"Year of the Adopted Family" book release

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Call to Lead: 3 Pros & Cons for Tellers to be Event Organizers

When a storyteller graces the stage long enough, it seems only a matter of time when that same storyteller wishes to create other stages for the art.

Opportunities emerge and another festival or event is born.

The dedication and desire to answer the call to lead is commendable.

If storytellers are aware of the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing these ventures, then the strengths could be heightened and the weaknesses reduced or eliminated.

1. Awareness of Storyteller Needs for Event
Not everyone understands the storyteller. Some of the basic room set-up and sound check needs are misunderstood or unknown. Nevertheless, our demands usually do not require as much sound equipment or staging as other performing artists.

Before teaching a storytelling workshop, I was able to view the room. I then forwarded to the building coordinator a visual map of how to place the chairs and the kind of microphone that would work best. Rather than having to fix or rearrange chairs in a semi-circle fashion the same day as the session, the presenters had more time to welcome and mingle with attendees so to create a friendlier atmosphere. A teller-turned-producer could educate others and prevent a nightmare such as audience members being on two sides of the teller instead of one side or even a crazy circumstance of an audience completely encircling the teller.

2. Leader on Stage Translates to Leader of Project
The fact that someone has a microphone does not automatically make that person a leader. Yet, the willingness for people to listen is a sign of leadership. A storyteller has the advantage of people wanting to hear what the teller would say. While planning and organizing events, the storyteller could use this confidence to relate ideas with the committee or board.

3. Creative Solutions and Ideas Come Naturally
A storyteller seeks to find a unique way to tell a tale. The same tactics to explore a story could be used as brainstorming tools to think beyond the typical board member. The idea of “play” will excite the others on the committee so that other wonderful and grand ideas surface.

1. Torn of When to be Teller vs. Leader
Most people choose to act one role or another. When both roles of teller and leader are attempted, then delegation becomes tricky.

During one festival, a contracted storytellers had an emergency--as sometimes happens--and a last-minute replacement had to be found. With only a day notice, it seemed best for me, the chair, to take that spot since I had a repertoire large enough to change dependent on the audience. Some stories came to mind, but were quickly changed when mostly 1st graders entered the room rather than the expected 4th graders. Meanwhile, since I was telling, I could not be at the storyteller check-in table. One of my committee members had to stay longer at the table than what was intended. Nevertheless, the decision had to be made so the festival could continue to flow without the audience being aware of the desperate change.

2. Less Time on Stage
As consequence of having more duties, a producer may not have a chance to tell stories at the event . . .unless the event is meant to completely spotlight the producer as found with fringe or solo performances. Otherwise, if there are other tellers involved as with a festival, a conflict of interest may develop if the producer is given too much time with the microphone.

3. Focus on Art Distracts from Executive Decisions
An artist tends to think more in idealistic terms than the realistic. The vision may be clear, but then the ability to pursue the dreams may be problematic when faced with budgetary or volunteer restrictions.

So if the call to create or organize event comes to your storyteller mind, embrace it. Build that story for the event that creates your vision of a “happily ever after”.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
Professional Storyteller
Tel: (801) 870-5799
Email: info@rachelhedman.com
Family Famine Series Site: http://www.familyfamine.com/

No comments: