The Master Class in Storytelling 

January 15-19, 2017 in DeLand, Florida

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Basic Info:

What makes storytelling a powerful way of communicating? A careful balance of technique and art. 

Once techniques are mastered, they can be artisticslly applied in effective storytelling.  This seminar provide tools for making everyone better listeners and tellers through both technique and art.

If you are an experienced storyteller, this seminar is for you.

The seminar, limited to only six “Tellers", meets Monday through Friday from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm,   Tuition is $550 for early registration before October 15, and $750 afterwards. Meals and lodgings are not included.

We also have room for six “Listeners” who can be spouses, friends, or colleagues of the Tellers.  Ot, persons who are not ready to be a Teller yet, but who would be enriched in listenings to, and engaging, the Tellers through their listening.  Tuition is $250 for early registration before October 15, and $550 afterwards.

Mornings and early afternoons are free for enjoying Florida sunshine and warmth in January.  In the evenings, you are invited to join us at our favorite restaurants in DeLand, if you would like the fellowship of good food and conversation.

Location is in DeLand, Florida. 

Dr. Robert Béla Wilhelm has designed and taught this seminar over many years. His focus is on helping tellers develop their specific storytelling talents most effectively.

If you have quesiions, or would like to register, please email here.

More Details:

This is an intensive master class in the art of storytelling for all  storytellers — beginning, intermediate and advanced tellers. Level of competency is not as important as commitment to the art of telling and the art of listening.

If you are in Ministry, you are especially invited to participate. All stories reflect the presence of the Word in our lives, but I encourage you to bring Biblical stories that you love to this master class. 

The stories can be from folklore, history, mythology, biography, or the religious scriptures of all traditions. 

Each participant is asked to bring 3 stories to work on during the class.  They can be from any source, and should be between 10 and 30 minutes long. Your learning will arise not only through your telling, but to your listening to all the other tellers with their rich repertoire of stories and storytelling styles.

What is Narrative Visualization?

“Narrative Visualization” was developed by Robert Béla Wilhelm in his doctoral research (1969-1976) at the GTU in Berkeley, California. 

Rather than focusing exclusively on the written texts, Wilhelm also focuses on the visual images of the stories. He understands storytelling as a process of constant feedback and interaction between spoken and written words and visual images.   

In short the central question in narrative visualization is:

“How does the teller draw on both his or her interior words and images in order to ‘talk story’ with his or her audience?  And, how does the CHOICE OF WORDS in verbal performance and gesture create for the hearer images in the mind’s eye that evoke a spontaneous prayer from the heart?

The master class in storytelling is a practical approach to achieve the awakening of the imagination and the heart of those to whom you utter the words of a story. 

How is this Master Class conducted?

1. The group is very small, always between 4 and 6 persons. guaranteeing personal one-to-one work with Dr. Robert Béla Wilhelm.

2. The setting is respectful and supportive.  Storytelling and storylistening is at the heart of the I-Thou encounter between ourselves, our communities, and the story itself. 

3.  Participants are diverse: women and men, young and old, from across North America… and sometimes from the far corners of the world. Our fellowship extends from the class sessions to table talk at all our meals.

4.  Each participant brings three tales she or he is working on, from Folklore, Mythology, Literature, Legends, History, Sacred Tales from your spiritual tradition, etc.  The choice is yours.

5. We do not memorize any written texts since we do not memorize words. Our methodology is a "visualized narrative" that emphasises (a) dramatic unfolding, (b) developed characterization, and (3) vivid description. 

We hold the story in our mind’s eye, and then use words and phrases creatively for the listener’s ears.  If we do this well, the listener sees our told story in their own mind’s eye. Words are the vehicle for communicating the Vision.

6. In our sessions, we form a circle and begin with someone telling their story.  When done, we take quiet time to let the images dwell within us.  The teller then shares his or her experience and evaluation of their own telling.  The teller then chooses whether or not to listen to feedback.  

Feedback is guided by Robert Béla Wilhelm, step-by-step with (a) the images experienced by the listener most vividly, followed by (2) emotional responses to those images.  Only then do we discuss (3) meanings — in the plural — of the story, and (4) application of the story to varied settings in ministry.  Creative suggestions may be made to shaping and telling the story.

Finally, Wilhelm may introduce some topic or theme that arose out of the story that invites reflections from Literary criticism, Performance theory, Folklore studies, and Spiritual traditions .  

Each session is one hour.  We often do not reach the final stage of the process because of intense discussion on the story and our reactions.

If you have questions, please ask here.


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© Robert Bela Wilhelm 2016