My journal of the Festival itself really starts with "Thursday morning", and my trip there with "The trip to Crested Butte: To the airport". This page sets the stage for me going.

Dave Winer's column started it all
I first heard of the Digital Storytelling Festival in a posting entitled "A Gorgeous Butte!" on the web by Dave Winer in 1997. In his widely read "Davenet" column, he wrote this about his attendance at the Festival:

I liked the Crested  Butte festival, a lot...Crested Butte is an inspirational place. Well worth the extra trouble it takes to get there.

Dave also commented that

...many of the people who go are doing multi-year projects to bring movie-like storytelling to computer screens using tools like Adobe Premier and Macromedia Director.

I filed that away in my memory: Crested Butte, great place; Digital Storytelling Festival, worth going to.

Progression from a fantasy trip to reality
What a wonderful thing, I thought. A conference in a pretty place where you hear people tell the best stories and learn to tell yours better through the miracles of modern technology. Given the difficulty getting to Crested Butte (fly to Denver, small plane to Gunnison, drive), and the different target audience  (people who use professional tools  vs. our regular people), I thought it unlikely that I'd ever get to go to the Festival until I retired.

Surprisingly, the topic kept coming up.

Crested Butte: One of my cousins decided that she'd get married in Crested Butte because she and her husband liked it so much. I could understand that decision if she liked the outdoors and lived in an industrial city like Newark, but she lived outside Boulder, Colorado, a setting of great beauty. It made it hard for most of her cousins and other relatives to attend. She and her family eventually moved to Crested Butte, a place I had little chance of visiting "on the way" to something for work, like I sometimes can with my cousins in California or Washington, DC. All this made me understand the place must be really special to attract them so, and gave me another reason to want to visit.

The Festival: In November 1998, I was a speaker at an invitation-only conference put on by the MediaCenter to look at the future of Media and how it relates to newspapers and news organizations. (Another first cousin helped get me invited to it.) One of the other speakers was Dana Atchley, Director of the Festival. When Dana spoke I got to experience firsthand his work using digital media to help enhance the storyteller's ability to connect with an audience and was truly moved. (It's rare at a conference coming up with XML specs to have your eyes well up during a presentation while watching a computer screen.) Dana got to learn a little bit about my company's product at the time, Trellix 2.0, for creating multipage web sites for inside companies on their Intranet. He invited me (and everyone) to his Festival. Now I knew what it was about and wanted to go even more.

An example of one of Dana's stories told digitally (actually, his mother's story) can be viewed in a RealPlayer G2 on the RealNetworks' web site: Redheads. (It is best viewed at faster than 28.8.) You can also see a Quicktime version on Dana's web site, www.nextexit.com, as Redheads in the NextExit section.


Dana at Web99 telling a story
Finally, at the Web99 conference early this year I ran into Dana again. He'd moved more to "corporate storytelling". Trellix had moved more to regular people telling their stories to friends and family on the web. I even had a new web site, Web Photo Journals, were I tried to help people learn how to do it. He loved the idea of regular people telling stories with tools that were easy to use. He invited me again to the Festival to present this "regular people" side.

At last! I had a good business reason to attend. As time went on, the business reason got stronger, so it was even less my choice (I don't like long trips away from home if I can help it).

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