This is a story that uses flickr photos to illustrate a playlist poetry story I created more than a year ago. The original assignment, not exactly title aptly, was Stories Written in Windows Media Player— and is one of my favorite stories about stories because it was one of the earlier ones created by a student in the first open ds106 course (Spring 2011).

The neat thing about this was that it sounded kind of ho-hum at first, until we saw other people pick it up and run with it, to date it has been done 29 times. The original assignment was:

Write a sentence (preferably somewhat coherent, yet on the nonsensical side), a poem, or a quick story using the titles of songs you have in your Windows Media Player (iTunes may possibly work as well). Print the screen. Paste it in Microsoft Paint (or some higher-end equivalent). Save it, upload it, and share. If you could even respond to the one I originally created as a challenge (possibly even embed it as a comment on that blog entry), that would be even cooler.

It calls on you to be creative with the titles of songs in your collection. My student last semester Tiffany actually was able to make sentences out of her song titles— my own first version was sort of a weaving of taxes driving someone to robbing banks being on the run, and ending up happy on a beach:

Playlist Story

So I was looking for a new visual assignment to do this week, and I took my new random visual assignment picker for a spin- try it at http://assignments.ds106.us/randomvisual, and ended up on Flickr-Ized Playlist Poetry which builds on this earlier assignment. Here is another gold nugget from the bag of ds106 when people riff off of assignments to create new ones,

For this one, I was asked to

Take your Playlist Poetry assignment and find Creative Commons Flickr photos to illustrate your story. Try using a slideshow tool to interweave the song titles and images.

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And off I went to http://compfight.com to find the 20 images to match the 20 song titles; it took a bit of keyword bingo shuffling, but I never fail to find good images. To make the slideshow, I used one of the 50+ Web Ways to Tell a Story Tools– this one is called PhotoPeach.

In Photopeach, I was able to upload all 20 images (plus the screenshot of the original playlist), and set a speed for the slides. To create the captions, I did a copy of my playlist from iTunes. I put it into Excel, and deleted all columns but the song title and artist, and used a function to string them together to make it in the form of Song Title (Artist)

I was able to paste in the entire list into Photopeach. I wanted to include the creative commons credit as part of the slideshow description, but could not find a way to make it part of the page, so I went back to the editor, and added the text to each slide’s caption.

Photopeach also offers an ability to add a sound track from its library, but you can also search youtube, so I used one of my songs:

It makes for a nice final package, I get the captions scrolling, the music, and a bit of Kens Burns added in for free (well it is not a choice).

The assignment is not too challenging, but a bit more work then the 2 stars it is listed at. The trick of course, is trying to find the right photos, and trying to be metaphorical and not just being literal. Not sure if I got that, but once I was started down this road, I was not going to stop!

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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