Classes at Toluca Lake / Burbank / Los Angeles.
What Do We Mean By Storytelling?
In its simplest form, good storytelling persuades the listener to picture themselves in the storyteller’s position, asking themselves “What would I do?” and “How would I feel if this happened to me?”
In entertainment and public speaking circles there can be good and bad performances, however in true storytelling, there are only clear and unclear stories. Without clarity some emotions can sound very similar: For example grief can sound like self pity, and shame can sound very much like guilt.
Why Use YouTellYours?
Lynn Ferguson founded YouTellYours to share her storytelling skills more widely than the entertainment industry, where she created and edited stories for the likes of the BBC, Pixar, CBS and The Moth Radio hour on NPR.
Last year, Lynn helped over 90 people tell their story without scripts or notes, refining her coaching methods throughout. Storytelling is a key skill, that almost naturally develops when people are coached to fully listen to themselves and others.
Through our storytelling classes some amazing personal stories have been told by people from all walks of life. For example:
- A musician told of how love at first sight needed patience and courage to act;
- A Marine told of his mental breakdown at Guantanamo prison;
- An actor wove his story of being locked naked outside his hotel room with something more serious;
- A parking lot cleaner told of witnessing a shooting in Van Nuys;
- A teacher told her story of discovering her husband was a peodophile;
- An entrepreneur from India told us how the disapproval of her parents turned into pride.
These people have delivered their stories to a room full of strangers without using notes or cheat sheets, and related their tales unflinchingly till the end.
Our aim is facilitate the storyteller to hear themselves, enabling them to understand how they actually sound, compared with what they wish to communicate. Often in life we have to fit in and mold ourselves to a fixed method of working or structure of delivery. However, in storytelling the best person to tell your story is you, and the best way for you to do that is by being entirely yourself.
What Storytelling techniques?
Our Storytelling Techniques Include:
- Simple tactics to place the listener in the witness’ shoes, including:
- Using present tense for sentences,
- Ensuring that storyteller includes the word “I” more often than would feel comfortable in normal speech.
- Describing what people have done, instead of labelling what they are. For example, compare saying “He was a cruel man”, which is judgemental and contains no facts compared, to saying “He had a frail old dog that I saw him kick.”;
- Adding descriptions of chosen senses beyond what the storyteller would habitually communicate: I saw. I felt. I heard.
- Bookending stories with a line to focus the story;
- Removing phrases that try to diminish shame. For example, if a storyteller often starts sentences with ‘I didn’t know’’ or ‘Unknown to me’, what the listener hears is “know” which subconsciously signals the opposite; that you did know. Tell someone that you are not lying too often, and they’ll conclude that you are.
Classes are small (up to 6 students) to ensure a comfortably intensive learning experience. After an online introductory lesson, we’ll meet for a 3-hour session once a week for 3 weeks. During these sessions I’ll help you find your story, develop it, and tell it with confidence. On the third session, we’ll do a practice run, telling our stories to each other on a small stage. For the fifth and final lesson, I will host a live storytelling event where you can tell your beautifully crafted story to a real audience.
There are plenty of things to be afraid of in the world. Openly speaking from your point of view shouldn’t be one of them.