Well, that was a lot of fun.
The Story happened at Conway Hall last Friday, and 400 or so people turned up on a clear, bright (and fortunately not rainy) day to hear an eclectic range of speakers tell stories, or talk about storytelling.
Russell Davies was a most genial host, getting the audience warmed up and even supplying them with chocolate after the lunch break. The speakers were magnificent, provoking emotions from laughter to apprehension, shock and awe. The Newspaper Club and Alex Parrott helped create a fantastic Newspaper for the day, and Live Union made sure the whole thing ran without a hitch (and recorded audio of all the speakers that I will put up here as soon as I can track down a minidisc player). And last but not least, I had a small but perfect bunch of helpers on the day – Rebecca Denton, Sarah Pridham, Holly Locke, Gemma Brady and Richard Ayers – who made sure everyone and thing was where they should be.
As I said at the very end of the day, The Story was a very selfish event, organised because I wanted to go to an event like this, and there didn’t seem to be anything like it already. In reading some of the responses from attendees, its been really enlightening, and useful, to find out what people thought of the day.
It seems the format was a surprise for some who expected a more traditional conference, and didn’t expect to get a mixture of people talking about their practise and others just telling stories. I’m pleased it was a surprise – I wanted a day that would inspire you and remind you of the visceral emotions that good storytelling can create in you. Hopefully, through reflecting on these emotions and thinking about how the speakers create them in their stories, it would inform our own practises, whatever platform, format or context we tell stories in. I believe passionately that its how we make people feel that defines our success, and yet we don’t seem to talk about this as much as we do about the technicalities, business models and rote descriptions of the way we do things.
There have been some great blog posts by some of the attendees – Charles from Mudlark, James Bridle, Susi O’Neill, Adam Gee, Jane Young, Rebecca Denton, Vicky Matthews, Jez Paxman, Meg Pickard and Suw Charman. Suw also filmed Sydney Padua’s talk and put it up on her site, as well as a video of Neil Gaiman reading the story that Cory Doctorow told on the day.
Thanks to everyone who has written up their thoughts – they’re all really insightful and useful, and they’ll make The Story 2011 an even better event (yes, I am going to do it again, but I won’t start thinking about it until autumn). If you’ve written up your day, or posted photographs, please do let me know by leaving a note in the comments here. I’ve recorded the talks, so will put them up here as soon as I can, and will also put up the medium format pictures when they’re back from the lab.
Finally – thank you to everyone who turned up. Its a pretty nerve-wracking thing to decide to organise an event like this, especially if you’ve got a day job and a (very understanding) family as well. It was all worth it to hear the response from everyone there, whether it was laughter and applause at the event, tweets through the day, or cogitative reflections in the days afterwards. You’ve made it all worthwhile, and a heck of a lot of fun. Thanks!