Storybook Story

Wednesday, August 12, 2020
It started with a text I received from Oldest Junior Hall.

Well, technically, it started 35 years ago when the kid was born and took over my life. But for the sake of this story, we’ll begin with the text. It read, “We’re expecting a slideshow and/or laser show with interpretive dance.”

See, Oldest Junior Hall is getting married. I believe he was referring to the rehearsal dinner in this text but it so happened that his lovely fiancée was having a bridal shower (through Zoom, of course) and we were asked to prepare something creative for advice, toasts, or whatever. I knew I had to come up with something different because Oldest Junior Hall has certain expectations of his family (see above text).

It had to be funny but heart-warming. Creative but not to the point of possibly wrenching my back. And it also had to be fast because it was the day before the shower and I’d literally not done pea turkey. And then I remembered Sue Bradford Edwards’ post about Adobe Spark!

Sue said it was very intuitive and her book trailer turned out amazing. So for those of you who thought, “Easy for Sue to say,” today I’m sharing my sort of step-by-step experience with trying Adobe Spark (now known as Adobe Express) to create a slideshow (see above text).

First step was finding all the images. The most challenging part of this process was trying to take a screenshot of a text message. I literally spent over thirty minutes on this one image. Your image-gathering will probably go much more smoothly; I only mention this bit to demonstrate how inept I can be. I’m guessing you’re already smugly saying to yourself, “I’ve got this.” And you would be right.

Anyway, one hour in and I was ready to start the process of creating. I found Adobe Express, signed up (for the free version!), clicked on “slideshow” and bam! I was at the drawing board.

Now, I’ll admit that I have experience with templates and websites and such but I am by no means a tech wizard (see the screenshot fiasco). But from the get-go, I knew that Sue had accurately described Adobe Spark: this is a VERY easy platform to use. Whew! I watched the one-minute tutorial and off I went to put ideas and images into a slideshow.

Because I knew this couple was all about The Princess Bride (as anyone with any sense would be), I had my rough idea of a simple, short storyline. I started with a title, and then added images, arranging the slides in a basic arc. After I had my slides in order, I went back to add text to each slide. (I chose not to use audio to narrate the story because I knew that would take more time to sync up everything). Keep in mind that I stuck with the basic program throughout the process, no advanced settings, no added frills. Next, I chose a (free) music track, previewed the show a couple times, tweaking the text, and bam!

I had a fun, somewhat creative one minute slideshow in under two hours. So my gratitude to SueB for the tip about Adobe Express. And for you, dear writers, I strongly encourage you to try one of the many free options to create videos, slideshows, or other social graphics, even if it’s just for fun right now. I know that someday, we’ll return to in-person book signings and appearances, but digital marketing is here to stay. If writing is your business, show the business world that you have current skills.

And honestly, y’all, it’s not inconceivable. If I can do it, so can you.

Disclaimer: Before the shower, I spent another hour fancying up my slideshow (trying different themes and music) so three hours for a minute slideshow that everyone seemed to enjoy. All in all, a pretty happy ending.

~Cathy C. Hall, who would like to thank Oldest Junior Hall and his lady for appearing here today. I'm not sure they actually know they're appearing here and lending a hand, but Oldest Junior Hall owes me (see 35 years ago).


Sioux Roslawski said...

Cathy--I'm glad you had fun and it was relatively easy. Yeah, getting the right images is the tough part--just like getting the right words is when we're writing.

I made a movie about my daughter-in-law and one about my son for their wedding rehearsal dinner. I included baby pictures and chose popular songs for each one. (My DIL's song was "Walkin' On Sunshine" for example.)

I would encourage you to continue your movie-making work. They can be quite powerful.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Youngest Junior Hall has to make the slideshow for the Rehearsal Dinner...apparently that's a thing now.

But yes, videos and/or graphics are not only powerful but necessary now in the business world. Thank goodness, it's kinda fun (once you figure it all out)!

Margo Dill said...

I love how a Muffin post from Sue helped you in real life, too! This is great. I guess there is really no excuse now NOT to investigate Adobe Spark.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

It's inconceivable! Sorry, couldn't resist. I'm glad it was so helpful! Wise to skip the audio because, truly, that was the only part that gave me any grief at all.

That said, there is something I want to add to my video. And then on to my second attempt.


Cathy C. Hall said...

DO IT, Margo! :-) And thanks again, Sue! Even with (or maybe because of!) my broadcasting experience, I knew to stay away from audio. For now, at least. :-)

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Cathy, so glad your slideshow was a hit for such a beautiful occasion. I would love to create a slideshow just for fun and great memories for my family. Thanks for sharing your experience and reminding me that creating videos and slideshows, personally or for writing, is not "inconceivable."

Renee Roberson said...

Aw, I love "The Princess Bride!" And I love that you were forced out of your comfort zone with a request from your son (because what wouldn't we do for our kids, right?) Thank you for this glowing review of Adobe Spark. I've been needing to do some digital marketing myself for my podcast and it terrifies me. Guess I really do have no excuse now. Congratulations to the Oldest Junior Hall and mama!

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