Citizen folklorists get storytelling help

SCAC, partners present at Folklife Field School

Earlier this year, the Blackville Community Development Corporation and South Carolina Arts Commission Folklife & Traditional Arts program helped citizen folklorists hone their storytelling skills using video.

In April, Folklife Field School participants gathered in Blackville for a hands-on learning experience, I Got A Story to Tell—Community Documentary Video Workshop with SCAC media production fellow Sherard “Shekeese” Duvall (right) of OTR Media Group.

The workshop’s goal was to provide participants with the skills of shooting and editing video, so that they might use the technology to tell community-based stories. Through building and strengthening documentary skills and an awareness of folklife, participants developed a lens through which to explore, interpret, preserve, and present their communities’ culture and history while they gather stories of place told from diverse perspectives.

I Got A Story to Tell introduced essential concepts of documentary storytelling, media literacy, video production, and video editing. Attendees learned shot composition, basic lighting and audio recording techniques and interviewing skills. A series of short exercises introduced participants to the fundamental principles of video sequencing, which is the compression of time. Each participant completed a short video as a final project.

Duvall documented the workshop with this video, available on the SCAC YouTube Channel.

Now in its fifth year, the Folklife Field School works with an intergenerational, multicultural cohort from around the state to provide training in the folklorist’s tools of the trade. This toolkit includes interviewing skills and fieldwork ethics, audio and video recording and editing, photography, digital storytelling, and media literacy, along with a grounding in folklife & traditional arts.

The Folklife Field School is offered through a partnership grant with the Blackville Community Development Corporation with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Sherard “Shekeese” Duvall is a film and messaging professional from Columbia. He specializes in visual storytelling, film education, media strategy, diversity consulting and is an advocate of Hip-Hop culture. He’s produced commercial and documentary projects for VH1, Oxygen, and other outlets. He is a 2022 SC Arts Commission Fellow, a 2021 Liberty Fellow, a Leo Twiggs Arts Leadership Scholar, and one of the founders of Columbia’s Hip-Hop Family Day: Love Peace & Hip-Hop. Duvall, a 2001 University of South Carolina grad, is also a product of Richland District One schools. Sherard is the founder and executive producer at OTR Media Group, and the proud dad of his son, Cairo.