RAMONA’S TIPS FOR ENTERING STORYTELLING CONTESTS

aesopremixThe National Association of Black Storytellers’ online Storytelling Contest is starting March 27th. This year’s theme “Aesop Remix: Old School for a New Day” opens the door to creative, soul-stirring, heartwarming, social commentary-like, wisdom endowed storytelling!

INFORMATION ON AESOP, QUINTESSENTIAL TALE SPINNER

Aesop is believed to have lived from about 620 to 560 B.C. He was an enslaved Grecian of African (Ethiopian) descent and world renowned master storyteller.  Aesop was known for the wisdom tales told to indirectly persuade human behavior, thought, and decisions.  While his stories were adapted for children, these wisdom tales were often meant to influence adults to behave morally and responsibly.

SUPPORTING RESOURCES

Aesop Facts and Information

Aethiop/Aesop by Seba Damani (Donald Saunderson)

Variations on Aesop’s Fables-The New York Times

AESOP ONLINE COLLECTIONS

A printable collection of Aesop Fables

Library of Congress Aesop

BOOKS

Aesop’s Fables by Aesop and V.S. Vernon Jones

Aesop: Tales of Aethiop the African by Jamal Koram

Life can get crazy busy, especially when you decide you want to take on a project like…a contest.  I understand interruptions and procrastination all too well. It took me forever just to write this blog.  To give your most compelling delivery it’s going to take some planning.

RAMONA’S TIPS FOR A CONTEST ENTRY

  1. Mark the deadline, and your chosen start date on a calendar or enter into your phone now.
  2. Mark your personal early deadline for entry on your calendar and phone. Let’s face it, judges will be as fair as possible. But wouldn’t you want to be fresh in their heads with the first set of entries?  Entries at the end will be in view of some pretty tired judges.
  3. Read as many stories as you can, until you find that one that speaks to you, your storytelling style, and inspires a new creation.
  4. Decide if the characters and setting will remain the same or will you change them.
  5. Decide if you will use the same language.  If you place your characters in another setting or time, you may want to use appropriate language.
  6. Rehearse your story and rehearse your story again.
  7. Submit on your chosen deadline date. Celebrate Completion.

INSPIRATION FOR YOUR PERFORMANCE

Jabu and the Lion
Arit’s Fables (Arit Essien)

Black Storytelling Festival in Hampton
NABS in Hampton, VA

Be sure to visit NABS’ Website on or after March 15, 2016 for information and criteria on our upcoming 3rd National Online Storytelling Contest. Cash Prizes Awarded.

Happy Storytelling!

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Ramona King is a member of the NABS Education Committee.  She is the mother of 3 young adults.  For more than 25 years she’s performed at schools, museums, conferences, and Universities with stories for Building Families and the Esteem of Children and Youth.  She is the founder and owner of Catch a Story Productions—providing solo performances, workshops and historical portrayals 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Did you Say, Middle School?”

Few things can send fear through the hearts of some storytellers than the thought of standing in front of middle school students for storytelling.

Elementary school students are game. They still like tales, and they want to hear them.

There are a myriad of topics for High School Students, and you can actually have conversations about things.

Middle School isn’t like either of those.

The Middle School audience wants to be entertained, is really freaked out about what everyone else is doing, wants to be treated like they are grown, but are actually still children, think that they know more than the adults around them, and are swinging through the first and most pernicious part of puberty. They are, in other words, challenging.

There are tellers who come to mind who we are pretty sure have no problems with middle school.

No doubt Kala Jojo could keep an auditorium of middle school kids enrapt.

What about Madafo Lloyd Wilson, Charlotte Blake Alston?

 

Well, “sure”, you might say, “Of course they could hold middle schoolers, but what about me?”

I can’t play the Bow Harp!

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I don’t even know what this is!

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I have an mbira…somewhere.

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And, before you ask, no, I most certainly do not have a djembe!

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Yes, middle school audiences love music, but they also love language, and you can hook them if you try a few simple steps.

  1. Create Common Ground.  This is a skill we all employ. Though it might seem that this crowd wants nothing to do with anyone, not even themselves half the time, they are as susceptible to hearing things about themselves as the next person. You could begin by asking questions such as, “What were you most worried about when starting school this year?” you could seed the discussion by saying, “When I was in sixth grade, my biggest fear was being laughed at by other people. Does anyone else have this fear?” Questions are a great way to begin.
  2. Shape your stories to deal with the sorts of things that plague or interest this group. This age range deals with a complete renegotiating of who they are and how they live with peers. It is the age where they start giving each other grief about their hair, shoes, clothes, skin tones and all sorts of other things. Belonging is more important than expressing individuality. This is really hard for some kids. Talk about the identity issues, and tell stories that address the feelings of isolation, fear and shame that lots of this age group grapples with on a regular basis.
  3. This is a group of people who do not have their emotions under control, and they are likely to do spontaneous, destructive, charitable, lovely, unpredictable, crazy, out of the blue things. Address this as well, and tell stories about your own foibles, the foibles of other adults through history, or folklore that deals with the perils of acting before you’ve thought about it.
  4. You could also talk about surviving middle school. Focus on the kids who are marginalized, and tell stories that help the kids in the middle realize that someday all of them will be leaving school, and you never know who someone is going to turn out to be in the next ten years.

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Don’t write people off just because you don’t see where they might be going!

When you figure out where your audience lives, you can meet them there and take them anywhere!

Happy Telling!

Donna Washington, Storyteller.

donnawash

Donna is a national storyteller, author, workshop presenter and award winning recording artist.  She has been featured at thousands of schools, festivals and conferences across the country.

http//www.Donnawashington.com