Beyond the Facts & Stats


 

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The dissemination of intellectual or knowledge-based information is often achieved through educational lectures and professional seminars.  Word-impacted power-point presentations fill overhead screens accompanied by handouts with accompanying empty black lines flanking images of screen shots. Thus offering audience members an additional way to record another’s idea of what they think is truly important. Opinion poles, bar graphs, and test results are frequent flyers in the realm of evidence-based documentation or presentations. This type of official data also provides audience members with justifiable proof and unquestionable credibility about what they have to say and why they should be paid.

These authoritatively utilized, zealously prescribed and frequently clung to methods of information dumping are heralded by acclaimed experts. Yep, duty-bound experts in any given field come fully armed and loaded with their ability to blast us with yet another round of impressively, important material. Information we’re privileged enough to listen to and even more privileged to pay for.

OK, I get it. Informational programs and seminars can be helpful and informative. Learning new information and being exposed to fresh ideas can also be illuminating, practical and even inspirational. Still, they can also be easily forgotten, yawn-provokingly dull, and stoically lifeless. But what about story? A word, a concept and an art form often lost in an impressively, impersonal jungle of justifiably, unwavering facts and stats.

Now back to story, with its emotionally engaging and creatively inspiring conquests of intrigue, suspense, and adventure. Stories are juicy, zany, troublesome, romantic, cataclysmic, informational, cautionary and heartwarming. They captivate our attention and tug at our heartstrings. Stories remind us of who we are and inspire us to be more than we thought we could be. They remind us of what is important and how our lives impact others. They challenge us. They inspire us. They incite action. They are intrical to who we are and to the foundation of our lives.

For now, let’s power down our powerpoints and put down our writing utensils. Let’s nestle in, leaving behind the concerns of the day. Let’s forget the past and focus on the present. Through the power of story, let’s discover more of who we are and the resources we have to meet the challenges which lie ahead. Let’s find out who or what changed over the course of story’s journey. Let’s experience the intrigue of what happened, how it happened and how it all came to be. Let’s move into action and gain inspiration from the protagonist or others who have gone before us. Let’s celebrate the victory of story’s success.

Great, so where do we go from here?

What is a problem or challenge does your audience needs to solve?

Who is the main character? (a worker, manager, client, patron …)

What obstacles have to be overcome? Pick a few of the key ones. It’s ok, even preferable if the protagonist doesn’t meet all of them. This is just life and part of what makes a story great!

What happens at the end?

How do they get there?

Who or what has changed?

What’s the most important point of your story?

Once you’ve formulated your story, tell it to a few supportive listeners or a storytelling coach. The job of supportive listeners is to listen; not to critique. Although, you might ask them what they liked about it or if they had any questions.

Facts, stats, and figures have their place. Yet stories engage us. They are easily remembered. They compel us to tell them again and again. For a story well-told is always the beginning; never the end.

Until next time . . . Let your Storyographer’s journey continue!

 

 

 

 

 

What I Think I Thought


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The images of story tell the tales and mark the trails of story’s propelling journey. These images provide the land marks, the physical locations, the characters’ identities and the desired destination of story’s unfolding. They too spark listeners and ignite tellers in their perceptually engaging, delightfully entertaining duck-if-you-need-to; scream-if-you-want-to; laugh-if-you-have-to interactive moments story’s story-line.

While embarrassing the interactive power of story’s vivid images, one may wonder. One might even ask. Is what I thought was suppose to be happening or really what is happening?

In the Three Little Pigs, did the first pig really build his house out of straw? Or, due to the latest straw embargo, the first little pig was found sniffing around town in search of alternative building supplies. In a moment of un-flatulated wind, a scent crosses his snout. Trotting to the corner of 124th Ave and Huff-Stop Lane, stuffed behind a local dinner, he discovers mounds of discarded onion peels.

What is the real story behind the Three Billy Goat Gruffs? . . . A local press conference reveals numerous accusations and county-wide concerns regarding cases of reported goat-guzzling trolls and troll-butting goats. County officials, recently investigated for lacing city officials grass seed with Witchatill’s Weed Cropping Organic Seedlings, presents an unprecedented, legislative proposal. If signed into law, the proposal will ban all goat-guzzling and troll-butting. Henceforth, all goats will be required to remain on their side of the bridge. County official have also announced their generous donation of Witchatill’s Cropping of Organic Seedlings to replenish the goat’s previously eaten food supply.

When crafting your story, boldly step up into, out of, on to, over and/or under the images of your story’s story-line. Entice, delight, roll or otherwise spray, splat or splatter the image’s of your story’s story-line. Then extend a hand, an elbow or a toenail as you, the story-guide, lead audience members through the captivating realism of story’s mythical and magical journey.

Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Continue!

Lawfully Lawless – Creatively Inspiring


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Through the power of story, political figureheads, tax regulators, law enforcers, socially perceived hierarchy, culturally-defined norms, bosses, supervisors, parental units and rigamortis impact the course of ones’ life experiences. Story artists throughout the centuries have creatively conspired to orchestrate, direct, lead, dominate, choreograph and otherwise differentiate between the lawfully lawful and the law abiding lawlessness of story. Through the power of story cannibalism moves beyond its perceived cultural preferences, war-lording chiefs and individual menu planners. Questing, never thought they would make it, heroes’ embark on tantalizing bean-stalking, mirror-talking, troll-defying and glass-shoeing adventures. Acrobats death defying feats; athletes epic-sagas; noodle-heads’ rampaging insolence and individuals’ hilarious, gut-hugging escapades frequently challenge previously perceived, story-inspired, social norms and morays.

Scientific discoveries and inventors’ inventions become real through the image of story’s powerful impact. Story; a place where the world becomes round and the planet’s sun takes center stage. A place where jet propelled engines take flight and motorized vehicles storm roadways. A place where towered-connected cellular devises interface human connections. Story; the place where we go beyond the boundaries of what we thought we could do or what we thought was possible.

Stepping into your story’s story-line, experience and embrace the lawfully lawlessness and compelling intrigue of story’s creative inspirations. Step beyond the perceived boundaries of someone else’s words or where you think this story should go. Lawfully respect your audience’s values while lawlessly unleashing the uniqueness of your ideas, your inspiring voice and your breathlessly-intriguing, story-inspirations. Inspire, experience and enrich story’s powerfully, magnetic journey.

Take a quick review:

What first sparked your interest in this story?
What is the most important part or aspect of this story to you?
What do you love most about this story?
What else is possible?

Now reconnect with the images of your story’s story.

Would the story spark more or further dynamically impact audience members if it started at the end or ended in at the beginning?

What might happen if the story was told from another character’s voice or perspective?

Is the main character as strong, sassy, silly, introspective or insane as they appear or don’t appear to be?

Did it really happen this way . . . or maybe, just maybe . . . it happened; yet another way.

So dive, drive, fly, squeak, spurt, float, bob or belly-flop into your next story’s adventure. Remember, it’s your story to tell, in only the way you can. Enjoy, experience and soar into the journey of your story’s images. Boldly break into the lawfully lawlessness of story and the unprecedented uniqueness of your creative inspiration.

Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Begin!

Opportunity


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Opportunity brings with it the alluring scent of expansion into untapped adventures and uncharted territories. Opportunity rings a curious call summing only those who are willing to listen. Story too brings opportunity. Opportunity for the teller. Opportunity for it’s characters. Opportunity for its listeners. Opportunity for each one to go beyond the bounds of who they thought they were or what they thought they might possibly be, do or say.

Storytellers craft stories. Storytellers meeting a new story face choices, challenges and opportunities in bringing fresh breath and new life to its adventurous journey. A tale now filled with emotion, opportunity, terror, travasity, humor and romance. Each mixed with the teller’s unique and captivating allure of story’s unexpected twists, turns and fated or ill-fated outcomes. A story which challenges, engages and allows audience members to experience its journey. Storytellers embrace, delight, revel and marinate in the deliciously tantalizing reality of story’s infinite journey.  Ham it, can it, ban it, expand it or rubber band it. Whatever you do, take the opportunity to add a touch of you in making this story uniquely yours.

Characters live life. Lives which represent us. Reflect our own life’s journey and the people along its way. Stereotypical character types become a universal language of images, events and familiarity. We all know them. We all love them. Other characters, not quite so stereotypical, add a sense of mystery, suspense and wonderment. Delving into your character’s innocent, mischievous or quirky  personality traits and adventurous journeys invite us, tellers and listeners alike, into the realm of opportunity, possibility and  eye-awaking intrigue. Invite story’s characters into your inner circle. Dress them, pack them and encourage them before sending them off on the opportunity of their lifetime.

Listeners engage and interact. Receiving the opportunity of story’s invitation listeners enter into and emerge from a world, a reality as vivid as their day’s adventures. A completely unforgettable, non-duplicatable, and utterly unique experience in the course of their lives. One which may be challenge, ignite, expand or propel their awareness, beliefs, feelings, emotions, ideas, choices or even unexplored opportunities for change.

Opportunities give all of us infinite possibilities.
Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Begin.

 

 

 

Story Juice – Catch the Squeeze


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Juice, a sensory word of paradise. Juice is juice. Whether you squish, squeeze, squash, crush, press or ferment the rich succulence of its oozing nectar; it’s still juice. Juice . . . It’s intense and vibrant color . . . Its tantalizing aroma . . . Its delectable taste . . . All together it is indescribably delicious! Fresh, real, flavorful . . . a definite “in the moment” type of visual appeal, stimulating aroma and tantalizing taste.

Now back to stories. Nothing like some great story juice to pucker up a magnificant tale. The freshness of a new twist, an unexpected angle, a line or an image which absorbs you into the moment significantly enhances the impact of your story-based performance or presentation. Each new squeeze encapsulates the delightful power, the tantalizing essence and the sensory impact of story through the art of storytelling. Story juice definitely slurps up the latest life living drama, the ooh’s, oh no’s and aah’s of mind chatter and the torrential rapids of story life’s rippling adventures.

Story juice seeps through every corner, crook and crevasse in life’s vast expansiveness.  Venturing into the realm of story and story juice . . . select a character in a story that spurs you on, inspires you or possibly one you would love to personally squish like a bug – ooze and all. Now spend some time with your character and the context of the story line. Personally get to know your character. Maybe spend some time with this character in their home, at their favorite hangout, a common meeting place alongside the road of their journey . . . as long as you are both comfortable – although maybe being entirely grossed out, terrified, mortified or creeped out may also have it’s story reigning advantages.

Who is this person or creäture? What do they like to wear? What is their occupational or non-occupational identity? Do they have any friends, enemies, worthy or unworthy opponents? Are they rich, poor, dead broke, under-employed, non-employed, slave labor . . . What is the “sign” they hang out in front of their lives – “Poor me . . . I hear my name – someone, somewhere desperately needs my help . . . I have a pain, or two or three or even four and a whole lot more . . . The economy is out to get me . . . My Mother hates me (so what if she died when I was 68 – I can feel her negativity from her grave) . . . Catching the drip(s)?

The more you spend time with your story’s characters and embrace the reality of their lives, the more vivid and alive they we become to you and your audience.

 

Until next time . . . Let a Storyographer’s Journey Begin!

 

Skip the Movie – Live the Part!


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“So often life is every bit as good, if not better, than the wonderful make-believe movies we love to watch. It is all the same joy and sorrow, mystery and suspense, adventure and excitement, love and emotion, except it is real. Live your life as if it were a great movie—complete with the happy ending.” Excerpt taken from: “The Art of Acting” by Stella Adler, a book written by a man named Kissel.

Stories tell us and others about us. The  find their way into the stories we tell. The stories we tell, as in the lives we live, are about us; our beliefs, our perceptions and the role we cast ourselves into. Even the quirky, zany, eccentric, oblivious, weasley and outrageous aspects of ourselves and others we know show up in the stories we tell. Whether or not we are developing a personal story or a folktale, we are the story. A story which reflects aspects of our own lives.

What is your favorite folktale, story or movie? How does it touch or inspire you? Take a few minutes and cast yourself in the leading role. The stage is set. The curtains open:

Who are you?
Where are you?
What’s your story?
Who’s in your story?
What do they think of you?
Where are you going?
What do you do or hope to become?
What are you doing that you never thought you could do before?
How is the ending different from the beginning?

Now, what about, just maybe putting ourselves, yourself, into the leading role in our own life story?

Who are we right now?
What decisions are you making?
Who are the main people in your life?
What are your goals?
What is your bigger vision or dreams – the ones bigger than what you’ve ever accomplished before?
What is the next step?

So . . . What’s your story?

Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Begin!

 

Story’s Destination: Ending at the Beginning


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For any of us, it is easier to get where we are going when we know where we are going. Knowing your destination begins your travel plans, knowing there is an infinite number of ways determining how and where you can arrive.

In developing your story, know your ending. Once you know the ending, decide on where you are going to begin.

Looking back, how did you get here?
Where there some type of goals, plans, affirmations, dreams, bucket lists involved in the journey and/or destination?
Who or what were your biggest helpers? . . . OR . . . Who do you want to hug?
Who or what were your biggest story saboteurs and why? . . . OR . . .Who do you want to strangle?
What kind of terrain(s) did you have to travel through?
Did you meet any helpers or any messing creatures along the way?
Does this journey involve an magic or enchantment of some kind?
Does your journey take one unexpected places such as; sewers, building pipers, inter-connecting anthills or . . . ?

Like any of us, once we know where we are and where we are going creativity drives the vehicle of our arrival.

Having a set and established destination opens up new possibilities of where you can start your story and the multitude of ways that you can reach your ending. As long as you know where you are going, all roads lead here. Memorizing a few key sentences signifying the end of your story’s adventurous can also be helpful in assuring a smooth landing. Disruptions, distractions and other types of things are apart of life, even temporarily forgetting where you are in your story. Again, like a great road map, knowing your ending means you know where you are going; it really doesn’t matter how you get there, as long as you arrive and enjoy the ride.

In preparing for a performance, it is often easier to learn the ending before the beginning as it takes longer to get to the end than it does the beginning. A solid ending ensures more direct traveling and minimizes the chance of getting “lost” along the way.

Whether or not you are planning your next vacation or working up a great story,  start from your destination or the ending of your story. Instead of heading there, be there. While you are there, think about how you got to where you are going.

Until next time . . . Let your Storyographer’s journey begin!