My Very First Outdoor Storytelling Session

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Yes, I finally did it! A storytelling session after our move here to Georgia πŸ™‚ I did my first one in a preschool. There weren’t any pictures so I didn’t write any updates. And also, we weren’t allowed to take any pictures in the school. My second session was in an open space, near our church, St Thomas Aquinas. They organized a little Trunk N’ Treat in conjunction with Halloween and the storytelling was at the end of their Trunk N’ Treat route, where they also had their s’mores and apple ciders.

I decided to tell ‘The Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything” hence my old lady get-up. There were 3 short sessions altogether and were done in an ‘Open House’ manner. So it was pretty flexible, timing wise. Storytelling has never been thrown into the Trunk N’ Treat program before, so this is the first, and I’m so glad to be part of it πŸ™‚ It was my dearest hubby’s idea. He saw the announcement in the church’s newsletter about Trunk N’ Treat and suggested that I offer my storytelling services since I love it so much and I’m crazy about Halloween haha So I did. After a few emails, the slot is confirmed πŸ™‚

Honestly, outdoor storytelling is a whole different ballgame altogether. It has its own set of challenges. I’m writing this to remind myself of what I learned from it.

Firstly, I HADN’T THE FAINTEST IDEA, what ‘Open House’ meant, and it was my fault for not asking. So, I went there, totally CLUELESS. I sat and waited for the organizers but neither of them came. So I waited for crowd to arrive for the first session, but the crowd which came, didn’t seem to be waiting for one. I didn’t want to continue waiting, so I approached the crowd myself, (who already busied themselves at the campfire, with their s’mores and apple ciders), and just made the announcement (in a rather clumsy way, I must add. Thinking back, I think I made a fool of myself haha)

Then some of them responded and walked with me to where I wanted to tell the story.

All these caught me off guard, hence whatever I prepared for my introduction, just flew out the window. To top that all, that evening was really chilly. I was shivering (due to the cold) and shaking (due to the jitters), and now I can hardly recall what I said in the beginning LOL Thank goodness I remembered every part of the story haha πŸ˜›

Despite all that, I was quite surprised by the kind, positive feedback from the parents.Β Some of them sat for all 3 sessions! One hugged me and thanked me for such a great session (they and their children sat for 2 sessions), another said I was really good and the children couldn’t keep their eyes off me, another lady jokingly said the story was so spooky she had to call her mom to sit next to her haha! And one dad asked if I was an actor πŸ˜€

So anyway, these were some of the lessons I learned:

1) Outdoor – noises from your surroundings

2) Voice – definitely gotta improve this if I were to do another outdoor session

3) Work more on my gestures and facial expressions – need to be clearer and with better timing

Am I taking this too seriously? If I am, that’s because I love doing it and I want to do better each time πŸ™‚

Ben didn’t manage to take many pictures because it got pretty dark and many of the pictures turned out blurry… 😦 So here are some of the clearer ones

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7 thoughts on “My Very First Outdoor Storytelling Session

    Storyteller John Weaver said:
    October 30, 2012 at 1:03 am

    I’m so happy you are starting to spread your storytelling talents here in your new home! Good on your hubby for giving you the push! =)

      g1jeewan responded:
      October 30, 2012 at 6:43 am

      Thanks John! Yep! I’m really happy he’s so supportive πŸ™‚

    Storyteller John Weaver said:
    November 2, 2012 at 4:24 am

    I’m back! I had a lot to say about this, but didn’t have the time before. πŸ™‚

    On the issue of photos, is it possible to take photos of you performing that are from behind the group, thus leaving the children unidentifiable? That’s the way the public library I work for manages their public photos; it’s fine if the faces don’t show.

    Performing outside has its challenges, doesn’t it? Not every event is a great one for storytelling, but if organizers decide to go with a storyteller, they need to commit to it; I think they should:
    * Promote the heck out of it. It goes in any announcements for the event, & all the flyers, with the exact time(s) included.
    * An event organizer needs to be there to round everyone up, lay down some ground rules (just basic group etiquette stuff that not everyone seems to understand anymore), and give you an introduction–and then stay there to handle any issues.
    * I think a sound system is a must. This should be provided by the organizer, especially since you are donating your talents. It brings attention to the event, helps overcome mild background noises, and protects your voice, which is an asset you must guard.

    Much of the above actually applies to any event, but with the noise & confusion that come with so many outdoor events, special attention must be paid!

    Can you tell I’ve been thinking a lot about these things? πŸ˜‰ Yes, I’ve had experiences with these issues, myself!

    Keep at it, & keep posting!

      g1jeewan responded:
      November 2, 2012 at 8:02 am

      Thx for the tips John! Will definitely take note and notify the organizers of those points if there were to be another session πŸ™‚

      About the pics, yeah need to be careful. Thought the pics I posted should be ok bcoz their faces weren’t apparent. Will be even more careful next time when taking pix πŸ™‚

      Just out of curiosity, is it common that storytelling is done for free here?

      g1jeewan responded:
      November 2, 2012 at 8:16 am

      Once again, thanks for your encouragement πŸ™‚

    Storyteller John Weaver said:
    November 2, 2012 at 11:07 am

    It is common that people will WANT you to perform for free, but no; the “professional” in “professional storyteller” means that your work has a value, & you get paid for it! You are an educator, a performer, & an artist, and you are doing important work!

    I think it makes sense that you made these offers to familiarize yourself with performing at your new home, and introducing people to you, but be sure to use this in building your local portfolio & getting the word out! I hope they have written you nice notes you can use in your publicity!

    BTW, your “About” page still says you are only available for performance in Malaysia! πŸ˜‰

    g1jeewan responded:
    November 2, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Yeah the organizers wrote back and gave some really good feedback from the audience! πŸ™‚ I should maybe start making some name cards or something to give out in future…

    Oh yes! My ‘About’ page…Time to update! haha Thx πŸ˜€

    Can’t thank you enough for always giving me honest feedback and great tips John πŸ™‚ Thanks a million!

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