Doug Lipman is the king of new ideas in storytelling. One of his latest
is the self-contained, multi-media tool kit, and a good idea it is, too.
For many years, Lipman has been in demand as a conference presenter,
workshop leader, and coach/trainer. Everyone who have learned from him
have come away singing his praises. He has a gift for working with others
and drawing out their best.
But, alas, one man cannot be everywhere at
once. And often potential attendees have schedule, travel or budget
Now Lipman's "Toolkit" can bring the coach to you. In one
large, loose-leaf notebook, you get:
A booklet (with many illustrations),
A warm-up poster, and
A pocket warm-up guide.
From the no-complaint department, he brushes aside excuses like…"But my CD player is broken," and
"But I'm a visual learner." Lipman has provided exactly the same
information in CD, print, and [DVD] versions. Choose your
own adventure. (It does make the notebook bulky, but it certainly adds
versatility and allows each person a semi-customized approach.)
So much for format. How's the information? Excellent. Detailed, but not too
technical. Appropriate for storytellers, teachers, and speakers.
Presented in bite-sized segments, with headings, FAQ's, topics in bold
and other organizational devices that make the material easy to browse,
easy to locate, easy to use.
His suggestions on character-development are
insightful; the cautions about destructive habits are important. His
ideas for managing the storytelling nightmares of a too-large space or a
too-long program could be life- (and voice-) savers.
He stresses the all-important warm-up techniques (including a set of exercises for a "car warm-up"), emphasizing relaxation. His voice is so soothing that you may
find yourself almost too relaxed. He even adds information about finding
help from a voice teacher, doctor or speech/language pathologist, the
link between nutrition and throat/voice care, as well as books and
websites for further exploration.
With such a variety of valuable
information and resources, it's no wonder that the Toolkit is billed as
"Everything You Need to Preserve and Protect Your Irreplaceable Vocal
"It was one of those days... One kid slept late while the yellow bus passed
the house by. I drove the 5 miles & back to her school over slippery,
rutted dirt roads.
"Re-entering my kitchen, the blinking answering machine
alterted me that the oldest child was feeling ill and needed to come home.
Another 15 miles over cordoroy dirt roads. Dispensing chicken soup and
tissues while robing myself in storyteller finery, I dashed off to the
performances with a much reduced cushion of time.
"Thank goodness for your voice-care kit which had arrived in the mailbox
only that morning. Not only did I have a calming voice to settle me down,
I also was able to warm-up without having to remember what exercise to do
next and still drive attentively. Theatrical vocal training had prepared
me for your work; the major advantage of your kit is that it leads me
clearly, efficiently and thoroughly through the work I need to do to
prepare and still allows me to focus on driving safely.
"I have learned that respect for one's most important storytelling tool, the voice, includes recognizing and understanding our own inner experiences, abilities for relaxation, and sense of joy - personal work for professional success.
"I use what I've learned, particularly at times when my personal life might affect my story presentation, or when my health and my work schedule have sapped some of my positive energy. Visualization, stretching, effectively breathing (how sad that, as adults, we must re-learn something so natural!), "sounding"—it's all as powerful as any other form of meditation or exercise in preparing for the task at hand.
"I always carry the small reminder card [Pocket Warm-Up Guide] you include in the kit. It's the little thing I love and use the most from all the great tools you sent!
The Toolkit is an excellent resource for tips on perfecting and preserving my most important storytelling tool! - Lyn Ford, Columbus, OH
"My voice is less strained. I think I am telling better, with a more
expressive range. It's all very useful and a great resource for me, especially as it is hard for me to get to workshops etc. I really like the little card with the exercises [Pocket Warm-Up Guide]; I keep it in my wallet." - Joan Stockbridge, Colfax, CA
"The best part of the tool kit is the "warming up excersises" and the [CD] that I used in my car. I also liked the tip of drinking warm nutmeg? (I think that's the right spice.) [Actually, it's ginger - Doug.] I've used it, anyway. I especially liked the variety of methods used to teach: CDs, print, videos. I would recommend it to others!" - Barbara Kellogg, Uplifting Stories, Lake Lotawana, MO
"Worthwhile! I am using the car warm-up CD on my way to gigs, which has resulted in my throat not feeling irritated after telling for several hours." - Bob Linsenmayer, McCormick, SC
Enfin! I can write to you. I am a teacher in a media college. My students want to be radio or TV performer. Since a long time, I searched for demonstrative material about voice. Thank you for this 'gift.'
"My students and me are French Canadian. My students didn't understand all your narration but they could see the warm-up exercices and with the pictures they will remember it. This year, I have 60 students and next year, it's will be the same thing.
"I wish show this video all my students. For me it's a basic foundation for more research and experience. The impact of the toolkit on my work is...like a gift." - Suzanne Renaud, QuÈbec, Canada
"The Toolkit is wonderful and I am very thankful to have it!" - Terry Deer, Port Orange, FL
"I knew very little about my voice. Now I know a lot more. To
work with sound, to work with my voice gives me so much more joy (the
third principle) than ever before. The preparation of a performance is much
more professional than it was. I do a good warming-up.
"Now, when I'm talking to someone, I'm much more aware how I use my voice. Yesterday I was on a conference. There were so many people. In a setting like that I pay extra attention how I use my voice. And I when I have a telephone-call I check what I'm doing.
"I often listen to the tapes and do the warming-up. I learned a lot about my voice, especially practical things.(not a lot of theory). This I learned from the Toolkit and the other persons I work with. I'm very glad I made the decision to buy the Toolkit.
"It's very very good. You have considered so many things. My knowledge about my voice has growed. And also my interest in what you can do with your voice. Now I see so many new possibilities....The idea of the [DVDs], [CDs] and cd-r's is very good. I don't think there's much to improve the Toolkit. It's good the way it is. - Hans van Woerkom, The Netherlands
I found the information to be helpful and informative...I have been taking voice lessons since 1999...Through your kit I learned of one more tension spot,
the abdomen - so I've added the deep breaths to help release that area. Very helpful! - Mary Baker, Wyoming, PA