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.
- 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
- virtual workshop versus webinar
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?
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.