Sunday, January 25, 2009

Falling Off The Hay Wagon: Others Pick Up the Future?

Kathy Hansen, over at the "A Storied Career Blog" made an excellent posting about the ideas of expressing story via technology. She quotes from both the Sundance film projects and the new "The Center for Future Storytelling" at MIT. I think it is worth your time to go read her blog post at this link. It is actually worth your time to read her posts on a regular basis, in my opinion.

Top of my head, visceral thoughts about this interesting post:

They're both off the mark, in my opinion. Oral storytelling, person to persons, is still the "mother of all communication." What is referred to as storytelling in the above examples isn't storytelling. The first is filmmaking- which uses stories. The second is MIT's look at technology to convey stories. Again, not storytelling.

In no way do I disparage either the Sundance or MIT projects. I think both are needed and they do and will do good works. However, we do a disservice to what storytelling truly is when we toss about the word "storytelling" so freely.

I contend that all of the people on these projects need as their base some solid training and experiences in creating and speaking stories- oral storytelling ("traditional narrative?") as it were.

Storytelling (as person to person) was here as the foundation long before technologies sought to harness story.

As one of the first "traditional narrative" storytellers to embrace technology via, I am for the use of technology to convey story. I am against the concept that technology is needed to rescue storytelling. "Traditional narrative...has been drowned out" is not my daily experience in teaching, training and performing.

What has happened is that we who practice the art have allowed our advocacy of "traditional narrative" to be drowned out. I've come to recognize this as the "hay wagon" syndrome: a rose-colored-glasses approach that says the 1970's days of the storytelling revival were the purest and most genuine when stories were told from the back of the hay wagon in Tennessee.

Some of that failure to advocate also comes from the nature of storytellers to not embrace technology to promote the art. Some failure also comes from infighting of leadership of the national organizations, especially in the U.S.

Finally, I think you ask a valid question about "losing meaning." More than losing meaning, I think stories when presented solely via technology are losing the engagement of the audience. Watching a story happen on film or otherwise delivered via technology requires zero engagement on the part of the viewer. The viewer becomes passive, with the story and its images poured into the head.

As an example: "The Dark Knight," the Batman movie, wanted to talk about the nature of evil. Since it was on film, there was no place for me to engage in that conversation. The movie showed it all to me, made my decisions about images, tried to tell me when to be scared and when to be happy. I loved the movie, but I didn't need to be there for the one-way story to happen. I know now the opinion of the director about a story but was not part of the storytelling.

In "traditional storytelling" I very much need my audience to co-create with me. You can see my short reflection article "Listening Sideways" for a little more about adolescents as co-creator of story. The link is .

Kathy, you do a great job making links and conversation points in your blog. Thanks very much.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Storytelling in Business Podcast #2

Our next edition of the "Storytelling and Narrative for Business Podcast" is now available.

This week, "What Did the Plumber Know?" and Sean is talking about telling an old-hat or familiar story for your business. Sponsored by and presented by

Listen in:
Storytelling and Narrative for Business Podcast #2

Send us your thoughts and questions in the comments below or find Sean at .

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New "Storytelling in Business" Podcast!

Sponsored by our Ancient Secret of Public Speaking Workshop, I've kicked off the new "Storytelling in Business" podcast. I'm aiming to release a new edition at least every two weeks for this fast-paced, quick listen podcast. Come enjoy it.

And, send me your questions about storytelling in/for: business, coaching, corporate training and public speaking. I'll work them into the line up.

First Edition (mp3) is here:

Episode One: The Guy in the Bathroom

BTW, if you take yourself too seriously, this is not the podcast for you.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

MasterMind Group Forming for Working Performing Artists.

Working Performing Artists: Let's grow your career in 2009! Join us for our next Mastermind Group.

If you’d like to know more about the Working Artist Mastermind Groups, we have recorded a Q/A (Question and Answer) Session. You can listen in (mp3 file) at this link now.

If you are interested in the first 2009 group (which begins next week), for a future group or just for giggles, then please take a listen to this podcast. You might even learn a thing or two in the QA session even if you don’t join us for the program.

In this recorded call, we talk about:

-the background reasons for forming this group for working artists
-why artists want fast growth education vs. slow growth
-the powers of a Master Mind on your career
-who would make up the members of a Mastermind group
-the typical contents of a group like this
-the real power of the group: accountability
-more about the optional live gatherings
-what a peer review is
-compare and contrast short training vs. long term groups
-unique characteristics of the Mastermind model
-costs and fees

Our next group begins next week. After that, there may or may not be another group beginning in the Spring of 2009.

Interested in more? Contact Sean at and be sure your subject line includes the words “Mastermind Information.”

As of this writing, 2 spaces remain for the group that begins next week. This group is guaranteed to happen. The price increases on Friday. Act now, please.

You can listen in (mp3 file) at this link now.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.