Hot Off the Press! “Rachel’s Gazette” (a “Thorn Trees” Inspired New Publication, October 2020)

Editorial: Rachel Speaks

Merry Meet!

I am Rachel Gare, a witch and the lead character in my own story, Thorn Trees.

I have created this gazette for reasons three-fold:

  • To give voice to my self and others of my kind–those who are witches, seers, mystics, magicians, healers, midwives, and readers who do what we will and harm none in service to our highest good, family, our communities, our Mother Earth…MORE

Read the Gazette!

This is a taste of the content! Use the RSS feed in the right column to sample more stories, or visit the ‘Zine to review all the curated and original content. ~The Editors

New “Thorn Trees” Facebook Group Launched

There’s a new Facebook group created specifically for the THORN TREES TV Pilot to attract and support project influencers/supporters and members, and to keep them all informed.

Influencers are registering to contribute content to our new zine (Rachel’s Gazette) named after our lead female protagonist character, plus our producing team is posting our conversations about Thorn Trees, interviews and other content from influencers, and other project-related content.


Rachel’s Gazette

Call for Content for New Publication
in support of the Thorn Trees TV Series Project.

You’re invited to participate.

TOO OFTEN WE HEAR THE WORD “witch” and it elicits a variety of negative connotations. Family, friends, the media, films, and TV series (e.g. FX’s “Mrs. America”) all contribute to and reinforce this pejorative view. Historically and currently, the traditional entertainment industry primarily considers financing stories about Wiccans, witches, healers, metaphysicians and spiritualists if they are defined within the context of horror or fantasy. There are some exceptions to this rule (e.g. Good Witch, Hallmark Channel). But, there are MANY more stories to be told. READ MORE…

Hot Off the Press! “Creativity & Storytelling ‘Zine” (July 2020): Two More University Student Interns Guest Editors for this Month’s Issue!

Coronavirus Shuts Down Movie Theater Industry, No New Movies Til 2021

Publisher’s Note: I’m happy to introduce two more of four guest editors who are working at The Pursuit Studio’s Virtual Internship Program as Assistant Producers this summer–Alisha Solaiman (Finance & Business Administration, Drexel University) and William R. Ward (Television & Film Producing, Regent University). They were given complete freedom to plan and curate this month’s issue, and I believe that the content selected for it, really does reflect their educational interests, as well as our personal and professional ones as content consumers. Let’s read what they have to say about it now, and then watch Alisha & Will get a bit more in depth during a short interview on YouTube. I now defer this Editor’s column to them! ~Valerie Mich’El

Welcome to the July 2020 issue! 

This issue focuses on the impact COVID-19 has on the film industry and film festivals. There will be a special spotlight on filmmakers/storytellers who are staying creative during quarantine. During these troubling times, creators may feel a lack of creativity and motivation. There are those who persist through this and make the most of a unideal situation! 

The film industry is at the most troubling time. The demand for entertainment has gone up, but with a global pandemic, creating films/shows to meet this demand is proving to be difficult. 

Hollywood is working on new measures to ensure the safety of cast and crew during filming. There is a huge loss of money as a result of the pandemic. Social distancing and testing for COVID-19 is being enforced. 

Thank you for reading these important stories and we hope you learn from them!

Will & Alisha

“Jurni” is a new children’s book about a young girl travels to the stars!
See interview with the author, Nikos Cox, below!

This is a taste of the content! Use the RSS feed in the right column to sample more stories, or visit the ‘Zine to review all the curated and original content. ~The Editors

Hot Off the Press! “Creativity & Storytelling ‘Zine” (June 2020): University Student Interns Guest Editors for the Issue!

Feature Article Photo for “Anti-Racism Resources Streaming for Free”

Publisher’s Note: I’m happy to introduce two guest editors who are working at The Pursuit Studio’s Virtual Internship Program this summer: JAKE SAMIESKE (Hamilton College) and MOLLY SCHILLING (Penn State University). They were given free reign to determine the content themes to research and curate in this issue. As they are both young, white students (I’m a African-Native-English-Irish-Welsh-American of Boomer age), I am encouraged by the themes they choose, and how concerned Jake was about whether and how he could adequately and responsibly make some particular editorial choices. This is addressed more in an interview with Jake & Molly on Youtube (see the embedded video below). I now defer this edition to them! ~Valerie Mich’El

Welcome to the June 2020 issue! 

This issue is essentially an intersection between storytelling, Black Lives Matter, COVID-19, education and entertainment by focusing on stories that have been minimized, invisible and undervalued in the past, are struggling to be heard in the present, and are guiding, inspiring and motivating for the future…READ MORE of our Editorial & stories in this issue.
~Molly & Jake

Original Creativity & Storytelling Content Roundup

IT’S TIME FOR A ROUND-UP OF  CREATOR’S CORNER FOR EASIER ACCESS TO THE CREATIVITY COACHING CONTENT HERE with a brief excerpt and link to each one–in the spirit of “Everything we need for creativity & storytelling success is within our grasp.” Of course it may not be everything we need, however; between Creator’s Corner and the Creativity & Storytelling ‘Zine, there is a hearty helping.

I BEGAN WRITING CREATOR’S CORNER IN AN INFLUENCER, COACHING, INSPIRATIONAL CAPACITY to share original ideas and solutions for you to consider based on my own thoughts and experiences inspired by the curated content in the Creativity & Storytelling ‘Zine.

Creator’s Corner Round-up


How To Work (and Play) Well With “The Others” To Succeed | I attended a graduate school where arts and business students were brought together–on purpose–to propose, create and apply . . .


Best Visual Content = Storytelling Solutions via A&E Professionals | Stage32 (One of my favorite websites) invites its members to select 10 films that we would take with us if we knew we were going to be stranded on a desert island.

Lies & Storytelling: Strange Bedfellows in Shades of Gray | Liar! Who hasn’t had to enter into an almost daily relationship with lies in our political climate today as we countdown to choosing our next president of the United States of America (#45) . . .

Best Storytelling Has Sensory Empathy (or It’s Important To Engage the Senses) | I had the responsibility of creating visual content (publications, packaging, and safer sex advertising campaings) to help save the lives of men, women, and children at-risk for HIV/AIDS during the fours years that I worked at Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Inc. in
New York City . . .

The Joy Is in the Story Journey (or Mission Impossible) | What really kept me on the edge of my seat wasn’t the mission getting accomplished or the end (though I was happy to get the payoff): it was everything that occurred prior to actually accomplishing it.

Get Up to Speed On Quality Do-It-Yourself Storytelling (On a Low Budget) | In our world in which content is king/queen and we must use vital creativity and storytelling mojo, and provide it in ways that engage, inspire and energize our fellow humans, what can we do to achieve quality . . .

Best Storytelling is Copied, Stolen Content? (or The Lighter Shade of Led Zeppellin) | Breakout from traditional approaches and models despite potential flack that you might receive from doubters or critics who aren’t as courageous, and/or fear conflict or change.

Conflict Has Creative Value, Learn How To Use It | Creative breakthroughs often occur as the result of conflict in many aspects of the human experience. I feel like screaming again because conflict and contrast commands attention. They SHOUT and we. . .

Here Comes Play-Doh | Certainly it’s easy to see that Play-Doh can be used as content to attract and communicate with children in your particular business, project or service, but what about with adults? Many of us are familiar with Play-Doh because . . .

Sacred Geometry, Visual Storytelling Content: One of Top Four Creative Trends 2016 | Sigils are sacred geometry symbol forms that the ancients considered to be the marks of angels, deities, and other powerful entities; they are archetype conduits that merge science, creativity and spirituality.

Card Decks and The Mystic or Visionary Persona | Create a card deck as visual content to inform, educate, inspire, attract, promote, aesthetic (purely as art for arts sake ), or for fun and play to help achieve your goal or purpose.

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.


Lies & Storytelling: Strange Bedfellows in Shades of Gray



WHO HASN’T HAD TO ENTER INTO AN ALMOST DAILY RELATIONSHIP WITH LIES IN OUR POLITICAL CLIMATE TODAY as we countdown to choosing our next president of the United States of America (#46).

“HE’S LYING!” “SHE’S LYING!” THE WORDS LIAR AND LYING KEEP BEING BANTERED, TOSSED, HURLED, yelled and spat. My ear distinguishes them in the cacophony of words used by guest panelists on CNN.

SOMETIMES IT’S SPOKEN IN A SUBDUED MANNER BY POLITICAL AND MEDIA WORDSMITHS. FOR SOME REASON when I hear it the child in me starts thinking–well, really singing in my head: “Liar, liar, pants on fire.”

THOSE WHO LIE GET SPANKED IN A VARIETY OF WAYS NOW (OR NOT), but we’ll have to wait until November to learn who receives the final punishment. Unfortunately, lies are often hurtful and harmful; yet, this leads me to share my thoughts and an experience about the relationship between lies and storytelling.

(Photo Source: Video Capture)
Column Inspiration:

CREATIVITY AND IMAGINATION ARE THE BEDROCK OF GREAT LIES, TALL TALES; OTHERWISE KNOWN AS STORYTELLING. In fact, during my childhood, my mother wouldn’t say stop lying to me as much as she would say: “Stop telling stories!” Or perhaps I just want to remember it that way because it’s more palatable to me; and therefore, my recollection is fiction.

IS IT LYING IF I HAVE NO IDEA WHICH STORY IS REAL? If I just can’t remember? Do the best storytellers know the difference? Does it matter? Is there an ethics to storytelling? Depends on the context or situation? Yes. No. Maybe So. So we say.

AS A CHILD, I LEARNED LYING CAN CARRY SOME HARSH REPERCUSSIONS OF THE KARMIC VARIETY. Mom would ask me who took those cookies after she told us (my three siblings) not to touch them. My favorite answer was: “I don’t know.” I don’t know was an invisible entity in our household who did the things to which none of us wanted to admit. I couldn’t resist oatmeal cookies (and I have a pack that I really don’t need right now).

ONE DAY MY MOTHER PUT THE COOKIES HIGH UP IN THE CUPBOARD. AFTER SHE LEFT THE KITCHEN, I moved the step stool over to it, opened the cupboard, and reached behind the iron to get them. I knocked over the hot iron! It slid down my arm. I fell off the stool, and have a long, visible scar on my arm to this day. Storytelling usually doesn’t carry such hurtful results.

I received an A+ from my peers (aka the press) for an expert
complete and total fabrication . . . 


Convince People of the Nonexistent

MAKE UP A WORD THAT DOESN’T EXIST. CREATE A STORY AROUND THE WORD. GIVE A PRESS CONFERENCE CONCERNING IT. Use your co-workers, family or friends as the press. Make it a game. You have 20 minutes to prepare the story you are going to tell which is essentially a lie, not true, unreal.

IT’S NOT QUITE LIKE THE GAME “TO TELL THE TRUTH” WHERE THE AUDIENCE MUST GUESS WHO IS TRUTHFUL. Your audience already knows you’re making it up: but judge whether you excel at telling a story so effectively that it appears believable. You have ten minutes to address the press, and the press has ten minutes to ask you questions.

(Photo Source: Panon | Shutterstock)

Column Inspiration:

I CAN’T REMEMBER IF IT WAS MY ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS OR THE ART OF PERSUASION COURSE. IT WAS DURING THE FIRST WEEK of the semester. At the end of 20 minutes, I received an A+ from my peers (aka the press) for an expert complete and total fabrication.

THEY WANTED TO TOUR THE FACILITIES BUILT THROUGH GOVERNMENT and investor partnerships where the serum to preserve jungle eco-systems was created! They fired questions at me like crazy, and I answered every one of them with confidence and ease:

  • Question: In which jungle in what country did you test the serum? How do you know it works in every jungle in the world?
  • Answer:
    We created huge greenhouse facilities here in the U.S. in Arizona, took a sample of every major plant species from each jungle, recreated each environment, we introduced the known variables to-date that serve as threats, and tested the serum for two years.We were meticulous and committed to almost a religious fervor in our efforts since our failure or success impacts our children, our children’s children, who are our future. It would be incredibly monstrous and selfish for us as ancestors not to do everything we can to assure them healthy and safe environments.

Lies may indeed include reality but only as partial components,
never pure truth. 

LIES CAN BE LITTLE WHITE ONES OR HUGE WHOPPERS. THEY CAN BE USED TO DECEIVE, INJURE, PERSUADE, REFLECT, RE-DIRECT OR PROTECT. THEY ARE FICTION (KNOWN OR UNKNOWN)? Lies may indeed include reality but only as partial components, never pure truth.  Stories can be short or epic, and they can be used to hurt, harm or manipulate. Are they used with an intent to deceive as are lies?

THE BEST STORIES ARE ENGAGING IN WAYS THAT HELP US EMPATHIZE WITH THE CHARACTERS AND/OR SUBJECTS (sometimes environments, conditions, attributes, and situations) so we can connect and care; become interested, inspired or motivated, or
are moved to a powerful emotion or action (even inaction).

STORYTELLING CAN BE 100% FICTION (IMAGINATION) OR MIXED WITH ELEMENTS OF REALITY, or 100% non-fiction (truth, unlike lies) or mixed with elements of imagination (though kept secret in a lie of omission) in a multitude of creative forms that are ever expanding and bursting boundaries.

NOW TO USE all of this in a creative storytelling ways as part of the fabric of the human condition.

MAY YOU DISCOVER MORE CREATIVE ideas and storytelling support now (and in the future) by exploring the Creativity & Storytelling ‘Zine.


“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.

Hot Off the Press! Creativity & Storytelling ‘Zine (March 2020): Happy International Women’s Day!

The top story in this month’s issue focuses on television (TV)/episodic futurama via Snapchat’s experimentation in the mobile realm, followed by a docu-series on LGBTQ representation in episodic content distribution forms more currently familiar to a majority of us (creators and audience). We jump back to futurism via an article on the 50 Leading Female Futurists and continue content featuring women storytellers highlighting: Nepali climate issues…Continue Reading “Creativity & Storytelling ‘Zine” (you can get a preview of some of the content by checking out some of it below that was posted on Twitter).

“Visible: Out on Television” Is a Must-See Docuseries on the History of LGBTQ Representation on TV

Hot Off the Press! Creativity & Storytelling ‘Zine: Black History Month Special Edition’s Top Ten African American Directors Of The Decade (2010-2019)

Grateful to be sharing this Black History Month Special Edition of Creativity & Storytelling ‘Zine with you; including #TopTen African American Directors of the Decade!

Some of the content featured in this special issue includes:

10 films to watch this Black History Month – Q City Metro
“Dear Basketball” lives on as part of Bryant’s legacy as a father, husband, coach, philanthropist and basketball player. Director Ivan Dixon (also an actor in the film) and screenwriter Sam Greenlee…’s Top Ten African American Directors Of The Decade

As a new decade starts, we take a look Black at those directors who in the last ten years had continued to succeed, critically and financially, in making films and uplifting the community to pave the…

The 30+ Best Black Sports Movies Ever Made –
Black sports movies combine the thrill of competition with athletes’ desire to fight against oppression. The top black sports movies range from completely fictitious comedies to compelling real-life…

This issue is dedicated to my dear aunt Teal (Lucille Turner), who in her youth studied acting with Lee Strasberg in New York City, was proposed to by classmate Al Lewis (Right! Grampa on The Munsters TV show), and was often mistaken for the beautiful actress, Dorothy Dandridge. Rest in peace, Auntie. Read this special issue!

“Creativity & Storytelling ‘Zine” Featured Articles (February 16, 2020)

Creativity & Storytelling ‘Zine is a Creator’s Corner publication by The Pursuit Studio featuring creativity, storytelling, innovation, ideas, leadership and influencer content for artists, writers, screenwriters, authors, entrepreneurs, producers, directors, marketers, publicists, coaches, and other professionals in pursuit of creative and storytelling excellence in our fields. Check it out!

Visit Creativity & Storytelling ‘Zine for more content!