- 1. CINEMAHEAD: "SCENE DYNAMIX" (*)
- Daniel Alegi
- (*) CINEMAHEAD.COM is launching this fall.
- "Scene Dynamix" is my adaptation and reinterpretation of
"Diagonal Dynamics", a script development method created by
Leonid & Larissa Alekseychuk.
- Scene Dynamix serves 2 key purposes in the scene-writing process.
- The first: graphical visualization of the scene. Through the use of
a graph, a writer can map each scene's dynamix: time, dramatic
relevance, polarity, objectives, sequencing.
- The second: recycling of discarded ideas. Storytellers generate many
possible plot branchings. Choosing one event as opposed to another
means renouncing the other alternatives. One of the most frustrating
consequences of such a "competitive" relationship among
development options is the slowdown in writing. After a days's work
and 10 options, the story may have only progressed by one page.
- One of the ideas behind scene dynamix is that opposing ideas are not
exclusive. Two ideas that may seem entirely irreconcilable not only
are not so, but can become consecutive steps along the dramatic
progression along the timeline. To simplify: in creating a diagonal
path from point 0=scene start to point Z=climax, a sequence of events
is constructed (see workshop proposal for details)
- A visual example of a scene dynamix map will support the
- CINEMAHEAD WORKSHOP: "SCENE DYNAMIX and IDEA
- Daniel Alegi
- (Hands On, prefer max. 15-20 people, bring one finished scene if
- In this Workshop we will develop one scene as a group and analyze
one scene among those contributed by participants. (i.e. bring a scene
that you want to have the workshop work on) The workshop will show
answers by developing the scene ONE specific action at a time.
Dialogue in this phase is secondary to dynamic action.
- How to reach the climax in the richest possible dramatic way?
- How not to arrive at the climax too fast?
- How to maximize the potential of each event?
- How to make something "boring" work, and a "fun"
thing not go overboard?
- How to recognize writing arbitrary events and organic ones?
- How to exploit brainstorming nuggets without waste?
- Participants contribute opposing ideas, and all ideas are used or
- None are discarded. The process of expanding individual moments
- re-use of conflicting ideas is shown graphically and developed to
- maximum potential together.
- Daniel Alegi
- PO BOX 5332
- Santa Monica, Ca
- 90409 USA
- Raised in Rome and educated in the italian school system, he was
attracted to music, art, philosophy, classical languages and his
grandfather, a sailor whosaid he'd been all around this world. In
1973, Daniel Alegi, was an eight year-old actor in Cinecittà, where
he witnessed the making of Fellini¹s ³Amarcord², with the wooden
cruise liner, the plastic ocean, a facade-only western-style town with
race cars and fake snow three feet tall... But that's another story.
Or is it? Daniel's B.A. in International Relations from Brown
University (1987) climaxed in this thesis: "Poets, novelists and
filmmakers. What role in the outcome of the revolutions in Cuba,
Brazil, Chile, Nicaragua, 1959-1981? >From 1988-1993 Daniel studied
film directing and screenwriting in Italy with directors Leonid and
Larissa Alekseychuk. Daniel's early experience was eclectic. First,
spots and news reportage for RAI TV. Then, in 1994, the first short
³The Sax Man² and assisting director Mark Lawrence on a Walt Disney
direct-to-video production in Los Angeles. In 1995, he was assistant
director to Gianni Zanasi¹s on ³Nella Mischia² (In the Thick of It)
a Cannes Festival selection. With the dawning of the digital age,
Daniel worked often as a freelance editor and post-production story
consultant. In 1998 Daniel received a film MFA from the avantgarde-oriented
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he also was a graduate
instructor in film and assisted director James De Paul on multimedia
Shakespeare productions. ³Czar Of Make Believe² (23 min., 16 mm,
1998) was an onirical multi-language fiction about 5 immigrants and
their midwestern american dreaming. The short, which features a cameo
by Mark Borchardt, star of Sundance winner ³American Movie², won
"best short film" and "most original narrative"
international awards, and traveled to festivals and academic
conferences in all continents. Daniel's public presentations would
widely range from global cinema topics such as: ³What perspectives
for national cultural identities in the global Hollywood landscape?²
to the narrative structure issues of: "Image-lingo, abstract
heroes and MTV hyper-edits: storytelling from Wilder to wild. "
In 1999 Daniel directed in L.A. a CBS production ³NOT HERE². In
2000, italian TV TELEPIU¹ featured Daniel in an episode dedicated to
italian directors overseas. Since 2001 Daniel is a visiting
professor" in the Culture and Communication Department of the
University of Karlstad, Sweden. He also is a Filmmaking instructor in
In fall 2002, Daniel has curated ³Polyphonix 40², a film exhibit at
the Pompidou Museum in Paris, and joined CINEMAHEAD, an innovative glo-cal
film studio. CINEMAHEAD completed its fist film production in spring 2002
in Finland and will be on the web this fall. Daniel's upcoming feature
³Catch Wise² is curently seeking further financial support. He lives in
S. Monica with Daniela and TV-less kids Nelson (7) and Emma (6).
writer and the outer work:
The ancient yogic Chakras represent one of the oldest, and most
complete models of the human being in existence, ranging from the
mundane to the esoteric. By understanding all seven ascending aspects,
it is possible to create phenomenally complex and realistic human
characters. Further, by understanding how these seven aspects relate
to you and your life, you create an inexhaustible supply of story
Workshop Breakout session: 2 hours.
Lifewriting-connecting the inner and outer lives of the writer:
To write well, we must resolve the apparent conflict between plot
and characterization, and see how each is a different version of the
same thing, like two sides of a coin. Once this is understood, we can
use our grasp of plot both to structure books or scripts, and design
our lives. We can use our grasp of psychology to sculpt unforgettable
characters, and simultaneously promote our growth and healing as human
beings and artists. Lifewriting is an advanced tool for writers
genuinely committed to both personal and professional advancement, a
warrior path for the word-wizard.
Read Steve's latest thriller, CHARISMA, available now!
- Plenary talk:
- Chakras-seven levels of personality: connecting the inner
THE THERAPEUTIC USE OF STORY AS AN ADJUNCT IN THE COUNSELING SETTING
Rachel Ballon, Ph.D.
The Therapeutic use of story as an adjunct in counseling is a powerful
technique to reach individuals unconscious material and liberate repressed
emotions. Pyschologists and other Health Care practitioners will learn how
to change their clients' stories for therapeutic results. These story
techniques will give them additional tools to use in the counseling
setting which are effective, short term and accessible. They will also
learn how to use the therapeutic rewriting of clients’ stories to free
them from psychological blocks and enable them to become unstuck in their
lives and relationships.
CHANGE YOUR STORY, CHANGE YOUR LIFE: BE THE HERO IN YOUR OWN LIFE SCRIPT
Rachel Ballon, Ph.D.
Are you playing a role in an old script written for you by others? Are you
sufferings from feelings of anxiety, fear and depression at work or home?
Are you stuck in bad relationships and a dead-end career? If the answer is
"yes," now is the time to "Change Your Story, Change Your
Life." Just like the heroes in popular films, television shows and
novels, will help you learn how to set goals, take risks, overcome
obstacles, advance toward fulfilling dreams and remove your masks to
become the true central character of your own life. Through
innovative writing exercises and the knowledge of story structure,
participants will learn how to deal with unfinished business and dialogue
with various voices from the past, who are still running your life without
your knowledge. By using the techniques of Story you'll have the tools for
experiencing personal growth and transformation, just as the hero in a
fictional story. You'll break free of childhood fears, discover how to
discard self-defeating behaviors and learn how to set goals, take risks,
overcome obstacles, and resolve personal and career conflicts. Discover
how to change your problematic victim stories to solution oriented
survivor ones to achieve your goals.
(Here is the detailed copy for this workshop, that I believe you wanted)
FROM HEROS TO VILLAINS:
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CHARACTERS AND CONFLICTS
Rachel Ballon, Ph.D.
All great stories have either extraordinary characters struggling with
ordinary conflicts, or ordinary characters in extraordinary conflicts.
To be a successful writer you must know the psychology of characters
in conflict. How does your character behave in his dysfunctional
family? How does your character respond when she's faced with a
major conflict? What do your characters fear and what would they
Good writers are usually good psychologists, able to look behind their
character's mask to understand his or her motivation. To develop
credible characters and compelling conflicts for your stories, you need to
understand the nature of characters' dysfunctional relationships, defense
mechanisms, personal conflicts, self-defeating behaviors, and inner
motivations. Learn how to employ psychological techniques to avoid
stereotypical characters and cliched stories, to create believable
characters in real life conflicts, giving your writing a "ring of
is Dorothy Wearing Blue? Color and the Development of Story.
development of story requires
more than the details of plot and theme. This talk will explore the
relationship of color to story and how visualization relates directly
to the audience/reader’s understanding of character , setting and
influences and cultural readings will be covered in this broad
approach to investigating narrative from the perspective of imagery.
TITLE: THE ONE STORY
BEHIND EVERY RELATIONSHIP
I work with
relationships. Just like
all movies are said to draw from five basic plots, relationships have
just one—creating romance, and that plot drives most stories. Every
summer one movie becomes a surprise smash hit because it best captures
the essence of the core drams every love story reflects.
Whether in public movies or private lives, success hinges on our
ability to access this core drama, then draw from the well of its
nourishing essence. And
what is the heart of this “Lovers Archetype?”
Simply stated, the meat of the story entails the Hero to undergo
a transformation in order to release his Goddess’s love.
These days we hear about Heroes or Goddesses ad
nauseam. Separately, their hold on the popular imagination is
increasing. Yet their
re-emergence in today’s culture reflects but a shadow of the richness
and depth of the power they wield to challenge and transform our world
when paired together in their highest expression: as lovers re-enacting
the relationship drama.
TWO HOUR WORKSHOP
Lover’s Archetype and the Four Male and Four Female Energies That
Drive Every Love Story
For two hours we will
explore how the four male energies that make up the male Archetype of “the
Lover” interact with the four energies that complete the female
Goddess repertoire. We will
play with how these interactions create the meat and potatoes of the
myriad subplots to the one universal relationship drama.
And we will answer the question, “What are these forces
doing controlling our relationship stories, anyway?”
Essence Of Story
are the fundamentals that drive all great stories? In this
pre-conference talk I will describe the threat and its relation to the
seven critical elements which constitute the very essence of story --
that without which there would be no story.
- The New Story-Self
Intriguing New Patterns Discovered in Great Stories Reveal the
Secrets of the Human Mind
- James Bonnet
the plenary talk, workshops and post conference seminar, I will
put forth new ideas concerning the nature and purpose of story,
the creative unconscious, the meaning of metaphor and myth, and
the art of storymaking. I will introduce participants to a new
story model called The Golden Paradigm which is also a model of
the human psyche and was brought to light by intriguing new
patterns discovered hidden in great stories. These new patterns
reveal all of the psychic dimensions, their structure, their
hierarchy, their conflicts and their goals. The psychological
model becomes a story model when it is used to create new stories.
Together they will teach storymakers how to create contemporary
stories that are significantly more successful and real. They will
reveal important new details concerning how the conscious and
creative unconscious minds can interact to form a creative
partnership which is applicable, not only to storymaking, but to
many different art forms, and can bring powerful inner resources
knowledge of story and the act of storymaking are essential links in a
creative process that can reconnect us to our lost or forgotten inner
selves. An understanding of story leads inevitably to an understanding
of these dormant inner states and to a perception of the path which
can lead us back to who we were really meant to be. In short, a vast,
unrealized potential exists within us which a
knowledge of story and storymaking can help to make real.
secrets of great stories, it turns out, are the secrets of the human
mind and the study of story is the study of this remarkable
phenomenon. Every great story reveals some small piece of that
magnificent mystery. Unlocking the secrets of story unlocks the
secrets of the mind and awakens the power of story within you. Work
with that power and you can steal fire from the gods. Master that
power and you can create stories that will live forever.
the Dark side: The Anti-Hero’s Journey
this workshop, we will explore the nature of evil, the great
characters it can inspire, and the lesser known, uncharted dark side
of the passage, the place in story and real life where the dark
forces live and hatch their nefarious schemes. I
also introduce you to the new story model, the Golden
Paradigm, which reveals the
transformation of the hero into an anti-hero, and all of the
life cycles we experience from birth to death. When you understand
these patterns and cycles, you will not only to be able to create
better stories, you will understand why the struggle between good
and evil is the dominant pattern in great stories and why it is
playing such a significant role in our lives.
- PLenary :
- THE SEVEN HIGHEST VALUE FORMS OF ORGANIZATIONAL STORYTELLING
- Steve Denning
- In his work with executives in large organizations, Steve Denning
has seen how easily and quickly people can enhance their natural
storytelling capacity, once they grasp that storytelling is not some
kind of primitive toy that needs to be replaced by the sleek
computer-guided instruments of modern analytical thinking.
Storytelling is in fact at the core of the activities of every modern
corporation, as well as at the center of everything we do in public
and private life. The ability to tell the right story at the right
time is emerging as an essential management skill to cope with and get
business results in the turbulent world of the 21st century.
- This practical and inspiring presentation shows how to use
purposeful storytelling to achieve organizational objectives. In
addition to providing a theoretical framework for understanding the
power of stories, it provides
- helpful examples, templates, guidelines and other tips for using
storytelling in the real world of organizational life.
- Steve Denning's book The Springboard was about how storytelling
could address the #1 problem in business today, namely how to get an
organization to transform itself, willingly, enthusiastically and
quickly. It showed how
- a springboard story could be very effective in tackling this central
- The presentation will give examples of springboard stories and show
how storytelling can address six other central business challenges
facing organizations today, namely:
- · How can you weave groups of different individuals together so
that they work as teams or communities?
- · How can you induce people to share their knowledge when they
suspect that the object of the exercise was to render them expendable?
- · What can you do when a huge negative rumor gets going?
- · How can you preserve and enhance the good values of an
organization and transfer them to new recruits?
- · How can you get people to know the person you truly were and not
just another suit?
- · How can you lead people into the future so that they were keen to
- The presentation will show the the different narrative patterns
related to each purpose, with practical guidance and tips on using
narrative to achieve management objectives.
- CV: Steve Denning is the author
of the acclaimed book, The Springboard: How Storytelling Ignites
Action in Knowledge-Era Organizations (Butterworth Heinemann, 2000)
which describes how storytelling can serve as a powerful tool for
organizational change and knowledge management.
- From 1996 to 2000, Steve was the
Program Director, Knowledge Management at the World Bank where he
spearheaded the organizational knowledge sharing program. He now works
with organizations in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia on
knowledge management and organizational storytelling. Steve also
conducts workshops around the world on organizational storytelling.
Steve is currently working on a new book about the seven highest value
forms of organizational storytelling. In November 2000, Steve Denning
was selected as one of the world’s ten Most Admired Knowledge
Leaders (Teleos) along with Jack Welch (GE) and John Chambers (CISCO).
Steve’s website which has a collection of materials on knowledge
sharing and storytelling may be found at:
- Steve was born and educated in
Sydney, Australia. He studied law and psychology at Sydney University
and worked as a lawyer in Sydney for several years. He did a
postgraduate degree in law at Oxford University in the
U.K. Steve then joined the World Bank where he worked for
several decades in many capacities and held various management
positions, including Director of the Southern Africa Department from
1990 to 1994 and Director of the Africa Region from 1994 to 1996. From
1996 to 2000, Steve was the Program Director, Knowledge Management at
the World Bank. Steve is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (U.K.)
He has published a novel and a volume of poetry.
- Contact information:
- Steve Denning
- 4515 Klingle Street NW
- Washington DC 20016
- tel 202 966 9392
- fax 202 686 0591
- email email@example.com
- web www.stevedenning.com
To Story preconference talk(20 min.)
Stories/Sacred Stories – Is There A Difference?
- Karen Dietz
this Intro to Story presentation Karen Dietz will explore the
similarities and differences between personal stories and sacred
While not all personal stories are sacred stories, some can be,
and Dr. Dietz will clearly identify what makes a personal story a
sacred one. Each one of us has stories to tell that impart wisdom,
knowledge and a little secret of life that we’ve discovered.
Discovering what our sacred stories are and how to tell them
well will allow us to shape and create a sustainable and inspiring
She will talk about her experiences as a story coach to senior
executives, why many of their stories turn into sacred stories, how
these sacred stories affect the people and organizations in which they
Stories as Sacred Stories -- Embarking on Powerful Quests to
Consciously Shape the Future
- Karen Dietz
we have a deep hunger for certain kinds of stories. In this Plenary
Session, Karen Dietz will delve more deeply into the nature of
personal and sacred stories, sharing with the audience what she has
learned about sacred stories from North American Indian storytellers,
her experiences coaching executives and how the two converge.
Specifically Karen will talk about the nature of sacred stories from
the Chippewa-Cree perspective, how different archetypes and journeys
come into play other than the Hero, and the cultural changes that are
happening that make it necessary for telling these kinds of stories
today. In addition, Dr. Dietz will address how our sacred stories need
to be treated, and the wonderful outcomes that emerge while telling
personal sacred stories.
She will share with the audience a few paths for turning
personal experience stories into sacred stories, and also discuss the
implications of doing so – personally, professionally and for our
Stories/Sacred Stories – What Are Your Messages the World Needs To
- Karen Dietz
this workshop, Karen Dietz will lead participants through the
experience of taking? one or two personal experience stories and
turning them into sacred stories.
There will be lots of discussion about what participants
observe, experience, and the difference telling their stories as
sacred stories could make in their world.
Toward the end of this workshop we’ll talk about the patterns
of messages and themes that have emerged, and create a diagram of the
types of stories we need to be telling ourselves and each other in
order to create an inspiring future.
By the end of this workshop, each participant will walk away
with at least one sacred story they can tell, they will know how their
stories fit into the grander picture of stories that need to be told
today, and they will have the tools to transform their other stories
into sacred stories.
- How to Create Powerful Stories
to Make Your Sales Copy Irresistible
- David Garfinkel
- This one's different -- it's
about using stories as part of your pitch, whether you're selling
another story, a seminar, a service -- or anything else using the
People naturally resist a sales pitch, but few can resist a powerful
story, well told. If you market yourself, your products, or your
services on the Web or in print, you will notice a marked increase in
response when you include powerful sales stories.
While story itself is universal in scope and subject, the types of
stories that work well in sales copy are, by the nature of the medium,
related to what you're selling. In this workshop, we'll walk
through the three types of stories that make people want to buy, and
look at the sales story themes that push the buttons of desire in your
If you sell:
* information on the Web
* business-to-business offers
Then you will benefit from this workshop by learning how to
incorporate your love of story and your already-developed storytelling
skills into your sales copy.
You'll also learn key and rarely revealed "tricks of the
trade" in wording your copy to gently make people reading it more
receptive to what you have to say.
- “Stories that Can Change the World”
- Thom Hartmann
- Culture is
best defined as a collective unconscious conspiracy to believe and act
on a specific (and unique) collection of stories about who we are and
why we must behave the way we do.
Although these stories seem static and immutable, in fact they’re
often fluid and transitional: for example, the story that was held for
over six millennia that it’s appropriate to hold slaves, which broke
down rapidly (culturally speaking) in the past two centuries in the
developed world. In this talk, Thom Hartmann explores a set of stories that
are still very much a part of our or of worldwide culture but are
essentially toxic, and presents healthy alternative stories that are
now emerging into public consciousness.
By attending to these cultural fulcrum-points, authors of both
fiction and non-fiction can both increase the vitality of their work
and become subtle agents of cultural transformation.
- Plenary talk:
- “Story as the Deepest Level of Non-Fiction”
- Thom Hartmann
is almost always written as a way of informing and inspiring.
Although some non-fiction contains clear calls to action
(self-help, diet, how-to), much seems to lack a call for action
(biography, history, science). At
its core, though, Hartmann suggests that all non-fiction is grounded
in story, with story-like structure, and an implicit call for action.
This talk explores the meta-structure of non-fiction and the
importance of finding the story within your nonfiction before and as
you write it, so it’ll have maximal impact and value to your readers
and the greatest potential to become a best-seller.
- “Using the tools of NLP to construct crisp,
clear, and solid writing”
Hartmann attributes much of the success of his best-selling books to a
writing style which makes real for readers otherwise didactic
information, bringing to life the clear vision of his message, helping
them understand its story, and giving them the sensory experience of
his examples. In this workshop, he shares with writers the tools of
communication derived from NLP which are now so powerfully used by
Madison Avenue…and can help transform your next novel or work of
non-fiction into a best-seller by dramatically ramping up the impact,
power, and clarity of your words.
Hartmann is an award-winning best-selling author, international
lecturer, teacher, and psychotherapist. His books have been written
about in Time magazine, and he has appeared on the front page of The
Wall Street Journal, and on numerous radio and TV shows including
"All Things Considered," CNN, and BBC.
A former journalist, international relief worker, and the
executive director of a residential treatment facility for abused
children, he now lives in Vermont where he is a guest faculty member
at Goddard College and fulltime writerplenary
talk (not taped)
Neill D. Hicks
A good storyteller uses linguistic sleight‑of‑hand
to create a bond of trust with the audience by keeping the
fabrications of fiction contained just inside the boundaries of a
particular genre. If the
consistency is broken, the Cosmos of Credibility is ruptured,
and the audience loses not only its belief in the special reality of
the narrative, but its trust in the storyteller as well.
However, because there are no universally accepted
classifications of genre, popular entertainment frequently offers
incoherent narratives that distort genre definitions into meaningless
Continuum sorts stories into the fundamental elements that
contribute to the Cosmos of Credibility, rather than by the
immediately evident razzle‑dazzle of surface characteristics.
These distinct genres are then positioned in a specific
sequence determined by how the main character acts to resolve the core
challenge of the story and how that action changes the society
contained within the context of movie.
In the Genre Continuum
scheme, each successive genre has an expanding influence on the
society that contains its story in direct proportion to the degree of
lethal threat that the main character suffers.
The greater the risk that the main character will die, the more
there is at stake not only for that character but for the surrounding
characters, up to and including an entire culture or way of life.
The Essentials of Action-
Adventure and Thriller Writing
/ Discussion with Neill D. Hicks
The Action-Adventure and Thriller genres
are often confused because they each contain many similar surface
elements. However, there
are very basic underlying differences between the two forms, including
the Bounded World, the Ethos of the leading characters, the Narrative
Trajectory, and the Timescape that make up the Cosmos of Credibility
which encompasses the audience. The
Action‑Adventure wins us over by
enabling each of us to vicariously fulfill our destinies as the
moral champions we would be if only we could.
The Thriller, on the other hand,
plunges us by proxy of the main character into overwhelming panic
and loss of reality until, like life itself, we grow in order to subdue
some primordial fear. Discover
the essential distinctions between these two popular story forms in this
lecture/discussion with the leading industry expert in defining film
- Intro To Story Pre-conference talk.
- How Stories Provide Us A Map Of Human Psychology And The
- Chris Huntley
- ABSTRACT: One of the unique concepts that sets Dramatica apart
- theories is the assertion that every complete story is a model of
- problem solving process. We call this model the "Story
Mind." This Story
- Mind does not work like a computer, performing one operation after
- until the solution is obtained. Rather, it works more
holistically, like our
- own minds, bringing many conflicting considerations to bear on an
- is the author's argument as to the relative value of these
- solving a particular problem that gives a story its meaning.
- To make his case, an author must examine all significant
- resolving the story's specific problem. If a part of the argument
- out, the story will have holes. If the argument is not made in an
- even-handed fashion, the story will have inconsistencies.
- Characters, Plot, Theme, and Genre are the different families of
- considerations in the Story Mind made tangible, so audience
members can see
- them at work and gain insight into their own methods of solving
- Characters represent the motivations of the Story Mind (which
often work at
- cross purposes and come into conflict). Plot documents the problem
- methods employed by the Story Mind. Theme examines the relative
worth of the
- Story Mind's value standards. Genre establishes the Story Mind's
- attitude, which casts a bias or background on all other
- When a story is fully developed, the model of the Story Mind is
- PLENARY TALK
- Reaching Your Audience: Compelling Story Choices that Affect an
- Emotional Involvement in a Story
- Chris Huntley
- WORKSHOP TOPIC
- Eight Essential Questions Every Author Should Know About Their
- Chris Huntley
- This workshop benefits greatly from the availability of projection
- (VCR and LCD projector), or if it's a small group a large TV with
- do. I have many filmic examples to illustrate each of the eight
- and the possible choices.
- Eight Essential Questions All Authors Should Know
About Their Stories
- Based on a theory and materials developed by
- Melanie Anne Phillips and Chris Huntley
character through whose eyes the audiences experiences the story
- Traditionally, the exploration of
the Main Character's "problem" is called the Main
Character's "character arc."
character whose alternative world view impacts the Main Character to
such a degree that the Main Character must address the Main
Character's own personal issues.
An Impact Character need not be aware of his or her impact on
the Main Character or others.
Impact Characters tend to be role models, competitors, mentors, or
sequence of story points within a single perspective, such as the
Main Character throughline of the Impact Character throughline.
represent different perspectives on the source of conflict within a
story. They are called
throughlines because, generally speaking, they extend “through”
the story from the first act to the last.
Main Character Resolve: Change or Steadfast?
Main Character Growth: Stop or Start?
Main Character Approach: Do-er or Be-er?
Main Character Problem Solving Style: Logical or Intuitive?
Story Driver: Actions or Decisions?
Story Limit: Timelock or Optionlock?
Story Outcome: Success or Failure?
Story Judgment: Good or Bad?
Main Character Resolve:
Change or Steadfast?
- Does your
Main Character Change his
way of dealing with the problem at the heart of the story (such as Ebeneezer Scrooge's switch to generosity in A Christmas Carol)
or remain Steadfast in
his convictions (such as the
innocent Dr. Richard Kimble in The Fugitive)?
the core of the MC throughline is an inequity.
This is the source of personal conflict for the MC -- the
MC's problem, so to speak.
One way of imparting
meaning to your audience is by exploring how your MC's position on
resolving this inequity develops over the course of the story.
This is sometimes
mistakenly called the MC arc or the MC change.
In Dramatica, we call
this the Main Character
The question is, will
the MC hold onto his original way of responding to his inequity by
the end of the story, or will he exchange it for a new one?
In short, does the MC
Change or remain Steadfast?
Clips: Examples of Change
Main Characters: Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Judah Rosenthal in Crimes
and Misdemeanors, Luke in Star Wars.
Clips: Examples of Steadfast
Main Characters: Dr. Richard Kimble in The Fugitive, James Bond in Goldfinger
(Pussy Galore is the Impact Character).
meaning comes from growing into your resolve and remaining
meaning comes from growing out of your resolve and changing.
- Q: How do we know the value
of remaining steadfast in a story?
must see the effects and results of changing are by contrast.
- Q: How do we know what to
Impact Character provides the counterpoint to the MC Resolve by
providing the other side of the argument.
the MC Changes, the IC will remain Steadfast.
the MC remains Steadfast, the IC will Change.
this way we not only show how the MC's response to his inequity
develops, but it's alternative response as explored by the IC.
Sometimes the MC
Resolve shifts quickly -- Leap of Faith
Sometimes the MC
Resolve shifts slowly -- Non-Leap of Faith
Main Character Growth: Stop
- Does your
Main Character grow by adopting a new useful trait (Start) or by outgrowing an old inappropriate one (Stop)?
- The MC
Resolve seems to focus on the results of the MC's response to his
part of Dramatica that focuses on the MC's "character arc"
is called the Main Character
any well constructed argument, you must build to your conclusions --
you can't just jump right to the end and expect anyone to accept it.
You need to "show
The same is true for
your Main Character.
If a character has a problem, why doesn't he just solve it?
He must go through the process of growth that gets him to a
position where he can see the problem for what it is and deal with
it directly and appropriately.
- The MC
Growth describes the type of growth needed to bring the MC to the
point where we can definitively tell whether the MC has changed or
Is the nature of the MC
Growth toward starting something or toward stopping something?
Does the MC need to
Stop or Start? Grow out
of or grow into?
Clip: Example of Stop
Main Character: Dr. Richard Kimble in The Fugitive.
Clip: Example of Start
Main Character: Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.
Main Character Approach:
Do-er or Be-er?
- Is your
Main Character a Be-er
who mentally adapts to his environment(such
as Rick Blaine in Casablanca) or a Do-er who physically changes his environment (such as John McClane in Die Hard)?
- How does the Main Character prefer to solve his
problems, through external work or through internal work?
Clip: Example of Do-er
Main Character: Harry in Dirty Harry.
Clip: Example of Be-er
Main Character: William Munny in Unforgiven.
- 4. Main
Character Problem Solving Style:
Logical or Intuitive?
- Does your
Main Character use a Logical problem
solving style (such as Clarice
Starling in The Silence of the Lambs) or an Intuitive problem solving style (such as Tom Wingo in The Prince of Tides)?
- Does the Main Character fundamentally tend to see
things linearly or holistically?
Clips: Example of
problem solving styles reversed
as compared to expectations
based on gender roles: Agents
Mulder and Scully in The X Files.
Clips: Example of intuitive
problem solving style in a
male Main Character: Jack
Ryan in The Hunt for Red October.
Story Driver: Action or Decision?
- Is the
overall story driven by Actions
first (such as the time travelers arriving in The Terminator)
or Decisions first (such
as Daniel Hillard's decision to impersonate a woman in Mrs.
- Which takes precedence over the
other in driving the plot, do Actions drive decisions or do
Decisions drive actions?
- One way
to determine the Story Driver is to look at the act turns.
- Another way to determine the Story Driver is to look for an
inciting event that "starts" the story.
This should be matched by a concluding event that wraps up
inciting event, concluding event, and act turn events should all be
of the same nature -- either driven by Actions or driven by
Clips: Example of Action
driven stories: Jaws, Star Wars.
Clip: Example of Decision
driven stories: The Godfather.
- 6. Story Limit:
Timelock or Optionlock?
your overall story brought to its climax by running
out of Time (such as the
18 days to save the earth in Armageddon) or by running
out of Options (such as
the detectives trying to stop a serial killer from completing his
mission of killing seven victims in a manner consistent with the
seven deadly sins in SE7EN [Seven])?
- The "size" or scope of
the story is determined by some form of limit. Even though the limit may seem to be artificial when seen
from the outside, it is -- by definition -- essential to the story.
What happens when this limit is met?
- A: Reaching the limit
indicates or brings about the climax of the story—the climax being
the final attempt to resolve the Overall Story's inequity.
Timelock or Optionlock
- What brings your story to a climax, running out of
time or running out of options?
- A Timelock can take several forms:
A specific deadline,
such as 8:30 AM Friday morning.
A specific duration of
time, such as 24 hours.
- An Optionlock can take several
A specific number of
options, such as three wishes.
A specific set of
conditions, such as the alignment of the planets.
Clips: Example of Timelock
stories: 48 Hrs.,
Clip: Example of Optionlock
stories: The Verdict.
- 7. Story
Outcome: Success or
- Do your
character's efforts to achieve the overall story goal result in Success
(such as killing the shark in Jaws) or Failure
(such as not being able to open the dinosaur theme park in Jurassic
- The Story Outcome is a simple
assessment of whether or not the Story Goal is achieved.
If the Story Goal is
achieved, then the outcome is a Success.
If the Story Goal is
not achieved, the outcome is a Failure.
- This evaluation of the Story Goal
is completely unbiased and non-judgmental. There isn't any room for SHOULD the goal have been achieved,
or COULD the goal have been achieved, just WAS/IS the goal achieved.
Outcome: Success or Failure
- Is the Story Goal reached or not?
- 8. Story
Judgment: Good or
- Does the
Main Character resolve his personal problems and feel Good (such as Luke finally trusting his skills in Star Wars)
or not resolve them and feel Bad
(such as Clarice Starling still being haunted by her childhood
memories in The Silence of the Lambs)?
- Similar to the Story Goal, but
focused more on the Main Character is the question of the Story
- While wrestling with his personal
issues, the MC will either hold on steadfastly to his world view, or
go through a significant paradigm shift and change his world view.
- The question is whether or not this
changing or holding onto his world view resolves his central
If it resolves the
inequity, then the judgment is deemed Good.
If it does not resolve
the inequity and he remains angst ridden, then the judgment is
Good or Bad
- Does the Main Character work out his angst or not?
- What is interesting about the Story
Outcome and the Story Judgment are how they work independently to
provide meaning to the story argument, yet also work together to
create additional meaning for the audience.
Clip: Example of Failure/Bad
Clips: Example of Success/Bad
stories: Remains of
the Day, The Silence of the Lambs.
Clip: Example of Failure/Good
stories: Rain Man.
Clip: Example of Success/Good
stories: Star Wars.
These definitions are based on concepts found in the book, “Dramatica:
A New Theory of Story.” Dramatica
is a theory of story developed by Melanie Anne Phillips and
Chris Huntley, as well as a software program based on many of
the theory’s concepts and algorithms.
the Anatomy of Positive Experience
Positive experiences are the basic building block of the ability to
be happy, inner strengths, perseverance, positive attitude, the capacity
to love... This presentation discusses a temporal model of an anatomy
of positive experience and explores the possiblity that the same
pattern that exists for positive experiences may apply to story as well.
- Plenary: Touching the heart; Heart
warming as a Verb; milking the human tear duct and pulling heart
strings. Rob Kall
- Pre-conf: (40 min).
- Joseph Campbell, Storyteller
Stephen and Robin Larsen
- In this brief excursion into notable mythologist's inner creative
workshop, the Larsens explain how Campbell was guilty of just what
religion professor Wendy Doniger accused him of: "Revelling in
the Myths". From Campbell's early romance with Native American
stories, in his life, Campbell literally climbed a ladder of
narratives from the Paleolithic shamans to James Joyce.
Learn how myth informs and instructs creativity, and the background
to the spellbinding scholar-bard who appears in the Bill Moyers
- The Four Winds of the Goddess
Stephen and Robin Larsen
The original of this marvelous African fable is told in the Song of
the Stars, the book of stories of a great African holy man,
Vusumazulu Credo Mutwa, edited by Stephen Larsen. In a mythic
re-enactment using masks crafted by Robin Larsen, the story is told
of the beautiful fertility goddess Nomkumbulwana to the depths of
the earth where she is ensorcelled and held by her evil sister
Nomhoyi. The birds convene a parliament and create magical tornadoes
that rescue the goddess. the Larsens discuss both the ancient myths
and the use of masks in mythmaking.
Workshop: (2 hours)
- The Masks of Creative Mind
Stephen and Robin Larsen
Starting from William Butler Yeats' marvelous A Vision, the Larsens
explore how four principles, Will, Mask, Creative Mind and Body of
Fate supervene in all dramas. Understanding this mythic structure,
the participant is invited to develop a story using this Hermetic
structure. In particular the Larsens focus on the role of Mask in
Imagination, and its effect on Creative mind. Participants will be
invited to speak in "The Voice of the Dreamtime,." and
both analyze and create tales using this method.
Stephen and Robin Larsen have been lecturing and giving workshops
together in the United States and internationally since the 1970's.
The focus of their work is on personal mythology, shamanism,
relationship and the creative imagination, which they explore
through the medium of their own male-female dialogue. The Larsens
are co-directors of the Center for Symbolic Studies, a
not-for-profit educational and personal growth center in the Hudson
Valley of New York.
- Stephen Larsen, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Psychology (SUNY).
He currently directs Stone Mountain Counseling Center and
Neurofeedback Services, which provides both psychotherapy and
biofeedback, specializing in disorders of the nervous system. He is
the author of The Shaman's Doorway (Harper and Row 1976, Station
Hill 1988, and Inner Traditions 1999)--still in print after 26
years; The Mythic Imagination (Bantam 1990, Inner Traditions 1998);
and he joined his wife Robin as editors of Emanuel Swedenborg: A
Continuing Vision (Swedenborg Foundation 1988). For more than twenty
years students and friends of the late mythologist Joseph Campbell,
the Larsens co-authored his biography, A Fire in the Mind (Doubleday
1991, and Inner Traditions 2002); as well as The Fashioning of
Angels (Chrysalis 2000). Stephen is also the editor of Swedenborg's
Spiritual Psychology (Swedenborg Foundation 1989), Song of the
Stars: The Lore of a Zulu Shaman with Credo Mutwa (Station Hill and
Inner Traditions), and Forest of Visions with Alex Polari de Alverga
Robin Larsen, Ph.D., is an artist, maker of assemblages and masks;
and an art historian specializing in comparative iconography and
ritual art. Her artwork is exhibited regularly and is included in
numerous collections and published books. She directs the
performance and festivals programs, and the outdoor adventure
programs for youth at the center at the Center for Symbolic Studies,
at the She is currently working with Stephen on An Alchemical Angel,
a book of her artwork and his poetry. You can find out more about
the Larsen's work at
their website mythmind.com or mythmind.org; or through the Center
for Symbolic Studies, 845-658-8540; or Stone
Mountain Counseling Center.
- Pitching Through Story: Oral Communication Skills for the Very
- Doug Lipman
- When you need to make an oral pitch in a short time, you naturally
pay attention to every word. But what about the non-verbal aspects
of your communication? In this workshop, I'll teach you to maximize
the impact of your presentation, including words, non-verbal oral
communication elements, and an overall concern for speaking in a way
that stimulates your listeners to imagine. You'll learn a framework
for developing oral material, engaging all the senses, finding the
key images that spark your listeners' imaginations, and learning to
integrate all these in a story-based presentation that supports your
key purpose. Whether you're looking to pitch a screenplay, gain a
colleague's cooperation, or interpret a quarterly report to those
who work for you, you'll gain a new awareness of how to communicate
any idea or vision infectiously.
- Pre-conf Intro to Story Title:
- The Six Properties of Oral Storytelling Doug Lipman
- Oral storytelling is its own art form. It has much in common
with other narrative arts, but has distinct properties.
Understanding these properties allows you to use oral storytelling
to its best advantage and sheds light on other forms of narrative,
as well. In this short presentation, you'll not only learn the
essential qualities of oral storytelling, you'll learn to avoid
the five most frequent pitfalls that await the beginning
- Plenary Session:
- Emptying the Story Reed
- Doug Lipman
- Subtitle: A Process for Accessing the Effortless Source of Story
- Stories are composed primarily of images - visual, auditory,
kinesthetic, tactile, etc. Many story creators begin with an
image, then undertake the long "slogging" process of
building a shaped story around it
- But what if we let the "image-making" part of our
minds stay in charge much longer into the process? What if we
allow the story to remain in the changable realm of imagination,
until the entire story has been imagined?
For the last year, I've been experimenting with a process for
radically submitting myself to the direction that my "imagery
mind" chooses. The result? Original stories that seem to exhibit
more vitality with less effort.
My process has four basic parts. The first three parts require a
listener or "witness." First, I "set an intention"
for the imagery session. For example, I may say to myself, "I
would like a Hasidic (Jewish mystical) story." Or, "I intend
to receive images that will suggest a title for my screenplay."
Second, I allow images to enter my mind. During this part, I follow
five "rules": 1. I say nothing until an image (in any
sensory mode) comes to me. 2. I accept and describe - aloud - every
image that comes. 3. If any thoughts or feelings seem to be crowding
out the images, I may have brief "tantrums" (i.e., shorter
than one minute), during which I complain about the images I've
received, the process, etc. 4. I do not analyze the images; I only
describe them. 5. I allow new images to "overwrite" previous
ones. If I imagine a scene happening one way and then later imagine it
happening another way, I allow the second image to replace or revise
the first. Third, I ask my listener for verbal appreciations of the
images I described aloud. I may also ask my listener, "What part
of the story would you like to experience more of?"
I repeat these first three steps, often over multiple sessions,
until my original intention seems fulfilled. Finally, I apply my usual
processes for turning images into a rough draft, then into successive
I have taught this process to people creating poems and business
scenarios, as well as stories. I hope to learn its pitfalls and
limitations as well as its further applications. I also hope to learn
how to teach it to people with a variety of learning and writing
In the end, this process involves choosing a "reed" of
intention that I point in a chosen direction. Then I follow simple
rules to empty that reed so that it can be a conduit for the easy flow
Story: finding the source of creativity.
- Sharon Maas
- Where do stories originate? Why
do some stories fall flat, while others draw you into them from the
very first word or scene? Why do some characters feel like
cardboard, while others walk right off the page or screen, and into
your heart? How can you, as a storyteller, create worlds that seem
so real the “real” world disappears?
These are the
questions I will try to answer in this workshop. I believe that the very
best stories are not constructed by the conscious mind, but created
unconsciously in the depths of the mind. That there is an innate
intelligence in us that can piece together all the elements that make a
story which not only works technically, but
sparkles with that ineffable Factor X – a magic story. This is
Natural storytellers are people who can access that source of
creativity at will. Stories
seem to flow out of their fingertips, out of their hearts, and captivate
their readers or their audiences.
We say that such
people have a gift for storytelling – that they are born with it. I
believe that there’s more to it than that. I believe that whereas the
source of creativity is latent in us all, most of us have simply not
learned to access it., or have forgotten how to do so.
I believe it is
possible to consciously understand the creative process, and consciously
access the unconscious.
If you feel the
urge to tell stories, if you feel that wonderful stories that are all
locked up within you and that all that is missing is some kind of a
magic formula, an open sesame, which will get them to start flowing out,
then this workshop is for you. I can’t give you a magic formula, but I
can help you break the barriers that keep you from your own magic. For I
have been through it all, and have a lot to share.
As a child,
telling stories seemed second nature to me. I was writing fiction when I
was eight; there was nothing I loved better! I was one of those children
who could sit looking out the window for hours, lost in exciting worlds
far away from the boring here-and-now.
I was brought to my senses by my elders, and lost it – for many
decades, no more stories came, for reality had taken over.
And I was desperately unhappy with that reality.
However, my time
was not wasted, for I was learning. I travelled to India, and lived in
an Ashram. I learned meditation. I learned to still the mind. I learned
to plunge in beneath the surface, and find the treasures buried there.
And finally, in my late forties, those stories began to emerge – fully
formed in spirit, ready to be crafted - by the conscious, rational mind
- into workable, well-structured, publishable novels. Novels with the
potential, as it turned out, to be best-sellers.
I would like to
share some of what I have learned with you. With a minimum of theory and
a maximum of practical, easy, exercises, you will find out some of the
secrets of tapping the unconscious mind. You will learn to link your
creative mind to your writing hand. You will learn, that, as Dorothea
Brande (Becoming a Writer) put it, “There is a magic to writing”…
and that that magic is learnable.
- Topic Maps for Story Telling
- Jack Park
- Like the index of a book, topic maps provide a navigation tool
for locating elements in a story. Beyond the simple indexical
functions of a book's index, topic maps provide tools which enable
the description of relationships between the enumerated topics.
Topic maps, like the index of a book, are created
"above" the information resources -- the content of the
book or story. The talk will sketch the architecture of a topic
map in the context of stories.
- Introduction to Augmented Story Telling
- Jack Park
- Think of story telling as the presentation of interrelated
threads or ideas. Think of the interaction of listeners, those who
experience the story as it unfolds. Augmented Story Telling is a
process that is inspired by notions expressed by Douglas Engelbart
in his quest to augment the collective IQ of humans working to
solve complex, urgent problems. This process is facilitated by the
existence of two conceptual spaces, one in which the story is
told, and another in which elements of the story are discussed and
argued. Both spaces are linked to facilitate navigation between
context (the story) and argument. The talk will sketch the
architecture of an augmented story telling space.
- Pre-conference talk:
Story Mind: Using Psychology to Structure Your Story
Story Mind model of story structure is not just a theoretical
curiosity. In fact, it is
a practical tool for generating ideas, building the dramatic
foundation of a story, finding structural holes and inconsistencies,
and filling and fixing those problems.
The Story Mind model can be used either before writing to
create a completely detailed dramatic blueprint or framework, or it
can be used after a draft has been written to find and refine the
structure already partially formed in the work.
presentation, will provide tips, tricks, techniques, and tools for
story development, explore the nature and components of the Story Mind
Model, and outline the full extent of the scope and usefulness of this
new way of thinking about stories.
- Plenary Talk:
- Beyond the Story Mind: Reflecting Story Structure Back on our
structure not only teaches us about ourselves, but about the way
our minds work. Using
the Story Mind model of structure, we can go a step further and
filter our own mental processes out of our perspective of the
universe to discover patterns previously hidden behind our own
point of view.
Story Mind: Exploring the Model of Psychology Hidden in
Story has a mind of its own - its own personality; its own
psychology. A story’s
personality is developed through an author’s subject matter and
style, but it’s psychology is determined by its underlying
dramatic structure. Structure
is the carrier wave on which the passionate program is transmitted
from author to audience. When
it is done properly, it is invisible. But when it is flawed it adds static and can even prevent
transmission of the program altogether.
Story Mind model of story structure was developed over a 15 year
period. It is unique in
that it goes beyond seeing individual characters as having their own
psychologies and proposes that the story has a psychology of its own,
as if it were a single, thinking entity itself.
characters are seen as facets of the Story Mind - its conflicting
drives or motivations, theme is explored as the Story Mind’s
troubled value standards, plot describes the problem solving methods
of the mind externalized and made tangible, and Genre explore the
overall outlook or perspective of each story’s particular mind.
workshop outlines the components of the Story Mind Model of structure,
how they interrelate, and the dynamic forces that wind up the dramatic
tension of a story.
- The Hollywood Film as American Dream; Greek
Mythic Tragedy vs. Bible Hero Success
- Ashraf Ramzy
- Molenweg , 1182 CK Amstelveen,
P.O. Box 271, 1180 AG Amstelveen, Netherlands
- T +31 (0) 20 641 7191 F
+31(0) 20 641 4006 M 0621 548 962
- E firstname.lastname@example.org
“We live in a
Credocracy. A system where belief governs our actions. Stories are the
currency of belief. And therefore it is vital we understand the stories
we tell, especially those we tell on a global scale. Hence my interest,
not in the cinema of the Ukraine or even that of India, but in the
Hollywood Narrative System. Hollywood tells Stories that touch people
everywhere. Why? How? My personal quest within Narratology is to
understand how Hollywood tells it Story, and what Story it tells in the
first place. This voyage of discovery led me through 2500 years of
dramatic structure; from Aristotle to Field, from Brunetiere to McKee.
I learned that
structure is the story of the story; or how the Mythology reveals
itself. I saw how Dutch Filmmakers who imposed Hollywood Narrative
Structure (Field et al) still told European Stories. And experienced
first hand how the American Story and the European Story are
fundamentally different. I learned stories do not exist in a vacuum but
that they form part of a greater network of stories a society attaches
great value to, believes in, aspires to, identifies with.
theorists and narratologists would have us belief that Hollywood
re-enacts Freudian psychoanalytical i.e. Oedipal patterns. I believe
that the Hollywood film is rooted in and an expression of an underlying
belief system, or a Mythology, that we refer to as “the American
Dream”. There we have to comparative sets: the Dramatic Structure and
Mythology of Greek Tragedy versus the Dramatic Structure and Mythology
of the Hollywood Film.
The conclusion of my
comparative analysis of the American Dream and the Greek Mythology
reveals that they are diametrically opposed; mutually exclusive. In
Greek tragedy, the Hero is guilty of the worst crimes imaginable within
his universe and his presence is the cause of the crisis of the
community and through killing him, peace and order is restored. In this
pattern we recognise what Rene Girard calls the story of persecution and
scapegoat mechanismes. Like lynching, like pogroms, like the
In the Hollywood
Narrative system, the Hero is innocent, he is not the cause of the
crisis in the community, maybe he exposes it, it is his presence that
restores order and peace. We are not dealing with a Tragic or Oedipal
Hero, we are dealing with a Triumphant of Messianic Hero.
The Narrative Logic
of the American Dream, the Success Story, thus is rooted, not in Greek
Myth as European Film scholars would have you believe, but in the Bible.
So what? Well,
Tragic Myth is nothing more or nothing less than the reconstruction of
the "Scapegoat Mechanisme" or the Ritual of Human Sacrifice as
a means to restore order within a community. The belief that the
Different Other is the cause of your misery and by killing him you
remove the cause of your suffering. That is the root meaning of
Catharsis: Cleansing, Purification. That is the psychology of lynching,
of pogroms, of the Holocaust and of the Ethnic cleansing in the Balkan
recently. As a matter of fact the logic of violence is rooted within the
The Bible opposes
that belief and that ritual. As a matter of fact the Bible exposes the
lie of the guilt of the Scapegoat. In a nutshell; Greek Myth makes the
audience side with the Collective Violators. While the Bible makes its
audience side with the Innocent Individual. Greek Myth is about "Socialisation".
Bible = Hollywood is about Individuation.
The influence of
Hollywood has been to drastically transform our European notion of who
the Hero is and what Heroism is all about.
There is much
more to American Storytelling, than Campbell's Hero's Journey. Hollywood
re-enacts biblical narrative patterns and principles. In doing so
it spreads a liberating message, a message of comfort and recognition to
It is a very
exciting view; it explains so clearly the differences between America
and Europe and the rest of the world for that matter. Did you know that
in Europe, the Individual is not recognized by the State? Did you know
that in the Arab world nor in the Asian world, the concept of separate
individualism exists? There you are nothing unless you are part of a
collective. No right to live without it/outside it. Therefore the
American Story is dangerous to the powers that be, it empowers
Individual Dignity. Precisely that quality that Repressive,
collectivistic systems try to rob people of. And of course it is
dangerous to those who would hide in the dark and moist Anonymity of the
Mob, like the Womb that it is or behind the maternal skirt of the Great
Mother State who protects them from cradle to grave.
The Power of Storytelling to Ignite Imagination
Presenter: Richard Stone
For years I have been teaching people how to
use storytelling to heal, to grieve, to lead, and to build teamwork.
While working on a new concept for a game show for television based on
imagination and storytelling, not knowledge, I have come to realize
that storytelling accomplishes something even more exciting—the very
act of orally creating and telling a story taps into the roots of
imagination. In fact, when given the opportunity to spin a story out
of nothing, the brain engages the senses, the emotions, and the
intellect in ways that other approaches to innovation simply don’t.
The outcome is always surprising and quite frequently magical. In this
talk, I will discuss how storytelling taps into the depths of
imagination through the enactment of stories, and how it is the
imaginal pathway to invention and innovation.
2 hour workshop
In this experiential workshop, I will show
participants how to tap into the depths of their imagination through
the enactment of stories. You’ll discover new ideas for any endeavor—whether
it’s writing a screenplay or coming up with a concept for a new
product. If you’ve been stymied on a current assignment, wondering
where to find a breakthrough idea for the next one, or simply want to
expand the horizons of your mind, through Story Jamming you’ll
discover how to unleash the power of your thinking and imagination.
Realities of True Myths: How story explains and enhances the world
around us and within us.
Pamela Jaye Smith
It’s said that a
true myth will be true on at least seven levels.
This presentation explores a number of ancient myths and modern
stories (including quotes, illustrations and video clips) to see how
they approach basic truths in the areas of cosmology, geology,
physiology, psychology, sociology, history, and philosophy.
According to the
teachings of the many Mystery Schools (Hindu, Egyptian, Celtic,
Kabalistic, Mithraic, and more) the inherent truths of the macrocosm
and the microcosm were crafted into compelling stories by the great
teachers. Heroes and
heroines, love and war, friends and family, exploration, tragedy and
enlightenment -- all are touched on in the world’s great mythic
stories. Also inherent in
the plot-lines, character portrayals, and imagery are truths about
geology and the movement of continents, astrology and the movement of
stars, sociology and the movement of cultures across the continents...
and much more.
Just as the ancients
consciously crafted their stories to preserve truths in the face of
cultural decline, wars and natural disasters, so too can we as modern
story-tellers consciously imbed these “home truths” in our
stories. To do so will
only enhance their drama and ratchet up the entertainment value since
these various levels of truth (even if symbolic or subliminal) will
resonate with the deepest parts of ourselves which are already
fine-tuned and hard-wired to respond.
Durrell crafted his Alexandria Quartet to express the concept
of Einstein’s time-space continuum.
L. Frank Baum in the Wizard of Oz books and Frank
Herbert’s Dune series embody the philosophy of the Wisdom
teachings along with psychology and
in the latter, sociology and geology.
Gladiator gives us history and A Beautiful Mind
explores physiology. The
classical stories of the Labors of Hercules and Ulysses’ return from
Troy to Ithaca both reflect cosmology, physiology and psychology as we
trip with those heroes through the constellations and the chakras.
Inspired by these
examples and more, we’ll look at ways to work the great truths --
and questions -- of life into our new
The third leg of the
story triangle: Art, Science & Philosophy
Pamela Jaye Smith
Why are some stories
dynamic and others simply fizzle on the page?
Why are we still telling the seemingly simple classics to great
success, yet that major studio multi-million dollar movie with three
super-stars languishes on the video rental shelves?
The ancient Wisdom,
perpetuated through the myths of all cultures, teaches the value of
balance and integration. Three
aspects believed essential to all effective stories are Art, Science
and Philosophy. Each of
these is represented in some degree in every story.
What makes a story work is a vibrant balance and brilliant
integration of these elements, resulting in stories that explain the
world around us and within us, inspire us to live with wisdom, and
infuse us with the pure essence of beauty.
Storytellers are not
necessarily conscious of creating this balance and some seem at times
to be guided by some higher vision, or as Solieri commented about
Mozart, “Like he was taking dictation from God.”
Yet we know from investigating the mechanics of art that though
many storytellers exhibit a natural talent to weld these three things
together, others struggle mightily to do so.
What’s the optimal
shape of the story triangle?
proportion goes in and what comes out?
How does the balance of these three aspects affect the
effectiveness of stories? The
first Star Wars movie had a dynamic balance among art, science
and philosophy and was a great success.
The fourth in the series, The Phantom Menace, was mostly
science, little art, and abstruse economic philosophy and is widely
regarded as a critical failure. The
60’s Avengers TV series was fabulous; the recent Avengers
movie (in spite of three mega superstars) was dismal.
The Spiderman movie is a success in great part due to
the strength of its philosophy in the art-science-philosophy triangle.
We’ll explore such
questions as how much science (technology) does it take to ruin the
art? When does
philosophy become preaching or propaganda?
How much do you the story-teller need to know about the
theories to practice the arts? How
can you align your art and your philosophy ala medium-is-the-message?
ArchePaths: Five archetypal paths to character illumination.
Pamela Jaye Smith
Magician, Scientist, Lover.
According to the ancient Mystery Schools an individual must
master, balance and integrate these paths into a five-pointed star,
the symbol of the illuminated human.
Each of these unique
Paths presents its own challenges and rewards to the individual.
Besides being an exceptionally valuable tool for
self-improvement, these ArchePaths also provide rich and realistic
details for crafting your story characters.
A character can arc
through the three levels of each Path from the Novice to the Adept to
the Master. They can
struggle on either side of the Path: the Mental or the Emotional.
And within a story they will interact with other characters on
other Paths, creating great dramatic conflict.
Using this template
to enhance your character development can help you fulfill some of the
basic necessities of story-telling: “Familiarity and Surprise” and
“Sympathy, Danger and Salvation”.
By aligning your characters to the profile of their ArchePath
you can plug into the Familiarity of the ArchePaths yet put your own
individual spin on it and give your audience Surprise.
Using the vulnerable and/or positive aspects of a character you
can gain audience Sympathy for them.
Using their fears and weaknesses you can design a believable
Danger into which to cast them. Using
their strengths and goals you can lead them towards an appropriate
Examples of the
ArchePaths will be drawn from myths and media and will include
illustrative video clips.
will receive Character Profiles for each ArchePath, including:
Fears, Strengths, Weaknesses, Styles of Speech and Action, Symbols,
examples from myth, history and story.
From this workshop
you’ll gain a new set of classical story-telling tools to enhance
your craft and illuminate your art.
- Intro to Story -
- PSYCHOACOUSTICS AND STORY (20-40min.)
- DAVID SONNENSCHEIN
- How does sound affect us in a dramatic way? What kind of reactions
do our ears, body and brain have to the sonic environment that can
contribute to creating emotions? By applying psychoacoustic and
Gestalt principles, sound provides subconscious stimuli, subtext and
powerful impact in storytelling.
- PLENARY -
- STORY ANALYSIS FROM A SOUND DESIGN PERSPECTIVE (20-30 min.)
- DAVID SONNENSCHEIN
- When the spine of the story, antagonistic elements and emotional
arcs of the characters are clearly defined, sound can dramatically
contribute to the audience's involvement. Techniques including
bipolar pairs, visual-sound
- mapping, sound effects with emotional envelopes, and human-animal
combos will be discussed.
- WORKSHOP -
- SOUND DESIGN IN STORY (2 hours)
- DAVID SONNENSCHEIN
- Using examples from clips of well-known films, principles of
psychoacoustics, sound-image counterpoint and audio sculpting will
be reviewed. Techniques of bipolar pairs, visual-sound mapping,
sound effects with emotional envelopes, and human-animal combos
(introduced in the Plenary talk) will be applied with audience
participation in selecting the most suggestive, intense or funny
elements of sound design for a story spontaneously provided by a
Being Story: Narrative as a Guide to Self Discovery
Robert Burdette Sweet
The essential requirements for a
successful story—and there are only three—simply put and in
hierarchical order, are Significance (the universality of the
content), Structure (the shape or form), and Style (the
imprint of the writer’s personality in relation to the time frame
within which the work is created).
My suggestion is that our lives, too, succeed or fail depending
on the attention we pay to these three story essentials and
particularly to their hierarchical order.
For instance, to what extent is our own
existence dependent on a universal significance relevant to all human
beings regardless of time, place or culture?
Is there a pattern to our lives which can give shape and form
to whatever universals we might espouse?
And because style is our personal imprint, have we attempted to
discover who we are.
Writing a story, then—which we thought
to be a meaningful hobby at the least and at the most an occupational
absurdity—can actually be seen as a method for unmasking our
existence and making it realizable.
Writing a story presents us with a kind of unified field theory
for being, one whose guidelines, whose patterns and concerns, come
from within and do not impose themselves from without.
Comprehending what comprises a story can free us from
institutional forces whose existence depends on trying to alter,
rather than aiding us in discovering, who we are and who we can be.
What is charisma, after all, but not being afraid to accept who
we are? And yet most of us are afraid.
To write a story is to find out who you are, possibly to become
charismatic—first on the page, learning to trust story guidelines as
a form of practice, then daring the stage of life.
"Telling Our Master Stories"
Every story that grows out of a life is worth telling. But some
stories are more life-shaping than others. In order to make sense of
the tangle of stories that compose a life, it is helpful to identify
the master story or stories by which all other stories are understood
Master stories have certain characteristics and serve specific
functions. In encouraging people to identify their master stories we
can help them to make better sense of their lives and to live more
purposefully. The concept of master stories can also help us
understand seemingly intractable conflicts between individuals,
groups, ethnicities, and nations. Understanding that many serious
conflicts are in fact story collisions can help us find ways to create
new stories in which former combatants can both live.
"Leaving a Spiritual Legacy: Telling the Master Stories of Your
Each of us wants it to matter that we have lived. At some point in
our lives, we move from an emphasis on success to a search for
significance, from the accumulation of valuables to reflection on
values. Memoir writing
has long been an important way to record and preserve a life, but
the highest form of memoir can do more than document and entertain.
Stories can become legacies if we tell the right ones in the right way
to the people we
This workshop will focus on the concept of spiritual legacies and on
story as their natural vehicle. It will discuss key terms and
concepts, help you generate a list of your life-defining stories,
articulate your core values
and connect them to your master stories‹the stories that tell you
who you are, why you are here, and how you
Handout for workshop
- LEAVING A SPIRITUAL LEGACY
- Every life is significant.
Every life conveys a spiritual legacy--for good or for ill.
Spiritual legacies are most powerfully preserved and passed
on in stories. Everyone has the right and
the responsibility to tell those stories to the ones they care about
- Below are some questions for reflection
and writing. When you respond to these questions, tie your answers
as much as possible to specific stories from your life.
Abstract answers are worthwhile but less powerful than those
arising from life-stories--especially from the characters in your
honest--none of us lives up perfectly to our own standards (unless
those standards are low). But also treat the characters in your
stories, including yourself, with compassion, fairness, and respect.
- WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR
LEGACY TO BE?
- On September 11, 2001, many people made
last calls to those they loved from airplanes and burning offices.
If you had to make that call, what would you want to say, and
- Envision a
great-grandchild that you will never meet who needs to know about
you. What do you want them to know about you?
- What do you think your legacy would be
if you died tomorrow? Are
you content with that legacy?
What are your core values, and how are those core values seen
in the way you live your life?
Would those who know you recognize what you write?
What would you hope is said about you at your funeral?
What are some things you feel passionately about?
What are three lessons life has taught you?
What are the stories behind each?
What are five significant things you believe to be true? What life experiences
- taught you each of
- What have you done that you hope has
made the world a slightly better place?
- What did you once believe was important
that you have changed your mind
- about? What caused
What have you learned is important that you once paid little
attention to? What
- caused the change?
What is a way in which the world is better than when you were
- How do you see God differently now than
you once did?
- Have you or someone you know ever shown
moral courage (doing the right thing
- under difficult
- WHAT HAS BEEN THE LEGACY OF
OTHERS TO YOU?
Who, specifically, has taught you important lessons in the
past? What did you
learn? Through what
circumstances? What story or story exemplifies this?
Who in your extended family has played an important part in
What teacher, friend, person of faith, or co-worker?
What character from history, literature, the Bible or other
sacred writings has meant a lot to you?
What did someone do for you that changed how you thought or
felt about life?
- About yourself?
- What would you like to say to someone
from your past who is now dead?
- Who have you read that has provided a
spiritual legacy for you? What
did you learn
- Alexander Solzhenitsyn (from The Gulag Archipelago):
- "What about the main thing in life,
all its riddles? If you
want, I’ll spell it out for you right now.
Do not pursue what is illusory--property and position--all
that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade,
and is confiscated in one fell night.
Live with a steady superiority over life--don’t be afraid
of misfortune, and do not yearn after happiness; it is, after all,
all the same: the bitter doesn’t last forever, and the sweet never
fills the cup to overflowing. It
is enough if you don’t freeze in the cold and if thirst and hunger
don’t claw at your insides . . . . whom should you envy?
And why? Our
envy of others devours us most of all.
Rub your eyes and purify your heart--and prize above all else
in the world those who love you and wish you well.
Do not hurt them or scold them, and never part from any of
them in anger; after all, you simply do not know: it might be the
last act before your arrest, and that will be how you are imprinted
on their memory."
- Frederick Buechner (from Now
"There is no event so commonplace but that God is
present within it, always hiddenly, always leaving you room to
recognize him or not to recognize him, but all the more
fascinatingly because of that, all the more compellingly and
hauntingly . . . . Listen to your life.
See it for the fathomless mystery that it is.
In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement
and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden
heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key
moments, and life itself is grace."
- Pre-Conference Intro to Story Talk
- "Living and Leaving a Spiritual Legacy: The Centrality of
Story in a Meaningful Life."
- Daniel Taylor
- An overview of the centrality of story to understanding ourselves
and our place in the world. How story answers all of life's big
questions. Our need to find a story to live by, one in which we are
active characters. Living in a healthy story as the key to a
meaningful and satisfying life. Qualities of a healthy life story.
The role of "master stories" in our life.
- Chapter for the Story book:
- "In the Beginning God: Religious Faith as a Master
- Daniel Taylor
- Will explore the concept of master stories--ideological,
- personal. Investigate religious faith as a master story--one which
- a community and gives direction to a life. Look at some of the
- aspects of Judeo-Christian tradition. May touch on the tension
- religious and the secular ("the culture wars") as a
collision of stories and
- suggest more helpful paradigms of interaction.