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The Storyboard — Building a scene for your family stories

Ponga & the Storyboard

The perfect backdrop for your pictures and stories. Set the stage.

For a few years when I was a young girl, my mother was a Sunday School teacher. She loved it and had a unique platform for explaining different cultures around the world. The Storyboard.

Basically, it started with a 3 x 3-foot board covered with felt. Then she had spent hours sourcing magazines and newspapers for images of people, houses, cars, baskets, animals, and just about anything anyone would use in their everyday life, anywhere in the world and cut them out, carefully pasting them onto thin cardboard and last but not least… applying the felt.

If, for instance, she was talking about how people in an African country celebrated Christmas, she’d place all the cut outs on the storyboard to display a scene. Then she’d talk to the scene and ask the Sunday School children to contribute to the story. She’d invite them to move the cut outs on the board around to help them to visualize the story, to become involved.

Ponga ignited that memory for me. I wondered; how can I take that concept from a 1960s Sunday School class and weave it with Ponga? The Ponga Storyboard idea was born.

Creating a scene…setting the stage… I became the director of my family stories.

Below is one of my storyboards… My great grandparents migrated to Canada in the early 1900s. At different times. It’s an interesting, and in some ways still shrouded in mystery.

Animated gif from Ponga interface of Storyboard about the Black Dog Pub
Exploring a storyboard in the Ponga interface about the Black Dog on Church Street in Belmont, Lancashire, England.

Here, I’ve collaged John Joseph and Esther Alice as they looked after they migrated. Along with photos of The Black Dog Pub and Maria Square in Belmont Lancashire England. Both significant places in my family story. Ponga recognises faces and does it beautifully. I wanted my scene to give some of the back story for John Joseph and Esther Alice.

The next shows my grandmother, Esther Alice Helme and her three sisters in travel dress of the day. I set the scene for their Atlantic crossing from Liverpool to Montreal. I had the ship’s manifest, and a postcard of the ship named the Grampian to complete the stage decoration. Ponga recognises the faces and I fill in the story.

Screenshot in Ponga, storyboard by Victoria’s Press “Storyboard Migration to Canada”
The sidebar open on the storyboard Migration to Canada inviting family and friends can add their own comments and memories.

Last but not least… the 4 sisters in 1914 and then again in 1974. Behind the two photographs is an image of the High Street in Belmont Lancashire. Home to the girls before they migrated. The stage is set.

Storyboard 60 years and still together: 60 years between photos-the 4 sisters celebrating my Grandmother’s birthday. (Music: Guitalele’s Happy Place by Stefan Kartenberg © copyright 2017 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.)

How did I do this?

It’s not difficult. I’m not a graphic designer. I’m more like a surgeon with a piece of string and a popsicle stick.

I used PowerPoint to create my Storyboards…

1. Open PowerPoint (or whatever program you like to use. Paint works too)

2. Start a new Presentation

3. Choose a design, add a background image or even a coloured or textured background

4. Add all the images that you want to include in your storyboard, including the images of the people. (you’re creating a new image for Ponga to work its facial recognition magic on)

5. Go wild with it, have fun, play with it

6. Once you have it exactly right… save the presentation as a jpg. Simple. Now you’ve got a whole new image to upload to Ponga

Ponga

Ponga will either automatically recognise the faces, or you will need to identify them yourself in the Gallery. Same as always.

Now it’s time to add comments, links, information, and the special stories for the other images in the storyboard, tell the story, bring your personal storyboard to life.

Why do this? Why Storyboards? There may be people, young or old, who you share these storyboards with who will learn for the first time about the story, the scene will be new, and the entire show will entertain.

Learn More in articles, videos, and more in the Ponga Academy:

Presented as a guest post in tips.ponga.com. For more about Victoria’s Press and her writing, visit the Blog | Victoria’s Press or Instagram.com/victoriaspress. For more about Ponga, explore ponga.com. If you’d like to contribute a guest post to this blog, reach out at ping@ponga.com

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Victoria's Press

Victoria's Press

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Bringing families together with historical storytelling in photo filled digital presentations, safely, securely and away from the prying eyes of social media.