Archive for November, 2011

The Story of My Last Storytelling Show

Posted on November 2, 2011. Filed under: storytelling | Tags: , , |

Better Said Than Done just had our last storytelling show of 2011.  I am not hanging up my hat and there will be more shows in 2012, but we are done for the year.  I, personally, am signed up for TEDx again this year, so I will be speaking at TEDxGlenEcho on December 1st.

The future aside, let’s talk about this last show.  It was both a fantastic success and a miserable, challenging failure.  As a writer, I don’t always like to do things with others but, as a storyteller, I naturally have to.  Storytelling is interactive.  So far, I have been blessed in having almost unanimously experienced great feedback from audiences at all my past storytelling shows.  In that way, this last show, “What’s Up Doc?,” was a great success.  I think the story I wrote and performed, “Daddy’s Car,” was the best one yet – both in the writing and the delivery.  I got fantastic feedback from the audience and felt really good from a creative success standpoint.

On the flip side of that was the part where we had to play nice with others.  Now, all the storytellers in the show did a great job.  The creative end of this performance was top notch.  I also loved the venue.  We were at Franklin Park Performing Arts Center.  Granted, it was further out than I normally go for a show – it was in Purcellville, VA – but it was a beautiful site, the staff was great and the lighting and acoustics were perfect.

So then, what am I complaining about?  Well, you see, we had a deal.  By we, I mean me and a charity that will remain nameless.  Franklin Park donated their space and the staff, I donated a ten person show specifically catered to a theme suggested by the charity.  We made a great event out of nothing – at least, out of no money.  The deal was we would put on a show if they would bring the people – AND they got 100% of the profit.  So, for every ticket they sold, they got to keep all the money.  All they had to do was sell tickets, and that’s where they let us down.  I think the event sold a total of 50 tickets and I know that 13 of those were friends of mine.  This 240 seat theater was mostly empty, and almost half of all tickets sold were sold by me – and I wasn’t even trying.

I just don’t get it.  I sold over 80 tickets to the Jammin’ Java show and that was just me – no charitable donation or charity board involved.  I don’t know why they couldn’t at least have sold 80 tickets, considering the tickets would have been tax deductible and they have a whole organization behind them.

It was so disappointing for me for several reasons.  This was our first time at Franklin Park and I wanted to make a good impression.  Some of the storytellers had never worked with me before and I wanted them to have a great audience. But most of all, this was a very personal and hard story for me to tell.  I wanted people to experience the performance I worked so hard on and am hesitant to perform again for how intense it was.  It wasn’t easy to tell a story that was emotionally draining and didn’t have comic breaks.  I somehow pulled it off, but not many people got to see it and I feel like that was a loss for me, personally.



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