keep this one story short! 3-4 minutes is a good rule of thumb to hold a viewer’s interest. Want to share more? Tell another story!
  4. Film yourself using a smartphone, digital camera or webcam. Don’t have one? Ask a friend! Maybe they will want to tell their story too!
  5. Upload your video on YouTube, Facebook or Vimeo. All of those sites have easy instructions and guide you step-by-step through the process.
  6. Be sure to share with your friends, family and SAGE! We will happily accept your video submission via our SAGE Story site.

Learning something new can be hard, but leaving a part of your story behind is invaluable.

"Great stories happen to those who can tell them."
                    – Ira Glass (Host, This American Life)

Watch one of our SAGE Stories and see how one older lesbian told her story through video:

Live in New York City and want hands-on experience? SAGE is offering a free digital editing workshop via SAGE Story. Learn more about the program and register.


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