Lessons For Writers From The Theatre With David Farmer

As writers we sit alone and create, the story unfolds in our heads. But what about those that can turn this creative magic into stories told live? or perform them in front of a packed theatre? In today’s podcast, I interview David Farmer who has led a dramatic life we can learn from as well as creating an online business.

In the intro, I explain how I have ‘rebooted’ in the last week. I read “Evil Plans” by Hugh Mcleod and have also been listening to the Blog Success Summit. I’ve learned a lot and been re-challenged re my own blogging growth. The three elements of my business are Author.Blogger.Speaker. and I need to pay attention to all parts. So I have joined Third Tribe Marketing, run by Copyblogger which is for people who want to take blogging seriously.

I also have some Author 2.0 modules coming out soon which I am completely rewriting: Ebooks, Author Entrepreneur, Social Networking and more. I currently do have the Blogging for Authors and Writers product but I need to expand the courses I offer as well as consulting. All to come, just wanted to give you all a heads up! On with the show :)

David Farmer is currently a drama adviser and story-teller in schools as well as a yoga teacher. He has been an actor, theater director, writer and arts consultant. He has a brilliant website DramaResource.com.

In the podcast, you will learn:

  • How David started as a teacher and then moved into acting. Then he started a theatre company with nothing but dreams. It grew from there and he still runs it 24 years later. The theatre group, TieBreak Theatre tours schools and performs in theatres and schools around the country as well as internationally. David turned into a writer, director and even songwriter into the artistic director and running the company. As a little aside, he started teaching yoga, found it earned little money and so started his online business DramaResource.com with all the knowledge he has gleaned over the years.
  • Writers spend a lot of time behind computers. David tells stories live. What are the 3 most important things about Story?
    (1) In working with children it’s important than the story grabs them and keeps them interested. So you need a good story.
    (2) Telling stories live will help you realize that you’re only as good as your last sentence. This is perhaps true for all stories. If kids are bored, they will move away and do other things. So telling stories live will help you engage an audience. David recommends telling a story without a book in hand to engage the old-fashioned skills of keeping people engaged.
    (3) Be funny. Not all of us can do this but people like to laugh and even in tragedy, there can be humour.
  • On reading aloud. Don’t just look straight ahead. Engage the audience with your eyes. Bring the audience in. Use gesture, intonation and expression to keep it alive. In reading your book alive, you need to bring the story telling aspect alive. On being nervous and pausing. The importance of leaving space in what you are saying. Give people a space to think. Take a breath every now and then. Look around and respond to the audience. It’s a two-way thing.
  • Can writers use the tools of the stage in their writing? Some writers will respond well to being involved in live drama, others wouldn’t. David talks about physical storyboarding. People who learn kinaesthetically may find this more creative than just sitting and writing. Drama can also be a great way to learn about characters.
  • On dialog and how important it is for drama. David’s groups would improvise a scene and then record the improv session and then edit them. This gave a lot of colloquial dialog for the scenes. It also reveals the games people play, status relationships and more. In physical world, we use body language but there are also verbal games. On being creatively free, and playing – when people feel shy and don’t want to participate.
  • How David started an online business. It grew organically starting in 1997 with a basic site when he realized the web was a way to publish ideas. After adding 50 drama games online, he found he was ranking #1 on Google for “drama games” so then wrote a book and developed the site around it, adding his live courses and other material later. He teaches storytelling, directing, teaching drama to primary school/special needs, and more. David has also dabbled in iPhone apps and has plans for more online products. He has learned these things by reading books and learning by doing as he realized the power of the internet. David mentions Mashable, a great blog for social media. A great example of someone non-technical who has organically grown an online business!

You can sign up for David’s great drama newsletter at his website DramaResources.com.

You can also get his book 101 Drama Games at all online stores.

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  1. Doug Lance says

    Another awesome podcast!

    Studying drama and theater to help with writing fiction is something my advisors in college told me to do. I took a playwriting course and it definitely helped further my understanding of dialog, though I am far from an expert. There is just so much to writing good dialog.

    Will I ever get a turn to be the featured speaker?

  2. says

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  3. says

    hey, my interest is in writing stories but i just want to get the basis and i can produce the best book. i like your potentiality and i would love to have someone to work with me since am still young in my interest.i started my interest long since i was in primary school and now that i have completed my secondary school i want to make my dreams come true.plz consider my interest in the field.

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