Our Discord – Video & Text Chats

We have a Discord Server open to anyone who wants to informally chat about storytelling and different aspects of it. See the schedule and upcoming topics below.

We have archived talking points from these regular chats that started July 6, 2020. Let us know if you have a topic or project you want to discuss or explore that involves being a storyteller or storytelling by emailing info@storycrossroads.org.

Free, open to all, click this direct Discord invite: https://discord.gg/KfwNK7Z

5-Part Blog Series: How Best to Use the Story Crossroads Discord Server

Video on Purpose of Discord – How We Use It
Dates/Times vary for Chats, please see schedule below for accurate Date/Times
Video on Setting Up on Phone & Computer & Tips

Next Discord Topics with Date/Times:

Credentials vs. Licensing of Storytellers – Friday, January 22, 2021 at Noon MST / 2:00pm EST

Expanding Storytelling Visibility – Friday, January 29, 2021 at Noon MST / 2:00pm EST

School Standards and Storytelling – Friday, February 5, 2021 at Noon MST / 2:00pm EST

Talking Points of Past Video Chats (current on top)

Storytelling Products: CDs to Digital Downloads to What? – Jan. 15, 2021
“Cousin” Groups of Storytelling for Marketing – Jan. 8, 2021
  • We need basics on developing relationships outside our storytelling world so this article entitled The Fine Art of Relationships from Artists Network has 12 points to consider. While you can reach out to people “cold,” always see who you know or who the people you know also know before proceeding. Sara DeBeer said that developing these relationships are a lot like when you do a lot of genealogical research. When you reach out to family members, why would these people want to get together with you? “We may be family, but I don’t know you yet!” Be ready with an answer.
  • Do you know or someone you know who does know? – Voice Actors, Spoken Word Artists, Poets (Slam, traditional, etc.), Actors (Theater, Film, etc.), Improv (Some troupes/individuals have sponsored storytelling events before such as the Connecticut Tellabration!), Writers, Toastmasters (have collaborated as emcees with Story Crossroads before), Videographers (Sterling Elliot who assists Story Crossroads or Sara deBeer’s son, Bernard Zeiger-writer)and Casey Stein-director https://www.lwtinteractive.com/), Musicians, etc.
  • Some outreach has been attempted for ultra-short narrative storytelling organizations such as The Moth or The Bee. Matthew Dicks published a book, performs for The Moth, and the Connectitcut Storytellers had him as a guest one time. Nick Baskerville is “new” to storytelling though not to performance. He has a blog to feature more of our art.
Artistic Statements & Missions – Jan. 1, 2021
  • Articles on Artistic Statements – How to write an artist statement by The Creative Independent (Sarah Hotchkiss, with illustrations by Beena Mistry) as well as The Complete Guide to Writing an Artist Statement in 2020 by ARTDEX Blog
  • Important to know what is NOT an Artistic Statement: pompous depiction of yourself; listing of empty expressions; full of jargon/lingo; dissertation or discourse on your methods; poetic or prose in nature; anecdote; childhood or family reminisces; press release
  • An Artistic Statement IS: usually not more than one page; could be used/shared with anyone giving an interview with you such as with podcasts, critics, reviewers; most important to you as a guide — Vel Weiss said, “The Artist Statement is more like a compass than a profession.”
  • Reflect on your established Artist Statement at least once a year; could combine the written version (great to hang on your bathroom mirror) with recording for your self or to be shared with the world through audio, video, or any other combo; imagine it as “Interview with Self” and share your process and wished legacy – ideas shared by Marc Young
Online Research for Folktales – Dec. 18, 2020
  • Top Recommendations for searching: Google Scholar as well as the comprehensive list put together by D.L. Ashliman (since retired from University of Pittsburgh) though look at other possible places such as Greenwood Database (available to those with dues-paying membership with National Storytelling Network) or Diverse BookFinder. Alton Chung reminded us all that whenever researching, always keep in mind cultural appropriation and what is best overall.
  • Top people in storytelling community for online resources: Karen Chace (pioneer of online sources, puts out blog posts here) and Dr. Csenge Zalka (many blog posts, see latest here and will teach 5-hour virtual workshop on researching)
  • Use “Online Pleading” to ask for specific types/versions/variants as well as to link or meet for the first time for people from the story’s culture; Use Zoom one-on-ones (share if person owns book you need, share that way, discuss, or if person knows stories due to community communications); Figure out and be part of Listserv (older way/like group email with archives) – See some storytelling-related listservs here
  • Take advantage of Inter-Library Loans (curbside, copies-not books-emailed as pdfs, could even use WorldCat to identify and directly reach out to that library) as well as searching through other ways. Misty Mator says to look up folk-fairy tales in research papers on culture studies. “If I’m looking up women’s studies, or parenting practices, or farming practices, traditional practices, so on an so on, the authors sometimes will reference a local folklore or fairytale. Once I have that name, or character name, or plot, I can take that and use it as a jumping off point for search engines.”
Hybrid Options for Performances – Dec. 11, 2020
Zoom Listeners & How to Inspire Group-Listening, Dec. 4, 2020
  • See these articles when considering Zoom audiences and things to consider (attracting to event or engaging them): Using Evident To…Engage Family Audiences by The Audience Agency or see this pdf instead; The Best Zoom Trends We’re Seeing Right Now by Crews Control/Valerie Nolan; and Infographic – Leverage Marketing Strategies through Virtual Reality by Touchstone Research (yes, virtual reality marketing but an innovative approach to attract audiences in the first place)
  • Typically seen that either all-adults or all-kids for the virtual audiences with rarely any families/groups watching performances live. In the beginning of shutdown, people were more open to share video but lately people either are choosing to turn video on for performer to assess audience’s engagement. Biggest reasons appear to be peer pressure, multi-tasking, unstable Internet connections, and subconscious of home setting. Through socio-economics, some people could be calling into Zoom rather than the Zoom app or have older computers that make it impossible to do video. We can encourage but realize and understand these other reasons as pointed out by Sara deBeer.
  • Each event could consider offering 1-3 tailored virtual backgrounds for Zoom linked to the theme(s) to assist in any worries over house condition or hosts can ask for attendees to at least have a picture of themselves uploaded if unable to do video.
  • Storytelling events have majority or all attendees be fellow storytellers. Collaborating with others, especially if seeking out virtual family audiences, could be best. Check with libraries and see if their virtual programming has changed the demographics of who shows up now. Ask questions like you would with a live performance. For example, for a virtual school performance, ask unit the students recently finished or will start up. Use one-liners or more to make the connection and encourage “fans.”
“Thankful” for Grant-Writing in the Performing Arts, Nov. 24 & 27, 2020
Organization. Either as individual/sole proprietor or nonprofit
Contact Details.
Project Narrative. Usually what is proposed, why it is being undertaken, what expected results will be.
Community. Describe your community and why this project is important to them. Explain how your community will be actively involved in the project. A community can be any group of individuals who share a common interest, as well as those sharing a geographic area.
Issues and Improvement. Identify the specific issue/concern facing your community, and describe how this project will address this issue to bring change or improvement to your community.
Promotional Plan. Provide details of how the project will be publicized and how funders will be credited.
Evaluation. Outline how you will evaluate the effectiveness of your project, beyond attendance numbers. What measurable outcomes and strategies will you use to measure the project’s success and its impact in your community?
Private Life vs. Public Stage, Nov. 17 & 20, 2020
  • Many articles to explore including After the Show: The Many Faces of the Performer; Yale Psychologists: Introverts Are Better Than Extroverts at Performing This Essential Leadership Skill (we compared to audience behavior analysis of Introverts); and Introvert vs Extrovert: A Look at the Spectrum and Psychology (promotes idea that creative people tend to be ambiverts rather than pure extrovert or introvert)
  • What percentage of storytellers are extroverts versus introverts? Towards 2000, Dr. Joseph Sobol guessed half and half. Vel Weiss guessed in 2020 that most storyteller could be introverts as listening skills are needed to connect to an audience. We want someone to do a Masters Thesis or research paper on this topic! We discussed several storytellers and performers (including ourselves) on how different or same we are on and off stage. Also consider – Robin Williams, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, Morgan Freeman, etc.
  • In regards to decision-making, introverts analyze human behavior/audience while extroverts can make snap judgement as a performer of what to do next, what story to tell next.
Superstitions We Have as Performers, Nov. 10 & 13, 2020
  • Storytellers and Actors have similar superstitions. See this article of 13 found in Theater by Broadway Direct. Instead of “Break a leg,” we have heard “Break a lip.” Though, “leg” can mean more than that part of our body. It can refer to the backstage/centerstage. We could have certain wardrobe/hats so we will have “luck” to carrying an item connected to the story (but not used as a prop) to rolling dice like a Magic 8 Ball on how things will go.
  • Superstitions are found throughout the world. Some people could call them patterns, rituals, or traditions. See a few from around the world in this online post from Insider. See this article called How do superstitions affect our psychology and well-being? published on Friday the 13th in 2020.
  • We can unknowingly miss the the beliefs/superstitions of cultures in folktales such as why a character must be found under a certain tree, why a certain color is important, or the food consumed. Example: consider that many/most cultures have “Tree of Life” symbol – see this blog post by Story Crossroads on it. Alton Chung shared in Hawaiian culture that tea leaf plant wards off evil…but make sure it is green and NOT red as red is connected to blood/sacrifice while green keeps things away from you. He also shared about Green Lady versus White Lady and getting the stories correct or ghosts will not be happy.
Tradition Bearers who have Passed On – Honoring Them, Oct. 27, Nov. 3 & 6, 2020
Orality and Screen Culture – Equity of Experiencing Storytelling, Oct. 20 & 23, 2020
Impact on Traditional & Cultural Storytelling (COVID), Oct. 13 & 16, 2020
  • Yellow Bird (Cheyenne) has Facebook page with cultural arts – including storytelling – with regular Facebook Lives to uphold traditions in a quarantined/COVID world, while increased visibility, learned from Lynette Two Bulls that many of their Elders have died from COVID and creates more urgency to film and record them
  • Amy Douglas has the “Taking the Tradition On” YouTube series and interviews traditional tellers in the United Kingdom – meanwhile there are specials connected with Ray Hicks and David Holt – part 1 and part 2
  • Young Audiences has The YA Network in different states including Virginia where they have “Take 10” videos of different cultural arts, dancers are engaging while storytelling harder to come across screen
  • Discussed “Traditional Storyteller” versus “Traditional Storytelling” – Liz Weir does not consider herself as a traditional storyteller but as someone who tells traditional stories. We liked the phrase “Traditional Bearer” better. Decided that we need to honor these Bearers across the continents and discover who are those mentors/legacies (big thanks to Alton Chung, Mara Menzies, Vel Weiss, Via Goode, and Margaret Read MacDonald to help research):
    • AfricaGcina Mhlophe from South Africa; Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa; John Mukeni Namai in connection with Zamaleo Sigana Storytellers
    • Asia – Alicia Dongjoo Bang – organized a multiday international storytelling event hosted in Seoul; Sujit Mahapatra Suji – arranges for a teller from another country to tell stories and share with children each week, based near Calcutta and has a huge following while running a group of small children’s libraries; Masako Sueyoshi and Hiroko Fujita in Japan – have worked with Fran Stallings; Dr. Wajuppa Tossa and Dr. Prasong Saihong in Thailand; Made Taro and his son, GoodDay Tamada in Bali, Indonesia; Richard Dian Vilar in the Philippines; Alicia Dongjoo Bang and Seug Ah Kim in Korea; Chen Ming Hsiang in Hong Kong; Mochamad Ariyo Farrdh Zidni in Indonesia; Ng Kok Keong in Malaysia; Jeeva Raghunath in India; Kamini Rachmanchandran, Sheila Wee, and Roger Jenkins in Singapore
    • Europe – Duncan Williamson – Scotland; David Campbell – Edinburgh; Dr. Martin Shaw; Shonaleigh Cumbers – last remaining drut’syla; Giovanna Conforto in Italy; Liz Weir and Colin Urwin in Northern Ireland; Daniel Morden in Wales; Ben Haggarty in England; Peter Chand in Scotland
    • South America – still awaiting answers, researching
    • North America – Ray Hicks – Appalachia; Dovie Thomason – Lakota and Plains Apache; Patrick Ball in Ireland via California, Renee Englot and Anne Glover in Canada
    • Australia – Kiran Shah; Anna Jarrett
Generational Gaps & Gains in Storytelling, Oct. 6 & 9, 2020
  • Understanding what is even meant by “generational” – article on how years range on length of a generation – nowadays a generation is about 25 years, varies by case, used to be 20 years PLUS seems that many issues from the 1970s and the protests are similar to what we see for Millennials today
  • Millennials vs. Boomers or generational divides brought up during NSN’s Conference by Elizabeth Ellis – then we continued to chat about priorities and issues important to each generation – Millennials asking, “What kind of world are you leaving us?” Boomers asking, “What will you do with the world we worked hard to create for you?” – Youth are more about finding oneself/identity while Elders are more about finding, honoring, and cherishing family – cooperating and combining these ideas can strengthen us overall – article “Tell Me a Story: How Generational Storytelling Can Help Light a Path to Our Future”
  • Dovie Thomason has story that reflects different views of younger vs. older generations involving mice (shared at Timpanogos Storytelling Virtual Festival) in that the young look for glory/name recognition while the elders look for peace/avoid war whenever possible – Marc Young shared a story about a mother bird who had three fledglings and gives them rides yet barrel rolls them into the river depending on if the baby bird is honest or not – discussing what is the “barrel roll” for us today in regards to generational gaps/gains – finally discussing the “Half Blanket” story on honoring our elders
  • Alton Chung shared the phrase “Structural Bias” and makes events already hard for other generations to get involved or be interested in the first place – giving time (6 months+ prep) and freedom of choice in stories told/selected per generation – we discovered that gaps in generations can also reveal gaps in other areas such as cultural diversity
Pricing/Rates of Virtual vs. Live Storytelling, Sept. 29 & Oct. 2, 2020
  • Standard prices so far in storytelling world–for those events encouraging or ticketing–tends to be $10-$15 for one performance, $20-$30 for 90-minute workshop, $75-$200 for intensive or multi-session workshops, and $25-$50 for “big” festivals though will see much lower and higher in all categories
  • When charge $50+ but offer “pay what it’s worth” then trickier due to guilt/not-attend-at-all BUT charge $50 or less and people more likely to take advantage of “pay what it’s worth” and feel more welcomed – this 2016 article delves into Pricing PsychologyMisty Mator afterwards shared we can distinguish between “livestream” and “Pro LiveStream” with live Zoom concerts versus different cameras/switching angles – offset costs through sponsors/ads much like live TV crew and “regular” TV
  • Agreed together that virtual/live rates need to at least be the same, more guidance on another way to view charging has to do with copyright/permissions for plays or multi-licensing for school/libraries – see article on how ebooks work out pricing with multi-licenses
International Collaborations, Sept. 22 & 25, 2020
Storytelling Movements – Where are We Now?, Sept. 15, 2020
  • Read “The Storytellers’ Journey: An American Revival” by Joseph Daniel Sobol that was published in 1999 and then compare to Sobol’s newest book that barely came out in 2020 (did not discuss as the book is so new, but would be fascinating to compare) – movements consists of tellers, listeners, producers of live and virtual events as well as the general public so checking on events/festivals would give us more numbers to check on what state we truly are in with the American Storytelling Movement as well as what is happening in all other continents
  • According to Anthony F.C. Wallace’s Revitalization Theory, a revitalization movement is “steady state; period of individual stress; period of cultural distortion; period of revitalization (in which mazeway reformulation, communication, organization, adaptation, cultural transformation, and routinization occur); and finally, new steady state” quoted from Sobol’s 1999 book mentioned before on page 7
  • Considering the virtual performances, workshops and other events – seems like instead of a revival, we are not in a vitalistic movement that “emphasize[s] the importation of alien elements into the mazeway,” quoted from Sobol’s 1999 book mentioned before on page 6
YouTube vs. Vimeo for Storytellers, Sept. 8, 2020
  • YouTube has 2 billion users while Vimeo has about 1 million users – though the audience is different as Vimeo has a professional feel, ability to add your branding and rent/sell videos, and being ad-free
  • YouTube is free and you can earn money once you have 1,000+ subscribers (rare for storytellers but did see that John McCutcheon has 1.08K and 273,000+ views) while Vimeo has different levels with commercial/selling of videos needing Vimeo Pro of at least $20/month plus taking 10% of any video rental/fee AND merchandise/tax fees – check out World Storytelling Cafe (371 videos since May 2020) as well as Storytelling Connections (video rental of Ancient & Contemporary: Native American stories)
  • Article to consider: Top 10 Free Video Sharing and Hosting Sites for Education (as tellers work often with educators)
Audience Isolation Behaviors, Sept. 1, 2020
Story Storage, Aug. 24, 2020
  • Hard copy and digital versions to store the stories you collect over time are recommended – hard copy for portability and “body memory” and digital for searchable columns
  • Manila folders work great for each story and then categorized by hanging folders (origin country/location, motif/theme, holidays, recommended audience, etc.)
  • Google Sheets allow easy-access on laptop and/or on phone for on-the-go and could include these column headers: Date, Location, Audience, Length of Performance, Stories Told, Theme (if any), Notes
Personal vs. Organizational Branding, Aug. 17, 2020
  • Consider the colors you typically associate with you as a teller and with the marketing materials you create – hard copy and virtual – then make a bigger effort to continue any trends or at least decide these trends
  • You as a teller is a logo in and of itself – any other personal and/or organizational logo needs to be included in any or all communications or advertising
  • Rituparna Ghosh uses “Your Story Bag” as a physical, logo symbol, and philosophy and views of the art in connection with her storytelling, she uses this repeatedly on social media
Cultural Appropriation, Aug. 10, 2020
Prepping Halloween/Christmas stories for Podcasts, Aug. 3, 2020
  • Challenge to anyone to consider holiday stories for podcasts with special attention to Halloween/Christmas – still not too late in September of every year to submit Halloween stories – example of one “Want to share your scary story? We would love to hear it in the dead of night! Submit your pitch to: spooked@snapjudgment.org”
  • Can you share the entire story within 1-2 minutes? Proposing a story may mean telling it shorter knowing you can take more time with it once accepted.
  • Amazing person who knows how to submit podcast stories AND runs a podcast himself: Dr. Raymond Christian
Video Editing – Free & Purchased Software, July 27, 2020
Patreon & Other Recurring Revenues for Storytellers, July 20, 2020
  • Discover your balance of Free Content to Consume vs. Exclusive when working out Patreon or other comparable recurring revenues platforms
  • Create an email script to invite family/friends about subscribing for at least 3 months to build the momentum and recruit other supports in the time being (for example – different levels on Patreon and could be $3 X 3 months so only $9 commitment but makes the difference)
  • Understand your brand and what posts would “make sense” AND great person who knows how to use Patreon (and attended): Laura Packer
Starting a Podcast, July 13, 2020
Antelope Island/Potential for Stories when giving tours, July 6, 2020
  • Featured the experience of Carl and wanting to expand his repertoire and type of stories depending on the audience before him when giving tours of Antelope Island
  • Tim Ereneta shared article of “a different model/metaphor of story creation…Doug Lipman explains the difference between building stories and growing them”: http://storydynamics.squarespace.com/articles/living-fence
  • As a result, Carl created a template file “that I have created for the stories that I want to tell and then try to finagle the facts and details into the little slots in that file.”