An Interview with Caspar Diederik on Digital Storytelling

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Dutch visual storyteller Caspar Diederik has coined a new term: storytraveling. Storytraveling is the art of telling travel stories in a short, visual and catchy way. 

His latest digital storytelling project, Digital Diary, includes the works of seven different artists who each produced visual stories of their own impressions of Italy’s off-the-beaten-path, southern province of Basilicata.

I recently caught up with Caspar (@StoryTravelers) to get a better understanding of what is involved in planning and executing such a project from start to finish.

[Rich] How long have you been a “digital storyteller”?

[Caspar] Well, actually, when I was 18, I made a road movie with friends while I was cruising around Australia. Later, during extensive travels through Africa (2008) and South America (2005), I told visual stories via my social network, and those following my updates always stimulated me to do more with the storytelling talents they saw in me.

Is this your first professional “destination” piece?

That depends on how you define “destination.” In 2010 we started doing projects for five high end eco-lodges in Costa Rica and we had various clients afterwards that were all lodges/hotels. This indeed is the first piece for a territory/region.

To what extent were the shots pre-planned, or did you just make it up as you went along?

Before I started, I knew I wanted to tell my own story about arriving from my country for a voyage of discovery and then finding a way to stay, all because I fell in love. So, roughly, I knew what kind of perspective and elements I’d like to have. Nevertheless, a journey unfolds as you go along, so I prefer to go with the flow and see what crosses my path. Also, because authenticity is a central value for me, it can’t be too arranged. While editing, new ideas also pop up.

How did it come about? Did you approach the tourist office or did they find you?

Basically, I brought the concept of storytraveling to Italy and the founder of Urban Italy took it from there. She proposed it to the region with her own wrap, http://cantforget.it, and I created content for them.

What did they want to get from it?

A different way to present the story of a region online.

What market/audience are they hoping to reach?

Everyone that seeks a ‘real’ travel experience online can be inspired. Travelers from western Europe and the States are most likely to be audience, although the Internet knows no borders. With keywords like “off the beaten track,” “different,”  and “authentic,” we don’t expect a dull group of tourists, but independent travelers open for real experiences.

How long did it take to edit?

The entire process took fifteen days using Final Cut Pro 7 and Photoshop CS5.

What equipment do you use?

I use a Canon 400 D with a Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 Image Stabilized USM SLR Lens for EOS Digital SLRs. I also used a Canon HF21 with Sennheiser MK200 mic.

What’s next? Will you be concentrating on travel in future?

I plan to focus on heaps of interesting visual storytelling projects in the smart travel scene. Also,I plan on building storytravelers.com and expanding our network of awesome storytravelers and like-minded partners, similar to you guys, to shake conventional territorial marketing. Ultimately, I plan to develop the way forward for digital storytelling.

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