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Seven Rules for Storytellers:
- Sign up well in advance!
- You can sign up for any event you see posted on the extempoVT.com homepage.
- The lineup fills up very fast & very early: sometimes even a month or more before the date of a show.
- Week-of, same-day, or at-the-door sign-up is rarely to never available & not recommended.
- The person signing up must be the person telling the story: No third-party sign-ups.
- If you tell a story, you get in FREE.
- Sign-up is open to any adult, but given that it's a competition, you should not consider yourself a professional raconteur.
- Practice looks like different things to different people, but... PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE!
- Extemporaneous stories are well prepared in advance to come off smoothly, while looking & sounding dynamic.
- Don't recite your story word for word; it shouldn't sound rote.
- Time yourself when you practice because your story will be timed at extempo & disqualified if too long or too short.
- The telling of your story out loud must run FIVE TO SEVEN-AND-A-HALF MINUTES (5:00 7:30): no more, no less!
- BE EDITORIAL. Additionally, do not plan a story to max out all seven-and-a-half minutes (you'll go over).
- No impromptu storytelling: The mic is not open to people jumping up spur of the moment.
- 'Act natural' & tell no lie.
- Your story must be true, original, & from your own life.
- No fiction, folktales, fairytales, fables, legends (urban or otherwise). No once-upon-a-time stories.
- No nonoriginal material, & don't retell a story once you've already told it at extempo.
- Live, first-person, true storytelling calls for being GENUINE and having a NATURAL stage presence: NO ACTING!
- The first word out of your mouth at the microphone must be the first word of your story.
- Be stage present: Speak directly into the mic, keep it close to your mouth at all times, enunciate, & make eye contact.
- TELL us a STORY.
- It's not a reading: Don't use any script, notes, crib sheets, cue cards, etc.
- Narrative true stories only.
- Use first-person voice: Tell your story from an "I" perspective.
- It's not open-mic night. NO: standup routines/sets of material/crowdwork, speeches, lectures, recitation, one-man shows, etc.
- No advertising or PR: No promoting other events, goods, or services.
- One at a time on stage.
- Choose your topic.
- Unlike every other storytelling event out there, at extempo there is NO THEME.
- You may tell a first-person true story about anything.
- Any feeling tone is ok: Stories can be dramatic, funny, anything in between, or be hybrid in tone.
- Be comfortable being digitally recorded at the live event, but: Storytellers own the rights to their own stories!
- Audio is recorded by default, winners are posted on the internet, & any story may be rebroadcast on the radio.
- Additionally, many events are videoed by & for local community access television.
- Any storyteller may opt out of likeness, voice, or material capture and/or rebroadcast. Just ask!
- At extempo you are free to tell compromising material (meant to be ephemeral) live without digital repercussions.
- Do your best, & keep good company with other extemporaneous storytellers.
- The evening develops a pleasingly consistent tenor when everybody's story follows these rules.
- You will not win if you break format or abuse time constraints.
- Stories are juried pointedly on rules 2, 3, & 4 above.
- Winningest storytellers advance annually to compete for prize money at the tournament of champions, the Tell Off.
- extempo is always meant to be a LIGHTHEARTED competition; please keep it that way.
Four Rules for the Audience:
- Arrive no later than 20 minutes before the start time if you want a seat (extempo cannot stress this enough).
- Sign up at the door to be a juror or timekeeper, & you'll get in FREE.
- It's not a kids' event!
- Stories told at extempo are by adults & for adults.
- Storytellers aren't asked or expected to alter content or language on account of the presence of children.
- So as not to distract storytellers, at extempo, children should be not seen and not heard.
- Storytellers love to hear your organic reactions, so laugh, cry, clap, cheer, but please don't heckle or interrupt.
- Exception: It is ok to ask a storyteller to speak louder if you cannot hear her/him.
- No cell phones: Turn all personal electronic devices all the way off during the eventno ring, no buzz, no glow.
- If you bring an infant or baby (not recommended), stay near an exit for the duration & duck out when they start to make noise.
Storytelling events have a history of being powerful, moving, & transformational for tellers & listeners alike. And as the Burlington playwright Adriano Shaplin says, "The only reason to tell a story about the past is to tell a story about the present."
To tell a story, join the mail list, or ask a question: email storytelling@extempoVT.com