The "Ten Storytelling Skills" Seminar Art & Technique for Effective Storytelling


San Alfonso Conference Center

Long Branch, New Jersey

October 29 - November 3, 2017

Basic Info

What makes storytelling a powerful way of communicating? A careful balance of technique and art. 

Once techniques are mastered, they can be artisticslly applied in effective storytelling.  This seminar provides tools for making everyone better listeners and tellers through both technique and art.

Dr. Robert Béla Wilhelm has designed and taught all elements of this seminar over many years. Now, he has brought them together in one place. His focus is on helping tellers develop their specific storytelling talents most effectively.

If you have quesiions, or would like to register, please email here.


Session A

1.  Gardner’s Challenge: Utilizing our multiple inteligences in our storytelling. The central place of Verbal IQ. The bias of quantitative measurement.  What is the preliminary profile of a “natural storyteller?"

2.  Jayne’s Paradox: How the brain processes both story telling & listening… Seven gateways between “sending” and “receiving” a story. How “noise” at any of the gateways desrupts and distorts the message.  The Bicameral Brain, the Divided Psyche, The Binary Universe. How does the storyteller “synthesize” the interior binary dialogue?

Session B

3.  Ariadne’s Thread: The importance of the narrative line (plot).  Telling in time and hearing in eternity - Kronos rules the telling. Kairos the listening.  The image of the Ikon in the completed story. Kermode’s “sense of ending.”  The historic and the apocalyptic experience of story.  The narrative dimension of storytelling.

4.  Polanyi's Principle in describing details: Knowing more than we can tell and the Goldilocks Test. The shortcoming of memorization. The shifting gestalt of Foreground and Background.  The Background as the “Ungrund”, the fertile memory. The descriptive dimension of storytelling. 

5.  Perls' Practice: Narratives as Deflection, Introjection, and Projection. The value of Projection in storytelling: the teller as simultaneously scriptwirter, director, and various characters in a tale. The teller as prophet, psychopomp or shaman. The dramatic dimension of storytelling.

Session C

6.  Eliade’s Insight: “In Illo Tempore”. Using both enchantment and disenchantment in any storytelling event. Coleridge’s “Suspension of Disbelief" and Tolkien’s “Subcreation”. Ecstatic and Meditative storytelling. Sacred, Profane, and Secular.   The spiritual dimension of storytelling.

7.  Olrik's Overview: the nine laws of oral storytelling including repetition, doubling, and formula openings and closings. The choreography of the performance. How storytelling is its own language… a Twilight Talk rather than Day or Night Talk.

8.  The Modernist Shift: Subplots and Flashbacks destroy Context. Difference between oral, written, and mass-media (video) storytelling.  Contextual storytelling versus Selfie storytelling. A writer, a playwrite, a film maker… are and are-not storytellers.

Session D

9.  The Parabolic Effect:  Surprise and Reversal of Expectations as the “premise” and the “purpose” (or “final cause”) of storytelling. The transforming and healing power of stories are played out on the parabolic, not linear, line. Engagement with the audience is the maestro’s secret.

10. Art of the Bricoleur:  Integrating the seminar’s content in your practice of Art and Technique in the storytelling arts. How to be a “Bricoleur” rather than an architiect in your art. Telling the story “Backwards” from the present moment.  The life-stages of a storyteller… Are there moral stages of growth in our tellings and listenings?

Bibliography for further reading will be provided.

— Robert Béla Wilhelm

If you have quesiions, or would like to register, please email here.

© Robert Bela Wilhelm 2017