• September 3, 2007
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By Jeff Gere,
published in Storytelling Magazine Sept/Oct. 2007

Dear Editor,

Please consider my rant, provoked by R. Craig Roney’s ‘Videotaping Pro and Con” (July/Aug. Storytelling Magazine). Actuallym I agree with Craig’s analysis of why NOT to do a video. However, there is a prevailing attitude among storytellers that REAL storytelling is live. Media rendering this magic is inferior and is preferably excluded.

Friends, this attitude no longer serves us. We love small and intimate storytelling, but pack those white tents in Tennessee. We passionately proclaim storytelling’s power, yet scorn the medium of the YouTube (which hosts user-generated videos) masses. Graying heads seek youth’s involvement, but we don’t exist on their media landscape.

If TV is the global storyteller, how can we ignore it? Why don’t we routinely document our telling? Every audio board can plug into a laptop. Why is the lack of recording acceptable when our audience could include the world? Teller, record thyself!

For 1990’s Talk Story Festival, our community access TV channel videotaped and edited tellers on one stage. The next year volunteers recorded three stages, and I began editing. Now, stage lighting responds to the tales as a piano wizard improvises soundscapes for willing tellers. Three cameras, operated by junior college students, are directed by paid pros in a TV studio truck. The video mix of the live storytelling is projected on the wall beside the stage like a rock and roll concert!

It’s a compelling live event and a video experience too. Try it. Nobody complains that the video detracts from the live show because it extends it beautifully. Ten hours of tellers are shot over three nights. Story TV on community TV (monthly shows for 17 years) puts these tellers in living rooms.

The audio from these videos (and private performances, studio recordings, and CD cuts) paly on Talk Story Radio reaching 13,000 listeners a week (Hawaii Public Radio and two other stations, one on Maui.) When one teller died, her recordings still air her tales to new ears. Think about it.

The long journey begins with one step (Chinese proverb). The first impediment is self-imposed (Helen Keller). Techies are waiting to share a vision. Ask for help. Make new friends. You’ll learn and improve,

If you are doing story radio or video, let’s talk. We’ve got Big Things ahead!

Aloha, Jeff Gere