What We Learned from Timpanogos Storytelling & Virtual Offerings – Part 4 of 9

This is the fourth of nine parts on Rachel Hedman’s impressions of the Virtual Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. Although this happened in September 2020, Timpanogos as well as their Encore Offering in December 2020/January 2021. You can follow Timpanogos here.

9-Parts:

  • Part 1 – Pre-Recorded vs. Live – REVEALED
  • Part 2 – Inside the Program REVEALED
  • Part 3 – ASL & its Presence/Absence – REVEALED
  • Part 4 – Emcees & “Making it Personal” – TODAY
  • Part 5 – Use of the Screen by Story Artists
  • Part 6 – Art of Binge-Watching
  • Part 7 – Favorites from Featured Tellers
  • Part 8 – Featured vs. Guest Tellers
  • Part 9 – Use of Encore Offering

We love and honor the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival.

Please note that I learn from any experience including this festival in Utah that is cherished worldwide. Any and all of these posts within this series are impressions that are shared with respect despite some differences in opinion.

Timpanogos had a storyteller family reunion through their emcees.

When having events virtual, sometimes you don’t need an emcee. Though, having those emcees can give another chance for the audience to be reminded of in-person events and forget that the event happens to be pre-recorded.

While Timpanogos had their featured tellers, they had emcees of past tellers of the Festival. That was a lovely nod to honor the emcees while allowing long-time audience members to reminisce.

We had 18 guests/emcees who each shared a video piece to add to the performances by the 13 featured storytellers. These 18 people do not include the 4 puppeteering groups, the 4 musicians/groups, and the 18 National Youth Storytellers.

Curious as to the emcees?

They were the following: Adam Booth, Andy Offutt Irwin, Antonio Rocha, Antonio Sacre, Barbara McBride-Smith, Bil Lepp, Bill Harley, Connie Regan-Blake, Corinne Stavish, Daniel Morden, Dovie Thomason, Kevin Kling, Liz Weir, Sam Payne, Sheila Arnold, Simon Brooks, Tim Lowry, Willy Claflin & Maynard Moose. Though, Debi Richan also introduced people yet did not have a video featuring her storytelling skills. Debi certainly knows how to spin a tale.

Each emcee had a different style or approach to introducing people. While I knew these emcee parts were pre-recorded, many times the people spoke as if it was in-the-moment.

From what I could tell, it seemed that the emcee got to hear the stories first during a live Zoom and then recorded their emcee pieces after the fact. Then, the pieces were edited in time for the virtual festival. Either that way or they were in Zoom, ran the concert session as it would have been, and truly responded in the order we watched as an audience. I really don’t know. The results? You have a personal approach despite being pre-recorded.

Now who, of all those glorious emcees, were the strongest ones? So many were fantastic.

A couple emcees seemed more focused on themselves than on the featured storytellers they were introducing. I was also not a fan of virtual backgrounds. Those virtual backgrounds lacked texture and depth. They can look fun sometimes…but I was distracted as to the fakeness of them. Our own videographer has voiced his opinion that it is best to use a real background whenever possible. Will there be exceptions? Absolutely.

Yet, a couple shone as shining examples for anyone hosting or emceeing a virtual event.

So without further delay…Drum roll!

Brrrrmmmmmmmmmmm!

Adam Booth wins as Most Fabulous Emcee!

He had a wonderful conversational tone with great energy, a huge smile, and full of humility and authenticity. While not required to be an emcee, Adam Booth used the virtual platform as a way to include props that emcees of live in-person events could not “get away with” or manage.

Adam Booth was brilliant when he included some potted plants to call attention to where the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival would typically take place at the Ashton Gardens in Lehi, Utah. Other times he featured other props that – always – brought it back to either Timpanogos or the tellers to be performing.

Adam had a solid color for backdrop so that he any props used could “pop” onto the screen better. He was framed properly and always knew how to look at the camera. In fact, he did not have to look up or look down at the camera. It was at eye-level.

Connie Regan-Blake, Sam Payne, Tim Lowry, and Simon Brooks receive honors for also having a focus on being welcoming, crisp and strong backdrops, and truly bringing out the best for the featured tellers.

The next time you want emcees for your virtual event…keep in mind that performing and emceeing are two different arts. When you put on top of that the virtual elements? Be sure to either audition or test out potential emcees.

Choose an emcee with a personal touch mixed with the skill of using the screen for that “let’s get excited for our next performer” feel.

Coming next, in Part 5, we will talk about how the Timpanogos storytellers at this time used the screen and things we have all learned since that time.

Become a member with Story Crossroads with exclusive content and connections.

Find our E-Newsletter and Email List Sign-Ups.

Save your spot for our Story Crossroads Festival: The Hybrid with – yes – virtual and proper-distanced/masked options. Save your spot and see the schedule for May 10-13, 2021 here. Besides the Festival, feel free to explore our All Things Story virtual workshop series.

What We Learned from Timpanogos Storytelling & Virtual Offerings – Part 3 of 9

This is the third of nine parts on Rachel Hedman’s impressions of the Virtual Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. Although this happened in September 2020, Timpanogos as well as their Encore Offering in December 2020/January 2021. You can follow Timpanogos here.

9-Parts:

  • Part 1 – Pre-Recorded vs. Live – REVEALED
  • Part 2 – Inside the Program REVEALED
  • Part 3 – ASL & its Presence/Absence – TODAY
  • Part 4 – Emcees & “Making it Personal”
  • Part 5 – Use of the Screen by Story Artists
  • Part 6 – Art of Binge-Watching
  • Part 7 – Favorites from Featured Tellers
  • Part 8 – Featured vs. Guest Tellers
  • Part 9 – Use of Encore Offering

We love and honor the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival.

Please note that I learn from any experience including this festival in Utah that is cherished worldwide. Any and all of these posts within this series are impressions that are shared with respect despite some differences in opinion.

Timpanogos typically has American Sign Language interpretations for the evening concerts.

While the professional storytellers are wonderful and engaging, I always look forward to the American Sign Language interpretations. Yes, I happen to know one of the official interpreters for Timpanogos, Dale Boam. He is on the Story Crossroads Board over Translations and Academics and extremely amazing in how he interprets and has guided and taught so many other skilled ASL interpreters.

Timpanogos had to make hard decisions when adapting to virtual.

We had to make hard decisions in regards to interpretations for Story Crossroads. We normally offer ASL, Spanish, as well as Audio Descriptions for the Blind. By adapting to virtual, we decided that the easiest way to still offer interpretations was to do American Sign Language with a split screen while live-streaming.

Since Timpanogos chose the Bizzabo platform, I wondered if the videos–which were pre-recorded–would have a closed captioning option or if they would have some kind of split-screen. I did not expect it for each of the 118 sessions, but I figured that the “evening” ones would have something to still be accessible to the Deaf community. Having more than one language involved does require budgeting, though an important part for any festival or event to budget.

But here’s the trick. Normally you can buy many different tickets or packages for the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival.

The online festival meant they charged $25 for the whole package. You could not buy only the evening concerts. Thus, if you are part of the Deaf community or enjoy having the American Sign Language, you had no other choice but to buy the whole package and not have an $8 or $10 evening concert option.

My impression is that Timpanogos was confused on what to do about American Sign Language.

Even though the sessions were pre-recorded, Timpanogos gave the appearance of live-streaming for the normally-scheduled-evening concerts for the festival weekend known as “My Favorite Stories” (Friday night) and “Laughin’ Night” (Saturday night). These would take place on the largest stage of all at the Ashton Gardens in Lehi, Utah with a grassy amphitheater that could seat several thousands of people. A big screen was behind the storyteller for the audience to see facial expressions and gestures, though mainly to see the storyteller rather than the American Sign Language interpretations. The first couple rows are reserved for anyone needing ASL.

The Virtual Timpanogos Storytelling Festival still had sessions labeled “My Favorite Stories” and “Laughin’ Night.” Strangely, only “Laughin’ Night” had the ASL option. And it was listed twice. So people could choose to NOT have ASL or to have it with ASL. Yet, I don’t see ASL as something to turn on or off like closed captioning. I wished “Laughin’ Night” had one listing that included the ASL. Whether or not someone needs American Sign Language, I love all audience members–my family included–to experience other languages. Yes, you have to split the screen and “give up” some space for the videography aesthetics. Yet, I would gladly have dedicated screen space for American Sign Language. I know this is not the message that Timpanogos was saying by having two sessions of “Laughin’ Night,” but it bothered me so much to dedicate a whole blog post on American Sign Language. On top of this frustration, the one that was “featured” at the top of the screen to watch it “live” was the one WITHOUT ASL. You had to scroll to the bottom of 118 session listings to find the one with ASL…if you even knew to look for it. If you are going to premiere a show, please use the version that has American Sign Language.

When Timpanogos offered the Encore for December/January, as it was basically impossible to watch all 118 sessions during the first chance to view in September, I was anxious to re-watch the American Sign Language of “Laughin’ Night.”

Guess what? The American Sign Language concert was gone! I scrolled through all 118 listings that suddenly were 116 sessions. I double-checked with keywords with “American Sign Language” as well as “ASL” in the search bar. This search bar had helped me before for ASL in September. Now…nothing.

This made me more upset than having two listings of “Laughin’ Night” to separate American Sign Language from the one that did not have it.

Why, when it was already filmed and ready, would you take out the ASL version?

I truly would like to know the decision-making that was happening to remove it completely. Yes, that was one offering of ASL out of 116/118 sessions. That was still a bilingual offering.

So what can be done in the future?

I would recommend either more than one ticketing option or even a specific concert offering with the Deaf community in mind.

Even an unlisted YouTube with closed captioning and no American Sign Language would have been something. Or, that one concert with the ASL and split screen could have been available on a password-protected webpage on the Timpanogos website as an individual ticket and not part of the whole package. I could see the latter idea more likely for Timpanogos as the feeling of prestige is not what one gets through YouTube. Though, the benefit of YouTube is the ease of adding closed captioning.

Oh, please, anyone reading this far, please look at offering American Sign Language interpretations for your events and programming. You can expect having two interpreters for an hour show (to switch out, give breaks) and pay each about $40/hour. That is only $80 and then times that amount for any prep time or the actual length of time needed. Is this really so hard to budget? Then, to film and merge the ASL is affordable, too. Yes, interpreter rates can vary and you can have qualified ASL interpreter students with rates closer to $20/hour…but to at least give you an idea that this is something that any event of any size can do.

Let us aim to expand the accessibility of storytelling.

Coming next, in Part 4, we will talk about how Timpanogos had emcees be part of this virtual experience.

Become a member with Story Crossroads with exclusive content and connections.

Find our E-Newsletter and Email List Sign-Ups.

See our already-streamed/recorded The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities. See our 5-video playlist from the Story Crossroads Spectacular by clicking here. Feel free to explore our All Things Story virtual workshop series.

What We Learned from Timpanogos Storytelling & Virtual Offerings – Part 2 of 9

This is the second of nine parts on Rachel Hedman’s impressions of the Virtual Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. Although this happened in September 2020, Timpanogos as well as their Encore Offering in December 2020/January 2021. You can follow Timpanogos here.

9-Parts:

  • Part 1 – Pre-Recorded vs. Live – REVEALED
  • Part 2 – Inside the Program TODAY
  • Part 3 – ASL & its Presence/Absence
  • Part 4 – Emcees & “Making it Personal”
  • Part 5 – Use of the Screen by Story Artists
  • Part 6 – Art of Binge-Watching
  • Part 7 – Favorites from Featured Tellers
  • Part 8 – Featured vs. Guest Tellers
  • Part 9 – Use of Encore Offering

We love and honor the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival.

Please note that I learn from any experience including this festival in Utah that is cherished worldwide. Any and all of these posts within this series are impressions that are shared with respect despite some differences in opinion.

Timpanogos chose another path. They chose Bizzabo rather than Zoom.

This meant a platform that people could visit over and over again–during a certain period of time–and became their online program instead of the in-hand 25+page color program. Oh, I missed that glorious in-hand program. Often, these programs shared programming and opportunities beyond the Timpanogos Festival that I could announce through the Utah Storytelling Events Email List. I would pour over the ads inside about the funders, the glorious businesses that made sure we could even have this festival.

With Bizzabo, I had to change from flipping the pages of the program to clicking on the headers/subheaders in the Bizzabo platform.

Big question – Does Bizzabo track the clicks of those headers/subheaders? If so, did people from Timpanogos analyze those numbers?

I noticed something different about how it was laid out in September 2020 and then how it looked for December 2020/January 2021. The funders became more noticeable in the later one.

Every single one of the 118 sessions had a picture scene with the funder logos all over it. When you clicked play, those images were gone and the 15-second intro piece played. This intro piece played upbeat music (the same each time) and showed scenes from past festivals when things were “normal.” I enjoyed this in the beginning…but it got a little much after, well, 118 times. I can still sing/hum it now.

Anyway, the original September look had a header for Funders, but probably many people missed it. Timpanogos rectified this for the Encore in December/January. Smart move.

If I wanted to study this online platform/program for later use, my only choice was to print a ton of pages (30+) by printing from each header one-by-one. And I did.

That was a lot of ink. As a fellow producer of storytelling events, studying how others present events is in my best interest and worth the paper and ink. I am impressed overall with Timpanogos so I critique a little more on what Timpanogos does than the average storytelling event. Yet, I learn from every experience.

And another reason for printing everything? I had no other way to have a checklist to keep track of what I watched and what I didn’t watch. There probably was an easy way to checkmark within the Bizzabo program. I noticed that you could rate each session up to five stars. If I was consistent in rating, as I was prone not to rate at all, then I could have discovered a better way of keeping track.

The following categories were part of this online program: Home/Read This First; Festival Schedule at a Glance (though did not coincide with the 118 sessions or clickable within that listing); Donate; Marketplace (simply a link to the Timpanogos Website and hard to search by specific tellers or type of item); Sponsors; Frequently Asked Questions; and Agenda (listing of 118 sessions to scroll forever through).

In the future, I would recommend a downloadable program besides what this Bizzabo platform offered.

Something not as long but with the listing of–gulp–118 sessions and a quick list of the funder names. That could have been a 5-page document. One page could have been for funders. Three pages–maybe–could have fit a listing of the 118 sessions (about 40 on a page – small enough font). One page could have been future opportunities. Yes, much more condensed than the original in-hand program, but it would have covered the most important elements. This document could have even been black and white or perhaps mostly black and white so it would not be a problem for the people at home to print, if wished.

The “Festival Schedule at a Glance” was misleading. Concerts were grouped together yet the sessions themselves were individual sessions. Nothing was clickable within the “Festival Schedule at a Glance” to assist in that way. Instead of 118 sessions, we could have had about 40. I will go into this in Part 6 and a tinge in Part 7 and 8. We’re not there yet.

Coming next, in Part 3, we will talk about what Timpanogos used to do with offering ASL and what happened this time.

Become a member with Story Crossroads with exclusive content and connections.

Find our E-Newsletter and Email List Sign-Ups.

See our already-streamed/recorded The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities. See our 5-video playlist from the Story Crossroads Spectacular by clicking here. Feel free to explore our All Things Story virtual workshop series.

What We Learned from Timpanogos Storytelling & Virtual Offerings – Part 1 of 9

This is the first of nine parts on Rachel Hedman’s impressions of the Virtual Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. Although this happened in September 2020, Timpanogos is in the middle of their Encore Offering so that people can view 60+ hours of material from December 26, 2020 to January 3, 2021. You can still purchase your ticket until December 30, 2020 though still ending on January 3, 2021.

9-Parts:

  • Part 1 – Pre-Recorded vs. Live – TODAY
  • Part 2 – Inside the Program
  • Part 3 – ASL & its Presence/Absence
  • Part 4 – Emcees & “Making it Personal”
  • Part 5 – Use of the Screen by Story Artists
  • Part 6 – Art of Binge-Watching
  • Part 7 – Favorites from Featured Tellers
  • Part 8 – Featured vs. Guest Tellers
  • Part 9 – Use of Encore Offering

We love and honor the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival.

Please note that I learn from any experience including this festival in Utah that is cherished worldwide. Any and all of these posts within this series are impressions that are shared with respect despite some differences in opinion.

When we faced this Historic Time of 2020, all of us had to make some quick decisions and pivot including Timpanogos.

This storytelling festival is used to 30,000+ people in attendance in Lehi, Utah. That…cannot happen with proper-distancing and masks unless we could take over the city.

Instead, Timpanogos took over the screen.

We were all in crash-course mode and had to figure out the platform(s) to use. Timpanogos, being a prestigious and sophisticated festival, steered clear of the typical and user-friendly Zoom for something with a little “flash”: Bizzabo.

As a result, Bizzabo housed the prerecorded performances. Before Timpanogos, most virtual storytelling events focused on individual storytellers using their Zoom screen and telling in that moment. Seeing Timpanogos use recordings felt as if permission was granted to the storytelling community for experimentation to occur.

And Timpanogos had done their homework.

While March-May 2020 were times that people craved in-the-moment performances, Timpanogos had sources say that people now wanted the appearance of live storytelling but with higher quality videography.

However, the words and verbiage that Timpanogos used to describe their programming often had “live” connected to it. I felt misled in the beginning though impressed by the overall package of this virtual storytelling festival. I was still glad to experience the storytelling, but I was consuming this art form in a different manner than when I clicked to buy the virtual ticket.

“Live? What do you mean live?”

Well, Timpanogos really meant pre-recorded on a set schedule for certain concerts. Even within the Bizzabo platform, the red dot and “live” would show. You could click on the “live” performance title and start at the beginning while your friends in their homes could be mid-way through the session.

Our lingo evolved in regards to virtual events.

Now, at the end of 2020, we are at the point where one must be clear if you mean “live” as in-person (proper-distanced/masked), or “live” as in broadcasted live for the first time, or “live” as in still-living people are performing these pieces. Yes, usually the first two meanings of “live” is what is meant by the hosting organization or individual. If it is a pre-recording, the proper word would be “this pre-recorded concert will premiere at so-and-so time and time zone.”

For the first day of viewing the Virtual Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, I thought I needed to “arrive” on time with my device to view the evening concerts. I got on 20 minutes late due to unforeseen circumstances and was relieved that I could still view the entire piece. I had stressed in that 20 minutes, and I could have been worry-free.

I prefer for advertising to be upfront about the experience. A one-word description is usually not enough, especially during this year of pivoting and adapting of events. I do not expect a lot of words on a digital flier, but the verbiage on the webpage or website itself needs to be more detailed.

Now our vocabulary can include the following:

  • broadcasted live
  • premiered recording
  • interactive experience while streamed
  • multi-streamed
  • virtual workshop versus webinar

Need more?

Check out this article Virtual Event Lingo: 23 Terms to Know by Event Leadership Institute (came out June 18, 2020).

Did the prerecording experience work?

Yes, once I understood what the look and feel of this virtual festival would be.

I highly recommend virtually attending. In fact, I attended virtually in September and also purchased the Encore. I got through about 80 sessions out of 118 the first time. I aim to see them all.

I will go in more detail about the different elements. In Part 2, I will compare the Bizzabo versus the Zoom experience as soon as I “enter” the platform. What are those pros and cons? How did Timpanogos use the features?

Become a member with Story Crossroads with exclusive content and connections.

Find our E-Newsletter and Email List Sign-Ups.

See our already-streamed/recorded The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities. See our 5-video playlist from the Story Crossroads Spectacular by clicking here. Feel free to explore our All Things Story virtual workshop series.

Join us for our proper-distanced house concerts such as with Katherine and David Hurley featuring Karl Behling in Murray, UT on December 28, 2020…or get the recording afterwards.

Timpanogos Storytelling vs. FanX – Part 5 of 5…the Final Verdict

This is Part 5 of 5 with Timpanogos Storytelling vs. FanX.  Find Part 1 by clicking here.  Find Part 2 by clicking here.  Find Part 3 by clicking hereFind Part 4 by clicking here.

For the ultimate verdict of Timpanogos Storytelling Festival versus FanX, I pondered on what messages they each taught me by attending.  Yes, I had to split myself during the weekend of September 5-7, 2019, though it was enough to see clear themes emerging. Obviously, this whole series is subjective and what I hear are not what everyone else would hear.

Message I Heard from Timpanogos Storytelling:  Discover the Extraordinary from the Ordinary

When an emcee introduces the professional storytellers onto the stage, we learn some fascinating details or at least feel excited to listen to some stories.  With the applause summoning the storytellers, we hear their voices either for the first time or as a beloved voice from past Timpanogos festivals.  No matter the garb the storyteller wears, we can picture ourselves in their stories and personally connect regardless of if the story is a folktale, tall tale, personal tale, or any other kind.  The story starts normal and then builds upon itself to something extraordinary.  Even a contemporary tale transports the listener to another place and new people or characters to meet.  In that moment, the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

Antonio Rocha took an ordinary Virtual Reality set and covered his eyes with it.  This was extraordinary already as an unspoken rule of storytelling is keeping eye contact.  Antonio completely took that away.  Yet, his story was of a simple moment of someone open to imagination and confusing with reality.  He had the chance to fly and did not feel ready despite having a Virtual Reality set on.  It was a pure suspension of disbelief of the most adorable level.  He opted for a plank that was high in the sky.  He crawled across the carpet as if he would fall to his death.  Antonio merged his miming with the narrative.  He took a risk telling that story without the assistance of his eyes…but it worked.

Message I Heard from FanX:  Discover the Ordinary from the Extraordinary

When you are in the Grand Ballroom with rock music blaring and the emcee reminds you that the special guest can hear you from behind the curtains, many people stand and shout out and await that first glimpse of a celebrity.  Oftentimes, the celebrity comes out in casual clothing.  One celebrity twirls her hair almost throughout the interview.  Another celebrity needs to scratch to be comfortable.  Even another celebrity tells “Dad jokes” as the person next door would.  In that moment, the extraordinary becomes ordinary.

Susan Egan, known for being Belle in “Beauty and the Beast” for Disney’s first of many musicals, commented on two young women dressed as Belle from the animation.  Susan loved how there was not any judgement passed of “who more Belle better.”  One had the commoner garb with the white and blue dress while the other had the bright yellow ballgown.  She had watched as they approached each other before the panel began so that they could get a picture together.  Susan loved that comic conventions could bring people together and be so complimentary.  She opened up about how she was known as “Calamity Belle” with breaking or spraining ligaments during Broadway shows.  She laughed at her adventures and brought us closer to her.  She was like any one of us.  I had the privilege of being on the front row of this panel (you can see me in the blue hair and gray cap in the picture above).  Susan was asked questions about voicing Megara on the animated Disney “Hercules.”  Well, the actual question was, “Can you sing ‘I won’t say I’m in love’?”  She still enjoys singing it.  She wanted us to be the muses.  She filmed it with her phone as we all helped in the tune.  Anytime people sing together, there is unity and connection.  Singing is an ordinary thing to do as human beings.  Again, we felt like she “got us” because she was one of us.


So who wins?  Timpanogos Storytelling?  FanX?

Here’s a review of the scores:

Timpanogos Earned 4 Points:  1 point for the humor category, 1 point for the multi-generational category, 1 point for miscellaneous (or opportunities beyond what is obvious to the event), and 1 point for message/theme/take-away

FanX Earned 4 Points:  1 point for spine tingling category, 1 point for mingling possibilities, 1 point for miscellaneous (or opportunities beyond what is obvious to the event), and 1 point for message/theme/take-away

My oldest son would never let me end this with a tie.  The tie-breaker is in the level of fulfillment once I am driving home and reflecting.  This is different than the message/theme/take-away as this is more realizations in the moment versus the impact after the experience.

And the winner is……brummmm, brummmm, brummmm

TIMPANOGOS STORYTELLING!

There were a couple times during FanX that I thought, “I wonder what I could be catching while at Timpanogos?”  I knew The Apple Seed Storytelling Radio Show through BYU Radio was live-streaming one of the tents.   I was tempted to watch some while at FanX.  Then, I had the reassurance that it would still be available after the livestream.  Whew!  Because there is no Wifi at the Salt Palace (not free anyways) and my cell phone battery would scream at me.  Or really go kaput and die.

While driving home from FanX, my husband and I loved sharing moments together.  We laughed.  We discussed.  Though, by the next morning, I did not feel motivated to create more art from what I heard except being inspired to get a couple book proposals done.

While driving home from Timpanogos, my sons and I loved sharing moments together.  We laughed.  We discussed.  Then, the next morning, I was still reflecting on the many styles and types of storytelling.  I was motivated to organize my story room better, re-think some stories from decades ago, delve deeper into crafting and where I have strengths and what I am lazy at doing, and finally celebrating on the power of story and reiterating why I have continued this art–on stage and as a festival organizer–for 25 years and counting.  I am 40 years old.  More than half of my life has been storytelling.

Now…is that something extraordinary becoming ordinary or the ordinary becoming extraordinary?  Both.  And for this I am thankful.

Interested in Part 1?  That can be found here.  Interested in Part 2?  That can be found here.  Interested in Part 3?  That can be found hereInterested in Part 4?  That can be found here.

Until we tell again.

Photo credit:  Norm Berke – picture of Antonio Rocha with Virtual Reality set on

Photo credit:  FanX – picture of Panel Audience with Susan Egan (and with me in front row)