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eTips from the Storytelling Coach - Number 14

The Four Pillars of Your Storytelling

January, 2002

eTips is a free, monthly electronic newsletter from Doug Lipman. You can subscribe, unsubscribe, or read a more detailed description of the newsletter at the eTips page. You can also read the other back issues.

Contents

1) THE FOUR PILLARS OF YOUR STORYTELLING
2) LAST CHANCE FOR PRE-PUBLICATION SAVINGS!
3) ANNOUNCEMENT: LIVING YOUR ARTISTIC VISION

1) THE FOUR PILLARS OF YOUR STORYTELLING

Are you planning to work on your storytelling in 2002? Before you begin, make sure you are not neglecting any of the four pillars that your storytelling needs!

The First Pillar: Your Audiences

You need three kinds of audiences:

1. Rehearsal buddies and helping listeners - who listen to you for your own sake, as you talk through, practice, or work on the parts of a story.

2. Practice performances - listeners who expect a complete story, but understand that what they're hearing may be still developing.

3. Performance opportunities - people who listen to your stories purely for their own sake. These can be informal or formal situations, ranging from children hearing bed-time stories to large theatrical audiences. For some of us, these audiences are built into our family or work lives; for others, we need to exert marketing effort to find them.

This is the only one of the four pillars that can stand on its own. If you have audiences who will listen to you tell, your storytelling will probably continue to develop. Conversely, without opportunities to tell, your storytelling is doomed to stagnate.

The Second Pillar: Your Support System

Your support system consists of all the helpers who assist with any aspect of your storytelling. They include:

  • Rehearsal buddies who listen to you tell.
  • Planning buddies who keep you on task.
  • Coaches, voice teachers, etc., who offer their expertise about your art and its foundations.
  • Communities of tellers and listeners.
  • Organizations, such as your local and regional storytelling groups and the National Storytelling Network http://www.storynet.org.

    Your support team helps you remember that you CAN do storytelling, WHAT you have decided to do, and that you are not in this alone. They give information, community, and encouragement.

    Our society romanticizes "lone artists." But without helpers, it's difficult to become the storyteller you are capable of becoming.

    The Third Pillar: Your Emotional Development

    You can only tell what you can imagine. And you can only tell compellingly what you can imagine with its full emotional intensity.

    Storytelling often brings up feelings in the teller - whether about the content of a story, about being heard, or about being an artist.

    Therefore, expanding the range of your emotional imagination is a key, long-term project for all storytellers who wish to develop their fullest capacity for expression.

    And most of us also face emotional obstacles to persisting with our art.

    How can you develop your emotional imagination and persistence? Find your own preferred way of dealing with the unhealed emotional hurts that limit you. Search for ways of being listened to - by "willing listeners" who can put their own emotional issues aside long enough to listen to yours. Become a good listener for others. Make use of - and continue to train - helpers you trust with your feelings.

    The Fourth Pillar: Your Physical Development

    Don't forget that you actually tell stories with your body, including your voice. If your body is "tuned up" as an expressive instrument, it will better convey the images and emotions you wish to communicate.

    This means, first of all, taking basic care of yourself. Exhausted, malnourished, or under-exercised tellers can't easily tap into their innate vitality!

    Second, take care of your voice. Warm up before performing. Find an ongoing way to systematically eliminate the habitual tensions that distort and harm your vocal production.

    Third, develop your ability to move expressively. Yoga, dancing, and many other physical activities help put you in touch with the sensations in your body and give you regular practice in esthetic movement.

    Find Your Own Balance

    For any one of us, different pillars will have different degrees of importance. If any of these pillars is seriously under-developed for you, be sure to spend time this year nurturing it!

    With a balanced approach to audiences, support teams, and emotional and physical development, your storytelling efforts can bring you the satisfying and transformative results you desire.

    2) LAST CHANCE FOR PRE-PUBLICATION SAVINGS!

    If you speak as part of your work, you can't afford to miss the "Storyteller's Voice-Care Toolkit[tm]." And this is your last chance to save $50. On January 24, 2002, the price will rise to $119.95. It will never again be available for the pre-publication price of $69.95!

    Your voice is easy to neglect. You assume it will be there - and it is. Then one day, you notice hoarseness, pain, or - every storyteller's nightmare - no voice at all.

    If you're already having voice problems, you need this toolkit immediately. And if you're not - why wait until you've done harm to your irreplacable, expressive instrument..your voice?

    The Storyteller's Voice-Care Toolkit(tm) contains an entire vocal warmup (an exercise video for your voice!). Beyond that, it answers these questions:

  • What are the principles of vocal work? How do I apply them as a storyteller?
  • How do I create character voices that I can sustain?
  • How can I be heard in a crowd without straining?
  • What if I only have a few minutes to warm up?
  • How should I care for my throat while performing?
  • How can my voice express powerful emotions?
  • What kinds of food should I avoid before speaking?
  • And many more....

    Bonus Warm-Ups

    Includes the bonus "car warm-up," as well as the one-minute "silent warm-up" - that you can do while sitting in the audience or at a meeting. You'll never need to strain your voice again.

    For more about the Toolkit - and how to save $50 with the Pre-Publication Special - read the full description on the web (or ask me to email it to you): http://storydynamics.com/Publications/Multi-Media_Toolkits/svt.html.

    You can order this via phone, fax, mail, email, or on the web: https://secure.storydynamics.com/catalog.

    The Toolkit is completely guaranteed. You can get your money back at any time. So don't miss this time-limited chance to get the entire Toolkit for less than the cost of a single voice lesson!

    3) ANNOUNCEMENT: LIVING YOUR ARTISTIC VISION

    All artists hunger to live their art. Whether you are a storyteller, speaker, musician, writer, painter, or other artist, you face the question, "How do I live my art, and still live in the real world?" Do you need help with performance, marketing, dreaming, setting up support structures, goals, or ways to achieve them? Now, you can give yourself - and your art - the opportunity to spend a long weekend imagining your art as the focus of your life. And take home the skills to make your dream happen! This workshop, brought back by popular demand after its August debut, will take place two more times: 1. January 17-20, 2002, in Atlanta, GA. 2. March 14-17, 2002, in Pasadena, CA. For more, see http://storydynamics.com/Services/Workshops/artistic.html - or ask me to email you a copy.

    Or bring us to you - more easily than you may imagine. Just email me to learn more.

    All the best, Doug

    P.S., Email me for one or both of these, or view them on the web:

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    This page was last updated on Friday, November 28, 2003
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