"Year of the Adopted Family" book release

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Trek (3 of 7): Finding Filmmakers for Storytelling

The most beautiful storytelling DVD is "The Call of Story" created by KBYU/BYU Broadcasting and PBS.

This is three of seven posts relating to my info-gathering trek to BYU on October 21, 2008.

Since KBYU's home is in the Harris Fine Arts Center at Brigham Young University, I headed to the office to find out who was still around from that 2002 project (though copyright would suggest 2005).

I did have a name given to me from the 2008 Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. The young man behind the desk scrunched his face at the mention of the name for it was unfamiliar.

The man said, "Perhaps you were given the wrong spelling." He thumbed through the massive Rolodex of all the employees, staff, producers, and directors. No results. He even called the head director of KBYU and the name did not ring a bell even at that point.

Rather than sticking to the name I was given, the young man at the desk suggested we look at the credits for "The Call of Story".

I felt like I had to bang my head with my hand at that point. "Of course," I told myself, "Why didn't I think of that?"

Before heading to this info-gathering trek at BYU, I did peruse "The Call of Story" website. With all the research, I did not look at the credits. I had too much confidence in the name I was given at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival.

Though the young man did not have a copy of the DVD on hand, he did search for the credits online and found them.

At that point, I was told to get in touch with the Executive Directors: Thomas J. Lefler and Sterling Van Wagenen.

This was not the first time I heard the name "Thomas J. Lefler". Other professors I had met during my trek had said he was a Theatre and Media Arts professor and may be interested in my project. No one had mentioned his connection--a major connection at that--to "The Call of Story".

The young man at the desk gave me Lefler's office and contact information. I crossed my fingers, hoping that an unannounced visit would be successful and welcomed by Lefler.

I found his door and I knocked. No answer. Perhaps he was not in his office after all. Yet, something told me to linger in the hallways a bit. I walked down towards the bulletin board with the "Call to Actors, Producers, etc." I never majored in Theatre so I was curious. After ruffling through a few announcements hung on binder-type rings, I returned to Lefler's office.

This time someone answered.

My muscles were more tense than usual as someone earlier had told me how intimidating Lefler was because of how direct he was in his speech. After a deep breath, I entered.

I outstretched my now sweating hand. "Hello. I am Rachel Hedman, professional storyteller, and I would like to talk about "The Call to Story" project you did and how it may relate to my project."

After the introduction, I felt at ease. He was not the intimidating man that I imagined though he was kind to share information I needed to know. He told me he did not do those type of filming project anymore, but he did give me names and direct lines to the partners of Kaleidoscope Pictures.

One of Kaleidoscope's projects included filming national storyteller Donald Davis in spring 2009 on how families tell stories. Most of the shots would take place at Davis' home on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina.

Eventually, I learned that Lefler was first cousins to national storyteller Elizabeth Ellis. My jaw dropped as I told him that Ellis was also my professor at East Tennessee State University for my Storytelling Masters and that my "Family Famine: Hunger for Love" project came to life because of the assignment she put forth for us students.

At that point there was no fear whatsoever of the man as he proceeded to go online and show the place in Tennessee that he grew up alongside Elizabeth Ellis.

Besides this amazing experience, another professor gave me a name, office address, and email for the producer and director of the LDS Motion Picture Studio. This professor was the Content Director of the "Real Families, Real Answers" reality show.

Between Kaleidoscope Pictures and the LDS Motion Picture Studio, that is where the true intimidation lies. To even consider the possibility of being filmed by either one of them is almost unthinkable.

I have found in this world that it does not hurt to ask.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
Professional Storyteller
Former Co-Chair of Youth, Educators, and Storytellers Alliance (2005-2008)
Tel: (801) 870-5799
Email: info@rachelhedman.com
Performance Blog: http://familyfamine.blogspot.com
Other places to find me: Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Professional Storyteller

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