15/12/2014

Manchester "When I was ten the war caught up with me" Julie Kertesz

"True Stories with Grant Whisky" at Manchester Town hall with 400 audience and two big screens showing the performance so all can see it well.

It was from the beginning a decision to tell this story from the eyes of a ten years old me, and do not relate how I see it now with knowledge not even from what I learned a year later.

Another big decision was to add to it a part about "now" and link it with "holding hands" with the past: that leaves all with a warm feeling and also a non told but important second message.

Asking Advice
Toastmasters to whom I told this story in my different clubs (it was each time from a project Manual speech), and asked advice, all gave me very useful advices.

Where should I stretch to hold the suspense longer, where should I change my face and make more pause, for example. Joanna Yates, producer of Spark London, helped me a lot to shorten and cut from my long initial beginning where I talked, for this story at least, a lot more of my cousin.

Telling it some other time, perhaps I could add back as different blocks can be taken out usually and added depending of the circumstances. But this story I told so many times that I learned it as is, and last year as I went to give a keynote in AYR, West of Scotland, I met two young women on the train and told them the story. It went so easy and they were fascinated.

14/12/2014

9 recommended books (and others) from my bookshelf

Public speaking is telling stories, using humour, presenting them all together. And conveying an old wisdom in a new way. Here a few of my favourites I studied and read again and again, Each time discovering new nuggets and understanding deeper.

1st where all starts :
The Power of Personal Storytelling, Jack Maguire
Why, how to find, how to shape, how to remember
- the speaking champion Malachi studied it before going all the way up to Las Vegas
- the renewed education Ambassador and well known workshop leader is studying it now too

2nd, Improving your storytelling, Doug Lipman
About finding MIT, the Most Important Thing, about our links to audience, story and the teller.
And different kind of audience and evenings and the joy of reaching the one who does needed it.

3 th Wired for story, Lisa Cron,
How to hook the reader, delving deeper in why we are expecting, what we are expecting, deep, not easy to reach all the goals but explain clearly what we are "wired for" to expect from a story.
Some of these in this picture
from my Books for Public Speaking

4rd speak like Churchill, stand like Linkoln by James C. Humes
Secrets of Histories great speakers, easy to read, great techniques. First one "the power of pause".

5th the Story Factor by Annette Simmons,
Influence and persuade at work through art of storytelling in the enterprise and workplace.

6. Be a great standup, by Logan Murray, from London (also great workshop leader)
For all budding amateur comedians, explains some important basics, with exemples

7. Standup Comedy, the book by Judy Carter, 
First ever book about standup, some great techniques, basics on humour

8. The naked presenter, Garr Reynolds,
Presenting with or without slides, but opening up going deep into your story

9. Resonance, Nancy Duarte
Present visual stories that transform the audience

Another time, I will add three more to the list.
These books I read and studied and re-read., they all helped me to progress and added to the total.
I am still in need to study them again, as at every stage we understand differently.

11/12/2014

Learning how to tell a story...


Bill Jersay, demonstrates with his short films the power of storytelling.

"I am interested in helping someone tell their story, and tell them well." he begins.
Telling a good story is crucial. A story beats arguments.

It can be an individual story, how we realised some goals, how we got in trouble, how we got out of it: we all have stories to tell.

Ask yourself "what is my story?"

You have all a story worth telling! It can be a "big" story or a story about a small event: interesting, giving insight and interpreting information.


09/12/2014

The nature is always there for us

Sunrise, with a true story of this morning 11 pictures from this morning with a true story


The sky is always there for us! 

10 minutes before 8 am, in London.

This morning, I walked up my legs hurting and had to take, again, my two crutches to go to the kitchen. Six month already passed since I fractured a leg, three month since I strained the other leg knee, and I already believed I can walk with nothing!

I am 80, true. But will I always walk only with crutches from now on? Is my life finished? My father died, at 80. I have still so much intern energy!

I put the water to boil, make myself a coffee, then looked out of the window. Almost eight and the sun still rising, in December, the sunrise arrives late. Summertime, I catch it often around five.

What a beautiful sunrise!

I have to take it, show it, remember. There is always a joy, even when I remain home.

Fast, before the sun is all up! I went to my room without crutches, fast and took my camera. Do  not even remember how I come back, went nearer the kitchen window to take these pictures. A few as it was then with zoom to show better the clouds reddened by the rising sun.

Suddenly my eyes fall on the top of the garages visible from that window. All white, frozen. Well, not a weather for me to go out yet. At least, not in the morning. But after noon, it will be dry again and no more slippery.

Yes, I will go out, walk to the bus instead of taking a taxi to the hospital appointment.

There is always the sky & another sunrise or sundown for us!

I remembered suddenly another day, when I was very down, half lifetime ago.

Coming home from market, suddenly seeing the beautiful clouds coloured by the sun going down. They gave me back my courage that there is still something in life for me.

Please, take this 12 images and most importantly, remember: the sky, clouds and the nature are always there for us, even the times when we feel all else failed. The sky is always there for us.          

03/12/2014

Video by Spark London 'Mistaken Identity' night Julie Kertesz true story

First told as registered here, at Canal Cafe for the Spark London 'mistaken identity' this video spokes of change of life and about "we have more in us then we know".  And the telling of how I changed my profession at age 48, changed again my life at 77!

The audience laughed, a lot, why? How may I do when I want them to laugh? I discovered Standup Comedy, took classes, and went to open mic clubs. Got awards and lots of laughter.

Now after 77+ performances? I can tell : I had funny bones I did not know about! Plus at any frustration I now look: how can I present it look at it with comedian eyes.
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Will I be able to retell this in only 7 minutes instead of 11? What should I cut? Finaly, they let me tell almost all of the story. 

 Yesterday, March 25, they told me I can cut the first three minutes! I'll try it thus. But I have to add the motivation: 'I want my son back' then later that I did. And perhaps, at the end, mention him again, so the end matches the beginning. Instead of 'microcomputer' use 'personal computer'. Instead of 'cave' use 'cellar in the garden'. 
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There is a video from another angle of my performance (one taken by my family and the other by organiser), alas I was more facing the audience then the videographer. 

In fact, I told it first, 4 year ago in the middle of the deep recession, as Mystery Speaker to a Toastmasters club near Victoria Station. At that time the title must have been "think outside the box" to show that we could look at all we know and like not only at a job or profession description of us.

This storytelling November 2010 was a pivotal experience for me, because the audience laughed a lot and I decided to learn how to make humour - when I want!  I found my first Stand Up Comedy Workshop at the Comedy School. Then, the second Standup & Deliver, and then later the same year the third, with David Jones. After then, at age 77 I went out to the Comedy Circuit "at least 20 he told us".

As to now, beginning 2014 I have performed more then 77 times as Standup, and have also given many many other true stories together with other storytellers at Spark.

 One of the "secrets" is to go out not to "win" but to try out something new, challenge yourself to experiment each time something. It is very useful, at least at the beginning to take video and see yourself.

That is how I realised that I run out to fast in Mistaken Identity, I hid from the lights another times, and I realised the next time when I do not hide, fast my eyes get used and I forget about lights in my eyes.

Another time, Johanna told me "you move too much" and yes, again I was to avoid the strong reflectors, next time after my opening sentence I sit down and gave all using voice variety and face. It was a very successful performance: "you looked straight to me when you told the stories!" - I did not tell her that in the dark of the audience I could not see anyone other then the first row.

 Going out like there are our friends, not as we go to the "lions den", and even speaking with some before and becoming nearer is important. After you have spoken, they seem to be nearer you, and you to all audience through them and react more, better.
Go to http://www.youtube.com/user/sparklondon to see other storytellers too!

02/12/2014

Gig at Comedy School (back to perform after 3 years) as special guest


November 2012 after a refreshment workshop with the Comedy School.

I opened the show, alas I was allowed only seven minutes from ten prepared. But of course, one has to adapt each time.

This year I had my ten minutes at "Old folks jokes" but I do not have yet its video recording. And now, 10' also opening at Ivor Dembina's 'you should have listened to Ivor'. Went very well, made those present laugh a lot.

New tips to look for when you look at it the second time.

Listen to how I begin.
First recognising what everyone can see: I am old. (Later, then I am not English, but Hungarian.) It is good to recognise what they see and hear, then of course comes the surprises.

In my case proving that we old are "open minded" surprising those listening with 4 letter words.
Finally, toping by telling the tale about my daughter and she "not being there". That connects to all.

"Toping" is adding to a punch line without necessity to introduce, it also give it a more impromptu feeling. Like you just invented it, now for this audience. I top even more at the end.

Be aware that nor in Comedy or in Storytelling do you have to stick to the exact truth about time, names, durations, for example. It is very important to be "in the moment" - so my daughter really called me - but it was more then a year before, so what? I told it first the day it happened.

It is not important when other then make it seem more "fresh".

I still tell from time to time "I am 77" and it seems sexier year, easier to remember then 78 or 79.

Observe how I finish.
I segue with what come before, "I am a bit out of practice now, but" and 'top" again then give my most outrageous sentence. It work very well every time. But then, I do not stop but top it and top it, usually getting big laughs after laughs for the end. It is best to leave your best working part to the end, your second best at the beginning.

Note, that I found the sentence after six hours of workshop at Camden with Ivor Dembina, who probed deep into what is we do not tell usually because "that is what the audience is interested is enjoying best".  I hesitated for three month until I first tried it out. It does work each time.

Added to the routine (and make it grow with new frustrations)
There are some added parts that come the first here, from frustrations I got recently, just a little before I performed this, November 2012, of my teeth.

I also added the routine about my eyes (is it in this yet?) Later, I found a better way to introduce my Kindle (not in this performance yet). It does get a huge laughter as I talk about "size is import - sometimes" and let the audience think first of something else, as just before it I added a part that is about a message I got on Facebook. (see my later gigs for that).

Observe how I go from one part to the other.
Just before I performed I was told that I have to do only 7 minutes not 10 as I was promised. I had to cut some parts. Because the routine has been made in Parts, I could leave out some. But is is more difficult then as usually I put a word at the end of a routine to trigger in me and remind the next part.

All audience is not as receptive as this was. Sometimes parts go better or less depending whom listens.

27/11/2014

Why? Suddenly, in two days...

Stop!
Suddenly, a photo I have taken fast, from a moving car, a moving woman stopping the morning traffic to let kids pass, becomes a "bestseller" on the web. In Flickr Explorer, a special place where the days "bests photos of the day" are found, from yesterday.

31.000 visits 103 photographers chose it like their "favorite" so far.

It also gave me ten new "followers" and offer to add it to the group called Explore.

Why this one? Product of a moment I wanted to conserve, product of my need to prove I was outside, just before I had to go up the stairs again and stay home. Hours, days. Often, many days.

A wonderful surprise, and a great pleasure, any way.

It also, suddenly gave me a huge number of hits, more then 35 000 yesterday, that I realised only this morning, looking at my "Recent Activity" on Flickr. Thanksgiving day.

Thanks to my now, more then eight million visitors for my photos, more then 8 million hits, in fact by now, in the last 9 years, since I started publishing my images on the web, under the name "joyoflife" or "julie70" on Flickr.

For each photo, I give tags, a title, some description most of the time, arrange it in an album that goes in a collection of certain theme. Add the bests of the day to a few groups, with similar themes. That makes a good pass time and a great way to connect also, day by day.

Yesterday I was preoccupied by a meeting with my division toastmasters leaders team, and did not look A lot, just realised ten more chose me as contact and looked at their photos but without knowing why, so this morning, it was a great surprise. another picture in Explorer!

Millions of photos are uploaded daily from all over the world on Flickr, and I never understood how and why one photo wind up there, but there are usually stunning ones! Having yet another on it is an honour.