Overview of Cheer-Up Hut Club Program

Although divided into 8 weeks, the program is designed to be undertaken at a pace that best suits you!   If you wish to record your Anzac story inside the Cheer-Up Hut recording booth when it comes to your region, we recommend you aim to have completed the first five weeks of the program prior.

Week 1: Welcome & Program Overview

Storytelling is one of the most satisfying ways we have to express our inner and sometimes complex human emotions. Australia’s military history has shaped us as a nation in profound and lasting ways. With all of our World War I veterans now passed, and many of our World War II veterans in their nineties, there is no time like the present to ensure South Australia’s Anzac stories are told and shared. As so many are no longer able to do this for themselves the responsibility falls to us. The Cheer-Up Hut Club has been established to assist those who wish to do so, to complete the task with support from professional digital storytellers.

Week 2: Researching an Individual, Family or Community

This week you will be introduced to the full range of digital resources that have been made available online by Australia’s major cultural institutions, including the Australian Defence Force’s AIF Project, the Australian War Memorial, the Commonwealth War Graves, National Archives Discovering Anzacs site, to name a few. We’ll provide you with a comprehensive list of website addresses along with details of what each offers and how to best navigate these extensive collections of data to find information relevant to your South Australian serviceman or woman.

Week 3: Finding Photographs

The name of a relative or member from your community whom you know on an honour board certainly tells you important information about that individual. But imagine being able to find a photo of the same person in uniform, on active service, or even a grave site honouring their service. The phrase “a picture paints a thousand words” is never truer than in the context of telling an Anzac story. This week’s program materials will help you to find a photo of your serviceman or woman should one exist. We also help you take your photos from home collections and place them into context, so you can seek out more information about the battalion or unit in which they served, or the conflict in which they fought.

Week 4: Writing an Anzac Biography

Biographies are not actually that difficult to write when you know how. More than just assembling a collection of dates, movement orders and medical records, this week we guide you through the key elements of best practice narrative storytelling to shape a story about a particular serviceman or servicewoman, that readers will want to read. Because the Anzac Centenary commemorates a Century of Service, your story can be about any Australian serviceperson from the past 100 years. Stories from the Boer War are also encouraged.

Week 5: Writing a Personal Reflection

Not all stories need to be about a serviceman or servicewoman. What we’re hoping to encourage through the Cheer-Up Hut Club are also stories that include reflections on the impact of war on individuals, families and communities. This is where your story can follow the journey of the family left behind, of the mother and father, the aunts and uncles, the sweetheart or best friend who is hoping upon hope that their son, brother, nephew or niece will return. Reflections have the added advantage of being able to be expressed in different storytelling formats. For example, you may wish to write a poem, a piece of prose, create a photo essay, or make a short film. All of these are possible through your membership of the Cheer-Up Hut Club.

Week 6: Creating a Photo Essay

Now that you’ve found your individual subject and have begun to tell their story the images and information you have collected can be used to help illustrate the story in more detail. The images will provide context and insight to enhance your reader’s experience of your overall narrative. Using images you can show  (rather than describe) where your serviceperson came from and went to, as well as what happened to them while they were there, and when they returned. Using images with quotes from primary sources, such as diaries, postcards and letters sent home, means you can give your photo essay the voice of your serviceman or woman, making it easier for your audience to engage with their story.

This is where that old shoe box of ‘forgotten photos’ really comes into its own.

Week 7: Creating a Short Film

By this stage some of you will be considering the possibility of combining all your materials into a more in-depth piece; something more akin to a short film, and not nearly as difficult to create as you might think. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to layer elements to create a short film that can be uploaded on the State’s dedicated website and become part of the Anzac Centenary Time Capsule project. You might also consider entering it into the Anzac Centenary Short Film Competition which will be launched in 2017 with some great prizes on offer.

Week 8: Publishing Your Story

You’ve done the research and you’ve completed your story. The photos have been uncovered and now it’s time to share them with your family and friends, as well as with the broader South Australian community. Why go to all that effort and then never let anyone read it or see it? Sharing your story is what it’s all about, and this week we will show you how easy it is to achieve this, including converting files and managing files sizes for upload and easy viewing on your phone, home computer, tablet or other portable electronic device.