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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Story telling (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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sinnead zenun
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How can I improved my story telling abilities?

What factors do I need to consider? The tone of voice, facial expression, acting? Where I can get some good idea and inspiration to create a good story?
Midnight333
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Wait until you start to fall asleep, then wake yourself up and you will remember creative things. Do this in the afternoon as you will be less likely to sleep. I've come up with important editions to my stories this way.
Clifford the Red
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A good way is to take some acting and voice classes. That opens up your eyes to many factors that affect your performance.

Someone trained in these arts can provide invaluable feedback to you.
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
kaytracy
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Like Cliff said, get those classes, take the drama classes in school if you can, or find a coach.

Also, go to story telling events and LISTEN and observe---REALLY observe---the people there, the movements, facial and body involvement, how the voice changes in pitch and timbre as well as volume and remember. Do NOT overlook the timing!
Kay and Tory
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George Ledo
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By all means take acting and voice lessons. But remember that the point of telling a story is to communicate something to your audience. First you have to "believe" what you're saying; then you need to connect with your audience via eye contact, body movement, pauses for effect, and facial expression.

Listen to yourself sometime as you tell a friend about a weekend trip, or a football game, or a restaurant you went to, or an argument you had with someone. You'll be using story-telling techniques without even realizing it.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
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drwilson
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Let me second the suggestion that you go to a storytelling event. They don't do effects, although some add music, so the storytelling has to be good enough to stand on its own. Many storytellers have tapes or CDs for sale; if they are big time you can find these on the web, if not, they will have them at an event.

Yours,

Paul
Mark Rough
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http://www.thestorytelling-resource-centre.com/

This is a good source for storytelling material. The person running this has also worked as a magician and is very cool.

Mark
What would Wavy do?
Laughing Otter
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Quote:
On 2004-09-22 10:20, georgefl38 wrote:
...you need to connect with your audience via eye contact, body movement, pauses for effect, and facial expression. Listen to yourself sometime...

I would strongly recommend joining a Toastmasters club. There is probably one near you. <www.toastmasters.org>
accolombel
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I would suggest joining a storytellers association. There are such groups and they have conventions, web sites and classes. If you can find out when the local library is having storytelling and ask the storyteller for info.
craig colombel
George Ledo
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Laughing Otter,

Toastmasters is a great idea. I was with them for about a year some time back and found them to be tremendously helpful and friendly. They have a set program (call it a curriculum) where you do short speeches on given subjects over a period of time to work on specific skills. Then, after each speech, you get written and verbal critiques from others. It was a lot of fun and I absolutely recommend it.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
www.georgefledo.net

Latest column: "Sorry about the photos in my posts here"
Laughing Otter
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Quote:
On 2004-09-23 11:19, georgefl38 wrote:
Laughing Otter,
Toastmasters is a great idea....They have a set program (call it a curriculum) where you do speeches...to work on specific skills. Then, after each speech, you get written and verbal critiques from others. It was a lot of fun and I absolutely recommend it.

Once you have been through the basic program, there are advanced manuals to work from. One of them is focused on storytelling, another on interpretive reading, both of which would help with the storytelling skills.

I can't recommend the program strongly enough.
sinnead zenun
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Thanks!

So I do have to attend some classes, but why mostly grandparents were good story tellers? Does age and experience also depend on what story you're going to to tell?
Dr_Stephen_Midnight
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Yes, also that little factor called 'knack.' Like many other things, some people 'have it,' and some people don't.

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
Osiris
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Quote:
On 2004-09-24 04:24, sinnead zenun wrote:
Thanks!

so I do have to attend some classes. but why mostly grandparents were good story tellers? does age and experience also depends on what story you're going to to tell?


Actually the perspective you are looking from is based on both Tradition and Experience.

Believe it or not, there was an era, not so long ago, when Television and the Internet did not exist and people amused themselves by playing games, telling stories, and reading books. All of which served to inspire and encourage the imagination. Similarly, this era prior to the information/electronic age we now live in, practiced other forms of "discipline" such as learning music, PROPER diction and grammar habits, etiquette (sp) and how to share of one's self vs. being self obsessed and arrogant, as many in today's world tend to be due to the lack of interaction, discipline and imagination.

We no longer (at least in most of the westernized/industrialized world) come from agriculturally based home-lives that are multi-generational. Mine was possibly the last generation to see this kind of influence (as far as the typical WASP type world is concerned)and that was far removed from what my own parents knew -- individuals who were born during the era of Radio and long prior to the commercialization of the airwaves seen today.

Aside from the courses in storytelling and the groups you can participate in, your best bet is to attend storytelling and poetry groups that do show cases in the regional pubs and coffeehouses in North America and much of Europe. READ! Find the classic tales as well as culturally based folk lore and learn it! Learn to create within your own mind, an experience that exceeds personal intellectual perspective of the story at hand -- place yourself into the experience of the tale!

The problem with storytelling is that most of us lean on trumped up legend and lore vs. elements of personal experience or investigation. Those that know me know that I'm not abashed about my families ties to noted Occult legends and spiritualists practices, they are boons to what I do and help define who and what I am as a performer. The credibility of those tall tales also add to the public's willingness to invest themselves, albeit at the theatrical level, believing what I say to be true and what is manifested during our time together, to be real.

The quickest way to fall flat on your face as a Bizarrist or Mentalist, is to invoke concepts that are not plausible and far fetched. Secondly, it is to be too long winded (many of us love to hear ourselves talk, vs. getting to the proverbial point and making things happen.) You can curb this detriment by having a handful of educated critiques whom you can trust to clock you on your CRAP -- shortcomings (we all have them!) Individuals that will tell you that your speech patterns aren't coherent, your pacing is off, and the routine on the whole STINKS... if and when that's the case. Thus, you will need the back bone to accept such critique and seek to improve, discard, or wait a while before attempting a given presentation.

In the short of it all, these are the secrets and the truths. Use them as you will, that it harm no other.
Bill Fienning
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Writing down the text of your story can be useful. You may find that your story meanders, dwells too long on unimportant matters or repeats unnecessarily. You may also find that important facts are omitted or inserted in the wrong place in the structure of the story.

I am not recommending that you memorize the story, rather, that writing out the story may improve its organization. Also, it will preserve the story in your files for reference many years later.

I have written texts for all of my stories. This becomes extremely helpful when I need to re-create a story after a hiatus of several years.
Bill Fienning

"It's More than Tricks"
Leland Stone
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Hiya, Sinnead:

If I may add my two cents to the wonderful advice already posted (Thanks, Magi -- useful stuff, as always!), storytelling, for me, is effective and interesting lying.

Effective lies contain a kernel of personal experience or knowledge and LOTS of research (if you claim you bought that amulet in Tibet, better know something about Tibet!) and most importantly contain a lot of truth. Distorted and mixed with fabrication, to be sure, but truth nonetheless. Think about your favourite horror/sci-fi movies/novels ["Twilight Zone," "Lord Of The Flies"] as well as your least favourite ones and why they are so; the analysis may prove helpful in your own lying for entertainment.

Sincerely,
Leland Edward Stone
WR
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Quote:
On 2004-09-23 22:29, Laughing Otter wrote:
Quote:
On 2004-09-23 11:19, georgefl38 wrote:
Laughing Otter,
Toastmasters is a great idea....They have a set program (call it a curriculum) where you do speeches...to work on specific skills. Then, after each speech, you get written and verbal critiques from others. It was a lot of fun and I absolutely recommend it.

Once you have been through the basic program, there are advanced manuals to work from. One of them is focused on storytelling, another on interpretive reading, both of which would help with the storytelling skills.

I can't recommend the program strongly enough.

I 3rd this. They will help you develope into a great public speaker and storyteller. They also teach you how to be more comfortable in front of a group and how to read them. (Only wish they could help my typing)
WR
"Tell Em WR sent Ya."
RBerteig
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One other resource, "legitimate theatre". Seek out one or two actor productions, especially of the sort that work with minimal costume, light, and set. Try to watch the same production more than once, so you can see it at more than one level.

One example you can watch over and over is The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Abridged, by the Reduced Shakespeare Company. Working on an essentially empty thrust stage with minimal props and costumes, three guys manage to carry off all the roles in all the plays in two acts. At one level, the premise is absurd. But look for the details in timing and editing for lessons to learn...

www.amazon.com
Ross Berteig
Wizards in my Parlor
Tspall
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Lumberton, NC
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There are some simple things you can do to get started with practicing storytelling. These are things that elementary teachers learn when we start storytelling.

1. Get an inexpensive tape recorder of some sort and practice reading a simple story into it. Use a simple book or article so you can focus on the telling of the story. Go back and listen to yourself on tape. Chances are if the story sounds awkward, halting, etc. then it will to your audience. Listen for what you would think if it were someone else talking to you.

2. If you have young family members (neices, nephews, etc.) read to them whenever you can. Young children love to hear a good story, especially if told well. Practice speaking in character voices and inflection in your reading. You'll know from their reactions how you do. Kids give a very honest reaction.

3. One thing you'll learn is to relax! The more fun you have telling the story, the better it will flow. Practice whenever you can. Just like magic, the more you do it, the better you get.

The above suggestions are also terrific. These are valuable resources that will really help to make you an excellent storyteller.
Tony
"It's showtime!!"
My magic blog:
http://ahora_mismo.blogspot.com/
Watercooler
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I think it's a good idea to use visualisation, when you have a good story to use keep telling it over and over on your own until it becomes automatic. When you go to present the effect your brain will kick in and do the memory side of storytelling for you. I find this technique helps with confidence as well, which is always good to have!

But hey, different things for different people - just an idea.
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