How do you tell a compelling story? That’s the question of thirty-six people who gathered June 6 at the Mabee Farm Historic Site in Rotterdam Junction. It was a fast paced series of four panel discussions that packed the day with principals, techniques, venues, and innovation.
“The narrator should demonstrate the importance of place, convey when it happened, and construct the story for those in the present,” suggested Ellen McHale.
“Bring your character to life, create the body and the voice will follow,” added Kate Dudding.
Dr. Ivan Steen emphasized the responsibility to your source of information, “Get it right, research, listen and verify.”
Your audience will variety: individuals, families, small groups, and bus loads. They may be school children, family groups, people from different cultures, backgrounds and age groups. “Modify and adapt your delivery to your listener,” points out Drew Alberti.
Roshni Bhambhwani (who in character goes by Hattie the hitchhiker) took the hokey and hype out of ghost stories and approached the genre with some good natured factual advise. It may be healthy to approach the story with skepticism. “It’s okay to say things like ‘the owner swears he put the candlestick in one place, but the next morning he finds it on the mantle.'” Stick to the facts and let the audience draw their own conclusion.
Interest in the Schuyler Mansion State historic site has more than doubled with popular interest in Schuyler’s Son-in-law Alexander Hamilton. Heidi Hill outlined how they not only cope with the situation, but capitalize on the opportunity. Just having a full cut out of Alexander Hamilton so visitors can make “selfies” with the historic figure has been quite popular.
Although he came to us as a folk musician Tom Lindsay demonstrated the value of good photography to tell the story. Unless other wise noted all the pictures here were taken by Tom!
The one thing I learned this summer is that the personal touch is important to telling the story. Don’t be concerned about letting your enthusiasm show through. If nothing else your excitement will keep the guy in the back row from nodding off!
Finally the Mohawk Towpath Byway wants to thank the National Scenic Byway Foundation for their sponsorship of the Storytelling Summit. With this sponsorship we were able to keep the registration fees at a reasonable level. Further, we are grateful to OnCell Systems for their sponsorship to offset some of the cost of the catered lunch.