Sunday, January 27, 2008

Making a living as a storyteller, Part 1

Tonight I was a guest on Eric Wolf's Art of Storytelling With Children Podcast, speaking on the topic of making a living as a storyteller. It was a hoot! I highly recommend checking out all the fascinating podcasts Eric has done (and will do). He covers a wide range of topics.

At any rate, I promised to put my "white paper" on the subject up here. It actually is a bit like the storytelling tips, but more on the business side of stuff. I'm splitting it into sections for the blog. This is Part 1.

Making a living as a storyteller
Here are a few ideas on how to have a successful storytelling business. This is not an exhaustive list, just some of what I’ve gleaned in the many years I’ve been a full-time storyteller.

Be good, very good, at what you do.

• If you are just beginning to tell stories, put in the time—volunteer, find a coach, find gentle listeners, watch yourself on video, go to storytelling conferences and workshops, learn as much as you can about the artform. Be insatiable.
• Find your own voice. Don’t try to be the next X (fill in any other storyteller’s name).
• Remember what Texas teller Elizabeth Ellis said: “If anything can keep you from being a full-time storyteller, let it.” This is hard work. Do it full time only if you are absolutely passionate.
• Donald Davis said in a workshop, “The best way to get work is when people call you.” Build your reputation for excellence and integrity, and create ways for folks to find you, so clients will call you instead of vice-versa.
To be continued...

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