Professional Storyteller

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When was the last time you updated your artistic mission statement? Or have you yet to create one?

Tags: 1, Jungle, Law, artistic, mission, statement

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I recommend that an artistic mission statement be updated at least once a year.

When it comes to connecting with college students, you need to first know who you are as a storyteller. They can sense when you are not being authentic. In no way do you want to write your statement because "I think college students would like this" or "I know professors would enjoy that". Write your statement in the first-person voice--your voice.

Be true to who you are first and you will then be welcomed by the college jungle.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
I have four distinct performance areas. I have written an artistic mission statement encompassing all four areas. I’m now thinking of breaking this up and writing separate statements for each, since each group fits into a different performance venue. Does that make sense?
When you have one artistic mission statement, then you are ready to create other statements. Usually there are different aspects of storytelling for which we love.

Rivka, creating four different onces to reflect the four sides of you would be wonderful. This will make it easier for you as you market to the college venues.

Let's pretend that you love to tell literacy stories geared for elementary-aged kids. When your statement reflects this type of telling, you can present this easier to professors in the Department of Education.

Let's pretend that you also delve into folktales and share the culture behind them. Then having a statement reflect this will make it easier to give to professors in the Departments of Folklore and Anthropology.

If you come upon someone who has interest in all four of your storytelling types, then give each of your statements to them.

Remember that you are not writing the statements to sound like an advertisement so stay away from phrases that could make it sound that way.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
As I understand it the artistic mission statement is soley for me--from this I generate structure, marketing direction, and clarity. Are there times you share your mission statement with others (besides mentors and coaches)?

Rivka
An artistic mission statement is more revealing than a storytelling resume. Yes, the statement is mainly for you, but it is not meant to stay hidden.

Visual artists share their statements all the time when displaying at a museum. Performing artists, like ourselves, also need to give and display our statements.

Besides business cards and feedback/evaluation forms after a performance, having copies of your artistic statement is a great way to further the connection with your audience.

When I first introduce myself to a professor or college administrator, the statement is included with my press kit. Since the statement is usually half a page to one page long, it is short enough to make an impression.

I have a blog entry that shares more about constructing an artistic mission statement that you can access by clicking here.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
I have been requested to share my artistic mission statement.

The first paragraph tends to be about why you started the art. Beware of using lingo that only storytellers would know. Statements are meant for anyone to understand.

The second paragraph tends to be about how you perform. For example, what techniques or methods do you use? Where do you get your ideas for stories?

The third paragraph tends to aim at the “where” of storytelling as in the types of stories you tell. This is where past, present and future goals meld.

Once a statement is formed, then through the months or years, it will evolve.

Rachel Hedman's Artistic Mission Statement--
Storytelling is how I find the joy in everyday moments throughout all ages of time and cultures. With energy and passion, I connect to the story so that I may also connect to my listeners. The legacy I wish to achieve is to open eyes and minds to the wonder of storytelling and the vital role of the storyteller in society. For storytelling adventures to thrive for generations, I welcome youth to be leaders in the art.

I am a storyteller because I am first a story listener. I delight in expressing how each person’s life is something to celebrate. As story ideas emerge, I consider how best to transform seemingly insignificant moments into adventures. Sometimes I reveal the light and dark sides of human nature though, in the end, I celebrate the good found within all people.

I tell stories from my heart. I reflect upon how my listeners may respond to the stories and understand that everyone receives something different. Some of my favorite stories combine narrative with song, either from my own creations or hymns learned as a child. Through multicultural and modern tales, I undertake sensitive social concerns. I am exploring the strength of family relationships within the lives of historical, mythical, and personal heroes.

Storytelling adventures can be the tradition of joy for generations to come.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
I've written a couple different mission statements. Below is my mission statement for my original transformational tales. I have a different statement for my historic tellings and I'm still working on a thrid for my more tradtional programs.

My Artistic Mission Statement 2008 (Transformational stories)

I am a Folkteller. I create and rediscover story through my mind and heart, and set it down through my lips. I create the oral story first by the spoken word and only after many collaborative tellings – between teller and listeners - are my stories ever committed to paper. This process is as different from the written-composed story as sculpture is from painting. Oral stories can communicate in time and space where no other art form can tread. They can be an expressway from one soul to another.

I am drawn to stories that need to be told, but are often missed. Why are they missed? Some stories are too complicated, others too painful. Sometimes the details are told and the story is lost or forgotten. Women’s stories often are stories that need to be told but are missed.

Birth stories, maybe the most common of all oral stories, might also be the most forgotten. These are the “origin stories” of every individual and often a defining story for women. For the past 20 years as a doula, (professional labor coach) I learned and used many stories in my work. Now as a teller I celebrate in the rediscovery and telling of these stories.

The transformational tale gives today’s woman a language to explore, hear and tell their stories which are often elusive in other forms. I create stories using the iconic images of fable and fairy tale to transform complicated or painful experiences into stories that can be heard, absorbed and treasured. I also look for women’s traditional tales which have been forgotten or reshaped and I love to share these stories in the 21st century.

In tribute to my parents, and the many generations before me, I continue the tradition of the Oral tale. My Transformational Tales and Birth Stories are expressions of my love.

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