My talks, seminars and workshops range in length from one hour to multiple days. Many of my workshops and seminars include live demonstrations and engaging class exercises. Whenever possible, I allow time for questions from the attendees, which I very much welcome.
The topics listed below may be combined in various ways to create an individualized program, or new topics can be shaped to fit the needs of a particular organization.
· Breakthroughs in Storytelling: New Forms of Narrative for the 21st Century
An examination of the deeply immersive, highly involving stories we can now tell, thanks to interactive digital media.
· The Evolution of Media in a Digital Age
A look at how digital technology is profoundly changing the way we receive our news and entertainment. This talk looks at how audiences for newspapers, TV and film are shrinking; how there’s a corresponding and dizzying growth in interactive and user-generated content; and the ways traditional media outlets and advertisers are responding to these changes.
· The Scope of Digital Storytelling
An overview of interactive media and a discussion of how digital storytelling is being used to entertain, teach, train, inform promote and advertise.
· The Roots of Digital Storytelling
A fascinating look at the ancient predecessors of today’s interactive narratives, including athletic games, Greek drama, mythology, and religious rituals.
· What is a Game?
An introduction to video games, including an examination of the major characteristics of all games – video games as well as traditional games like athletic competitions and board games.
· Narrative and Video Games
An investigation into the role that story plays in video games and a discussion of the diametrically opposing views about story and gaming.
· Using Digital Storytelling to Promote and Advertise:
A surprising look at how interactive media can be harnessed to promote products and ideas, and a close up look at some of the most innovative approaches that organizations (from the US Military to Pringles potato chips) have been employed.
· Using Digital Storytelling to Inform
An examination of how interactive media can be used to convey information in a way that is entertaining and involves the audience, but also observes the standards of good journalism.
· The Seven Kisses of Death
A discussion of the seven critical mistakes often made when people try to develop programming for children – mistakes that are made in every type of medium. This talk also includes “the ten infusions of life” – ten effective anti-deaths kiss strategies.
· Animation Writing: Letting Your Imagination Soar
This talk covers the wide world of animation, including animation for feature films, TV, and various forms of new media, from video games to webisodics. It’s illustrated with plenty of clips.
· Developing Strong Characters
For a story to be memorable and engaging it has to have good characters – this is true no matter whether you are creating a novel, a screenplay, or a video game. But what are the hallmarks of a good character? Why do we find certain characters so appealing and others so ho-hum? This talk covers a range of techniques that can be used to create strong characters.
· Dialogue Writing: The Ten Most Grievous Sins And How To Counter Them
Many people assume we are either born with the gift of writing great dialogue or else are doomed to turn out dull, lifeless, wooden speeches for our characters. Not true! This presentation covers ten common mistakes in writing dialogue and many down-to-earth techniques we can employ to improve our work here.
· A Writing Career: How to Survive and Thrive
Thousands of people dream of a career as a writer, yet few succeed at actually making a living in this notoriously unstable and difficult field. What are some of the things you can do to maximize your changes of success… and keep your sanity along the way? This talk includes a discussion of developing a "bagel factory" strategy and finding your “inner prairie dog.”
I welcome team-teaching opportunities, and have co-taught presentations and college classes with a number of people. I’ve found that team teaching works especially well for multi-day seminars and workshops and for situations in which the presenters can combine different areas of expertise. I am currently co-teaching a course in video game development with two professors at the University of New Mexico. I’ve also had excellent team-teaching experiences with Dr. Linda Seger, who is known worldwide as an expert on screenwriting and filmmaking. Dr. Seger and I have taught multiple-day screenwriting seminars together in South Africa and Maui and have also collaborated on other projects as well. We would be happy to offer our joint services to organizations that would be interested in a team-teaching arrangement with us.