Professional Storyteller

Share a Story - Change the World

I have just spent several intensive weeks working storytelling in with my other job. During those weeks I ranted and raved up and down the middle aisle of the Adamsville Courthouse in Alabama, because it was the only place big enough to hold the people who were interested in the programs. It was all I could do not to run up where the judges sit and hit the gavel for emphasis. Unfortunately, since it was a real courthouse there was a security guard present, I was sure I would be arrested. It was after all, a real courthouse, and I don't behave myself in a very courtly or orderly fashion when I am telling stories. I fell up and down at least six times off the floor and hopped down the aisles. I walked to the courthouse over the railroad tracks from the small local library. The kids, and I loved it.
On one of my other storytime days I went at it with my usual sense of abandon, knowing that I had to leave soon after the 30 min that I was to tell for a lesser price. I finished gave a bow and then proceeded to watch every child in the audience go up to the librarian, tell their age, how many books they had read, show their prize, get their picture taken and clapping. Don't get me wrong I adore reading programs, but if you beg me to do 30 min and then hold my check until an hour and 15 has passed.........I'm sure all of you out there have a million funny, irritating, and anything but mundane stories about your professional storytelling life, no matter what level you may be at. One of my very favorite storytelling crazy stories is of the time I was telling at a rather large children's festival. My audience could have been somewhere in the vicinity of 450-500 people. Some were standing there listening, some were passing through on their way to something else. It's not the easiest venue to keep attention completely. Well I was still near the end of my story(timing is a huge problem for me...I usually go until someone tells me to stop or I fall down from exhaustion) and the act to follow me was a MARCHING BAND complete with cymbals a drum core...you get the picture. They began to play and march behind me before my story was complete and marched up onto the stage PLAYING, bang bang, du du dum du du dum..while I was trying to wrap up and leave the audience a sense of my own dignity and sense of humor about ridiculous situations. Supposedly my aunt has this on videotape---I think I am a little scared to see it.

Right now I am interested in shaping life material into storytelling for adults, teens and young adults. I wonder how to practice this out and make it flow. I have seen a beginner storyteller do a program and fall on his face before. It wasn't a pretty sight. If anyone has some input or resources to recommend on this I would appreciate it. I have been writing stories for adults in poems and short fiction all of my life. I would like to tell some of my stories rather than write and then do a reading.

Views: 11

Tags: bloopers, difficulty, professional, storytelling

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Comment by Sean Buvala on July 15, 2008 at 3:17pm
"K. Sean" That was funny.
Comment by Norah Dooley on July 15, 2008 at 3:06pm
Hey -Great story about the marching band.
Now, that is what I call ending with a "bang!" This Q you ask is a fascinating one...How to tell personal stories? I wonder how to practice this out and make it flow.
All too often performance of personal narrative is not what we hope for. Uh...actually, all too often it is BAD. Not pretty. Like you said I have seen a beginner storyteller do a program and fall on his face before. It wasn't a pretty sight.So what is it that makes it good? This is a great thread for a discussion on this site... Would you post this Q somewhere on Prostoryteller and see what comes of it? I talk and think about this Q a lot. I have not written about it - and I would love to see what peeps have to say
Comment by ashley hulsey on July 10, 2008 at 1:07pm
Thanks K. Sean. I will look into it.
Comment by Sean Buvala on July 8, 2008 at 11:52pm
Attend our Storyteller.net telecourses. Lots of good stuff there. Free. http://www.storytellerconference.com. One for telling for tweens and teens probably in August or September.

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