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Where the Experts in the Worlds of Story Meet

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Originally Published on OpEdNews

Besides energy, story is the biggest business in the world. It includes books, movies, television, newspapers, magazines, video games, ministers talking to congregations, lawyers telling stories to juries, politicians weaving stories into their stump speeches and into speeches that try to persuade others to vote a certain way, psychologists helping patients understand the stories they are living, marketers defining their brands and selling their products with stories, managers using story to harvest priceless organizational information, consultants using story to help organizations understand problems and possibilities, storytellers, shamans, mythologists. Put them all together and they represent more business than medicine, food or transportation.

There’s only one place in the world where experts in all the different worlds of story come together, and that’s StoryCon, the summit meeting on the art, science and application of story.

It is not a writers conference. It is not a storytelling weekend of entertainment. It is a meeting where experts in all the different worlds of story come together to explore story from different perspectives.

Imagine science ignoring some aspect of life as omnipresent as air or water, breathing or walking. There would be a huge blind spot in the body of science. That’s what’s the story with STORY. There is no science of story-- no agreed upon terminology or concepts. The StoryCon Summit Meeting attempts to change that situation. It brings together a gathering of experts from all the worlds of story . They discuss the art, science and application of story, sharing their wisdom, knowledge and experience.

The goal is to take story to the next level, birthing a hybrid art/craft/science with agreed upon terminology, parameters, and dimensions, while providing meeting content which stimulates and satisfies both speakers and attendees with advanced, beyond-the-basics practical and visionary presentations

The meeting is being held in Palm Springs California, February 3rd and 4th, 2006,

The Storycon meeting is an incredible exemplification of the story of the blind wise men.
A group of blind wise sages were put in a room with something and had to figure out what it was.

One said "It’s a rope."

Another disagreed, saying, "No. It’s a big snake."

Another laughed, saying, "It’s obviously a tree trunk."

Others said it was a piece of rug, or a spear.

Finally one, lying on his back, reaching up, says, "It's a cow."

The fact is they were each touching different parts of the same animal-- an elephant-- the tail, trunk, leg, ear, tusk or belly.

And so it is at StoryCon, when a shaman and psychologist get together with a screenwriter, a corporate consultant, a mythologist and a neuroscientist. The come to the meeting to share and cross pollinate ideas, to better understand what makes stories tick, what makes them more powerful, what grabs people so they can’t go to sleep until they finish the novel or movie that has captured their attention.

They discuss how stories—movie scripts, novels—evoke archetypal, mythic images, symbols and aspects of the self that inspire and uplift the person experiencing the story. They explore the hypnotic dimensions of story, how it gradually lures the person into a world of empathy and imagination so they suspend disbelief and forget where they are and who they are for a brief while.

This year, some top screenwriting experts, a shaman who is also a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a business consultant, a neuroscientist, an expert on dreams and a political consultant are among the presenters. The attendees include writers, screenwriters, psychotherapists, teachers, social workers, corporate consultants and others who use story in their work.

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