Digital Storytellers Meetup & Creative Bootcamp

Who: Ita Ema (View from Above Entertainment) is the mastermind facilitator for anyone interested in crafting their story—whether it is for a business website, blog, comedy gig, feature film or fantasy novel—you see there is no end to genre or medium; all are welcome.
What: The meetup is part instruction, part project-sharing, part accountability and support group for telling the story that entrepreneurs and creatives need and want to tell. The Creative Bootcamp is a 5-hour ‘Get it Done!’ workshop to follow through on creative story-telling projects.
Where: Gangplank, Chandler (usually the conference room)
When: Meetup is every other Monday at 6-8 p.m. Bootcamp is approximately once a month. Check the Gangplank Calendar and newsletter for upcoming schedule.
How much: This is social capital at its best! A valuable investment of time for PEOPLE to PARTICIPATE in LEARNING how to craft their story and DO their storytelling with BOLDNESS along with a COMMUNITY of creatives who COLLABORATE, and Oh! happen to build FRIENDSHIP in the process. (= no monetary fee)

Urbie's blank slates

Urbie’s blank slates

This meetup group brings together an eclectic bunch. We have our regulars, we have our once-in-awhilers, and we always have newbies. And that doesn’t mean they are new to story-telling necessarily, but in some cases new to the craft and this group. Beth, a voice coach, is working on a musical she wrote many years ago decided to pull it out of the attic storage box and re-write it digitally. Ariel who is a programmer, musician and former firefighter shuffles around her many projects including an epic fantasy novel. I cannot count all the comedy guys who bring in their projects, one of which is a story about the comedians themselves.

I bounce around to a different project every meetup, but my first “Get ‘r Done” project was a video I created for a non-profit’s AZ Gives campaign. I wanted to raise money for a “real restroom” at this non-profit’s recycling facility. I brought my ideas to the group one night about a year ago and we had fantastic fun brainstorming and flushing it out—no pun intended! I then narrowed the story down and created a script, did some on site shooting. I brought the footage in for our fearless leader, Ita, to help me with editing software in the Gangplank computer lab and I recorded the voice-over in Gangplank’s podcasting room. It’s not the project per se that sealed the deal for my commitment this storytelling group, it is the honest feedback and collaborative spirit of participation for my own projects, as well as for those of others’. When I see their stories come together and witness the progress they make, it’s a beautiful thing.
Learning the story arch and the beats for fun and fiction is in some sense a no-brainer, yet it is quite the ‘Ah-ha!’ moment when you see a story is crafted into a business plan. We have numerous entrepreneurs creating stories for video and audience-building on their websites and online marketing. April is a long-time Gangplanker and WordCamp 2013 Director plugged in her Powerhouse Posting Process online courses through Made Better Studio.
Self-assigned homework spurs participants onward between meetups and that has organically grown into the ‘part support group’ aspect. Marissa pounded out the story arch for her online tutorials for home-schooling parents and shot the video after one visit to the meetup. BOOM!

During Bootcamp it's 4 X 45 minute blocks of nose to grindstone

During Bootcamp it’s 4 X 45 minute blocks of nose to grindstone

Others of us struggle to fit creative time and energy into our daily or weekly schedules and we’ve found ways to hold each other accountable along with sharing tips and tricks—everything from apps to track and time productivity, to inspirational videos, to online script writing and animation tools. Ariel attributes her writing 15,000+ words in the last few weeks to the learning, camaraderie, and support to Digital Storytellers. Rob, eventually hammered out his Bottom Five Comedy material between meetups and says, “The Digital Storytellers group helped me narrow my focus so that I could complete my first short film script, get my website up and running, and begin a feature. Without Ita and the group, I’d still be stuck with a million random story fragments.”
Even our fearless leader finds himself progressing on otherwise top candidates for procrastination projects such as a feature-length script, Full Field the Basics video series and now a crowdfunding campaign story. Ita says, “Sometimes you don’t know where to start, but it you can just take the first step that’s enough to get the ball rolling.” And he certainly has helped us do just that and more!

Urbie meets success: a finished product in a new medium

Urbie meets success: a finished product in a new medium

The fourth Digital Storytellers Creative Bootcamp was On Sunday, March 15. While all participants experienced successful outcomes, newcomer Urbie ( @urbie ) found out he could be a pirate at Gangplank via #tlap (Teach Like a Pirate Twitter chat), so long story, short teaching pirates connected to Gangplank pirates on the app. Urbie came into the bootcamp with a laptop, a phone and a tablet along with a rainbow of sticky notes and pens. But more importantly he came in with true ‘Arrrrrrrr’ spirit! He had never tried comic strips before, but wanted to #BeDangerous and give it a try. He started from zero, added an idea and ended up meeting his goal of a publish-ready strip. I’m inspired!

Chandler Science Spectacular

Arizona Scitech Chandler Science Spectacular

Science is on display in a way you haven’t experienced it before at the Chandler Science Spectacular. From cartoons to lava lamps and fingerprints to flight simulation, this festival connects everyday life to science through interactive, hands-on exhibits. The two day event is in Downtown Chandler and runs 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20 (A Night of Art & Science) and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 21 (Science Saturday).

This year, the Science Saturday event is joined by the E.P.I.C. Fest (Explore. Play. Imagine. Create.), showcasing the Maker culture. Makers are hobbyists, tinkerers, engineers, programmers and people using new and unique technologies, as well as traditional forms of DIY.

SciTech Chandler Science Spectacular


More than 70 exhibits are on display; below are just a few examples:

Science Fiction TV Dinner: Center for Science and the Imagination at ASU Classic Warner Bros cartoon shorts about space exploration followed by a conversation with experts in Space Exploration and Animation.

Flight Simulator: Garmin Feel the power of flight with Garmin’s flight simulator

Crime Scene & Fingerprinting: City of Chandler Police Department Solve the mystery at this interactive mock crime scene, or learn how to read fingerprints when they are left as clues.

Rocket Launch: Orbital Sciences See how Orbital puts rockets into space with this hands on rocket-launching demo

Breaking Boards & Science: Sport Science of Martial Arts Who knew how fun applied physics can be? Feel the explosive power of changing acceleration or changing mass when you attempt to break plastic boards

Foam Block Building: The Arizona Science Center & First Things First Families can use giant foam blocks of all shapes to build a design they create.

Lava Lamp Creation: Primavera Online High School Kids make their own Flubber or personal Lava Lamp to learn about oil & water.
Game Truck Spaceship: Game Truck * Available 1 to 4 p.m. Travel through the solar system with game truck spaceship

Technology & the Library: Downtown Chandler Library Learn to use Zinio, featuring more than 500 multi-language magazines, along with library iPads and eReaders to access eBooks, databases, Freegal, and BookMyne.

Chandler Science Spectacular is part of the Arizona SciTech Festival, a statewide movement to promote and celebrate science in our daily lives and to earn recognition for Arizona as a science and technology hub. The Chandler Science Spectacular is sponsored by Intel, and all events are free and open to the public.



OneBookAZ eBook Publishing Program


One Book AZ

OneBookAZ, the annual all-ages reading program that brings people together through a shared literature experience. OneBookAZ encourages communities across the State of Arizona to read the same book at the same time and participate in discussions and programs centered on that book. This year, the writings of three Arizona “content creators” were chosen through an eBook writing competition that was held in November.

This year’s Adult selection is “Lauren Greasewater’s War,” by Stephen Hirst, “Corr Syl the Warrior,” by Garry Rogers is the Teen selection, and the Children’s book winner is “The Space Adventures of Jack Smacker Little Leaguer,” by Mike Giglio. All three books are available until June 1 for free digital download to a Kindle or any other e-reader at and with a valid Chandler Public Library card. Users can visit any of the four Chandler Public Library locations if they need assistance in downloading any of the books.

Additionally, the Downtown Library will be hosting an eBook publishing program at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 26 in the Copper Room, 22 S. Delaware Street. This program will feature author Vincent Alascia, who will discuss this new frontier for authors, small presses, and the traditional publishing industry.

“This program, on a practical level, will assist authors and aspiring authors by presenting viable approaches to navigating the learning curve presented by digital publishing,” said Chandler Librarian Ted Liebler. “Taking a wider perspective, digital publishing fits into the maker movement in that the library can provide technical information to help support the manifestation of a creative work.”

The annual One Book AZ program was brought to Arizona in 2002, and coordinated by the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, a division of the Secretary of State.

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