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As real as the tale gets: of real-life stories

books Updated: May 07, 2014 18:22 IST
Sahil Magoo
Sahil Magoo
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story


The art of storytelling is not just confined to a good plot, but also depends on the ability to transcend an audience or compel them to imagine themselves as characters of the narrative.

That’s what 37-year-old Michael Burns, documentary ­filmmaker and founder of the initiative Tall Tales, is out to do.

Burns, who invites ­common folk to tell their ­real-life stories in a relaxed setting, can’t wait for his debut tour in Delhi, after ­having many sessions in Mumbai.


Something From Nothing: there's a story to every story

"Tall Tales is all about love for stories and storytelling on one hand, and on the other, my personal belief that nothing is more incredible than real life. Every month we feature the performances of five new, true ­stories submitted by ordinary people who have something extraordinary to share."

Do you think you’ll find spirited storytellers in Delhi?

I’m expecting five amazing stories by five wonderful ­people who are willing to share their innermost desires and fears with us.

It’s a ­willingness to reveal yourself to the audience that makes for true stories — not someone getting up there and ­telling us how clever and ­sophisticated they are. Tell us first how you see yourself on your worst days, and then tell us how you overcome that. This is what storytelling is about.

We have 12 ­submissions so far and we are looking for at least 30. When done right, storytelling is learning to love ourselves, warts and all, and this is ­pretty much the most ­important thing in the world, right now.

Every story has something worth the mention, but share some that made an impact on you.My favourite experience was working with one of our ­storytellers, Nasir Engineer. Aside from being a great guy, he’s open to learning how to narrate it better. Most importantly, he gets that a great ­story has very little to do with the list of events that happened in a story.

Many people think that the list is the story part. Yes, what ­happened in your story is a starting place but if that’s your ending place too, you’ve missed the core. A story is about what happened plus how you felt and reacted to it.