Wednesday, October 19, 2011

USA trip with Cyrus - Day 10 - Magical Kingdom

Today was our final day at Walt Disney World.
We spent the day at Magical Kingdom.
Amazingly, the lines were very short. We went on the best rides and never waited more than 15 minutes! So, we had done everything we wanted by 1pm and decided to do Space Mountain again. Then we bought gifts and headed home.

We began the day with a photo of Cyrus on Main Street.

The Jungle Cruise was our first ride, followed by Pirates of the Caribbean.

We both got drenched on Splash Mountain.
The front seat has it's privileges!

After Space Mountain (which was insane! Twice!) Cyrus spent some time in the arcade.
This is a tank simulator!

Podracer was a good game, too!

Tomorrow we are taking a day off!
We have walked and walked and walked - for four days!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

USA trip with Cyrus - Day 9 - Hollywood Studios

Wow! What a fantastic day of great shows and fun rides!
Here's Cyrus at the beginning of the day with a living, growing version of lightening McQueen.
We took this one for Mikey!

Most of the rest of the day really has to be seen to be enjoyed.
So these shots are of some of the things that makes Disney so great.
Here is one of the many themed gardens.

Here is one of the many creative touches...
This was just on a post in a shop. There are funny things everywhere!

This one is for Rachael and Mikey.
It's those super-smart guys! Phineas and Herb!

Well, without question, the stunt show was the best part of the day !
These guys can drive!

Monday, October 17, 2011

USA trip with Cyrus - Day 8 - Epcot Center

Today, Cyrus and I explored Epcot Center. What a creative and crazy place!

Here is Cyrus infront of "Spaceship Earth".
SpaceShip Earth was a slow ride (inside the ball behind me) that explored communication between humans from cavemen to pre-mobile phone man. :)
I think it was made in the 80's...

Cyrus on a driving game.

Half of Epcot Center is a long walk from one nation to the next.
In each area there is architecture and food from that nation.

The final two pics are the pre-show (while in line) for Cryus' favourite ride of the day - Mission Space. We did the "Orange" level which the most intense option. The simulator creates G-forces and believable movements! I went to Mars... TWICE!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

USA trip with Cyrus - Day 7 - Animal Kingdom

Today is the first of our four days at Walt Disney World.

We explored Animal Kingdom and had lots of fun doing so!

Right after entering the park, we discovered the tree of life.
So, I thought Cyrus should start the day with a pic.

The first ride we went on was called "Dinosaur" and is based loosely on the Disney movie from a few years ago called "Dinosaur." It was a very fun roller coaster Disney style. Lots of animatronic dinosaurs, smoke, mist, darkness, loudness, scary moments, and lots of fun!

Here is our pic at the end of the ride. Can you find us?

The tree of life, up close. Examine the trunk of the tree. It's cool!

Long necked thing.

Cyrus spies something worth exploring.
This was the best ride at Animal Kingdom - "Expedition Everest!"

Larry, Curly and Moe at the playground.

Friday, October 14, 2011

USA Storytelling trip with Cyrus - Day 4-5

Wow! What at experience!

For the past two days we have been shooting the six episodes of a storytelling workshop for the CSPS (Center for Secular and Post-modern Studies) aimed at those who work as preachers, teachers and volunteers in the Adventist Church.

On Wednesday and Thursday I arrived at the producers house at 8am and we drove to the shoot location where we took take after take until we had it perfect. I cannot wait to see it! I am so proud to have worked with such a team of professionals. Wednesday we finished at about 6pm. Thursday we finished at 8pm!

Both days, there was a lot of fine tuning that needed to be done. Being a new set, on the first day, the lighting and sound and angles and more all needed balancing and fine tuning. Then on the second day, the set was changed and required more fine tuning.

The stage backdrop was mirrors - 5 on the first day and 3 on the second. They create a stunning post-modern look, but are extremely difficult to film cleanly. Try to imagine all the lighting issues with lights hitting mirrors, each facing a little different direction. Then, imagine the reflections in each mirror - what will you see? You can't let light bounce from the hot stage lights into the camera. And you can't let cameras be seen by other cameras. The backdrop had to be completely blacked out and the cameras peeking through holes in the black sheets. It was a nightmare to setup, but an absolutely brilliant finished effect. I have never seen a group of
profectionists work together with such precision and patience! It was something to behold!

The first day we filmed the first half of each episode. The shows are divided into 10 minutes of storytelling and 10 minutes of teaching on storytelling. We filmed the first 10 minutes of all 6 shows on Day 1 - with the mirrors all standing on end.

Then, on the second day, for the teaching segments, we took out two mirrors and turned the middle one lengthways to function as a writing board. It created a very cool effect, but was VERY difficult to get perfect for the cameras. We didn't start the true film takes until after lunch - at about 2pm. It was amazing how, once everything was perfectly tuned and setup, we flew through the episodes. Basically, we did one episode an hour for the rest of the day.

In each of the teaching episodes we had new material on the board. This required a lot of time in writing and then darkening the text and illustrations until it was perfect for the cameras.

Sarah Asaftei, the Director, meticulously wrote each board full on notes before we shot the scene. They had asked me to do the writing as I taught, but I convinced them my handwriting would never be readable! Even kids complain! It wasn't until we started writing on the mirror that we realised how much work it actually was to get the writing to come up clear and bold. It took a fair bit of preptime!

There was also the sweat issue! You can see Nathan behind me with my "sweat dabbing towel" in his hand. The lights were very hot and I was cooking! Sarah had to reapply makeup often. On the second day, they found a very quiet fan that sat on the floor a couple metres in front of me and did an amazing job at cooling me off.

I have such as sense of accomplishment having been through the past two days. It was a lot of detail work (which I'm glad was other people's job!) and then me making sure I had my intro, conclusion and middle bits all ready so we could do the takes as cleanly and quickly as possible. More than half of the 12 segments were done in just one take. The others required fine tuning by the storyteller, too! What an adventure.

Now Cyrus' adventure begins. Today we drive to Orlando, Florida where we will explore the World of Walt Disney! Four days of fun-parks and learning exhibits. We are two very excited boys. But I bet you can guess who is most excited! He's just come out of the shower – my turn.

Then, we drive!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Story like Tory

While spending some extra time in the Melbourne airport recently, I met a lovely four-year-old girl named Tory. Tory was with her Mum, Dad and older brother. Tory was talkative, playful and very happy. She absolutely radiated self-confidence and a love for life.

I spent quite awhile talking to Tory, her brother and parents and I saw the way they treated their children. It wasn't hard to notice this couple really enjoyed their kids. Tory's parents didn't treat her any differently than they treated her brother. The kids interacted freely in our conversation and laughed at our banter. They were just normal kids. But, to everyone who walked by, Tory was the centre of attention. She was anything but 'normal'. People stared and smiled. Some people stopped and talked - to Tory, or about Tory to her parents.

Finally, as we boarded the plane to LAX, I noticed Tory and her parents boarding with us - in the cattle cars - long after the first class, business class, premium economy, etc. They could have boarded first - when the announcer always calls, "Any parents with young children or those in need of assistance or extra time to board, please come forward first." But they didn't.
Tory's parents are telling her a powerful story about herself. They are teaching Tory that she is just like everyone else. Yes, she is a dwarf. Yes, she moves slower and is a lot smaller than everyone else. And yes, she is cute beyond belief. But, Tory's parents treat her like a normal kid. And, having spent a few hours observing her, she is just that - a super awesome normal kid!
The story we live in front of our children and the children around us tells them the truth of our lives and theirs. If we see and say the positive stories in life, our kids will see the world as a positive place where they can interact and make a difference.
If, on the other hand, we constantly comment on the negative state of the world, the problem with the neighbours, the unfair hand we've been dealt - our children will learn to be critical and afraid. This is a great way to ensure our children grow up to be judgmental and self-centred. They will see others as dangerous and suspicious rather than unique and beautiful. In our words, our actions and our attitudes toward others – whether they are different in faith, culture or lifestyle – our children are watching us and they are becoming like us.
As family-centred leaders, we need to send positive messages to parents and kids. Tell stories that empower rather than impede. There are so many positive messages that raise people up. In our mentoring of teachers, parents and kids we should be seen to be encouraging positive action rather than discouraging negative action.
Teaching kids to be judgmental of others, or at least wary, strengthens the attitude of "us and them". We need to be drawing all men, women and children toward Love. This "drawing toward" comes from the same core leadership desire as "drawing away" but looks, sounds and feels very different. And it most definitely creates different kinds of children and thus a different kind of world.
We are all like Tory - we are all beautifully unique. And we need to tell ourselves that. And tell our children that. The stories we tell, both verbally and with our lives, will either empower the next Generation or limit them. Don't repeat bad news. Tell good stories. Live with joy and passion. Smile.
Keep changing the world - one story at a time.

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For more parenting pondering,
see the "Parently" section of this blog.

USA Storytelling trip with Cyrus - Day 2

We are in Atlanta and enjoying ourselves. It is now 10:15PM Monday night. When we arrived it was raining and mild with a gentle breeze. It felt a lot like Melbourne!

Our hosts are a lovely retired couple. They have already fed us some lovely food and I've given them copies of all my books. We're getting along great!

Cyrus really wanted to go shopping today rather than sleep so we headed off to the shops (about 15 minute drive) in our rental car. He was asleep when we got there. I woke him and he told me to go do my shopping first and them come wake him. I locked the car and headed into ROSS - a huge discount clothing store.

When I came back, he was so funny! He woke with a start and looked around. He kept looking at everything, turning his head, looking at buildings, at the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car, at the door handle next to him which he tried to grab but missed. Then he looked at me and said, "It's all in the wrong places."

I laughed and asked him if he was getting out. He nodded and said, "Yes!" as if he were very excited. Then he sat there doing nothing. I asked him again. After a few prods, he got out of the car and followed me into the shop.

When we got inside, I said, "You ready to shop?"

He said, "I just want to sleep."

So we went back and both fell into bed. He's still asleep. I reckon he'll go through the night. It was a very long flight! (or set of flights and layovers)!

So, tomorrow we have a rest day and a bit of shopping. Then we get into the filming!

Monday, October 10, 2011

USA Storytelling trip with Cyrus - Day 1.5

It's a bit crazy to figure out whether this is day one, two or somewhere in the middle!

Cyrus and I left home at 7am Sunday morning and arrived in the Melbourne International Airport at about 8:30am. Thanks to Loren Pratt for dropping us off and storing the car at his place!

Our first flight was four hours late which caused a full scale whiplash effect down the chaos of airline tickets. We left Melbourne around 4pm and, in Sydney ,rushed from one flight to the next.

After 13 hours, we arrived in Los Angeles and got through customs and immigration quickly. We were still 40 minutes behind and were not allowed on our flight to Denver. Instead we were rebooked through Washingtom DC. That flight didn't leave for another 10 hours! Lol... So, we enjoyed laptop, iPad, iPod, food, drinks, chatting and went on a couple walks.

Now we are in DC and it is 7:15am on Monday morning. Doesn't sound too bad, eh? Left Melbourne 4pm Sunday and will arrive in Atlanta at 10:40am Monday. A breeze! Yet, somehow it feels like we've missed two nights sleep!

You know what? It's worth it. Every minute of it! Cyrus and I are laughing, talking, hanging out, playing with our toys. We're two peas in a pod. He's a great kid and I count it an honor to be jet lagged by his side!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

CSPS Storytelling Workshop Series

Calling for storytellers, preachers, teachers and all people interested in communication. Please review the following and give me your ideas, critiques and any help you can!

I have been asked to present a Series of 6 story building and telling workshops to Video for the CSPS (Centre for Secular and Postmodern Studies – of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Church). I'm heading to Atlanta, Georgia tomorrow to do the filming this Wednesday and Thursday.

I have put a rough sketch of each workshop in the following posts. Each 20 minute video will be 10 minutes storytelling and 10 minutes technique teaching. I would love to receive your feedback and guidance so I can adjust my talks to be as useful and effective as possible!

Story Seat = CGCV + STANDS

Books used as resources – Narrative Plot, The One Who Tells the Best Story Wins, The Story Factor, The Revolutionary Communicator, LoveMarks, The Art of storytelling, Super Simple Storytelling, Story Proof, It’s all in how you tell it, Storytelling from the Bible, Enchanted hunters, Improving your storytelling.

Dave Edgren ~ Story: Teller, Author, Trainer ~

BOOK DAVE NOW! Dave Edgren is passionate about creating a values-based storytelling culture. In his engaging and often hilarious way,...