The pieces are coming together.
A growing school of independent workshop presenters have taught tens of thousands of budding screenwriters, novelists, film and TV producers, directors and other writers their new models of story structure and story creation.
At least eight software programs have been designed to help writers build stories, with artificial intelligence prompting the writer to tap his or her unconscious resources for creative elements. Some story creation algorithms have already been patented.
At the same time, consultants have begun helping organizations by using stories to build community culture, team and customer relations, sales, visions, etc. But those applications are just starting to appear. A form of family therapy has been developed called Narrative therapy. It uses stories to heal. This is just the beginning.
At a recent Robert McKee workshop, attendees included three people from 60 Minutes, several more from MAD TV, over a dozen from America’s Most Wanted, and many others, among the close to 250 registrants (paying $300-$495 each) who were screenwriters, journalists, comedians, advertising copy writers, etc.
The entertainment world is already investing and committing heavily to the concepts described in the new story arts/sciences. We’re talking literally hundreds of billions of dollars of capital that are clearly being put into projects solidly moored in these new story "technologies" and algorithms.
None of the new breed of story model builders encountered-- the Einsteins and Curies of the Story Theory nuclear explosion -- have presented their ideas to psychologists or other scientists. Almost uniformly, these model builders-- Robert McKee, (author of Story Structure book and a very hot workshops series,) James Bonnet (Author of Stealing Fire From the Gods, a blend of Jung, Campbell and Bonnets own unique Golden Circle Model,) Melanie Phillips (co-author of Dramatica software) have told me they have not presented their material to a group of psychologists or other scientists. They teach their art to writers.
It is time for a cross fertilization of ideas, time for the coming together of the leaders in the fields of fiction, screenwriting, journalism, narrative therapies, narratologists, programmers developing story creation algorithms, mythologists, folklorists, positive psychologists, game developers, neuroscientists who study how the brain mediates narrative and the creation of stories and myths, practitioners of the healing arts who use journaling and narrative and stories-- and the rewriting of stories to help heal.
StoryCon will help the science of story take quantum steps towards becoming better understood, towards becoming a field which is alive and breathing, lighting parts of our understanding of what it is to be human which have been in the dark, and lighting them with new technologies. It will also explore the risks inherent in applying reductionism to one of the, if not the oldest human art forms.
is to get all of these diverse people talking to each other to build a salon -like community (inspired by the Paris model of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas) of sharing of ideas which will stimulate new ideas, new understandings, connections, creations and applications of the art and science of story in all aspects of life, art and healing.
Writers should leave with a better understanding, not just of different theoretical models of story construction, structure, the Hero’s Journey, but also of the anthropological, mythical, archetypal and psychological considerations which contribute to stories and how people react to them.
Psychologists and other healers will discover that some of the exciting new developments in writing relating to story structure, the Hero’s Journey, the story cycle, etc., have profound relevance to the practitioner of psychotherapy. It is said that all life is story-- the story we tell ourselves. Understanding new ways to dissect people’s story’s and to help them reconstruct them can help enhance the practice of psychotherapy. We believe that the new ideas developed by writers need to be heard by psychologists, and that writers will also benefit from hearing about how psychology is working with story in healing and helping people grow.
And then there’s the role of story in journalism-- print, TV, etc., and how there are those who believe that the stories we tell ourselves affect the potential we have to change the world, to make it a better place.
Lots of sub-plots will be going on at this meeting. Story Theoreticians who are novelists and screenwriters will present their models to psychologists. Therapists will present their cases to fiction experts, seeking diverging plot ideas. Theme park executives will explore ways they can use story concepts to build new "experiences."
Stories touch the heart and the spirit, and play essential roles in awakening. So we will also explore the role and the responsibility of the story creator.and of stories and how they can change the planet, and humanity.
Advertisers will learn about how to take different narrative approaches to engage consumers.
Overall, the art and science of story will take massive first steps towards becoming better understood, towards becoming a field which is alive and breathing, lighting parts of our understanding of what it is to be human which have been in the dark, and lighting them with new technologies.
Rob Kall, StoryCon c/o Futurehealth Inc.
211 N. Sycamore St. Newtown, PA 18940
215-504-1700 EST fax 215-860-5374
Specific Benefits for:
Grow your skills and add new ideas to your writing palette:
We expect to have over 30 speakers presenting at this meeting, possibly as many as 40-50 speakers (speaking for between 15 and 50 minutes.) We are creating the meeting primarily for our speakers, and the audience will sit in and listen to the dialogue. We see it as our job to create an intellectually stimulating salon-type, temporary community, where we challenge speakers to stretch and grow. Unlike other venues where speakers give their talk (their usual dog and pony show) to beginners and leave, this is an advanced meeting, where we want and expect speakers to stick around, listen to colleagues and give them feedback, and participate in the panel discussions which are a core part of the meeting.
This format is not for everyone. Each speaker gets a slot of time, with no introduction, no MC, and can take as much or as little of his time to introduce his or herself as he (she) likes (We’ll have detailed bios for all attendees in the program). Dress code is a required casual. We want to maximize open, cordial dialogue, to discourage conflict and ego grandstanding. If you enjoy a reputation as a prima donna, you may not like it here. The interesting thing is, in our other meeting, people with reps for ego and conflict have come, attended, and mellowed. The feel of the community seems to sink in. We will be doing some conference weaving to facilitate this happening.
This meeting is not a show or an expo, but rather, a meeting of professionals from different disciplines, with a goal of working together to take the art and science of story on a quantum leap to a new level, bridging the powers of tapping the unconscious, of creativity with the powers of systematizing, structure and scientific reductionism.
2) Present new material, no regular "dog-and-pony-show" talks.
3) Your topic should "stretch" you, so you take a bit of a risk, go outside of the regular, safe range you work in.
4) remember you are presenting to a multidisciplinary group, aiming at cross-fertilizing ideas
For those presenters who regularly offer workshops on writing, we will have a one day, pre-conference Story Writing Foundations course for attendees (free to speakers.) Presenters will speak for 15--60 minutes, giving a brief overview/teaser of what they teach in their regular courses. This will be audio and video taped for resale. We see it as sampler.-- a way for viewers/listeners to get an idea of the different presenters, so they can identify who they want further training with.
The conference will include an exhibit hall with books and software, for starters.
One of the best parts of the meeting will be the panel discussions. Here’s how they’ll work. A topic will be assigned for three or four people to open up. They will each have about 6-10 minutes to talk. Then, at least 30 more minutes will be kept open for discussion from the floor, where most of the other speakers will also be sitting, listening and hopefully ready to chime in and participate. These ad hoc participants can join the table at the front of the audience. It is not uncommon for Rob to sidle over to a number of speakers and encourage them to add their ideas to the discussion. If, for example, a panel is scheduled for 75 minutes, and three panelists start things off, talking 8 minutes each, and then people from the floor are given three minutes each, that allows for 15-17 more speakers, so it is possible to have 20 panelists in the front of the room by the end of the session. This can get quite lively and always interesting.
As singlehanded organizer of StoryCon, I claim the right to rant, at the bottom of the page. Periodially, as I respond to e-mails and have conversations, I'll save a nugget of ranthood. Here we go.
It’s strange how medical
sciences receive billions in funding . I believe that if we can get the
bureaucracy to see story as a science with benefits to humanity, then perhaps
the funding will change from the pocket change that story gets from the
endowment for the arts to a more substantial sum, in the billions. We are our
stories. It’s time we started investing in them and treating them like the
asset and opportunities they offer us. August 15, 2002 to Bailey Barash bbarash