Category: Collective Storytelling

“Ready to Start”

My final project for my Collective Storytelling class at ITP is called “Ready to Start.” We collected stories about people completing their first long distance race, be it marathons or triathlons. I worked with my classmate with Ryan Viglizzo, who is often my running partner for 9-15 mile runs on the weekend. He’s completed an Ironman and several marathons. I have finished two marathons myself. We chose to do audio interviews focused on why people decide to take on this big challenge for the first time.

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“Ready to Start” – Tell us your story!

Ready to Start: The stories of everyday athletes training for their first big race.

Mission Statement: Completing a marathon, triathlon or any long-distance race is never easy. Often an athlete’s first race is their hardest. “Ready to Start” tells the unique back stories of personal transformations that happen along the way.

What inspired these people to sign up for their first race? What were their goals? What kept them going during months of training towards this unknown challenge?

These stories tell of stamina and focus, “hitting the wall” and digging deep. “Ready to Start” allows experienced athletes to rejoice in their accomplishments. But most importantly, these stories inspire others to take on the challenge and reap the benefits of race training.

Tell us your story! Ryan Viglizzo & I are completing this project as part of our Collective Storytelling class at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.

Have a story to tell?

  • Please contact us at or click on to schedule an interview.
  • We can come to your location in New York City or interview you at ITP (721 Broadway, NY, NY 10003).
  • Audio interviews plus taking a photo will take about 1 hour.

ITP – Collective Storytelling – Tenement Museum

Last week, our class visited the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side for a tour. The building is a perfectly preserved building that was used from 1890s-1930s. The  landlord sealed it up in the mid-1930s and it remained untouched until the mid-1980s.

Our class was focused on this unique way of telling a historical story through the experience of visiting real apartments and seeing memorabilia from that time period. The tour took us to the 3rd floor, which was formerly home to several immigrant Jewish families.

I thought the museum was very well done. Some in my class had visited before and  compared our tour guide to their previous ones. But it was my first time and I thought the tour guide did well. Much of their job is to tell the story of the former tenants’ daily life. This included their work, family life and realities of the neighborhood.

I myself was most struck by a photo from the late 1890s that showed a midday scene along Orchard Street. Things were bustling, with people outside buying groceries, eating and lingering around. It reminded me quite strongly of street life from smaller cities in China that I saw during my 8 years living there. In those Chinese cities, the street markets are both the freshest and most convenient way to shop. While this type of lifestyle of daily grocery shopping may seem unusual to us, it nonetheless is probably a healthier way to get live than all our processed food.

I think the Tenement Museum was one of the most engaging museum experiences I have had in a long time. The focus on individual families and their true stories is quite compelling. The power comes in the details presented in the scenes, allowing you to easily imagine life during the period. It was a nice departure from the computer-based experiences we often study at ITP.

Collective Storytelling – Oral History feedback

Feedback for Christine:

The central voice of J-Rock in your piece is a great speaker. He does a great job of showing both sides to his personality, the single guy and the father of two. From the language to the presentation, he really nails it. The time when he changes from this supposed macho guy to explain some of the realities of his situation is the highlight of the piece.

Overall, the audio on the piece is a bit rough. There are a few edits that are a little raw, with people fading unusually. The levels could also be evened out to smooth over differences in volume between the speakers.

But overall I think it’s a nice piece. It would be great to have the piece run even a little longer and to get a deeper sense of some of the other speakers.

Feedback for Jason:

Jason, I didn’t see your audio posted on your blog.

Collective Storytelling – Fan Fiction

Our focus during week two of my Collective Storytelling class has been fan fiction and the Hourly Comic. Readings focused on the shifting power dynamics of readers, writers and the companies controlling the intellectual property. Some young fans of the Harry Potter series are using the books as a way to express their love of reading and writing. The articles highlight the fact that older fans of tv shows and movies who write fan fiction are mostly women. Many of their stories have homoerotic themes, often with leading male characters also linked romantically. Apparently this trend began in earnest with Kirk and Spock on Star Trek.

One of the things that the readings fail to mention is how incredibly bad all the writing on these fan fiction sites are. This was my first time visiting sites like It will also probably be my last. The majority of the stories I read were all based on really cliche story lines and predictable plot twists. While it is easy to support the idea that young writers can use the Harry Potter series to improve their own storytelling skills, it is a bit embarrassing to see what older writers have produced.

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