I ATTENDED ONE OF THE FIRST “alternate” high schools in the United States in New Jersey. The Team School was innovative and unique at that time because the students, teachers, and parents worked together to determine the courses, type of government to address conflicts and issues, and handled the daily operations. The mornings were dedicated to academic courses necessary for college preparation, and the afternoon courses were electives taught by parents who were professionals in their chosen fields.
LISA SANDERSON’S DAD TAUGHT the creative writing elective, and he drilled into our heads the following regarding story content: Write about what you know, what you are experiencing in your own home environments and communities. You will never go wrong with paying attention to what often goes unnoticed, and how these events and relationships affect you and those around you.
|Nick Lupi and Jimmy Nice, of Spit Syndicate.
Image Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald. Photo: Nic Walker
MR. SANDERSON TAUGHT US TO PAY attention and mine for gold in our own hearts, thoughts (and those of others), and locations grounded in our daily experiences of life.
I CHOSE THESE TWO ARTICLES BECAUSE they remind me that there’s so much value in the wealth of content in my past and current communities that I used to take for granted before taking Mr. Sanderson’s class. As a storyteller, screenwriter, film producer, healing artist, content specialist (and award-winning writer/blogger, editor, art director, and marketing specialist) I know from past experience and successes that unlike Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, I don’t have to travel to realize that “there’s no place like home” for stories and other content.
FOR EXAMPLE, THE FLASH FICTION STORY, Back Up The Truck, is inspired by a domestic violence true story from my childhood. Many of us grew up in a war zone of domestic violence that impacted our lives in those moments and beyond.
ONE DAY MY BEST FRIEND WHO LIVED next door came running to my house to get my help. His “uncle” was beating his mother and we needed to find a way to distract him. First, we tried to physically pull Uncle Charlie off his mom, but he was too strong. So, we decided to distract him by taking as much of his clothing as possible from his room, putting the clothes into a pile in the backyard, and soaking the clothes with liter fluid to create a bonfire. We then ran back into the house and started yelling “Fire!” It worked!
THE SHORT STORY “GIFTS” is also inspired by a true story about a highly-anticipated first date gone wrong and what happens as a result.
|Image Credit: Medium.com|
Creative Strategy: How I See Using This Story
1) USE THIS FLASH FICTION STORY in an anti-domestic violence campaign focusing on how it impacts children. Create a number of story scenarios to drive home this point to attract and engage audience stakeholders.
2) USE THE STORY IN A RAW, EDGY marketing campaign about childhood friendships that survive traumatic situations and endure the test of time that leads to happiness in some form–a product, event, fine arts project, or service they share (an antithesis to the traditional “Hallmark” variety content). My friend and I had to instantaneously come up with an intelligent, creative and practical solution under intense stress. The physical approach failed, so we quickly moved on to save his mom from that attack. We worked together to accomplish it. We were both about 11-years-old.
THERE’S A LARGER MESSAGE in these stories for us: If two 11-year-old children are capable of these types of creative and practical solutions under this kind of duress, then certainly we can (or can learn how to) access these qualities within ourselves.
THIS STORY IS JUST ONE IN A SLATE that are either already written as short stories (some written under strict time constraints as the creative structure model) that are to become short film scripts or expanded into larger formats for film, television and theater.
MAY YOU DISCOVER MORE CREATIVE ideas and storytelling support now (and in the future).
“Things are only impossible until they’re not.”
“Make it so.”
~ Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation
Valerie Mich’El Oliver explores the art and architecture of creativity and storytelling in imaginative, innovative, playful and award-winning ways. Tisch School of the Arts (New York University) and The Mystery School (Sacred Center for the Healing Arts) graduate. | Imagine, innovate, create, be generous, love this life, and dare to shine.