Back when I was an aspiring actor in New York City, fresh out of conservatory and performing in showcase productions in out-of-the-way, off-off-off-off-Broadway theaters, we had a rule — understood if not clearly spoken: call off the performance if the actors outnumber the audience. (Unless of course there happened to be a casting agent in the house.) I remember a particular production of Richard III (yes, think Richard Dreyfuss in The Goodbye Girl?) when the cast of fifteen put the policy to the test on numerous occasions.
Whether or not we cancelled shows (I don’t think the producer was in on the compact), the principle is clear. Don’t squander your talents on less-than-ample audiences. Or, more pointedly: what if you put on a show and nobody comes? Read more »
I began telling stories as a member of an acting ensemble in 1976, presenting storytelling as a major part of our repertoire. We worked primarily in park and recreation centers and schools. As members moved away or went into other fields, we evolved into – and I co-founded – the Black Storytellers Alliance (BSA) in direct response to the demand for storytelling to deliver the inspirational and cultural lessons embodied in our stories.
Early on I encouraged members of the audience to share the storytelling space by becoming a part of the story and one of the characters in the story. On many occasions, I was unable to use all the audience members who wanted to participate! It was wonderful to have so many trying to Read more »
Eric James Wolf, professional storyteller and host of the Art of Storytelling Show, is available for print, radio and television interviews to speak on how scary stories can be used to teach important life skills to children.
Scary stories and ghost stories have been used for thousand of years to gather interest in young people towards learning a new subject. Eric Wolf says “From ghost stories to strangers giving your child candy; scary stories have been used to help young people identify danger in the world.” Useful scary stories and ghost stories are based on truth, teach valuable skills and leave the audience feeling empowered against the villain or evil of the story.
Eric Wolf host and producer of the Art of Storytelling Show with over 100,000 downloads to date is the longest running, most successful show ever produced dedicated solely to perfecting the art of storytelling.
Press Play to hear Anne Glover speak about Finding Your Authentic Voice in Storytelling on the Art of Storytelling.
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Finding your Authentic Storytelling Voice.
Anne Glover writes….
Here are two things I feel passionately about in storytelling: authentic voice, and connection to the audience. They are closely intertwined. Some people think “authentic voice” means “no character voices.” If you’ve heard my dialogues with the character “Monkey,” you know that I use character voices, particularly for comedic episodes, as Eric learned when he interviewed me. (Have you recovered yet, Eric?) But when I use those other voices, I make a clear distinction in my voice, my brain, and my body between the character and my narrator.
As both a performer and a listener, I prefer a natural voice for the narrator persona. Sometimes as tellers, we think we need to be doing “more.” We alter our voice, add more breath, and drop to a different register, as if “storytelling” required something other than our true selves. It doesn’t. In fact, it demands that each of us bring our true self to the fore, without letting our ego get in the way of the story. This requires that we constantly watch ourselves and our deep intentions, with ferocious honesty.
Sometimes we get so wrapped in the notion that storytelling requires a special voice, that we get in the way of the story. Some people want to know how to “find” their authentic voice. Here’s a technique I like. I might say, for instance, Read more »
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Press Play to hear Jackson Gillman speak on refining your performance using outside critique on the Art of Storytelling with Brother Wolf.
Jackson Gillman Bio.
“Stand-Up Chameleon” Jackson Gillman magically transforms himself into a wide array of eccentric characters through his many talents as mime, actor, songsmith and storyteller. As adept with children as he is with adults, his interactive Read more »
Press Play to hear Jay O’Callahan speak about learning about Stories by telling to my Children on the Art of Storytelling with Brother Wolf.
Jay O’Callahan writes…
I’m at work right now on a story commissioned by NASA, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration to celebrate its 50th anniversary. As I create the NASA story I’m aware I’m using all of the knowledge I gained telling stories to my own children. As I told stories to my children I began using repetition, rhythm, changing my voice, using a gesture here and there and inventing situations that involved struggle or risk, When my son Ted was about nine months old I’d make up little songs and rhythms to make him smile. Just making my voice go up high and then suddenly come down delighted him.
One night Ted was Read more »