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WEEK 1 – Storytelling Overview Copy

The class slide deck can be found here – The main takeaway mentioned was that stories are a tool used to empower yourself. You are the main character. The way you are affected is the focus of the story and your perspective is the lens that the audience is viewing your story’s world. Slide 3 states “The more you create, the more powerful you become. The more you consume, the more powerful others become.”

Dan mentioned various storytelling resources and opportunities throughout the class including:

  1. Hot Dish – a troupe that performs every Friday night, 9pm at Dallas Comedy Club. This is a great way to see a monologist telling a story in a show setting. You will need to watch at least one show before the class ends. Kate will be going this Friday (1/ 21) so feel free to join her! Your student ID should get you in the show for free if it is not sold out.
  2. Vanessa Kenney’s Level 1 Storytelling Showcase – Feb 5, 1pm. Good opportunity to see how our showcase will be structured and to observe various length/pacing/performance styles etc.
  3. Love is in the Air: A (Lovely) Storytelling Show – Feb 5, 7:30pm at Dallas Comedy Club. Dan will be performing in this show with his wife.
  4. Talking Dirty After Dark – a storytelling show sponsored by Oaxaca Mezcal and Wild Detectives on Friday, February 4, 9pm at the Texas Theater. Note there is a disclaimer that colorful language might be used, so be aware if you are a sensitive listener.
  5. Been There, Seen That – a storytelling show produced by Dan that includes 3 storytellers interspersed between improv scenes.
  6. Wild Detectives and Opening Bell will hopefully be back with some storytelling events soon so stay tuned! 
  7. Podcasts – The MothSpeak Up, and Working it Out by Mike Birbiglia
  8. Books – Storyworthy by Matthew Dicks and Long Story Short: The Only Storytelling Guide You’ll Ever Need by Margot Leitman (also available at Dallas Public Library
  9. Story Collider – a podcast and national live storytelling touring series. Previous Dallas shows have focused on storytelling within the sciences. A good example of how storytelling can be used to share data in a more engaging and compelling manner.
  10. Dallas Storytelling Guild

Dan mentioned a couple of ways to think about structuring stories, so they aren’t just a listing of events or an anecdote. “The Hero’s Journey” (slide 17) calls for a catalyst to disrupt the main character’s routine life sparking a struggle with how they are changing. “But & Therefore” (slide 23) is used by the creators of South Park. This structure format is used to disrupt the “and then” patterns of conversational stories. The “but” signifies the event that disrupts regular life and the “& therefore” is used to describe how the main character’s actions change due to the disruption.

The class listened to Josh Campbell give a TedTalk on the importance of practicing telling stories so you will be able to engage with various types of audiences and speaking situations. He provided some helpful pointers but recognized that rules are meant to be broken. Terrance Flynn provided a detail- rich story with a huge twist. His story is linked to in slide 27. Matthew Dicks (slide 21) told a witty story about not being able to rely on your parents. If you listen to the stories again – how are the stories similar and how are they different?

Our showcase is Saturday, February 26th 2pm at Dallas Comedy Club. Invite your loved ones to show off all the hard work you’ve accomplished! We will all be sharing an 8 minute (maximum length of time) story that has been workshopped in class. You will be performing, not reading your story from notes in front of you. 

Homework – 

  1. Listen to Terrance Flynn’s story again, paying attention to clues he includes to foreshadow his big twist and to how he builds anticipation and pulls the listener in. 
  2. Come to the next class (1/23) with 3 stories to pitch in class. You don’t have to have the story fully fleshed out. Think about the main event that is the focus of your story, what life was like before and how you changed after.

“Tragedy + Time = Comedy”

Carol Burnett

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