Here is a collection of creative resources and ideas to give you a creative boost as you construct your commemorative story. Many of the websites provide free tools and templates but often ask that you share your email to access their resources. [Defining Moments Canada has no relationship with any of these companies.]
How to Be an Artist
“How to Be an Artist: 33 Rules to Take You from Clueless Amateur to Generational Talent (or at least help you live life a little more creatively)”
Here are a few websites that make building a website a simple matter using their online tools.
Wix offers easy-to-use online tools, guides such as “How to Create the Ultimate Professional Website,” beautiful templates, and tutorials like Web Design: Impressive Trends Made Easy. You can even get a free website designed for you with Wix Artificial Design Intelligence. [Wix also shows how humour can be a terrific asset in creating certain kinds of projects.]
Strikingly is another excellent online website-building platform, with more of a business sensibility. Beautiful websites, made incredibly easy. Worthwhile to explore for ideas.
Weebly makes it easy to build a commemorative website using their online templates and tools.
Squarespace – an all-in-one platform to build a beautiful online presence for your commemorative project.
Books & eBooks
“The Best 75 Book Covers of 2018: According to Book Cover Designers”
Kindle Direct Publishing provides free tools to help you self-publish and distribute your books, DVDs, CDs, and video downloads on-demand on Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, and other distribution channels. The only expense is the printing or production of your finished project. This short video will show you how it works.
Blurb will help you transform your ideas into professional-quality books, magazines, or ebooks using their online publishing resources. Beautiful templates and wonderful results for designers and non-designers alike. An excellent choice for creating short runs of publications with professional standards.
Video & Film
“A Beginner’s Guide to Great Video on Your Phone“
Everyone from pro photographers to amateur shutterbugs is using phones to shoot video projects. Here’s how you can get started.
Wistia Video Webinars
All stories use the same techniques to make their stories evocative, so there is much to learn here. Browse their library of recorded webinars.
“The World’s Best Film School Is Free on YouTube“
How YouTube Became the World’s Best Film School
Video Inspiration Gallery
Inspiration for your next video can come from pretty much anywhere – from a stylish commercial, to something you see on the sidewalk. Find some creative ideas here.
A fun and simple iPhone app to create and share video stories; complete with titles, video footage capture, photos, and screen text.
“150 Years of Canada in 25 Photographs“
A look at some of the most iconic images in Canadian history from TVO. This is an excellent way to present a large topic in a compact and yet compelling way.
“Seasons of Vera” Photo Essay by Tatiana Tkacheva
Vera Zenko chased after the Nazi wagon carrying away her mother, who was pregnant with her younger sister. Today, Vera is 91 years old.
Fotomagico is an exceptional piece of software for creating slideshows, with powerful tools to control your presentation. Here’s one example of a slideshow created using Fotomagico.
Preserving Your Digital Memories (infographic)
Timelines & Infographics
Interactive Multimedia Posters
Express ideas with ease by combining images, graphics, audio, video, and text on one digital canvas.
“7 Tips for Creating the Perfect Infographic“
Infographics are graphical representations of complex data. They provide a fun way to learn more about a particular topic without having to do a lot of reading.
A Cousin Chart can be helpful in identifying the relationship between two individuals using their most recent common ancestor as the reference point.
Keynote is Apple’s acclaimed presentation software, with powerful templates and tools to work from. The software is free. And to get you off to a fast start, here are “10 Expert Tips to Create and Deliver a Killer Keynote” presentation.
PowerPoint is Microsoft’s well-known presentation software for both Windows and Macintosh computers. You have to purchase a licence to use it. Here is a video tutorial to create your first presentation.
Prezi is online software for creating, giving, and tracking beautiful interactive presentations and was designed for people who aren’t designers. Free trials and educational pricing are available.
The Oral History Association’s Review has some excellent resources. You can download their best practices guidelines here (PDF), or visit their website and read the association’s blog for ideas and inspiration.
StoryCorps‘ mission is to preserve and share stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world. They also offer an excellent online database of oral history questions. Remember: you can use these questions to guide your storytelling, no matter what shape or form it takes!
“650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing” – a New York Times collection of student prompts for narrative and personal writing, listed by category.
“From ‘Lives’ to ‘Modern Love’: Writing Personal Essays” – a related lesson plan for the 650 Prompts.
“68 Inspiring Writing Tips from 9 Great Writers”
An infographic combining 68 pieces of advice on writing from Ernest Hemingway, Elmore Leonard, Margaret Atwood, John Steinbeck, Kurt Vonnegut, Mark Twain, and George Orwell.
Proofreading and Spelling Skills (PDF). A wonderful collection of exercises and examples to strengthen anyone’s spelling and proofreading skills. Courtesy of UWO.
ProWritingAid is an online grammar guru, style editor, and writing mentor in one package. Free and paid options are available. They have a good blog as well, including such articles as “Why Everyone Should Tell Better Stories.”
Grammarly is an online proofing tool that makes sure everything you type is clear, effective, and mistake-free. Their motto is Better Writing, Better Grades. A paid service, but recommended.
Hemingway is a writing app to assist you in making your writing bold and clear, in the style of Mr. Hemingway.
How to Tell a Story Workbook (PDF) by Jennifer Aaker of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Here are 15 mobile apps for writers on the go that might make your writing life easier and more fun.
Preparing to Write: Research and the art of narrative nonfiction.
Tell a Story! A Guide to Storytelling By Aaron Shepard
Design & Layout
Editorial design – the composing of headlines, images, pullquotes, captions, and, often, significant amounts of text in a graphically rich arrangement – is one of the joys of design.
John McWade is a designer and teacher whose work is known for its simple beauty, clarity of instruction, and especially its emphasis on design as an essential form of communication. He has written three books: Before & After Page Design, Graphics for Business, and How to Design Cool Stuff. For an introduction to his work, here is a link to one of his excellent articles on how design plays an integral role in telling stories. These are links to his LinkedIn Before & After Group and to his wonderful online courses at Lynda.com (free trials). Highly recommended.
“6 Professional Layout Design Tips“: If you are new to design, it’s a good idea to start with the basics.
Desygner in an online suite of tools with which you can create your own stunning designs. Free and easy to use. No skills required.
Canva is another online design website, which may now have limited resources for free access.
“How to Storyboard Your Album” (or photo display)
Crello: a website for creating professional-looking designs.
Blake spoke with his friend, C.S. (Scott) Richardson, on the subject of book design. Until recently, Scott was VP and creative director of Penguin Random House Canada. In these videos, he talks about his design logic in creating powerful and effective designs for books. But even though he focuses on book design here, his ideas can be applied to any type of presentation design.
StoryCatcher is a fun and simple tool for iOS that you can use to create and share video stories.
Use SmartSound’s online software to create free (and royalty-free) music for schools, student projects, and personal use.
Adobe Spark makes it amazingly easy to take your ideas and turn them into beautiful graphics, web pages, and video stories. An Adobe Creative Cloud membership includes Spark with premium features – so you can add branding that will set you apart from the crowd and create stunning visual stories that are uniquely yours. Adobe Creative Cloud memberships are available with student and teacher pricing. This powerful set of online tools facilitates the creation of commemorative projects in any medium.
Inspiration & Motivation
“How to Stop Procrastinating on Your Goals by Using the ‘Seinfeld Strategy’‘
A simple motivator to keep your creative wheels turning (courtesy of Jerry Seinfeld)
“The Presentation of Data Graphics in Everyday Life” (PDF)
“Stories, Storytelling, Story-Selling in Business” (PDF)
“The Art of Storytelling” (PDF)
Your Future Should be Bigger than Your Past
If you were having tea three years from now in the exact same place, sitting in the exact same chair, what would need to happen for you to be happy with those three years?