Digital Storytellers Meetup & Creative Bootcamp

Who: Ita Ema (View from Above Entertainment) is the mastermind facilitator for anyone interested in crafting their story—whether it is for a business website, blog, comedy gig, feature film or fantasy novel—you see there is no end to genre or medium; all are welcome.
What: The meetup is part instruction, part project-sharing, part accountability and support group for telling the story that entrepreneurs and creatives need and want to tell. The Creative Bootcamp is a 5-hour ‘Get it Done!’ workshop to follow through on creative story-telling projects.
Where: Gangplank, Chandler (usually the conference room)
When: Meetup is every other Monday at 6-8 p.m. Bootcamp is approximately once a month. Check the Gangplank Calendar and newsletter for upcoming schedule.
How much: This is social capital at its best! A valuable investment of time for PEOPLE to PARTICIPATE in LEARNING how to craft their story and DO their storytelling with BOLDNESS along with a COMMUNITY of creatives who COLLABORATE, and Oh! happen to build FRIENDSHIP in the process. (= no monetary fee)

Urbie's blank slates

Urbie’s blank slates

This meetup group brings together an eclectic bunch. We have our regulars, we have our once-in-awhilers, and we always have newbies. And that doesn’t mean they are new to story-telling necessarily, but in some cases new to the craft and this group. Beth, a voice coach, is working on a musical she wrote many years ago decided to pull it out of the attic storage box and re-write it digitally. Ariel who is a programmer, musician and former firefighter shuffles around her many projects including an epic fantasy novel. I cannot count all the comedy guys who bring in their projects, one of which is a story about the comedians themselves.

I bounce around to a different project every meetup, but my first “Get ‘r Done” project was a video I created for a non-profit’s AZ Gives campaign. I wanted to raise money for a “real restroom” at this non-profit’s recycling facility. I brought my ideas to the group one night about a year ago and we had fantastic fun brainstorming and flushing it out—no pun intended! I then narrowed the story down and created a script, did some on site shooting. I brought the footage in for our fearless leader, Ita, to help me with editing software in the Gangplank computer lab and I recorded the voice-over in Gangplank’s podcasting room. It’s not the project per se that sealed the deal for my commitment this storytelling group, it is the honest feedback and collaborative spirit of participation for my own projects, as well as for those of others’. When I see their stories come together and witness the progress they make, it’s a beautiful thing.
Learning the story arch and the beats for fun and fiction is in some sense a no-brainer, yet it is quite the ‘Ah-ha!’ moment when you see a story is crafted into a business plan. We have numerous entrepreneurs creating stories for video and audience-building on their websites and online marketing. April is a long-time Gangplanker and WordCamp 2013 Director plugged in her Powerhouse Posting Process online courses through Made Better Studio.
Self-assigned homework spurs participants onward between meetups and that has organically grown into the ‘part support group’ aspect. Marissa pounded out the story arch for her online tutorials for home-schooling parents and shot the video after one visit to the meetup. BOOM!

During Bootcamp it's 4 X 45 minute blocks of nose to grindstone

During Bootcamp it’s 4 X 45 minute blocks of nose to grindstone

Others of us struggle to fit creative time and energy into our daily or weekly schedules and we’ve found ways to hold each other accountable along with sharing tips and tricks—everything from apps to track and time productivity, to inspirational videos, to online script writing and animation tools. Ariel attributes her writing 15,000+ words in the last few weeks to the learning, camaraderie, and support to Digital Storytellers. Rob, eventually hammered out his Bottom Five Comedy material between meetups and says, “The Digital Storytellers group helped me narrow my focus so that I could complete my first short film script, get my website up and running, and begin a feature. Without Ita and the group, I’d still be stuck with a million random story fragments.”
Even our fearless leader finds himself progressing on otherwise top candidates for procrastination projects such as a feature-length script, Full Field the Basics video series and now a crowdfunding campaign story. Ita says, “Sometimes you don’t know where to start, but it you can just take the first step that’s enough to get the ball rolling.” And he certainly has helped us do just that and more!

Urbie meets success: a finished product in a new medium

Urbie meets success: a finished product in a new medium

The fourth Digital Storytellers Creative Bootcamp was On Sunday, March 15. While all participants experienced successful outcomes, newcomer Urbie ( @urbie ) found out he could be a pirate at Gangplank via #tlap (Teach Like a Pirate Twitter chat), so long story, short teaching pirates connected to Gangplank pirates on the meetup.com app. Urbie came into the bootcamp with a laptop, a phone and a tablet along with a rainbow of sticky notes and pens. But more importantly he came in with true ‘Arrrrrrrr’ spirit! He had never tried comic strips before, but wanted to #BeDangerous and give it a try. He started from zero, added an idea and ended up meeting his goal of a publish-ready strip. I’m inspired!

Guilt Free Book Club Announces December 2014 through May 2015 Book Selections

Gangplank Chandler’s Guilt Free Book Club is an awesome place to discuss and share new and interesting ideas. You don’t even have to read the book to join in our lively discussions! We meet on the Second Wednesday of each month at Gangplank Chandler at 6pm.

For those interested in reading along, we have selected the next 6 months books:

December 2014
Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin

January 2015
Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre by Keith Johnstone

February 2015
This month we decided to mix things up with two books. Read one or the other or both or neither.

Why Not Capitalism by Jason Brennan

The End of History and the Last Man by Francis Fukuyama

March 2015
Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a Genius by Marc Seifer

April 2015
Presence Human Purpose and the field of the Future by Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, and Betty Sue Flowers

May 2015
How to Cook a Wolf by M.F.K. Fisher

Gangplank Guilt-free Book Club: August Recap and September Book Announced

Did you know that Gangplank Chandler is host to a “guilt-free” book club? Guilt free means that you can (and should) participate whether you read the book or not. Discussion is always thoughtful and mind-opening and the group challenges itself with books from every genre and focus as it can. You should check it out!

August Recap

Our book for August was “The Little Prince” by Antoine De Saint-Exupery.  It was a very different book for us, the result of a desire to discuss a book from out past that touched our hearts.  We were treated to French wine, cheese, and dessert by Ann W. as we celebrated  the French-ness of the book, as well as getting back in touch with our inner child. Deconstructing a book so full of metaphors was like trying to pick up a big bowl of spilled Jello (wait, is that a metaphor or an analogy??).  Anyway, we had fun, as usual.

September’s Book

September’s book is, as we are known to do, a real departure from last month’s book.  Join us on Wednesday, September 10th at 6 PM, as we discuss Nassim Nicholas Taleb‘s newest book, “Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder.”

His general thesis of the book:

With the velocity of change it is impossible to predict if, when and how things will change.  Better, then, to create organizations and platforms that benefit from disorder and change (antifragile) than ones that are broken or made obsolete (fragile).

Taleb says, “The antifragile loves randomness and uncertainty, which also means – crucially – a love of errors, a certain class of errors. Antifragility has a singular property of allowing us to deal with the unknown, to do things without understanding them – – and do them well. Let me be more aggressive: we are largely better at doing that we are thinking, thanks to antifragility. I’d rather be dumb and anti-fragile and extremely smart and fragile, anytime.”

New York Times says, “Mr. Taleb — who has worked as a derivatives trader and quantitative analyst, and who holds the title of distinguished professor of risk engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University — writes with great certainty and vigor. At his best he serves up provocative theories that encourage us to look at the world anew. He reminds us of the limits of Enlightenment reason, goads us into thinking about why small might be less fragile than big (a rule, he implies, that applies to animals and corporations alike) and gives us a renewed appreciation of practical knowledge (of the sort possessed by engineers and entrepreneurs) as opposed to the sort of academic knowledge acquired in school.”

Also, check out his talk at an Authors at Google discussion on the book.

Remember… our book club is a guilt-free book club, so you don’t have to read the book to join in.  So, join us on Wednesday, September 10th at 6 PM, as we discuss Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s newest book, Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder.

RSVP on Facebook or Meetup or share the event page on your social media.

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