Week 1 – Get Your Feet Wet
Come prepared to tell a story. It may not be the story you choose to tell at the end of the workshop, but everybody tells a story, their story, every week, no excuses.
After hearing your fellow storytellers tell their stories you may be inspired to tell another story, but from day 1 you’ll be expected to stand up and share a story with the workshop every time we get together.
After each storyteller tells their story we go around the table and everyone offers feedback, if they so desire. Feedback in a workshop environment is most constructive when it takes one or both of the following forms.
“I’d like to see more or less of…”
“I didn’t understand…”
Note: Nobody’s interested in what you don’t like. It is difficult enough standing up in front of people without folks telling us what they don’t like.
At the end of the session, we’ll review 10 Thoughts on Crafting a Good Story by Gayle Turner. The story structure outlined should be treated as a suggested guideline. We don’t need slavish adherence, but it is an effective way to structure a story. Break the format if you believe your story will be better told.
Tell your story to someone at least once a day, every day between workshop sessions. Your story will sound different when you speak it out loud than it does in your head. Working it every day enables you to test different phrasings and sequences. The more you tell it, the more you own it.
Week 2 – Beginnings and Endings
Every workshop begins with everyone telling their story. Feedback will concentrate on each story’s opening and closing using the accepted form.
During the time between workshop session 1 and 2 participants are directed to focus on
- Why they are telling their story.
- Where they’re going to end their story. Endings are difficult, so pick your destination at the beginning. It’s easier to craft your story when you know where you’re headed and why.
- The opening, where you’re going to begin your story.
Week 3 – Transition and Flow
Again, the workshop begins with everyone telling their story. Feedback (using the accepted form) will concentrate on how smoothly the story transitions into flow of the story’s action, as well as, how effectively the storyteller brings the audience along the journey.
Week 4 – The Whole Should Be Greater than the Sum of the Parts
Again, the workshop begins with everyone telling their story. Feedback (using the accepted form) will concentrate on the story as a whole.
- Does the opening catch the audience’s attention?
- Does the transition move smoothly into the action?
- Is the action clear?
- Does the audience follow?
- Does the ending support the “Why”?
- Is the “Take Away clear?
Weeks 5 & 6
All Feedback during the workshop will come from the Director. Storytellers wishing to offer input should discretely offer their suggestions to the Director who will decide whether or not to share the suggestions.
Week 5 – Do It Like You Mean It
Stories should pretty much be constructed by this time. Director’s feedback will concentrate on posture and delivery.
Storytellers should be working completely without the benefit of notes by this time. Optimally, storytellers will not be making changes in their stories at this point, but focusing on connecting with their audience.
Week 6 – Do It Like You’re Gonna Do It
Dress Rehearsal: storytellers tell their stories as they will during the Showcase performances. Feedback from the Director will be given at the end of the evening after all of the stories have been told.
Tech Rehearsal: Depending upon the availability of the theater, the storytellers will have the opportunity for a technical rehearsal. This laborious and tedious exercise is necessary for the Video production crew to deal with issues which might interfere with capturing the storytellers’ performances. While this rehearsal will give the storytellers the opportunity to experience the house from the stage, the purpose of the rehearsal is for the benefit of the crew. As such, extraneous noise and inattention to their needs may result in the storyteller not being “shown in the best light”.
Performances – Do It For The Audience
Call: Storytellers are expected to be at the theater and back stage an hour before curtain, unless otherwise instructed. For example, should there be a tech rehearsal on opening night you will be given sufficient notification. In the world of the theatre, being late is considered extremely discourteous. To quote Miss Jane of Romper Room fame,
And as Miss Jane on Romper Room used to say, “Do be a Do Be; don’t be a Don’t Be.”