Thursday, December 27, 2007

Adore My Work

Last night, at one of the family Christmas gatherings, the brother of my brother-in-law was telling us how he “adores” his work. My in-law was astounded that anyone could “adore” the work they do.

His brother works for a company that is, essentially, a playground supply shop for the recreation needs of adults for such pastimes as skiing, beaching, outsdoorsing and so on. He said that people come to his store ready to spend money, eager to buy new toys and for the fun and excitement that the items in his store will bring to their lives. Hence, his customers are always happy and they see him as someone who can help them meet their needs.

I chimed in with the fact that I also adore my work. I don’t like the traveling, it’s not romantic. To survive, I have learned to think of the traveling as part of the workday and not simply a conduit between A and B. By that I mean I’ve learned to think, “Today my job is: travel.” That helps.

But once I arrive where I am to be, I adore my work. I love the audiences. I love the sounds an audience makes when they “get it.” I adore the moments when one of my corporate storytelling clients says, “That was the lightbulb for me!” In those same corporate settings, I am excited about how those clients start to apply the integration of story with their mission statements.

I adore this job when the scruffy teenage boys, at the end of a story, say out loud to each other “Damn, that was a pretty good story.” I adore those moments when the teenage girls stop (unconsciously) in the middle of their “texting” to watch my story finish.

I adore my work when school administrators say, “We’ve never seen anything get the attention of our (parents) (students) like your storytelling.” I adore it when little kids see me in the library or store and say, “Hey, you came to our school and you told us the story about the moose and the loud cricket and all those animals and the moose got bit on the butt and he jumped in the air and the fish had no water and then he fell on the ground and the water came back up and then the fly......”

I adore my work of promoting other storytellers when a sponsor writes to me to tell me how through Storyteller.net they found the perfect teller.

I adore my coaching work when my coaching clients call me and tell me they had a “nirvana” moment during our coaching session.

I love my role as "community service" work when someone at Storyteller.net sees their new page unfold with pictures and audio and they are so excited by that. I am crazy wild about storytelling when a Storyteller.net directory member sends an Email expressing shock that they got booked via their listing with us. As my kids say, “no duh!” If you are a working storyteller and you are not listed at Storyteller.net, you are missing jobs. Period.

I adore my work as a storyteller. Thanks for letting me be a part of your life in some way.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays

Three Rules of Work:
Out of clutter, find Simplicity.
From discord, find Harmony.
In the middle of difficulty lies Opportunity.

-ALBERT EINSTEIN

Sex and Weight Loss

Headlines. How do you use them on your marketing materials?

The Reader’s Digest magazine, on the checkout stand at the grocery store yesterday, has the headline SEX AND WEIGHT LOSS at the top on the overwrap of their little magazine. My first thought was: “Reader’s Digest still exists?” Then I thought, “Where does the apostrophe go?”

Finally I thought, “Ooops, they got me. I looked at their magazine. They broke through, even with that cheesy and predictable headline, they broke through. They’re gonna get me to mention their magazine. I guess they win.”

No, I didn’t buy it. Even a good headline only goes so far if your product doesn’t serve the needs of the viewer.

A good headline grabs the reader and forces them to STOP and look at what you are saying. Even the latest RD.

What headlines do you use in your marketing postcards? What works? If you are still sending letters in an envelope, do you know how to improve your chances to get them opened?

We do.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Storytelling Definition

Let's define what we're talking about. I wrote this a number of years ago. It took me a while:

Storytelling is the intentional sharing of a narrative through words and actions for the benefit of both the listener and the teller.

When I teach this in Storytelling 101, we spend a good 30 minutes going through this. Each word is there for a reason. Care to give it a comment shot?

This is in reference to the reference to the article at Tim Ereneta's blog. The reporter is right, it's way too hard to get storytellers to define their art form.

Friday, December 14, 2007

One Less In 2007.

2007 lost several storytellers. Some known by all. Some only known to a few.

Chet Ambrose was one of those. He passed away in July 2007. As he told me, he was the youngest of 5 brothers, with his oldest brother being in his late 90's. He was a retired school teacher and administrator and LOVED telling stories to children.

He never made it to be a festival teller. Wasn't a "Dragon Teller." Wasn't on a committee of Elders, 'cept at his own local church. Wasn't on the hay wagon back in TN way back when. I guess he wasn't successful by our sometimes myopic organizational viewpoints. I don't even think he was in the NSN. He was a member of Storyteller.net.

But he made a big difference in his telling to the children who heard him.

He wanted his stories posted to Storyteller.net so that his big brothers could "hear them and read them." His big brothers?! Chet was 77!

Come take a look at his page at Storyteller.net. Listen to his stories. Read a few. Click over to the site that his family made for him when he was still here and then have updated after his death. It is an interesting website and look at how storytelling effects/affects in a local circle.

http://www.storyteller.net/tellers/cambrose

We lost other storytellers in 2007. We miss them all.

Peace. Life is good. And fleeting. Love 'em while you got 'em.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

New Video: Rapunzel

Courtesy of the good folks of the Talk Story Festival in Hawaii, I've got a WHOLE bunch of new videos to share with you. So, bandwidth be damned, here is the first of several I can offer you. DON'T repost this, but feel free to have others come here to see it. My take on Rapunzel is here for you now in a video that is compatible with Ipods, Itunes and QuickTime, which is probably on your computer at this very moment. Get the video by clicking on this link right now. WAIT for it, it's a huge file. Patience.

More about TalkStory in a future blog.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Special Enchanted Edition Podcast: A Storyteller Looks at the Enchanted Movie

What really would happen if fairy tale characters took the leap into our world? Would modern Americans be ready for all that darkness? The premise of Disney’s newest movie "Enchanted" gets a fresh look with Storyteller.net director and professional K. Sean Buvala in our latest edition of our podcast at storytellerpodcast.net.

Listen to the podcast now when you click here right now!

Avondale, AZ November 18, 2007- "Fairy tales showing up in the middle of modern life? That’s not new. They’ve been there, in all their twisted goodness, since the beginning of humanity. Fairy tales have been making the leap into the ’modern world’ since human beings first experienced their imagination and understood the differences of good and evil," so says Sean Buvala, a full-time professional storyteller and director of the premier Internet storytelling site, Storyteller.net. And he ought to know. He’s been travelling the United States for more than 21 years sharing tales with adults, teens and children.

In the latest Podcast at Storyteller.net, Buvala discusses the role of darkness and challenge in fairy tales. "In the new Disney movie, ’Enchanted,’ the characters get trapped in modern day situations and the movie appears to ask the ’what if’ question. Stories, and fairy tales in particular, however, have been asking that same ’what if’ question for hundreds of years. What if we were confronted between the choices of morality, doing what is right and selfless behavior and the more appealing less sociable behaviors? These confrontations are the core of the meaning of fairy tales."

In a genre-busting premise, "Enchanted" puts the pure-love and doe-eyed behaviors of its main characters in the midst of our own seen-it-all society. However, Buvala says these calm, loving behaviors would be nearly unknown to fairy tale characters if they came to life. "In the real versions of fairy tales, there is very little of these types of Disney-nice actions. Rather there are behaviors of deceit, treachery, child abuse, punishment, rewards and swift justice. Fairy tales aren’t the politically correct or sanitized stories of animation. They’re hard-core, ’act right or else’ ultimatums in many cases. Children punished by death, people doomed to walk the earth as ghosts for stealing pennies and losing true love for minor infractions: these would be the behaviors fairy tale characters would expect to see in modern life."

The irony of a Disney movie parodying the contemporary understanding of fairy tales is especially fun for Sean Buvala. "The Brothers Grimm would not even recognize the Disney animated versions of ’Sleeping Beauty’ or ’Cinderella.’ In many ways, it seems that Disney made ’Enchanted’ to poke fun at the one-dimensional nature of fairy tale characters. However, those wide-eyed people in our imaginations are Disney’s own spawn. They must be having a fun time ’dis" Enchanting their own dragons."

Sean goes further in depth regarding fairy tales in modern life and examines the power a genuine storyteller has with a live audience in the latest podcast at Storyteller.net. The free-of-charge podcast can be found on the front-page of the website at www.storyteller.net or maybe be downloaded at www.storytellerpodcast.net.

Will Buvala be seeing the "Enchanted" Movie? "I’ll be in the Disneyland area next week. Maybe I’ll go see it right there in the Downtown Disney attraction," the nationally travelled storyteller says with a wicked grin.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
K. Sean Buvala
Storyteller.net
623.298.4548
sean@storyteller.net
http://www.storyteller.net
http://www.arizonastorytelling.com
http://www.storyteller.net
http://www.seantells.com

# # #

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

October 2007 PodCast from Storyteller.net Is Here!

It's time for those late October seasonal storycasts and you're in for a treat. You can listen now when you click here!

This Storyteller.net Amphitheater Podcast features storyteller Jeff Gere telling "Daddy One Shark" from his CD "Haunted Hawaii, Volume 1."

You'll hear from Storyteller.net director Sean Buvala as he retells the Grimm tale of the "Willful Child" recorded live at one of our "www.storytellingatborders.com" events. Sean also shares a coaching moment about asking your clients for their stories.

Kevin Cordi lends his theatrical flair to the multi-voiced version of "The BabySitter" from his CD "The Road to Urban Legends." All CD's are available in the store at Storytellingproducts.com .

Also featured in this podcast is a recording of "Into the Hall of the Mountain King" by the "string metal" band of "Judgement Day." Their website is at www.stringmetal.com. Permission sought. Permission given. Way cool.

You can find us at Itunes as well! Find our previous podcasts all listed here

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Press Release: The Arizona Storytelling Guild Offers Free Workshop

Press Release
Use date: October 2-October 22, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Synopsis:
The West Valley Tellers of Tales Guild changes its name to the "Arizona Storytelling Guild" and offers a free workshop on the "how-to" of storytelling, October, 22, 2007 in Avondale, Arizona..

Avondale, AZ October 2, 2007- Reflecting a renewed energy and a new focus on the many uses of the storytelling art form in all areas of life and work, the longstanding "West Valley Tellers of Tales" has changed their name to the "Arizona Storytelling Guild" (AzSG). To begin their new season of guild events and training, the Arizona Storytelling Guild will offer a no-cost "Storytelling 101: An Introduction" workshop on Monday, October 22, 2007. The two-hour workshop is open to all adults and teens who are interested in storytelling for entertainment, education, health care, business narrative and cultural development purposes. The Storytelling 101 workshop begins at 7:00 P.M. and will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn, 11460 W. Hilton Way in Avondale. The hotel is just south of the I-10 freeway off of 115th/Avondale Boulevard. For more information, please see the website at http://www.arizonastorytelling.com or contact the office at 623.298.4548.

"Storytelling is a universal art form, transcending just children's entertainment to initiating and promoting change and learning in business and educational settings," says Sean Buvala, the director of events for the Arizona Storytelling Guild. In addition to being the lead presenter for the Storytelling 101 workshop, Sean is a veteran of more than 20 years of national storytelling. Returning from a national tour that included Hawaii, Illinois, Texas and Indiana, Sean will lead the participants in discovering the essential skills of storytelling as well as the myriad of applications for the storytelling arts. Buvala says, "Storytelling really is the mother of all art forms. We'll help folks explore that concept in a fast-paced and fun workshop."

"Changing the name of the guild to the 'Arizona Storytelling Guild' reflects our desire to invite more people to the diversity of storytelling. We're more than just a gathering of friends who love story. We're a coalition of artists and learners who use storytelling in all facets of our life and our careers. We hope that many more will join us, from hobbyists to professionals, to understand how to use storytelling in the places of their lives. We always have a range of skills present at any meeting, from beginners to professionals. There's always great energy around our discussions of storytelling," Buvala added.

The October 22, 2007 workshop is free of charge for all non-members. Membership in the non-profit AzSG is $25 per year and includes a variety a benefits. Potential members and guests are always free of charge at their first meeting before joining the guild. Non-members who who wish to attend various functions throughout the year are welcome to do so for a nominal fee of $10 per event. For more information about the AzSG, please see the website at http://www.arizonastorytelling.com or call the office at 623.298.4548.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Why the Outside In? A Story.

Storytelling is a positive, life-giving and exciting art form. In its purest sense, it can bring people together, build communities and help people find meaning from chaos. In addition, in the body of a focused storyteller and artist, storytelling is tremendously entertaining, matching and rivaling all other performing arts. In may ways, storytelling is the mother of all other performing arts.

Mishandled and misused, the art of storytelling has shadow sides of narcissism, intimidation and irrelevance.

We're ready to start talking about our "Outside In Storytelling"(tm) project. I've had a number of chances to present the "Outside In Storytelling (OIS)" concepts to others in classes and coaching sessions and the response has been very good.

For some time, I've been developing the process of OIS focusing on three circles or areas of excellence. The OIS processes (both training and coaching) allow for anyone of any skill level to enter storytelling as the audience-centered art form it is. Two of the three circles apply to anyone wanting to use storytelling for any aspect of their lives and vocations. By that I mean that OIS is for all people from those who are storytellers as an adjunct to their jobs in such fields as education or ministry, to corporate storytelling, to those seeking to make their primary livelihood as a working artist.

The third circle of "business excellence" is the essential (and most poorly understood) circle for anyone who wants to move into the full- or part-time world of the professional storyteller. With more than 10 years of Storyteller.net (and twice that much time personally) watching storytellers come and go, we know how much this particular circle is a source of tension and controversy for individual tellers and the storytelling community. It's for this reason we've launched the first of many OIS projects: "The Outside In Storytelling Boot Camp".

It would be easy to think this is all about money and not about art. That's not it at all. Let me tell you a story.

One of our tellers on our site is a talented artist who has practiced a variety of art forms for many years. We are going to call this teller "Chris" which is not their real name. Chris has mastered the concept of the "niche" and presents some things that other storytellers have never presented. Chris has the skills to both develop programs and to present those programs professionally. However, Chris is slowly dying in the "business circle" of storytelling. Chris is working multiple shows in their home city. When you calculate the time they spend in travel, prep and presentation, Chris is making less than minimum wage, putting huge mileage and wear and tear on Chris' vehicle and body. When I've spoken to Chris about this, the answer is, "Well, it sure beats flipping hamburgers and besides, I'm not about 'the money.'"

No, Chris, you are wrong. When you don't have enough to live on, when you finally succumb to the breakdown of your body and vehicle that you are headed for, who will take care of you? The answer is "no one." Chris has the skills to survive and thrive as an artist, being able to rely on their own work to support themselves, not having to rely on the income of a significant other to help them along. Chris doesn't have the business skills and somewhere along the way decided that being good at business means being less of a true artist. Chris has decided that being a starving artist is somehow a moral victory. It's not. It's a loss.

I'd like to see less artists suffering like "Chris" out there. I do want to see more artists having the money they need to excel in their chosen art forms.

Although there are three areas of the OIS experience, we've chosen to start with the business and marketing side as our first major endeavor. Our "Boot Camp" is the artist's-eye-view marketing training experience for working artists and those who want to be. If you'd like to know more, I invite you to come read and browse the new website at http://www.outsideinstorytelling.com .

Come to Arizona for February. It's warm. There's no snow. However, there will be a blizzard of learning and growth for you and your art form.

There were still early-bird prices when I wrote this.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

One Solution to Your Marketing Questions.

I've been telling you of the new and exciting things we've been
doing and have planned for this our 10th anniversary year at
Storyteller.net.

I'm happy to (finally) be able to tell you about our newest project,
the "Outside In Storytelling Boot Camp."

The OISBCamp is "The Artist-View Marketing Training Event for All Working Artists and Those Who Want to Be."

http://www.outsideinstorytelling.com

In addition to my presentations, we'll be joined for the February
2008 event by our invited associate presenter, Priscilla Howe. Many
of you on this list know of her and her success as an independent,
self-sustaining artist.

I've spent scads of time and a whole bunch of money researching and
preparing this event. I've distilled down many years of marketing and business research and decades of experience to make this new process laser-focused on what working artists need to know. I hope you can join us.

"Outside In Storytelling" is a new way to look what excellence as an artist consists of, focusing on three circles of excellence as our base. Through the "Outside In" process you'll explore excellence, mind-shifting and marketing in an audience-centered and "no shiny-poofy language" environment. I am excited to finally be launching this.

Visit the website for details and possibly get one of the limited Early Bird registrations.

http://www.outsideinstorytelling.com


There will only be 20 -- Just 20! -- registrations accepted in total for the three-day session.

"The Outside in Storytelling Boot Camp:"
The Artist-View Marketing Training Event for All Working Artists and
Those Who Want to Be.

Limited to just 20 students! There's a limit on Early Bird registrations so go look now at what we're offering. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

September 2007 Podcast from Storyteller.net

Our latest Storyteller.net free podcast is now available. The podcast features excerpts from Storyteller.net director Sean Buvala’s keynote presentation to the Avondale School District’s Staff Gathering. Some 700 people enjoyed Sean’s stories and commentary. The September 2007 podcast includes the stories "The Emperor and the Dragons," "Catching Fire," "The Story that Does Not End," "Crow can Taste Good." There’s a "coaching moment" on how to get people to turn off their cell phones, too. Sponsored by Storytellingproducts.com. This pod cast features storytellers Sean Buvala and Buck P. Creacy.

Listen in when you click here now. You can find the podcast at Itunes. You can find our previous podcasts at this link here.

The CDs and books mentioned in the podcast can be found by clicking these links:

Eleven Nature Tales by Pleasant Despain

Three Minute Tales by Margaret Read MacDonald.

Heart Stories From the Wrong Side of Town by Buck P. Creacy

Seven Ravens: Unvarnished Tales from the Brothers Grimm by K. Sean Buvala

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Digital Storytelling vs the Oralists?

Interesting blog read.

Just adding to this: However, in my opinion, digital storytelling in the classroom is an easy sell. Speaking in broad generalities: Traditional, spoken-style storytelling is a much harder sell. Read books to kids? Teachers do that. Use PowerPoint and Video in their classrooms? Teachers do that. Use storytelling which are person to person narrative processes between students and the rest of the world? Not yet and there is very little understanding of why we "oralists" would want to be or even have a place in the classroom.

Digital storytelling is an easy sell. We've been doing it since filmstrips and slide projectors. I took classes on it back in the 80's. Two of our schools in our school district just got new "smart" classroom buildings. By reading the news, you would think that communication has just now been invented since kids can "participate" in their classes.

Yep, give me an artist-in-residence week with your kids, allowing me to teach and coach storytelling. Your writing scores will go up, your reading levels will go up and your kids will participate in ways you never thought possible. And you won't once have to plug anything in. And, what I teach them will be used across the curriculum. It's completely portable and can be duplicated by all students regardless of a student's economic situation.

Try that with digital storytelling. You can't.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I Had Forgotten How Good You Are.

"I had forgotten how good you are," they both said.

And it was my fault that they forgot.

Okay, let me see if I can put in writing what I learned this weekend.

Over the weekend, I had a chance to do multiple presentations for an organization. Back in the day, about 10 years ago, I used to work as a storyteller with this group every week, sometimes multiple times per week. For many reasons such as their staff (read that: decision makers) and location change for their group, I had lost touch with many of the members of that organization. I had gotten lazy with my mailing list and dropped people off the list under the assumption that they would not be interested.

Ah, did you see that word in there....assumption....assume "means that you make..." Oh, you know the rest of that one.

Now, this weekend, after many years of not working with this group, I now had a major event with them, primarily because one of my regular sponsors (who is now based at this location) called me and said, "why aren't you coming up to this place anymore?" That put things in motion, contracts were signed and there I was again.

Afterwards, two different people who had seen me work with them "way back when" came up to me separately and said, "I had forgotten how good you are." Although flattered by the evaluations, I asked how come they hadn't been in contact with me for their needs. The both replied that they had lost track of me and that "i stopped getting your mailings so I assumed you weren't doing this anymore."

EEEK!

Yes, I know. They might have used the Internet to find me. A reality check here calls us to remember that not everyone (yet) thinks about the Internet when searching for people they know. And 8-10 years ago folks were barely using Email to communicate let alone Googling storytellers.

Postal mailing still work. These two people judged my availability based on my mailings. How many bookings and good events had I missed because I stopped sending monthly mailings to these two people?

Let's do the math. Let's average a post card, mailed out, to 50 cents each. That's probably too high. Ten years of mailings, 12 months per year gets us 120 mailings. That's $60 each or $120 to both folks over the last 10 years.

How many bookings had I missed in ten years with these potential sponsors because I took them off my mailing list? $120 is a fraction of a single booking. I saved myself $1 per month not mailing to these folks who knew "how good you are" but probably lost several thousand dollars in bookings, coaching and performances. There are also lost relationships and lost chances to promote the Art of Storytelling.

Sigh.

Remember, they did not ask to be removed. I will always remove someone who asks. Rather, I assumed they wouldn't want to hear from me based on the actions of their leadership.

Am I making sense here? Some marketing gurus say that you need at least 50 contacts a year with customers to keep yourself at the top of their minds. I urge my clients to do at least monthly mailings.

And now, I'll urge them to never take a potential sponsor off a list unless asked.

"I had forgotten how good you are," they said.

It was my fault that they forgot.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

New Project: Storytelling and Gaming

3 Brothers and 1 Golden Axe:
Real Storytelling in Virtual Worlds

Welcome to our newest interactive workshop from Master Storyteller K. Sean Buvala

Increase the immersive feel of your gaming world and tap into essential human needs and desires with the power of real storytelling!

Learn what real (not the ethereal read a book to kiddies!) storytelling can teach you about virtual worlds.Learn more at: www.seantells.com/gaming.shtml

Learn: What is the basic structure of storytelling? It's got nothing to do with reading books.

Experience: What are the dark sides of fairy tales? Why are stories so cleaned up from the original versions? Sean will take you through the "unvarnished versions" of some popular tales.

Learn: What are "tale types" and what do they teach about human nature? Tap into these cross-cultural realities and bring new breath to your gaming world!

Explore: What is the "Geometry of Storytelling?" Why good storytelling allows every audience to have a unique experience every time.

Learn: What is the role of numbers in storytelling? 3 brothers, 7 Ravens, 12 tasks? Learn which numbers have significance and what they can tell you about the story and storyline.

Explore: How can the concept of "many voices/one story" help designers? Immerse yourself in quests and game experiences by playing a game of "shifting looks."

Ready to get started? Assemble your designer team and contact Sean for more information. Workshop can be presented in one (good!) or two (best!) workday format

About Your Presenter:
K. Sean Buvala, a 21 year veteran and master storyteller, is the director of storyteller.net, now celebrating their 10th anniversary online! Working throughout the U.S., he is storytelling, training and presenting to and for corporations, schools, churches and private coaching clients. Sean recently received a 2007 Oracle Award from the National Storytelling Network. He is an approved Roster Artist with the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Sean specializes in the folktales of Ireland and the Brothers Grimm, working with adults and teens. He has a variety of CD's released, ranging from stories for children to a specialty product for teenage guys to unvarnished world folktales.

Sean is an "avid casual" gamer with a long history back to the Compuserve days of "Islands of Kesmai." (Here is a picture of his original character: "A"). He currently plays in a variety of gaming world as his travel schedule allows. He's worked as an independent-contractor GM and customer service rep for an old-school gaming company, consulted and taught IT with the

Friday, August 03, 2007

New Workshop: Storytelling and Gaming

3 Brothers and 1 Golden Axe: Real Storytelling in Virtual Worlds

Welcome to our newest interactive workshop from Master Storyteller K. Sean Buvala

Increase the immersive feel of your gaming world and tap into essential human needs and desires with the power of real storytelling!

Learn what real (not the ethereal read a book to kiddies!) storytelling can teach you about virtual worlds.Learn more at: www.seantells.com/gaming.shtml

Learn: What is the basic structure of storytelling? It's got nothing to do with reading books.

Experience: What are the dark sides of fairy tales? Why are stories so cleaned up from the original versions? Sean will take you through the "unvarnished versions" of some popular tales.

Learn: What are "tale types" and what do they teach about human nature? Tap into these cross-cultural realities and bring new breath to your gaming world!

Explore: What is the "Geometry of Storytelling?" Why good storytelling allows every audience to have a unique experience every time.

Learn: What is the role of numbers in storytelling? 3 brothers, 7 Ravens, 12 tasks? Learn which numbers have significance and what they can tell you about the story and storyline.

Explore: How can the concept of "many voices/one story" help designers? Immerse yourself in quests and game experiences by playing a game of "shifting looks."

Ready to get started? Assemble your designer team and contact Sean for more information. Workshop can be presented in one (good!) or two (best!) workday format

About Your Presenter:
K. Sean Buvala, a 21 year veteran and master storyteller, is the director of storyteller.net, now celebrating their 10th anniversary online! Working throughout the U.S., he is storytelling, training and presenting to and for corporations, schools, churches and private coaching clients. Sean recently received a 2007 Oracle Award from the National Storytelling Network. He is an approved Roster Artist with the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Sean specializes in the folktales of Ireland and the Brothers Grimm, working with adults and teens. He has a variety of CD's released, ranging from stories for children to a specialty product for teenage guys to unvarnished world folktales.

Sean is an "avid casual" gamer with a long history back to the Compuserve days of "Islands of Kesmai." (Here is a picture of his original character: "A"). He currently plays in a variety of gaming world as his travel schedule allows. He's worked as an independent-contractor GM and customer service rep for an old-school gaming company, consulted and taught IT with the

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Listen to the Luckiest PodCast Ever: 07/07/07

It’s time for the luckiest podcast of the year! The 07/07/07 podcast is here. Included are two "luck" stories recorded just for this podcast by Sean Buvala, a piece of a wonderful story by Dolores Hydock, and a coaching moment about voice control for stage and recording booth. Listen in (it’s an mp3) and let the luck spread! You can find the CD’s mentioned in the podcast at our podcast sponsor of storytellingproducts.com: "Calling Out a Rising Sun" by Sean Buvala and "Silence" by Dolores Hydock. Visit Storyteller.net for more Podcasts or you’ll find us as well at Itunes. You can learn more about Sean at seantells.com.

Lucky, lucky you! Click Here Now to Listen or Download.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Red Pen Storytelling Tool

Being able to craft a story is an essential skill for both beginning and experienced tellers. That crafting, much like sculpting, involves knowing what to trim away and what to keep. For storytellers, our sculpting tools should include the red “cross it out” pen.

There is an old comedy album, heard once in my youth, where the comedian says, “When you are trying to tell a story, try having a point. It makes it so much more interesting for an audience.”

I’ve attended a number of storytelling events of late that bring that old comedy routine to mind. I’ve wanted to hand the tellers a giant red pen, hoping they’d cut out, cross out and eliminate the bloated-ness of their tales.

Although it’s not always possible to have a clear cut point in telling folktales or world myths, it is important for storytellers to know “why” they are telling any particular story. If not, stories end up as rambling and meandering exercises in hearing ourselves talk. When that happens, the stories lose their interest and our audiences just lose interest.

It is easier to do the red pen routine with personal tales, so let’s begin there. First, understand that storytelling is an audience-centered art form. It’s not a form of therapy for the storyteller.

Grab yourself a piece of paper and do this exercise with me. First, choose a personal tale from your repertoire. Then imagine the type of audience you’ll be telling to and with. With those thoughts in mind, ask yourself this: Why am I telling the story? What is my point?

Identify this first thought, this singular crystal-clear point and write it across the top of the piece of paper. Use large, bold letters.

Underneath those big bold letters, write an outline your story. What’s first, second third.....sixth, etc? Try to include all the elements of your typical telling of that story, including those tangential side trips you might be normally inclined to make.

Now comes the step so many tellers are unwilling to make. Grab your red pen. Re-read your main point. Go down your outline and ask yourself for each numbered item, “Does this item illustrate or lead to my main point?” If it does not, cross it out.

This is the point where some storytellers start to reach for the oxygen mask. “But, but, what you want me to cut out is (funny, cute, touching, meaningful, pretty, insightful, witty, makes my grandma laugh, tells people I love dogs, will save the world, etc). I couldn’t cut out that part.” Yes, you could. Yes you should. If it does not move your story towards your main point for the audience that you are addressing, then draw a line through it and drop it from you story. Most likely, the parts you’ve redlined are or could become stories in their own way.

The process I have just described is a good exercise to do with your storytelling coach. Ask that person to help you identify and redline the excessive parts of your story, those parts that drag down your work. One of the challenges with storytelling as an art from is our excessive focus on internal (“How does your storytelling make you feel?”) coaching, so it may be hard to find a mentor that will be honest with you. You may need to assure your coach that it’s okay to have an opinion.

This ability to redline one’s work, to focus on the needs of the audience, is essential for good storytelling. Tellers who are unwilling to red line their stories just leave me wishing for the door. A storyteller who tells a story that has been redlined and crafted leave me wishing for more of their craft. Isn’t that the goal- building a love for stories and storytelling in our audiences

Thursday, May 24, 2007

May 2007 PodCast Posted

Here's another storytelling Podcast from Storyteller.net and some of our storytellers. You'll hear Brother Sun, Sister Moon do their version of "The Virgin Queen." You'll hear a coaching moment recorded live at on of my workshops. You'll also hear Eva Grayzel do her musically enhanced version of "The Stone Cutter." Come listen now. Click Here to listen.

Brought to you by our sponsors at storytellingproducts.com and fulltimestorytelling.com. Thanks for listening.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Business Storytelling: Are You Ready for Five Minutes of Fame?

Here is my latest challenge for you.

Let's pretend that the Woman who runs the World's Largest Afternoon Talk (WLATS) show wants to talk about your business on Her show. You Know Who I mean. She is going to randomly pick an employee from your organization to speak.

Let's pretend that YOU have been chosen to represent your company on Her WLATS show. You will have only 5-10 minutes on the show to share your experience and to convince people that they should be calling your company for their needs. Like it or not, 10 minutes on that show can translate into bazillions of contacts. So, you have 5-10 minutes to grab the attention of the audience.

What would you say? If you said you'd talk about your financial security, how nice your buildings are and your 24 hour service, then you lose. All of your competitors say they have those, even if they don't.

You've got 5-10 minutes. What story, the one that touches the heart and imagination of the audience, will you tell? Stop now and choose one. If you have taken my training work, you have your Intentionality Journal to help you. My training courses give you tools that work.

Side note for some of you: This is *not* an exercise in the "elevator speech" process. "Elevator speeches" are dead. Relationships are alive. Stories build relationships.

1.Choose your story.

2.Choose your point.

3. Choose where the story will start.

4. Choose the other episodes that help you get your point across.

5. Choose the ending. Maybe you go back to the opening sentence to close?

6. Find someone and tell them your story. Open your mouth and tell the story. The only way to learn is to do it.

This exercise is for everyone in your company. It is for the Executive Team. It is for the new cashier who was just hired this week.

"Hah Ha, Very funny. WLATS is going to randomly pick an employee? Oh, that will never happen." you say. Do you want to bet? It is already happening every day. Potential customers, guests and potential employees randomly meet your staff every day. Are all of your current staff ready to tell a story or two?

Executive People: Will you model your 5-10 minute talk-show story for the rest of your company within the next seven days?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Of Thank You Notes, Colored Pencils and Corporate Storytelling

Chapter One of this Generic Story: The Thank You Note
The latest thank-you note I got was from a 7th grade boy. It was written with one of those pencils where the lead changes color every few strokes. It's like a box of crayons exploded all over the letters. Every kid thinks they are the first person to ever write a note with those kind of pencils. Adults couldn't have possibly ever had something so cool as this. In his cascading colors note, he told me that he and his friends thought my stories I told in his school were "exciting." I, of course, thought this note was a classroom assignment. You know, something like: write the Storyteller and say "thank you." Turns out, this was a spontaneous action on this kid's part. He wrote a note, put it in an envelope, got a stamp and sent it. Getting these notes, from adults and kids, is one of the things I really like about being a professional storyteller.

When's the last time your (teenagers or students) experienced anything that made them hand write a note...for which they were not getting graded? When was the last time the teens in your life had something that wasn't electric grab their attention so thoroughly? That is the power of live storytelling and that is what I do.

Chapter Two of this Generic Story: Corporate Secrets
I'd like to share with you a little reality. Your customers aren't paying attention to your advertising and sales slogging anymore.

They've heard it all before. Numbers no longer slake their thirsts. If you are using the "we're number one" bit, that doesn't impress them. Your "100's of locations" map doesn't matter.

You've burned out their patience and their "Broca's" region is turned off. Your old "hard skills" have worn down to fracturing thinness. Yawn.

I know, you want to hold on to your slick presentation folders, your staff full of degrees, your nice office building. Your professional self-image. Yikes.

So, what are they, your customers, paying attention to? They want you to "surprise Broca." Go ahead and Google that. They're paying attention to and they are thirsting for, the one thing or two that sets you apart. This thing that will scream past their boredom, grab hold of their right-brains and poke them squarely in their mind's eye.

They want your stories. YOUR stories. What makes YOU in YOUR organization exist? You know, if you were really honest about it, your company is not that much different
than your competitors. Go on, no one's looking. Be honest. Let go of your "corporate mythology" of how your Goliath-ness is David proof.

What is different? Your stories? Do you have the most compelling reasons, narratives, records of what keeps your current customers with you? What's the story?

Put my money where my mouth is? What's my story? There are lots of storytellers out there. Principals at schools get packages from storytellers all the time. What makes Sean different? Here's one of many things: I capture the attention of Junior High kids so deeply and so that they run to their textbooks and computers when I am done to learn more about the literature and world folktales that I've been teaching and storytelling. When I work with teens, they write me thank you letters afterwards. Yes, handwritten letters. It's amazing. 13 year olds (even guys) writing, even when they don't have to. That's what sets me apart: stories about how teens are motivated to read, research and write when I am done in the classroom.

Hold on to your slick handouts and your Powerpoints. Facts are okay and needed. What your customers are going to remember are your stories that frame and focus your number and your facts.

Relationships sell. Relationships are built on our stories. They who tell the best story get the sales. They who tell the best story get the most conversion and buy in. This is a hard skill. "Connecting" is no longer an optional skill in business.

And after all my blathering above, what you're going to remember is the story about the multi-colored-lead pencils. Why? Because you probably had some when you were a kid or you've bought them for your own kids. Connecting.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

April 2007 Podcast is Here!

I’ve posted our latest podcast from Storyteller.net and Seantells.com. The link is below or you can find it on Itunes. You can also find it on my Myspace page.


We did something a little different with this podcast. I recently spent a day as guest artist in a 7th grade classroom. That’s with young people about 12 and 13 years old. I recorded large portions of the day. I’ve narrowed those recordings down to a 35 minute podcast. There are four stories in there and a coaching moment. Even the coaching moment comes from the day with the kids.


You’ll hear this again on the podcast, but I wanted to talk a bit about this here. As you know, those of you who have taken my storytelling training or coaching, that although you as a teller and your stories may remain consistent, when you change your audience you change your style. So for this group, I was speaking specifically to a small group (25 or so kids) in a small room. It was a close and intimate environment as oppsed to a big stage or an entire school assembly. The kids had also just finished a week of Arizona's mandatory testing, so they, and the teachers in the school, were pretty exhausted. We like to describe these mandatory tests as "no child left untested." We had a casual, informal day together.

The risk anyone takes when they put forth recordings of themselves is that the listeners will think, “Oh, that is the way they always tell.” That’s simply not true of any storyteller anywhere. Well, at least the ones who understand their craft.

As you listen to this piece, keep the above paragraph in mind. Like all tellers, I have a variety of styles to choose from (and have chosen from) when my audience is 2 or 2000, aged 12 or 72, big stage or small classroom.

And, before you write me (ha ha!) about the Hades and Demeter comment, please know that I know it’s Persephone that brings the Spring, not her mother.

Our podcasts are sponsored by StorytellingProducts.com. Please stop by and support our work by purchasing a CD or Book from there. Thanks.


I hope you enjoy this month’s podcast. Click here to get it now.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Happy Birthday to Storyteller.net

Happy Birthday to us at Storyteller.net. This month, April 2007, Storyteller.net turns 10 years old! Ten years is forever in Internet terms. Excuse me for a moment as I enjoy this. It is rare to read a note from me that is so "yay for us" in nature, but I think we deserve it this time around.

I am proud of what we have done and what we have achieved. Others have said, and I agree, that Storyteller.net has helped storytelling move forward not only on the Internet but in the world community as well. I had already been working nationally as a storyteller for 10 years when we created Storyteller.net. As a pro, I knew what needed to happen on the Internet for storytellers and was fortunate to be able to create that. Storyteller.net has never been "Sean's site." Rather, it's been "our site," tellers both near and far, since the beginning. Our remake in 2002 just made a good thing better. Storyteller.net has been a labor of love for many years, a gift to tellers and our guests.

We were the first to offer a comprehensive online directory for storytellers initially at no cost and now just $25 per year. More than 400 tellers have used or are using our services and we're glad to have given you a home. We've watched tellers transition and grow from simple, beginning local tellers to some of the best nationally-travelled tellers in the business. What a joy that has been.

We were the first to offer a diverse collection of online audio stories, free for listening for audiences all over the world. There's also a growing collection of written stories on our site. We were the first with an online, no-charge events calendar.

We've had two editions of the Storyteller.net store, with our current store at StorytellingProducts.com going strong. Again, if memory serves me correctly, we were the first to offer the ability for national online sales to the local tellers of the world. There's some imitators coming along, but we were the first to "level the playing field" for storytellers everywhere.

We were the first to offer the pod-cast like Amphitheater with storytelling interviews and performances. Yep, we were doing "podcasts" before they even had a word to describe "podcasts." I remember my business partner telling me that I was "crazy" to do those Amphitheaters and then several days later saying he thought the idea would prove to be brilliant. Little did we know that what we were doing was very far ahead of the Internet pack.

In ten years, we've had a variety of other firsts. I always enjoy reading when another storytelling organization or individual promotes their idea as "the first ever..." when we've been doing it since 1997. Lots of people imitate our model. We're pleased to be able to have offered so much, usually at no or very little cost, to so many people. Thousands of people each week come and take advantage of everything we have at Storyteller.net. We're glad you are here.

Watch for more changes in this our 10th Anniversary year. Over the coming weeks and months, we'll be sharing with you reviews and comments from our guests and members. We'll also be introducing new features to help you learn more about the Art of Storytelling. We have a live event (they call it "brick and mortar" in 'Net lingo) in the works that I think will be one more risk-taking, cutting-edge offering from Storyteller.net, one we hope will help change the way we all think about the nature of storytelling and who the "best" in storytelling are or will be. Whew! I am nervous just typing that one out!

I think you'll be pleased, tickled and challenged by what's over the bend for the next ten years.

Thanks for indulging me in this birthday letter.

Thanks for being with us.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Darkness and Light

Dark and cold usually surrounded these moments, but darkness was always required. We’d be gathered with 20 or 200 city teens under the stars, usually standing together in a circle. Sometimes the circle was more clumpy than circular. The depths of how dark it could be, out in the clearing of the forests of Prescott, always astounded them. Their astonishment always astounded me. And, once they turned off their flashlights and were truly surrounded by a smothering blanket of deep night, they would gasp in astonishment. How easy it was to succumb to the darkness, that darkness which we thought we had mastered.

The kids would always start to chatter in the darkness as if their noise would hold back the monsters or at least the unkown. I’d ask them to be silent. When they were able to do so, I’d ask them to look up and that’s when the deepest gasp and awe would begin. For although they had been out here many nights during the week, they had never actually looked up. For if they had, the would have already seen the thick smear of stars across the night sky. Silence would settle over them and I’d begin to sing:

"You are child of the universe,
No less than the trees and the stars.
You are child of the Lord of Life,
Be still and know I am God, you are child."

Eventually they’d join me in song. A Cappella singing by teens in the forest: Mind Opening.

I was and am moved by the power that even these little bits of light, concentrated in such a small area, can have on people. I found it ironic that although we walk amongst the stars for many nights and months, we seldom look up. How many times have we walked (under near over around) points of light and missed it? Is that storytelling in itself?