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Ten basic steps in the process of becoming a traditional storytelling artist. - Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS.


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STEP INTO STORYTELLING BASIC TIPS TO GET STARTED Marilyn A. Hudson , MLIS author of “Stories Center Stage” Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS - OKC Tellers

What is storytelling?:

What is storytelling? An art form where spoken words convey a story A combination of art forms, styles to share a story An art form intimate, casual, formal, stylized, spontaneous An art form useful in entertainment, education, religion, communication Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS - OKC Tellers

Who tells stories?:

Who tells stories? Families Educators Business leaders Religious educators Artists/performers Children Teens & young adults Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS - OKC Tellers

Who listens to stories?:

Who listens to stories? Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS - OKC Tellers

Step one: find a story:

Step one: find a story In A personal story (“this happened to me…”; I remember when…”) In A news item, magazine article, conversation or observation In A fairy tale, book or poem Stories range from funny, sad, historical, inspiring, and profound Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS - OKC Tellers

Step two: learn the story:

Step two: learn the story Not through memorization but through ‘movements’- What happens at the start of the story? This moves you to the turning point What happens in the middle? This is the turning point What happens at the end? A swift conclusion that wraps up the story ‘word-for-word’ is not as important knowing these beginning-middle-end ‘movements’ Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS - OKC Tellers

Step three: practice:

Step three: practice Tell your family Tell friends Record yourself and then listen (Hint: everyone thinks they sound awful – just keep going!) Learn the story ‘by heart’ – know the story and its meaning Adapt how you tell the story until it feels right to you as you share it. (hint: think of it as breaking in a pair of shoes…get a comfortable ‘fit’) Tell , retell, and improve Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS - OKC Tellers

Step four: play with the story:

Step four: play with the story What is the setting (cold, hot, city, country)? What is the person (or animal) in the story like? How do they feel in the story? What do they fear, love, or think about their setting in the story? What is a theme in the story (overcoming fear, being clever, kindness, etc.)? Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS - OKC Tellers

Step five: emote!:

Step five: emote! Listen to yourself tell the story – is your voice monotone, faint, shaky? Watch yourself tell a story in the mirror or video – are your frozen, rigid stiff, or all over the place? Practice facial expressions of fear, disgust, love, anger, confusion Practice body language of fear, exhaustion, anger, love, courage Find places in your story to insert a ‘facial expression’, or a body motion (stand up, cower with shoulders up, etc.) Find places in your story where your voices needs to be ‘strong’, ‘weak’ (loud or soft) and practice. Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS - OKC Tellers

Step six: speak clearly:

Step six: speak clearly Practice speaking clearly and naturally Listen to a dictionary with an audio function to correctly pronounce words if needed Project the voice (just a bit above the conversation level) Target someone in the back of the room and talk so they can hear you Eliminate ‘ah’…’um’…’well’ Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS - OKC Tellers

Step seven: be a balloon:

Step seven: be a balloon Think of yourself as a balloon tethered to a chair or a square of floor space Stay in that ‘box’ – avoid pacing back and forth at this stage of learning Reduce excess movements (hands moving constantly, head looking around, etc.) Remember the balloon is above you – so keep your head up and look at the audience You are light…and interesting…just be like that balloon. Enjoy! Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS - OKC Tellers

Step eight: housekeeping:

Step eight: housekeeping Basic rule 1: If you use someone’s story, get their permission and tell where you found it (“This is a story by Jane Doe. I found it in the ZombieCity Democrat from 1950” or Author Jane doe gave me permission to share this story with you.”] Basic rule 2: avoid using dialects, be sensitive to people with different views and those whose cultures might have different views of events, be sensitive as to how people are portrayed in your story (Girls are weak; boys strong) and racial stererotypes . Basic rule 3: avoid alienating people by strong political or religious comments. If the story is addressing a political or religious element - let the story speak for itself. A good story is like good seed. Plant it right and it will grow. Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS - OKC Tellers

Step nine: get connected:

Step nine: get connected Find others who share an interest in storytelling Join a local, state, or national group Join or start a group Groups meet in homes, business, libraries, museums, churches, schools, etc. A group can encourage, teach, and support each person as they work at becoming better storytellers. Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS - OKC Tellers

Step ten: listen to others:

Step ten: listen to others Attend storytelling events, festivals, concerts Listen to storytelling cd’s or broadcasts Watch dvd’s (from library or online) of storytellers Try sharing stories in different ways, see how people use their bodies, voices, eyes as they tell, and listen how they deliver the story (pauses, pace, volume, etc.). Listen to the stories they tell (why are they telling this story ? What does it mean? What does the audience think it means? Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS - OKC Tellers

Everyone has a story….:

Everyone has a story…. What’s Yours? Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS - OKC Tellers

Connect with storytelling:

Connect with storytelling National storytelling network ( http :// / ) – they have a directory of events and local /state groups Find a public library ( / ) – they often host storytellers or know of groups and events In Oklahoma the state organization is : the territory tellers ( In Oklahoma city ; ‘ okc tellers’ ( ) – to learn to tell, to listen to stories told, and grow by connecting with others. Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS - OKC Tellers


‘STORIES STAGE CENTER’ ‘STORIES STAGE CENTER: A BRIEF HISTORY OF STORYTELLING IN MODERN OKLAHOMA’ BY MARILYN A. HUDSON AVAILABLE IN MAY ON AMAZON.COM “Storytelling is an art form both ancient and contemporary brought to vibrant new life in each generation.” Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS - OKC Tellers

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