Professional Storyteller

Share a Story - Change the World

I just finished reading Bernie's thread from a while back about returning to storytelling (loved it) and I'm finding myself a bit intrigued. I barely got started telling stories when I started working at NSN and suddenly I was working for storytellers and not actually telling. That and some very disappointing experiences telling in what I thought was the venue I was called to be working in led me to stop telling altogether and then stop having anything to do with storytellers after I left NSN.

I love NSN (though I have many ideas about how it needs to evolve) and I love storytelling and I would like to find myself back in the community, but I find it very intimidating. I don't want to go back to that place where I resent artists and don't want to be one.

Does anyone have any suggestions on ways I might dip my toes back in the pool?

Chara

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Chara,

I think it was Papa Joe who said (my paraphrase), "If you want to be a storyteller...tell stories. If you want to be a better storyteller, tell more stories."

That's pretty much it, I'd say.

But, if I were going to say something else, it might be...

Go to the kids. The PK and K, if you are VERY brave, or the First and Second Grades, if you're a a bit skittish of the VERY young. THERE is the magic, the fun, the joy. THERE is encouragement and fulfillment. In THEIR eyes, in their smiles, their laughter and their belief.

Of course, you need not stay (restrict yourself to) with the kids, but that's where you need to start.

Dismiss "the other."
That's not why you tell.

Go to the kids.

Tom T
Tell locally. Start small and build to where you want to be. You may or may not join a guild, be a NSN member, or even be around other tellers much. Think about the kind of stories you are drawn to, and what your storytelling voice is. Think about what kinds of audiences you want to tell to.

The thing is, you're the boss here. You decide how often you want to tell, and how you will go about it. You decide what gigs to take and exactly how much of your life you want to devote to storytelling. You control your level of involvement; it's up to you how involved you want to be.

As for me, I liked seeing your name pop up here. Welcome home.
Hi Chara,

"You get good at what you practice." I'm with Tom--get out there and do it. :-)

I underwent the same struggle back in college, finding myself supporting the actors as PR guy instead of actually performing. That's like marrying Gaylene's sister to be near Gaylene (she's my wife, by the way...Gaylene, not the sister). :-)

Plus, NSN is a group of peers who are NOT your "audience." Your audience is children, right? Go to them. Forge friendships with teachers, principals. Learn from the NSN group but go to those who need to discover story. Your inroads with them will proffer greater satisfaction. That's my experience, anyway.

You might begin by offering to tell for church groups, social groups, the local Boys and Girls Clubs, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts . . . tell all your friends and associates that you're in the business of telling stories and that you're looking for opportunities. Like a good friend often reminds me, "People can't hire you if they don't know you exist." So let 'em know you exist as a storyteller!

Another way to gauge whether or not to continue your relationship with NSN (or anything else for that matter) is to ask 3 questions introduced to me about real estate:
1. What is my investment?
2. What is my return on my investment?
3. What is the best case scenario?
4. What is the worst case scenario?
5. Can I handle the worst case scenario?

Best wishes, Chara! Keep us posted on your progress. I'm genuinely interested in seeing your talents flourish.

Cheers,
Layne
I guess this is really a reply to everyone...
It's funny how easily you can forget the important stuff- like how passionate you were to begin with and how exciting it is to feel the audience come along with you. Somewhere along the way that all got mixed up with my pride in producing a fund raising concert (which I am still extremely proud of) and other really great things that have to do with storytelling, but are not actually storytelling.

Layne-
If I send out information volunteering to groups to tell stories, will I be able to charge for my services later? How hard is that? Anyone else tried that?

Chara

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