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Top tips to develop your ‘mojo’

Mobile storytelling is reshaping the media industry.

By Tatiana Carter

Mobile storytelling plays a role in everyday life whether it’s professional broadcasts, personal uploads to TikTok, or explorations in smartphone photography.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic and need to navigate a “new normal”, mobile journalism or “mojo” is reshaping the media industry.

Bond University professor and mobile storytelling expert Rob Layton suggests professionals, regardless of their industry, should be taking advantage of their smartphones.

“Being autonomous and being able to shoot, edit, and report a story as a one-person band is extremely attractive,” Layton said.

“Everyone has a story to tell, and most people have a mobile phone.”

As the quality of smartphone cameras continue to improve, Layton shares his tips on how to develop your “mojo”.

Changing the industry

“I really do believe that every journalist who wants to make themselves, and keep themselves, relevant need to know these skills,” Layton said.

“Now, I was just reading a paper out of the US about solo video journalism – where journalists need to shoot their own stuff on video cameras and handycams.

“There’s a growing appetite from newsrooms for their journalists to have these skills.

“Everyone has to do everyone else’s job, you know. By the same token, I think that it’s a really good idea for camera operators to learn a bit more about storytelling.”

Rob Layton runs a underwater photography workshop at the 2019 national conference.

Getting to know your smartphone

Layton said his number one tip was for users to become familiar with their phone’s camera and what it could do.

“Once you think that you need to step up to something a bit more professional, where you’ve got a bit more creative control and can adjust shutter speeds and frame rates, then go up to the next level,” he said.

“Start exploring professional apps such as Filmic Pro, which is the world’s number one video camera app, or exploring LumaFusion which is arguably the best iOS video editor on the market.

“The first thing you should be looking for when looking for a camera app, at least, is to find one that has an interface that you’re comfortable with.

“Make sure that you understand the interface that you know how it works. If you just launch straight into a high-end app that perhaps has is very professional, it may be overwhelming.

“Start and start simple and work your way up. That’d be my best advice.”

Becoming a mobile storyteller

Layton recommended learning from others by joining networks.

“To anyone who wants to explore this more I would really encourage that they start looking around and social media channels for like-minded people,” he said.

“Getting on to things like Mojo Fest or something like Clubhouse.

“I’ve been taking part in quite a few Clubhouse discussions and this is where you’ll find really interesting discussions all about mobile.

“So that’s probably the biggest takeaway, listen to what other people are saying and then just ask them questions. What are you using, what’s your workflow, what do you suggest for this? That’s the best way to learn.”

Recently, Layton received an Australian Awards for University Teaching citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning as a result of his work in mobile journalism and smartphone photography.

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