Sunday, April 27, 2008

How to Craft a Story

The essential nature of crafting a story is simple. It applies no matter the final audience, from audience of children to corporate training seminars.

1. Start at the end. “Why am I telling this story? What is the point of my story?” Your listener may not hear the same point, but what is your point?

2. Break the story into parts for “Episodic Telling.” Don't memorize words, rather move through sequences of the story.

3. Dump the parts that are not essential to answering the questions in #1.

4. Use simple words to assemble the parts of the story into one flowing narrative.

5. Tell it to someone. Get feedback. Refine.

6. Repeat

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

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Story. Interruption. Storinterrupry. Interrustoryption.

Is some of this ADD we're seeing our fault?

The more I work as a performing artist in schools, the more I think we (the adults aka the system) are somewhat to blame for this ADD (attention deficit disorder) epidemic.

There are exceptions, but during the last year as a storyteller, I've noticed the following are rather standard at every school in which I have performed or done a residency:

...Classrooms placed next to the choir and orchestra rooms- with that constant noise coming in and out of classes that are not music classes.

...Adults who use whistles a bit too much.

...Adults who, while I am performing, walk right in front of me as I am speaking.

...Bells, tones, chimes going off continuously during sessions.

...Unplanned, verbal, over-the-speakers announcements given in the middle of sessions.

...Militaristic guarding of who can and can not walk around, near, through or about locations, doors, and sidewalks. Cafeterias are guard-dog-like guarded from who may and may not step into those spaces.

...Cavernous Cafeterias/Gyms, poorly designed for sound, being used for school presentations, with echoes and reverb so bad I had to move parts of the shows.

...Children, lots and lots of children, being called out of presentations to go to yet another piece while the first piece they are watching is ongoing.

...Story interruption story interruption storyinterrupstory stinterrutory storyinterstoy storyinterstory story interrupstory interruption. story. bell.

...Adolescent students slamming energy drinks as if they are drinking bottles of water.

...Computer tech people talking on phones while performances are going on.

...Teachers who talk, in small groups in the middle of the audience, the entire time the children are watching the performance. Woe to the presenter who dares correct these teachers, too.

...Adults who yell at entire assemblies of children for not being quiet right after the presenter asks them to participate.

...Corn-syrup laden treats given to children as "after school" snacks.
I enjoy doing the school shows. In being honest, however, the distractions are so bad in some cases that I have trouble concentrating with my own version of ADD and Fog. How do we expect children to survive this? If our corporate offices ran like this, there would be meetings about efficiency and solving the "noise crisis."

I understand that teachers are, usually, doing the best they can in these situations. And I know that ADD, in some cases, is biological. It will be interesting to see how many people leave me flaming comments before they even read this last paragraph. I'll get to rest my case then.

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