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Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2012 about Storytelling

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Friday 9th March 2012

  • Storytelling for Entrepreneurs & Startups

    by Lyn Graft

    Storytelling is one of the most powerful forms of communication you have as an entrepreneur to assist you in starting a company, recruiting employees, raising capital, securing clients and getting press. Stories are universal and almost 100% relatable to people from all walks of life enabling the entrepreneur to inspire and catalyze an audience. Stories also help us structure meaning around complex situations and enable entrepreneurs to make the intangible tangible. Drawing from the experience gained from filming over 300 entrepreneurs, this panel is designed to share thoughts and examples on why and how storytelling should be weaved into your startup, launch and growth activities. Key points covered: Speaking from the heart and connecting emotionally with your audience; Crafting a memorable story and creating champions to share your story; making sure your baby is not ugly and stands apart from the crowd; and telling people why we do and what we do. Specific examples and techniques for digital storytelling will be shown and explained

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Friday 9th March

    In Salon B, Hilton Austin Downtown

    Coverage audio clip

  • The Power of Visual Storytelling

    by Becky Johns, CC Chapman, Karl Gude and Charlie Wollborg

    A story can be told in a million different ways and constantly improving technology makes it even more fun for anyone to tell their story in their own unique way.

    Brands and individuals equally need to embrace that they must tell their story to the world. Through the use of photos, video, words and audio your story can be shared in unlimited ways.

    This panel will feature a variety of individuals who have worked with all budgets and all sizes of organizations to present their visual story. You'll leave inspired, informed and ready to go out and embrace the visual.

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Friday 9th March

    In Capitol A-D, Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol

    Coverage audio clip

  • Get Lit: Why Story Matters

    by Jill Meyers

    You built a product. It's amazing, brilliant, even earth-shattering. You know it, your team knows it, your mom knows it. So why doesn't anyone else seem to get it? The answer may be that you haven't told them the right story. As it turns out, good writing is hard to come by, and people who are good at making things aren't necessarily the best at telling their story. But don't worry: you can learn! In the world of fiction, we've been thinking about story--and how to make it powerful, visceral, and beautiful--for a long time. This panel will bring the practices and structure of fiction to help you transform your idea, product, or service from the mundane to the sublime.

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Friday 9th March

    In Capitol A-D, Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol

    Coverage audio clip

  • Smokey Bear Tweetup

    by Michael Bellavia, Smokey Bear and Ellyn Fisher

    Smokey Bear has been a national icon since 1944 and has had a Twitter icon since 2010. Meet Smokey and the man behind the bear's tweets. While Smokey usually reminds folks that only you can prevent wildfires, in this session he'll help you see how you can build a social media wildfire, responsibly. Learn how staying in character is critical to improving the quality of your connections and interactions and get a better sense of how you can make a legacy brand relevant today. Attendees will walk away with 7 tactics that will revolutionize their communication strategy through social storytelling and create social good through social media at the same time. All attendees will also receive free bear hugs.

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Friday 9th March

    In Assembly Room, InterContinental Stephen F. Austin

Saturday 10th March 2012

  • And I Am NOT Lying at SXSW

    by Thaler Pekar and Jeff Simmermon

    The folks from the And I Am Not Lying blog (andiamnotlying.com) cock-rock the NPR crowd with the best underground comedy, storytelling and sideshow acts. Hailing from NYC, this special event crams 15 apeloads of fun into one tent with story and improv workshops, a variety show, free beer and plenty of laughing and shouting.

    At 11:00am to 6:00pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Colorado, Hilton Garden Inn Austin Downtown

  • And I Am NOT Lying at SXSW: From Basement Burlesque to the Boardroom

    Storytelling is both the second-oldest art form and a hot "new" form of entertainment — thanks to This American Life, The Moth's podcast and live shows, and tons of shows cropping up around the country, storytelling's making a big comeback. It's making a comeback in the boardroom, too. And if we are honest with ourselves, it's just about to join "leverage" in the marketing d-bag's haggard sack of buzzwords. "Leverage storytelling to activate your customers," "learn story techniques," — you're going to hear a LOT of that at SXSW this year.

    You know what you're not going to hear anyone else talk about?

    "What makes a great story?" or "How would I know a good story?"

    Good stories are a little like good porn: you know ‘em when you see ‘em. But we're going to peel that hood back together and examine what makes a story good — and how to amplify and condense that.

    Join an interactive discussion with storytelling experts from across a wide range of disciplines – from NPR's This American Life, NYC storytelling show producers and accomplished solo performers with The Moth, Story Collider, TOLD!, Real Characters, And I Am Not Lying and other shows, as well as an expert in organizational narrative – and hack through the marketing hype to find out what really makes a good story.

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Colorado, Palm Park

  • And I Am NOT Lying at SXSW: Basics of Comedy Improv Workshop

    Learn to open yourself up to sudden, new possibilities – and seize the potential from everything that's right in front of you. You'll learn the rewarding art of creative play, how to surprise yourself and yank your inner comic out of the closet. In this workshop, you'll learn how much fun it can be to say "yes" to everything, to stop being ashamed of your own ideas and to easily improvise a hilarious comic scene. Discover how letting go actually provides you with great control in seemingly crazy situations (applicable to daily life, guaranteed). Coached by Eliza Skinner.

    At 12:00pm to 1:00pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Colorado, Palm Park

  • Travel Writers Meet Up

    by Sheila Scarborough

    Get together with other travel writers and bloggers for an hour of brainstorming, networking and storytelling. Coolest passport stamp smackdown is optional. Travel and tourism industry reps also welcome.

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Boardroom, InterContinental Stephen F. Austin

  • A Creator's Guide to Transmedia Storytelling

    by Andrea Phillips

    Transmedia is definitely a buzzword these days, and forward-thinkers from Madison Avenue to Hollywood are trying to get up to speed about what it is and how to get in on the action. Andrea Phillips will talk about her book, "A Creator's Guide to Transmedia Storytelling," a practical manual on the art and craft oftelling a story over multiple media.This guide is rich in material forcreatives and producers in marketing, film, television, theater,publishing and beyond, who are interested in expanding their creativepractice -- and their business.

    At 1:00pm to 1:20pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Ballroom G, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage audio clip

  • And I Am NOT Lying at SXSW: Storytelling Workshop

    Everyone's got at least one story in them – whether it's a pitch, a plan, or a tale of love gone horrifically wrong. Join Cyndi Freeman (Moth outreach instructor, storyteller, burlesque performer) and Jeff Simmermon (host, producer of And I Am Not Lying, blogger at andiamnotlying.com, award-winning storyteller) and hone your chops. Practice telling your story, identifying the change and heightening your stakes. You'll learn how to identify stakes, own your mistakes, and create a compelling narrative.

    At 1:00pm to 2:00pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Colorado, Palm Park

  • And I Am NOT Lying at SXSW: Storytelling Open Mic

    Have you been dying to tell the world a story? Are you tired of keynotes talking at you and dying to have other people listen to YOU for a change? Here's your chance! This is partly an optional follow-on from the storytelling workshop at 1PM, and part full-on open mic, this is a time for anyone to tell stories to friends, enemies, and complete strangers. Gentle critique is available and totally optional for anyone who wants to tighten their story and tell it better than ever.

    At 2:00pm to 3:00pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Colorado, Palm Park

  • Does Your Product Have a Plot?

    by David Womack

    What makes an experience—any experience—compelling? A well–told story transcends any particular medium and this presentation will focus on principles of narrative—such as plot, setting, and point–of–view—as they apply to designing digital products, websites, social media, and apps.

    By the end of the presentation, you will have a solid understanding of the principles of creating compelling stories and will be able to apply narrative techniques to the processes of creating and analyzing interactions. We’ll talk about why some digital experiences take off while others fizzle, how to define systems without using site maps, and innovative uses for user journeys.

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Ballroom BC, Austin Convention Center

  • And I am NOT Lying - Live

    The folks from the And I Am Not Lying blog are cock-rocking the NPR crowd in their new monthly residency in Brooklyn with the best underground comedy, storytelling, burlesque and sideshow acts. This whole thing is about getting together and getting EXCITED, turning the phones off and participating in something that's temporal, raw, and real, cramming a whole aircraft carrier's worth of fun into one tent that's right next to the FREE BEER TENT. Talent will include storytellers, comedians and surprise drop-ins.

    At 4:00pm to 6:00pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Colorado, Palm Park

  • Winning the Story Wars

    by Jonah Sachs

    Everyone in marketing is shouting “TELL STORIES!” in perfect unison from their various feeds. But what is a good story? And how can you make yours great? In 60 idea-packed minutes, viral storyteller Jonah Sachs (Story of Stuff, The Meatrix) will break down what he's learned over a decade telling stories that have amused, enlightened and engaged millions worldwide.

    He'll cover: 50 years of Jedi Mind Tricks (how marketing masters push products and ideas, and why their tricks are failing you now); Freaks, Cheats and Familiars (how our brains are hardwired to remember stories that reflect ancient patterns); and the Digitoral Era (how to transform your stories for massive resonance in today's digital-oral tradition). Drawing on the research and thinking in Story Wars, available spring 2012 from Harvard Business Review Press, Free Range co-founder Sachs will source age-old and cutting edge wisdom, delivering insights from advertising history, evolutionary biology, psychology, and comparative mythology. This talk is a how-to, equipping you to apply timeless truths for story contagion and breakthrough brands.

    At 4:00pm to 4:20pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Ballroom G, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage audio clip

  • A Carlin Home Companion

    by Kelly Carlin

    Through storytelling, classic video footage, and family memorabilia, Kelly Carlin, the only child of iconoclastic comedian George Carlin, chronicles over forty years of her life with her famous father. Kelly, host of Waking from the American Dream podcast, author, and well respected storyteller, reveals what it was like to be swept up into the life and career of her father from his early days as a straight comic through his transformation into a counter culture hero and social commentator to the very last days of his life. Join us for this funny, poignant and honest look at the man who not only redefined 20th century comedy, but inspired generations of comedy fans with such classic routines as Hippie Dippie Weatherman, Class Clown, The Seven Dirty Words, A Place for Your Stuff, and Modern Man.

    "The journey to womanhood by a girl who happens to be George Carlin's daughter makes for a transcendent show that operates on all levels. It's revealing, moving, highly insightful and funny. Master George might have said: 'Maybe she's a little too damn honest.' But, all I know is, it's a wonder to see."

    -- Garry Shandling

    At 5:00pm to 6:30pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Ballroom G, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage audio clip

  • Crowd Sourced & Collaborative Story-Writing

    by Stephen Bradley

    User-generated content (UGC) has changed the face of the entertainment world forever. Nearly every form of media has enjoyed a "break-out" moment when consumer content began to present a serious alternative to professionally-developed content for market and mind share. Break-through companies like Flickr, CD Baby, YouTube and Zynga have led the charge for every form of media entertainment from photos to video to music to video games... all except books.

    The explosive growth of e-readers and e-books is a strong endorsement of consumer demand to both publish and consume written work. Historically, writing and publishing a complete book has been a daunting proposition for the average consumer - but today non-professional enthusiasts have the opportunity to participate with others in the creation of new types of stories that build on the contributions and inspiration of many... stories that develop and unfold before their eyes, where they are both creator and consumer at once.

    At 5:45pm to 6:00pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Texas Ballroom 4-7, Hyatt Regency Austin

Sunday 11th March 2012

  • Multiplatform Storytelling: Frontline War Stories

    by Jon Chu, Brian Seth HURST, Lance Weiler, Tracy Fullerton and Dina Benadon

    While the academics preach of the wonders and promise and “mechanics” of “transmedia” storytelling, there are pioneering producers on the ground really doing it. There are good days and bad. There is money and there is not. And then there are the fans. What does it take to pull off successful multiplatform storytelling?

    We are at the birth of a new industry, an inflection point, much like the history of film or radio or television or even the Internet where technology gives rise to a new means to tell stories. It is a time before the “institutionalization” of the multiplatform industry. And just like the history of film or TV the early pioneers are stepping out now and taking a lot of arrows. They are experimenting, learning what works and establishing best practices. They are master storytellers using and in some cases inventing new tools. They have failed and they have succeeded. And these are their stories.

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Sunday 11th March

    In Room 18ABCD, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage audio clip

  • Storytelling Beyond Words: New Forms of Journalism

    by Stephen Buckley, Jim Brady, Bill Adair and Aron Pilhofer

    We are in the midst of a digital revolution, and yet journalistic storytelling remains trapped in the Stone Age. We have all sorts of digital tools at our disposal -- video, social media, interactive graphics, etc. -- and still our stories are boring. Our panel will help you think in new ways about storytelling forms. Instead of sending users to a separate link for a video, why not embed video into the story at strategic points? Instead of writing long articles analyzing the accuracy of a politician's statements, why not invent a meter that allows the audience to quickly see that for themselves? We'll offer examples of how journalists harness digital tools to reinvent storytelling in ways that delight audiences, elucidate complex issues, improve communities and strengthen democracy. This panel is for geeks who care about storytelling; it's for storytellers who care about digital tools; and it's for anyone who cares about the future of journalism.

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Sunday 11th March

    In Capitol A-D, Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol

    Coverage audio clip

  • Mother Goose Got Punked: Next Gen Visual Stories

    by Kivi Leroux Miller, Ben Henretig, Cara Jones, Aaron Bramley and Nancy Farese

    Visual storytelling has the power to move public policy, influence the direction of war, and alter the course of civil society. During this panel, you’ll learn ways to turn video and photography into great visual storytelling so that it can work for your nonprofit to raise funds, build community, recruit volunteers, and incite action. We’ll give you plenty of compelling examples, but we’ll also take you behind the scenes to show you some of the most important elements of great visual communications. This panel of filmmakers and photographers who have dedicated their careers to nonprofit storytelling will lead you through both the big strategic decisions and the real-world how-to’s of compelling visual communications. If you want to be a part of the next generation of nonprofit visual storytellers, join us for this session.

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Room 10AB, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage audio clip

  • Rise of the Interactive Director As Creative Lead

    by Dustin Callif and Grant Skinner

    Much like live action directors, the interactive director has evolved into a role in which the technologist is directing the experience and creative. From interactive music videos and social entertainment to leveraging HTML5 to interactive installations, we're seeing an explosion in innovative ways that interactive directors are allowing viewers to experience stories. In this discussion, we're going to have one of the industries brightest interactive directors share his perspective on his approach to interactive storytelling. He will be joined by Executive Producer of Digital at production company Tool of NA, which has a unique model of representing interactive directors for productions that require innovative thinking.

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Capitol View North, Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol

  • No Brochures: Digital Storytelling for Nonprofits

    by Joe Lambert, Roger Black and Michael Borum

    Storytelling is an inherently key aspect of non-profit business. Donors deserve to know how their gifts are having an impact; potential donors need to know how they can make a difference. But are non-profits truly "thinking digital" when it comes to getting their stories noticed? Are we stuck in brochure mode? The next generation of philanthropists—and beyond—is comprised of digital natives, far more accustomed to non-linear interactive storytelling and far more comfortable with a touchscreen than a staple-bound booklet. Donors are expecting to see complex, layered data presented in the form of colorful, entertaining, easily digestible media. This panel will discuss and explore alternate approaches to get your story noticed across a range of digital platforms.

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Room 10AB, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage audio clip

  • Still Invisible? Waging Stories with Social Media

    by Jackie Mahendra, Heather Cronk, Jehmu Greene, Felipe Matos and Joe Sudbay

    What does it mean to wage a story? In this panel, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas describes the moment of coming out as an undocumented immigrant, an "outlaw" in his own country. He explores the ways in which his radically visible story traveled from the New York Times to Facebook to Youtube and back -- and forced a toxic national debate into a human frame. As context for Jose's incredible story, Joe Sudbay, Deputy Editor of AMERICABlog, describes how bold, hi-tech storytelling transformed the political calculus during the waning months of the last Congress and landed him in a meeting with President Obama at the White House. Felipe Matos takes us on a journey that reinvents what it means to push for civil rights: a 1,500 mile walk from Miami to DC, tweeted at every turn.These hypervisible, once-invisible stories are changing what we thought we knew about the communities that are "coming out," as well as how to tap the power of social media to ignite change.

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Longhorn, Omni Downtown

Monday 12th March 2012

Tuesday 13th March 2012

  • Storytelling: From the Bar to the Boardroom

    by Chris Castiglione and Kevin Allison

    With the growth of shows like The Moth, and This American Life, true storytelling is more popular than ever. Whether you’re at the bar or in the boardroom – everyone has a story to tell.

    In this talk Kevin Allison (founder of The Story Studio, RISK! and former member of The State) and Christopher Castiglione (RISK! producer and UX product designer) will teach you the skills to wow a crowd with your story.

    You’ll learn how to select compelling story topics, use the “five beat” structure to build suspense, and tap into the larger thematic meaning of your ideas. We’ll apply our storytelling skills to themes that will come in handy the next time you are pitching your innovative new product, describing your business model, or just chatting up that “special person” at a SXSW after-party.

    This talk encourages audience participation: during the talk audience everyone will be given the opportunity to apply our storytelling techniques to one of their own stories. A few audience members will be given the opportunity to share aspects of their story live on stage, and receive criticism so that we all can learn together.

    Each participant will leave with a 3-minute story that builds upon the principals taught during the talk. Using techniques adopted from improv and sketch comedy – you’ll learn how to craft a story that your audience will remember long after you have gone.

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Tuesday 13th March

    In Capital Ballroom A, InterContinental Stephen F. Austin

    Coverage audio clip