Having made it through the difficult topic selection process, it can be exhausting to realize that you are still at the beginning of your production process, and there are still many decisions ahead of you. Use this moment to celebrate the distance that the group has already traveled together and to reflect on how the decisions made to this point have created a way of working as we move ahead together. Goals
  • Affirm the selected topic.
  • Take stock of what resources have been built up during the pitch process that can be taken along into the next phase.
  • Identify a possible focus (sub-topic) for the production from the pitch process.
  • Reflect on the topic selection process and its effect on the group.
Duration 1 workshop Activities
  1. With the heavy focus on topic selection, it may have been some time since the group has had their hands on media production gear. Make sure that there is some space in this session for some fun, creative play with media technology, either integrated into the reflection activities or as energisers/games.
  2. Celebrate the conclusion of the topic selection phase and the beginning of the pre-production, production, post-production cycle. It is now possible for the group to talk with some certainty about “the project”, rather than trying to think about a range of possible projects.
  3. List the resources (information, documents, contacts at organisations, interviews, technical skill trainings, developed concepts, etc) that the group has built up during the pitch phase. Identify these resources as a great foundation for a project and a significant amount of pre-production work already complete.
  4. Reflect on how people felt about the way that the topic selection process was handled. Imagine different ways that it could have been done. Some useful questions and activities could include:
    • What if there had simply been a majority vote at the beginning? Or if the facilitators had decided on what the topic would be?
    • How has the experience of the topic selection process affected the way that the group works together now? How do we expect those ways of making decisions in the rest of the production process?
    • Draw up two columns on a big piece of paper, one marked + (plus), the other marked ∆ (change). In the plus column, write things that worked for you in the topic selection process. In the ∆ column, write things that you’d change if you could do it over again.
  5. Brainstorm some of the potential sub-topics, genres, and specific techniques that have been brought up in topic selection that could be used in the production. Is this a documentary or a scripted story? A horror movie? A comedy? Black and white or colour? Will it have original music? Start getting hyped about the creative ways that you can bring this topic to life in a media production.


This model was developed by Dan O’Reilly-Rowe, benefits from his collaboration with a number of educators at Global Action Project in New York City, and builds on practices common in many youth media organisations. The model was first recorded and refined as a part of the Youth Media Learning Network Fellowship , 2007-2008.

Storytelling Prompts | Finding Topics to Explore

Morgan Sully, 2010.  Coming up with a worthy topic for a story can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be.  Here’s a few prompts to get you started. Participants Can work for small or large groups.  Not much technology is needed for this activity. Skills/Technique This...