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Adventures First: Storytelling Tips on Auditioning

By Cheri Wright

From Ira Glass to The Moth to the world storytelling headquarters in Jonesborough, Tennessee, stories and storytellers are everywhere.

Now they’re coming to San Miguel. Truth be told, many wonderful storytellers already live here and I want to invite them to audition for a spot in the first-ever San Miguel International Storytelling Festival. The festival, produced by the San Miguel Literary Sala and Indigan Storyteller, will take place on Saturday, October 18.

Because there are only two days in which to audition, you are encouraged to reserve your audition time before all the available slots are taken.

Audition Guidelines:

The rules are simple. Your story must be true and told in seven or eight minutes. It should be about something that happened to you or a family member or someone you know. Your story should be memorized and you may use props.

I asked one of the audition judges, Roger Batton of Indigan Storyteller, for a few guidelines on what storytellers can expect during their audition.

“Think in terms of basic story: beginning, middle, and end. These three points are the plot of the story, even if not told in that order,” summarized Roger. “Define what is at stake. Incorporate the basics every journalist uses: Who, what, when, where and why. And do not hesitate to remove the slow parts of your story.”

Storytelling Tips

Here’s more storytelling advice from The Moth, an acclaimed not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. I’m including only three tips and encourage you to visit their website for more:

1. Have stakes. Stakes are essential in live storytelling. What do you stand to gain or lose?

2. Have a great first line that sets up the stakes or grabs attention. Start in the action.

3. Have fun. Make an outline, memorize your bullet points and play with the details. Enjoy yourself. Imagine you are at a dinner party, not a deposition.

I love listening to Ira Glass tell stories. So I checked online for his storyteller advice and came across Glass talking about what he calls the two building blocks of story: the anecdote and its meaning. “In a good story you need both. You can flip back and forth between the two. The Anecdote and the Moment of Reflection are interwoven to make a story,” said Glass.

Auditions will be held on September 11 and 12 at Sala Quetzal in La Biblioteca, Reloj 50A.

In one of his Alice books, Lewis Carroll said “No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.” With less than 10 minutes in which to tell your story, I think that’s also pretty good advice for storytellers.

Reserve Your Audition Now

Please join us and audition. We still have audition slots available on September 11 and 12. But it’s first come, first registered. Don’t wait too long. To audition or for more details, email me:

San Miguel International
Storytelling Festival
Thu-Fri, Sep 11 and 12, 10am-5pm
Sala Quetzal
La Biblioteca
Reloj 50A
Advance registration required
To register:

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