Needing to Hire A Storyteller? Basics 101

Sometimes people decide, "Hey, let's get somebody to tell stories!" They often have no clue as to what is needed in presenting a quality storytelling experience. The first question to ask is "why do I want a storyteller?" Having a clear rationale will help you convey exactly what you need from the storyteller and improve the entire experience.
'You mean I have to pay?!" Storytellers, like other performers, usually charge for the services they render. The following prices cover the range from experienced to national name. The storyteller researches, learns, and perfects their art in the same manner that dancers or musicians do. In addition, differing ages require different levels and types of stories. Many hours of prep work proceed any storytelling event.
A survey of artists currently working (in Oklahoma and elsewhere) reveals full performance of 40-60 minutes usually costs about $100 to $1500, plus mileage or transportation /meals/board.
A short performance of about 20-30 minutes usually costs $50-$550, plus mileage (etc.).
Delivery of one story under 20 minutes is about $25-$100...
Sometimes the cost is negotiable - depending on the situation - always ask.
Storytelling has space needs just as unique as a dance troupe. Storytellers usually need smaller, intimate spaces, or if larger spaces are used, there must be sound and few distractions. Storytelling is a most ancient form of communication and functions best when the teller and the listener can connect free of noise or too many distractions. Some water bottles handy, and space between sets of stories (if telling to numerous groups) are always a plus!
Places to NOT place a storyteller: near a music band, animals, machinery, a noisy bar or eating space. There is one well remembered horror story in OKC a few years back where a major venue placed its storytellers in the bar tent and every story was interrupted as beer bottles crashed into the trash can near the staging space, ice poured in glasses, and orders were taken.
Need a storyteller for a children's event? Sometimes the local public library can partner their children's professional to schools, daycares, etc. to read or share oral stories as part of a community outreach or literacy support. That is usually a free service - but requires advance planning to allow release time for the professional.


Fall Fabulous

The leadership of the state storytelling organization retreated to St. Crispin's Retreat Center to plan for the 2009 "Spirit of Oklahoma" storytelling Festival. It was a wonderful time of stories, stories, and more stories shared around a lounge or the firepit, refreshing walks through the woods, and delightful visits with new and old friends. There is nothing exactly like a weekend with a group of storytellers!



"Tallgrass Tellers is having Eerie Tales at Sooner Park bandshell on Oct 24th at 7-9pm. If any of you would like to attend we would be glad to have you." [Image courtesy of Fresh Eire Design, Cullan Hudson]


HISTORY: Oklahoma Storytelling Week Proclamation

Then President of Territory Tellers, Garland McWatters, State Representative Danny Moss, and President-Elect Bonnie Smith, posed in 2002 with the Governor's Proclamation of "Oklahoma Storytelling Week".


THE POWER OF WORDS - A Story to Share

A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead.

The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all of their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died.

The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. This frog, though, was deaf, unable to hear the others plea. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

This story teaches us two lessons. There is power of life and death in the tongue. An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it through the day. Be careful of what you say. Speak life to those who cross your path.

The power of words is strong. An encouraging word can go such a long way. Think before you speak.

[Author Unknown, rec'd via email in 1999. For storytelling purposes leave out the italicized words - let the story speak for itself ].



Check out the OKC Story Slam for great "how to" tips and then plan to attend their events on Oct. 10 and Nov. 2. The theme in November is "Cringe"... Great Urban Entertainment.


New Website for Oklahoma Performers

A new website is starting to serve as a directory for Oklahoma Performers: music groups, storytellers, speakers. Visit it at Oklahoma Performers Directory.