5 Year Anniversary

Posted on May 12, 2016. Filed under: storytelling | Tags: , , , , , , |

Five years ago this May, I started Better Said Than Done – a storytelling organization. Since May 2011, we have had nearly 100 different storytellers share their stories at over 50 different shows and across several Northern Virginia venues. We led storytelling workshops for individuals as well as taking on such professional clients as INOVA Fairfax Hospital, AHRQ, AAMC, and Marie Stopes International. But the shows – where storytellers perform true, personal stories – are the backbone of Better Said Than Done.

To celebrate our 5 year anniversary, we are having a storytelling show and contest at Jammin’ Java on May 28th.

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I hope you will come out and celebrate with us.

Get your tickets soon. They’re going fast!

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Storytelling on the Fly

Posted on October 9, 2014. Filed under: storytelling, writing | Tags: , , , , |

I hosted and performed in two storytelling shows in September, the second one approximately ten days after the first one. In addition, my company, Better Said Than Done, (aka me) put together and promoted the shows, so it was a busy two weeks for me. That is, of course, in addition to working a real job and taking care of a toddler.

Why, you might ask, should we care? Well, all that is by way of saying, I never really had the chance to write the second story out. When I perform in a storytelling show, I have one of two ways of preparing. The one I do most often is to write out my story, read it out loud, edit it, read it out loud, edit it, and eventually memorize it through repetition. That process allows me to really perfect the story.

But for this performance, I went with option two – saying the story out loud to myself, thinking about what worked and what didn’t, and speaking it a few more times, trying to work it out in my mind before the show. This method has a couple of advantages. Firstly, there’s a lot less preparation. Since it’s not word for word memorization, and since there is no time spent writing things down, it takes up less than half the time as the first method. Also, it does create a more conversational sounding performance, more like I am just telling you a story rather than performing something scripted.
Here’s the story I told a week or so ago about my little bear:

The downside of method two is that it isn’t “perfect.” When I do write out and memorize word for word, there are no “ums” in my story. I do not repeat the same word several times or fumble around for a good way of phrasing something. I can play word games with how something is stated exactly early on in the story and how it is stated slightly differently later in the story. It gives you more options as a writer, or crafter of a story, if you write it all out.

By contrast, here’s a story about my little bear that I wrote out and memorized word for word:

With writing and memorizing word for word, you can sound a bit over prepared. Also, it is much easier to lose your place and much harder to cover it up if you do. When every word is perfect, having a few words not perfect really stands out.

There are good and bad qualities to both methods of preparing for a storytelling show. The good news is, our October storytelling show is improvisational storytelling – so there is absolutely no preparation of any kind! Hope to see you there.

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Pregnant Story

Posted on March 3, 2014. Filed under: storytelling | Tags: , , , |

I told a twenty-two minute story at the last Better Said Than Done storytelling show. The theme of the night was “When I Grow Up,” and my story was about the little girl I gave birth to seven months ago, or, rather, about my pregnancy with that little girl.

This was the hardest story I have ever told. It’s funny, I have told two stories about my dad dying of cancer, and one about my mom, and didn’t even flinch getting through them. Tell one story about the potential dangers my little girl faced, and I was crying through half of rehearsal. One of the storytellers, during rehearsal, even made it a point to tell me that crying on stage probably wouldn’t “play well” with the audience. I, of course, know this. But the fact that she felt she needed to say something, shows you what a mess I was during rehearsal.

Here is the video of my performance of the story a week later. You can judge for yourself whether I pulled it off.

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Storytelling Show this Saturday

Posted on May 22, 2013. Filed under: storytelling | Tags: , , |

Best Storytelling Show

My storytelling troupe, Better Said Than Done, recently voted the “Best Performing Arts Company in Virginia” by Virginia Living Magazine, is celebrating our 2 year anniversary this Saturday with a storytelling show and contest.

Details below, or you can always find upcoming storytelling shows here.

Better Said Than Done is celebrating our two year anniversary in May with a storytelling contest. Join the storytellers you chose as your favorites, for a night of true, personal storytelling – to the death! Okay, really, they are just competing for cash prizes. But come out and vote for your favorite story of the night.

The Art of War: Competing, Fighting, and Winning
Saturday, May 25th, 2013
**The Auld Shebeen
3971 Chain Bridge Road
Fairfax, VA
7:00PM Show
Doors Open at 6:00PM
$10 Tickets Available at the door (Cash preferred)

 

Storytellers include: Noa Baum, Kevin Boggs, Jason Conner, Dustin Fisher, Cara Foran, David Supley Foxworth, Jennifer Luu, Anna Marie Trester and Michael Zhuang. Hosted by Jessica Piscitelli Robinson

 

**For parking and entry info, and more about The Auld Shebeen, click here.

 

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Storytelling Contest with Videos

Posted on March 4, 2013. Filed under: storytelling | Tags: , , |

My storytelling troupe, Better Said Than Done, is celebrating our two-year anniversary with a storytelling contest. The top 25 storytellers were chosen by an independent panel of judges. As owner, I kept myself out of the contest, so am not in the running, but am excited to see who the top ten finalist will be.
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It’s up to the public to pick the top ten. Videos of the 25 best stories have been gathered in one playlist. We are asking fans of storytelling to go to the contest page and view the playlist of the top 25 stories. After viewing the videos, fans can vote for their favorite story. One vote per person. Voting closes on Sunday, April 14, 2013, at midnight.

The top ten storytellers, based on the number of votes received for their stories, will be announced on April 15, 2013 on our blog, as well as our Facebook Page and Twitter Feed. Each of these storytellers will then be asked to prepare a new story for the anniversary show on May 25, 2013. (more…)

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Merry Christmas Story

Posted on December 20, 2012. Filed under: storytelling | Tags: , , , |

Better Said Than Done just had our last storytelling show of the year, and it was a holiday theme – “Holiday Cheer.” I chose to do a story about Christmas because I find myself thinking a lot, these days, about what Christmas used to mean to me, and how that’s changed over the years.

Here’s my story. Hope you enjoy my take on the meaning of Christmas.

And a Happy New Year!

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Bad Blogger

Posted on December 11, 2012. Filed under: storytelling | Tags: , |

I have been a bad blogger. I have an excuse! I have been sick since Thanksgiving! It sucks. I can’t take it anymore!

Except, I guess I kinda have no choice.

So, I figured I would do a little mini check in. A short blog with a “here’s what I’ve been up to besides coughing up a lung.”

I have planned and rehearsed for and gotten mostly ready for another storytelling show – the last of the year! (And possibly of the World, considering we all know how accurate the Mayan calender is!)

If you happen to be in the Northern Virginia area on Saturday, you should come check it out. I promise not to cough on you.

Raise a glass and celebrate the holidays with Better Said Than Done – ALL the holidays. In “Holiday Cheer” you will hear true, personal stories about Christmas and Hannukkah, as well as holidays we celebrate (or don’t) throughout the year.

Jessica Piscitelli hosts this night of stories. Storytellers include Mattie Cohan, Nate Johnson, Mike Kane, Miriam Nadel, Mel Pine, and Jeremy Strozer. Additionally, Better Said Than Done welcomes first time teller Kim Ruff.

“Holiday Cheer: From New Year’s Day to New Year’s Eve, and all the holiday ‘fun’ in between”
December 15th, 2012
Epicure Café
11213 Lee Highway
Fairfax, Virginia
7:00 PM Show
Doors open at 6:00 PM.
Tickets are $10 per person and are available at the door.

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My storytelling workshop in the Washington Post!

Posted on November 16, 2012. Filed under: storytelling | Tags: , , |

Washington Post reporter, Moira E. McLaughlin, wrote an article in today’s Washington Post about my storytelling company Better Said Than Done’s storytelling workshop, “Spotlight on You.” Read the article here.

Yay! 🙂

To read more or register for upcoming storytelling workshops, “Your Business Story” on December 1st or “Spotlight on You” on December 8th, click here.

As always, Better Said Than Done teachers can facilitate on site workshops for your company or non profit. To find out more, email Jessica.

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The “Right” Audience

Posted on September 20, 2012. Filed under: storytelling, writing | Tags: , , , , |

I recently had the opportunity to perform the same story twice, for two different audiences, and I gotta say, it got a very different reaction from one to the other.

I first performed my engagement story for Better Said Than Done’s “Independence Day” show. Here’s the video:

It went over well. I mean, the audience was fine. They laughed, a little. It was an okay experience telling it and I felt like I told an okay story at the end of the night.

Last week I gave a presentation on storytelling for the Women’s Wedding Network, so it seemed like a good idea to tell a wedding, or at least engagement, related story. And you know what? It was a great idea.

They loved it. They laughed at every line, even in places I didn’t expect. It was a great story…for that audience.

I know the traditional rule in performance is that the audience shouldn’t matter, at least as far as the material is concerned. If you tell a joke and the audience doesn’t laugh – that’s not their fault, it’s yours. However, after comparing apples to apples as far as stories go, I have to say, sometimes it is the audience.

Now, an argument could be made that, since the wedding network crowd was intimately acquainted with the world of weddings, and a lot of my story related to that first wedding step, the engagement, that this was more a case of knowing your audience than anything else. And I could see how that makes sense. Audience number 2 could relate in a way that audience number 1 couldn’t.

So, maybe, as far as weighing the importance of audience goes, it might make sense to stack the deck whenever possible. Some stories are going to work better with some audiences and if you can figure out what type of audience you are performing for, it might give you a little edge. It certainly felt like I had an edge the second time round. And heck, I’ll take that over bombing any day!

My next storytelling show is September 29th, 2012 at Epicure Cafe. Details here. Should be fun to see if this audience is any better, I mean, if my new story is any better.

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Follow Up to Tears

Posted on August 31, 2012. Filed under: Events, storytelling, writing | Tags: , , , , |

So I did my sappy story this past Saturday – see my “tears” post – and I did have two people tell me that I made them cry – so yay – but it turned out to be not as sad as all that. Several people said they liked it, with no mention of tears, so I guess that’s all right.

You can judge for yourself, as the video is up.

 

I will be telling a funny story at the September show. Nothing to cry about in that one. If you are in Northern Virginia on September 29th, check out our live storytelling show with Better Said Than Done.  Details here.

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