Conference schedule

The schedule is subject to change.
All participants will be notified in advance.

Inspirational keynote speeches on topics ranging from writing about personal moments, to uncovering your leadership story, to innovation in digital storytelling, to using myths in marketing.

08:30-10:00 — Registration

10:00-12:15 — Keynotes

Jacqui Banaszynski

The Gift Of Listening: How To Hear True Stories

Interviewing is the most powerful tool of any storyteller. But effective interviews go beyond predictable questions and answers. They involve our full humanity and all our senses in an effort to bear witness, discover and understand. A veteran journalist, teacher and traveler hows, whys and wonders of listening to others.

Leigh Hafrey

Leading Through Story: Fulfilling Individual And Organizational Aspirations

Stories solve for the complexity of leadership, combining the personal, the organizational, and the systemic. From the marketplace of Socrates’ Athens to the 20th-century burgeoning of extreme sports and the enterprises that support listening to others.

Kelley Benham

Writing Inside Out

I thought I knew how to tell a story until I tried to tell my own. When I tried to write the most personal story of my life, about the birth of my 1-pound baby girl, I forgot everything I thought I knew. How I got past the frozen-fingered, whiny stage and learned to report and write again.

12:15-13:00 — Story time

13:00-14:00 — Lunch

14:30-16:30 — Keynotes

Jonah Sachs

Winning The Story Wars

Everyone trying to be heard these days is desperate to tell better stories. But what is a good story? And how can you make yours great? In 30 idea-packed minutes, Jonah Sachs will break down what he's learned over a decade telling stories that have amused, enlightened and engaged millions worldwide. He'll cover: 50 years of Mind Tricks (how past marketing masters have pushed products and ideas, and why their tricks are failing us now); Freaks, Cheats and Familiars (how our brains are hardwired to remember stories that reflect ancient patterns); and the Digitoral Era (how to transform your stories for massive resonance in today's social media empowered world). This talk is a how-to, equipping you to apply timeless truths for story contagion and breakthrough brands.

Amy O’Leary

The Story Starts Before You Say A Word: Digital Trends Changing Storytelling

In this presentation, Amy O'Leary will explain how new digital trends in social media, mobile reading and anticipatory computing change the way we tell stories. Using examples from journalism, fiction and other kinds of communications, she will give you a roadmap to understanding how your own stories can be as powerful as possible, no matter where they begin.

Lea Thau

Getting The Story: Finding vs. Making

The question Lea most frequently gets about her radio show Strangers is "how do you find the stories?" The truth is that, largely, she creates them. Sure, there's finding the right subject and the right story (and how do you do that?) and there's getting the right tape (and how does that happen?) but then, of course, there's what you do with the tape. All good producers know this, but Lea's work is deceptively simple, often just one person telling one story, produced in a minimalist style where you can't hear the meddling, yet it's highly edited, down to individual sentences, even words. This raises questions of journalism vs. storytelling. Is it OK to doctor the tape to make the truth sharper, better, more compelling? In this keynote, Lea will explain her process and discuss the ethics.

16:30-17:00 — Coffee break

17:00-18:30 — Keynotes

Lisa Pollak

Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Stories

Many years ago I read a remarkable feature story in the Washington Post about the lives of seven people named John Smith. The story (by writer Laura Blumenfeld) asks the question: “How much is one life like all lives?” I was so moved by this story that I co-produced a television version of it for the Showtime television series This American Life. In this session we’ll watch the John Smith episode of TAL and talk about the challenges and rewards of mining everyday life for compelling stories.

Chris Jones

Life In A Chair

Romantic visions of the "writer's life" – drinking, carousing, waiting for the muse in coffee shops – rarely seem to include any actual writing. Every writer has a different process, but every successful writer got better in the same place: alone, in a chair, treating writing like the true profession that it is. The life is the reward for that work.

18:30 — Drinks

See Day 2

Three rounds of two-hour breakout sessions/workshops that bring together small groups for practical exercises in writing, idea generation, or finding your brand’s story. Participants can pick only one of the three tracks - explorer, maker, shaper - when registering.

09:00-10:00 — Registration

10:00-10:30 — Keynotes

Tudor Giurgiu

Truth in Fiction

My last feature film, not released yet, is based on real facts. It took me more than 6 years for research, write, rewrite, change co-writers, abandon and start again. I had to make a film about a young prosecutor who committed suicide. Somebody I did not meet before. The wonder boy of his generation, a hero inside a corrupt system, an individual with high moral values. But who wants to see films about perfect people? Nobody. Aiming for reality or fictionalizing real facts? A major decision to take.

10:45-12:45 — Breakout session round #1

Explorer

Lisa Pollak

Good Things In Small Packages

We hear a lot these days about “longform” narrative journalism. But who ever said all narratives require months of work and thousands of words? We’ll read great examples of short-but-memorable stories and talk about how to find, report and tell them.

Maker

De Correspondent

The Making of De Correspondent

The Dutch site's publisher, Ernst-Jan Pfauth, and its editor-in-chief, Rob Wijnberg, will talk about building the platform, running a record-breaking crowd funding campaign, and turning an idea into a strong digital publication with over 30,000 subscribing members. Ernst-Jan and Rob will focus on their vision for a different kind of journalism in the digital space, and how it needs to involve designers, developers, and readers in its storytelling.

Shaper

Lea Thau

How To Tell A Great Story

In this workshop, Lea will focus on the art and craft of storytelling, especially as it applies to telling stories live on stage. Drawing on her 10-year experience as the head of The Moth Lea will present the key principles of storytelling, followed by a second half where participants will work on stories from their own lives, some of which will be presented to the group at large.

12:45-14:00 — Lunch

14:00-16:00 — Breakout session round #2

Explorer

Kelley Benham

Story Mechanic

We will dismantle some stories and figure out what makes them work. What is the engine of a story, and what makes it run? Which are the essential parts? What is gumming up the machinery? Bring your half-baked story idea or a stuttering rough draft and a willingness to engage.

Maker

Chris Jones

How To Get To Who?

The profile is a classic fixture of magazines, some of the best stories we do. Using real life examples, this workshop will provide step-by-step instruction—from finding the right subject, through the reporting and writing of a finished piece—that will help new writers capture the essence of people we're lucky enough to get to know.

Shaper

Leigh Hafrey

A Tale Of Two Stories

Through discussions and a small-group exercise, this workshop invites participants to recognize the centrality of values to their leadership in organizations, and confirm the practicality of applying those values to their decision-making processes.

16:00-16:30 — Coffee break

16:30-18:30 — Breakout session round #3

Explorer

Jacqui Banaszynski

Building Blocks: Structural Blueprints For Stories

Cathedrals aren’t built all at once, or from the steeples down. They are carefully constructed, brick by brick, starting with a sound foundation and a thoughtful floor plan. Successful stories are conceived and constructed the same way. In this workshop, we’ll explore several structural approaches that help us build stories that are as creative as they are solid.

Maker

Amy O’Leary

How To Build An Addictive Story

In this workshop, Amy O'Leary will lead you through examples of how to make stories that are addictive, from start to finish. How to you make people curious about your story? How do you keep them coming back for more? How do you use all the new tools and channels of digital storytelling to build a loyal audience for your work? In this hands-on workshop, you will design your own story plan for making the stories you want to tell as compelling and addictive as possible.

Shaper

Jonah Sachs

Myth-Making In The Digitoral Age

In this interactive two hour session, Jonah will take participants through the concepts of audience as hero, archetype work, and help the group look at their work/business/brand though a different lens. He’ll also discuss creating a connection with an audience around a powerful moral of the story.

18:30 — Drinks

See day 1

How stories change us

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Registration is now closed. We look forward to meeting you all soon.