Monday, December 17, 2007

Storytelling Tip #3

Check your facial expressions and body language in a story with a mirror or a trusted listener.

When I first began telling the story Unanana, I had to check to see if the expression I was using to show the baboon face looked enough like one. I tested which baby face worked by asking a live audience (risky!). This is where making faces in the mirror endlessly as a kid pays off.

Notice that I say "trusted listener." When you're first working on a story, it's just a tiny newborn, not ready for the cruel world, not ready for critique. Be sure that the person you're asking for advice is supportive.

Although I don't much like to watch videos of myself, they can be helpful in seeing unconscious movement and physical tics. More on essential and inessential gestures soon.

3 comments:

Granny Sue said...

I remember once my husband videotaped me when I'd been telling for a year or so. I was appalled at how often I giggled, how fast I talked, and at the unnecessary movements--I looked hyper! It was humbling, but I learned a lot from that tape---before I burned it...

PriscillaHowe said...

This sounds all too familiar. I had a hard time watching my DVD, even though I've cut out lots of the physical noise. Maybe that's another point--we can be hypercritical of our own work as well.

mark m said...

I know not everyone cares to, but I'm sold on videotaping myself. The camera sees all. I'm amazed at how often my hands are pawing at the air uselessly or not providing the gesture the story is calling for. And studying the tape is such a nice change-of-pace in that last week of rehearsing. Great blogs, Priscilla, from one working storyteller to another.