The SHOUT story guidelines
Your story must be true. Of course, we know that memory is a tricky thing, and nobody is going to fact-check you, but let’s keep to the realm of the already crazy real world.
It must be your story. This means that you have to figure in the story prominently. If it is about your Grandma, it should be mostly about your experience with her, not an old family tale from before you were born. The best stories (for our purposes, at least) are told from firsthand experience.
It must be told without a script. We are not looking for beautiful wordsmithing and carefully crafted sentences. That is a different event. These stories are best told fresh from the mind to the mouth, without too much of a writer or editor in between. Even if it is a story you have carefully scripted and memorized for your one-person show, we challenge you to throw the script away and just tell the story as you remember it. You know the story; it happened to you! Though we do suggest having a well-crafted opening and closing line; meandering endings can kill a great story. (The one exception on the notes thing is if you want to, as part of a story, read an excerpt from a journal or love letter or whatever that helps to elucidate the otherwise extemporaneous story.)
If you are a featured Storyteller, your story should be 10 minutes long. After that, the audience starts to get restless. If you are drawn from the hat, your story should be 5-6 minutes long. Short and sweet is just fine! One of our favorite stories was only a minute and a half long! (Sadly, the recorder failed on that one, so you will never hear it...)
We are NOT looking for:
Stand-up routines that are just a series of jokes or anecdotes. Though of course many comedians tell amazing stories, and we invite them to do so!
Poems. See above re: scripted material.
Urban myths rewritten to make you the main character. Trust me, we will recognize it!
We ARE looking for:
You. Telling an amazing true personal story live without a script.
PITCH US A STORY