FD Submission Guidelines


What's your story?  Everybody's got one.  Even if you've never performed on stage before we want to hear yours.  Perhaps it’s a story you've told a million times.  Which stories of yours have gotten the biggest reaction?  What moments in your life were the most meaningful?  What event made you the proudest?  Or embarrassed?  What are have you experienced that really impacted your life?  That transformed it? We want stories that will impact our audience. Storytelling is different than a narrative or creative writing; you are conversing with your audience as you would with a friend. 
An audition notice will be posted 4-6 weeks before the event on the Santa Paula Theater Center, Backstage site. The audition notice will contain details about the specific theme and other information for that event. At that time you may submit your story with a brief bio to FullDisclosureStorytelling@gmail.com in one of the following formats: a synopsis (preferred), written first draft (1200-1500 words), Skype or Face Time. 
If you choose synopsis, in 500 words or less: give us your theme, characters, point of the story (problem or conflict to overcome, lesson learned, what's at stake, how is it related to the theme), beginning intro, points to remember in the middle, end (solution, resolution, conclusion).
If you choose first draft, in 1200-1500 words max: your story should include all the same points as a synopsis but in more complete form (see our resource section for help), ready to accept editing and feedback if chosen.
The show curator will then select stories to audition in person at the SPTC Backstage or if needed, via Skype or Face Time. If you provided a synopsis, we then need your first draft to present at the audition. Keep in mind: finished stories for event presentation must be 6-10 minutes, unrushed.
Stories of transformation.  Stories that will excite and touch the hearts of our audience.  The story should fit into the theme of the evening, but you don't have to take that too literally.  An evening titled "Renovations" might be about a home improvement project, or it may be about redefining your relationship with your spouse.  We approach our themes loosely, so be creative. Details will be in the audition notice.
If your story is accepted, you will work with our staff over a period of one month to get ready for the performance. 
Your story is considered a first draft.  You will work with one of our editors to shape your story for presentation.  Our staff may include a professional storyteller to help you create the best flow and impact for our audience. Rewriting is expected as part of the process.  
You may be required to attend a one-hour rehearsal to work on your presentation.  You will present your story out loud and receive notes from the curator/director.  We will also use this time to discuss any visual elements that can be worked into the presentation, which is encouraged.
The week before the event, there will be a required full cast rehearsal at the theater.  This will be your opportunity to try out your story in front of other people, hear the other storytellers who will be appearing with you, take final direction if needed, try out your visuals, and discuss music.
The day before the event, there is a required technical rehearsal where we work on staging and coordinating the technical aspects of the show.  Any projections you requested to support your story will be finalized at this rehearsal.
If you want to share your story at a Full Disclosure event, consider these storytelling tips:
Tell a story that is true from your personal point of view
The story should be meaningful to you and to the audience
Pick a story that changed you in an important way
Your story should have a beginning, middle, ending (see synopsis)
Your story should have a point so know what the theme of your story is, a through line that carries the length, and stick to that.  Don't digress unless it supports the theme
Don't assume the audience knows you.  Make us understand who you were when your story opens.  Make us understand who you were after the incident.
Memorize your first and last line
Make sure there's something that grabs the audience in the first minute (or less).  Open with something compelling
Don't feel you must tell your story in chronological order.  Stories can sometime have greater impact if you start in the middle, then go back and fill in the backstory
Consider starting with a smaller incident that quickly leads to the main part of your story
Your story must be under 10 minutes, so be succinct and efficient.  1200-1500 words at most
Details are important if they are important to your through line.  Let us relive the episode with you
Don’t try to be too serious or too funny.  Just be yourself. Converse
A good time to get serious is right after a laugh
Have your story organized on paper. Be able to relay your story without reading it word for word; storytelling is an oral art - not a staged reading
Don’t memorize.  But practice your story out loud at least 5 times
Consider using photographs, props or mementos if they help illustrate your story 
Don't rush. Relax, breathe, and have a good time
Don't try to be too literate or poetic.  Be yourself.  Think of how you'd tell a dear friend your story
Look at the people in your audience and make a connection.  Enjoy the interaction
Check out some of the other great storytelling podcasts and websites and resources.  They are a great source of inspiration and help
o The Moth - https://themoth.org/
o Mortified Nation - http://getmortified.com/
o Oral Fixation, Dallas - http://oralfixationshow.com/
o Odyssey Storytelling, Tucson - http://odysseystorytelling.com/
o The Human Library - http://humanlibrary.org/
o Thanks to Penelope Starr, author of The Radical Act of Community Storytelling for many great storytelling tips - http://penelopestarr.com
o Thanks to Deana Barone Storyteller (http://deanabarone.com) for her guidance. Contact her for individual assistance or workshops. Her award winning Moth story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9BiGv1IuxI&index=6&list=UUV3bJVbbQbfd1o4aA0a2DeA 
The performance will be videotaped.  You must sign a release form before taping.  Your video will be posted on a private webpage.  The clip will be password protected, but you are free to share the link with anyone you choose
After each event, we feature one of our stories on our YouTube Channel.  We tend to select stories that have multiple images because it makes a more visual presentation.  Consider this when selecting your images
You will receive one complementary ticket to the event
On the day of the event, you must be at the theater at 6:00pm for a 7:00pm start UNLESS the curator has other instructions