From Words to Magic: Inside the World of a Professional Storyteller in Pune
What does the life of a professional storyteller look like?
This is how the life of a professional storyteller would look like. He would perform oral storytelling at schools, college events, literature events, book cafes, cultural events, etc
The stories that he would narrate could be fictional or even fictional ones. The fictional stories narrated by him could be published authors, famous folktales or even his own written stories
The audience that he would be narrating could range from 4 years to 80 years, corporate employees, young adults, GenZ or middle aged adults. The professional oral storyteller knows his audience and even better knows the pulse of his audience. He is precisely aware of what narratives work well for which demography.
The audience comes first and then comes the story to be narrated. It never comes the other way around for the professional storyteller.
Every professional storyteller is extremely hardworking. He will practise extremely well for any performance. Just like singing, it is all about striking the chord while narrating with emotion any certain dialogue. One chord plus or minus can miss out the bull’s eye while touching the hearts of the audience.
For a professional storyteller in Pune, he/she may have their own venues to perform. However, all upcoming storytellers are advised to start with participating in various open mics in Pune. These open mics consists of stand-up comedy, poetry, storytelling, etc.
Once the artist gets the art perfected, the storyteller can perform his own solo events.
However, there are a lot of challenges in performance storytelling
The storyteller might face unexpected hindrances during the storytelling act. These include rare but sudden heckling by the crowd, some audience member is continuously talking on phone while the storyteller performs, some random small kid suddenly jumps into the stage or starts crying, etc.
Here it is easy for the artist i.e. the professional storyteller to lose his flow, as he has to control the unexpected scenario from the crowd and also continue back with the same emotions of the storytelling act.
Hence the storyteller has to double up as the crowd manager and the artist and more importantly, keep switching places.
That is the hallmark of the true professional storyteller
What are the important parts of a story structure?
The important parts of the story are the characters, the story arc and the tonality/ style. With the overdose of content, especially post Covid, the story arc is mostly repetitive.
However, good storytelling hinges on excellent framing of the characters and tonality. These 2 aspects are the subtle art that is differentiating good storytelling from average ones, especially post Covid.
Hence a good storyteller is always aware of this while narrating. He needs to paint the picture well for the audience. If he fails in that, then everything falls flat.
Magic of connecting with stories
Out of the various advantages of storytelling, one of them is healing. Here even a common man i.e. non-professional storytellers can imbibe it.
Storytelling is about one person speaking and another listening. If the storytelling is pure, then both the teller and listener get healed.
Imagine a person in depression, he speaks about the incidents that made him vulnerable, scared and traumatised. These are just real stories that happened with this person. He just needs to be heard.
Here the role of a good listener is extremely crucial. This listener, if genuinely puts his heart into listening (not hearing) to what the person has to speak, it turns magical.
People just want to be heard; they just want their stories to be heard. Lending the right ear is akin to lending a helping hand.
All in all, a professional storyteller in Pune or any city in India needs to be hardworking, creative and keep evolving his art, like any other profession on this earth.
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