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Interview with Jenny Goldstick from the Story Of/ workshop

We are excited to announce that applications for the 2019 Story Of/ workshop are now open!

Story Of/ is created and produced by MFA Visual Narrative Chair, Nathan Fox, MFAVN alumna Jenny Goldstick, and Director of Operations, Joan McCabe in collaboration with Society of Illustrators and a growing number of sponsors and collaborators, including inVIsion and Pop-Up Magazine.

At this hackathon-style workshop for the development of visual narratives across media, curated teams from diverse creative backgrounds prototype stories in any visual media using consistent storytelling variables and a guiding theme. You can learn more about us and see photos from our last event on our website

This event spreads the gospel of prioritizing story over format and media, building a community of story adventurers, like you, as well as teaching the value of prototyping and collaborative storymaking.

The event is a super fun place to meet new people, forge unexpected connections, make new discoveries, and get another chance and context to tell a story visually.

We had a chance to speak with Jenny Goldstick about the workshop.

What’s the mission of Story Of/?

The main purpose of Story Of/ is to evangelize the power of good visual storytelling, transcendent of media and technique. We also want to spread the good word that story serves as an effective communication tool when approaching creative projects. It can help build bridges between people of different backgrounds and industries.

Story Of/ will stretch your storytelling muscles from MFA Visual Narrative at SVA on Vimeo.


What can participants expect over the course of the workshop?

Participants can expect the freedom to play, experiment, and communicate with a creatively diverse team of people who they have not worked with before, combined with a lead-in seminar and guidance on how to jump into a creative project using a “story first” approach. In simplest terms, they can expect a guided hackathon, but in some ways they can expect the unexpected in terms of the people they will meet and the story they will make!

What do you hope participants will walk away with?

We hope that participants walk away inspired, having discovered something new and met the challenge of collaborating with a group of strangers. They can add a narrative-centric approach to their process toolbox as well.

Are there any stories from last year’s participants about how the workshop helped them?
A participant who came in with some preconceived notions of what a story should be, or what he wanted it to be, and who came to the workshop with ideas already in the cannon read-to-go, spoke of learning to keep his ego in check and let the team collaborate together on a new idea. I’m sure he is not the only one! It can be very difficult to let go of expectations, but participants learn quickly that this workshop relies upon you letting go of everything you thought you knew, and making choices that are in service to the story and the team’s capability and collective desire to tell it. There is really no time to do anything else, since the event is only a weekend with a launch night, and participants need to cover a lot of ground from the beginning to Sunday presentations and demos.

Story Of/ seems ambitious at its core. Where do you see it in five years?

Thanks for noticing our ambition – I’ll take that as a compliment! It’s a good question.

Conceptually, we expect this to continually evolve because by its iterative nature, we will always continue to grow and change the way the event works, and of course there is no shortage of new themes and new storytelling variables. So in five years expect an event that is still fresh.

We are also ready to develop operational goals. We want to find a way to be operationally sustainable and share this love of collaboration and story as a guiding mechanism in cross-disciplinary projects in a way that fits into our own lives and workloads, that brings us enough money to run it without compromising our values, and that expands the audience far and wide. We have considered scaling to one-day workshops or half-day workshops that we give to businesses or schools, so you might see that in the future, too.


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