Hey, it's Randy at Carapace. Courtesy of our talented host Cris Gray, we have a theme for February, and it's COVER STORY. We're five years old this month! Tempus fugit and all that. Tell us in no longer than five to seven minutes (in general, as you know from the listening chair, the shorter the better) about that time when the "official" narrative wasn't the real one. When the version that everybody, or almost everybody, agreed upon was not what happened at all. When the sweet lie concealed the bitter truth ... or the other way around. Seldom are things as they seem, in work, love, or everyday life. We want to hear about the plot-line that papered over the "caught" line, about the fiction made up to dodge the friction. Bring us the news of your COVER STORY. The TV cameras from Public Broadcasting Atlanta will be hovering again this month, gathering material for the teevee episode, so deck yourself out in fancy duds if you feel it, but casual is fine. Remember the "three-strike" rule, too. If you've gone in the hat and not been chosen three times in a row, let us know at the start of the show and we'll get you up there for sure. Also, here's something. Story Collider, the New York-based outfit that puts on monthly shows featuring true personal stories based on science, is coming to Atlanta for the second year in a row on Monday, March 23. I'm part of the show this time around, and they're looking for more people to tell science-y stories of about 10 minutes each. The last I heard, they had two spaces left. If you want to submit a pitch, send a couple of paragraphs describing your story and yourself to firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you're looking for fun this weekend, the aforementioned talented host Cris Gray is the featured storyteller at Highwire Comedy's "The Soapbox Show" on Saturday night. It's "an eclectic variety of local and national guest storsytellers and Atlanta’s most veteran cast of professional improvisers." Looks cool. There's an FB page about it. Meanwhile, people say the following tips often help them build their work. So here goes: * Set the stakes right away. One method is to start in the middle of the action ("It was sad but not interesting to believe that Grandpops died in a skiing accident. It was a little sad, pretty funny, and way more interesting last Thanksgiving when Mom told me what really happened ... ") * Tell the truth as you know it. This is your story, and you are entitled to share the way you experienced the events. Other people may have different versions, which is fine. They can tell theirs if they want. Now is your time. Two sides to every story. * Don't worry about looking good, i.e., don't play the hero or the victim. Admit to feelings and thoughts that people "shouldn't" have, but most people do have. Let the story be as rich and complicated as life ("So I made up a version that sounded better, and fooled everybody for a long time. I feel ashamed about it now, but also a little proud.") * No need to worry much how loud or soft your voice is, or when you should prance around and wave your arms, "working the stage." Just talk to us in an audible voice, with limited theatrics. A tad nervous is fine. When you look all actor-like, the audience trusts you less. * Practice. You'll find that emotional notes that don't follow sensibly from each other will drop out of the story; you'll "forget" them as you practice, because they didn't belong in the first place. This will make you more confident, and help you tighten your story so that you can keep it within the time limit. * Know your last line. You'll be more satisfied, and so will the audience, if the last line is not something fumbly like, "... and that's my story." Try one more like, "The made-up account of what went on is sometimes better than the actual truth. Especially in those cases where you still can't figure out what the actual truth might be." Or, "She would probably say she told that version to protect herself as much as me, but I figured out from the whole experience that I'd rather have no defense at all." I know you can do better than these suggestions, but you get the idea. The point is, if you remain aware of how you'll end the story, you’ll have a north star, a destination to aim for, in case you get lost up there. Which happens. You can end your piece as if you're hammering a shed together. And the audience will know when you've nailed it. See you at Manny's for COVER STORY!
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