COME TELL YOUR STORY
Everyone has a story worth telling, and that includes you. It takes work to pick the right story, to think it through, organize it, and polish it to a point where it's ready for a live audience. But if you do that, we will listen and we will cheer you on. Here's how to do that:
KNOW THE RULES
1. FIVE MINUTES: Each open mic story that is selected to be told will be limited to five (5) minutes.
2. FIRST PERSON: Tell a story about something you directly experienced, either by yourself, or along with others. It shouldn't be someone else's story.
3. FUNDAMENTALLY FACTUAL: Even though good storytelling may involve a little "polishing" of some minor details, at its core, the story you tell must be true. So, for instance, if you've never been to Egypt, then your story shouldn't be about when you went to Egypt.
4. FORMAT: No folk tales, musical instruments, poetry, spoken word, mime, or other genres are appropriate on The Corner. The format is limited to true, first-person stories.
5. FREE OF NOTES: No written material of any sort, such as notes, will be permitted when telling your story. We in the audience will want to see you have fun telling your story, not reading it.
Also, if adult themes or language are essential to your story, it's fair game. But please use sound judgment and don't employ such content or language unnecessarily or excessively.
Finally, mutual respect between storytellers and the audience is required. The audience will give each storyteller their full attention. In turn, the storytellers will always be sensitive to the fact that they are speaking to a diverse audience, made up of people from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds, as well as sexual orientations and genders, religions, and so on.
FIND THE RIGHT STORY TO TELL
Look at the list of upcoming events at The Corner and you'll see that each event has a theme. All stories told that night will have to fit that theme. Once you see a theme you're excited about, think of a story of yours that you think is interesting and that matches the theme. Then make it ready to tell. Here's how...
PREPARE AND PRACTICE YOUR STORY
Great stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. And along the way, there are key turning points. Go all the way through your story to make sure it has all those elements and that you know where they are. Then, when you're ready, practice telling it out loud. When you tell a story at The Corner, you'll do so without notes and you'll only have five minutes--which will fly by faster than you expect. But if you practice, you'll be ready for that. Also, practice in the way that feels right for you. Some people practice telling their story in front of friends who they know will give them honest feedback. Other people record themselves telling the story and then just watch the video or listen to the audio themselves. Do what works for you.
HOW TO GET ON "THE LIST"
There will be up to ten (10) storytellers who tell stories each night at The Corner. There are two ways to get on the list. First, you can contact us at The Corner in advance of the event to tell us you're interested in telling on a particular night. If you do that, please describe your story and include your email address or other contact information. If you know how to record an mp3 of yourself telling the story, feel free to email that file to us and we'll listen. We will typically pre-select a few tellers from those advance postings and will ask those individuals to be sure to attend; those folks who receive an invitation from us will be guaranteed a spot on the list of tellers that night. Alternatively (or if you write and don't hear from us), you can simply show up the night of the event. There will be a hat that you can toss your name into, and some tellers' names will be drawn at random from that collection. If you aren't picked to tell on a given night, don't fret, as the themes are always broad, and so you'll have a chance at a later Corner event to tell your story.
LEARN FROM OTHERS
Especially if you're new to storytelling, it's helpful to learn from other storytellers. One way to do that is to read their tips on open mic storytelling. Here is one great list that is available at the The Moth Radio Hour website. Also, a second way to learn from other storytellers is to actually listen to them telling stories. Seeing how other people approach storytelling can inform your efforts to develop and improve your own style. You can hear great stories at the websites for The Moth and another NPR radio program, Snap Judgment. You can also check out some stories elsewhere on this site. Start there, and then...