The Art – and Power – of Storytelling   October 12, 2018

By Lee Nessel

Storytelling is powerful. It is among our earliest forms of communication, the original encyclopedia and the first form of school. To this day, it’s how we share history, exchange ideas and stimulate our imagination.

Storytelling has evolved, yet stayed the same. Surely you’ve heard about the importance of storytelling in media and business. People connect with, and buy into, an interesting and compelling story… literally. If you sell a product or service, connecting with consumers through your story is better for your bottom line. When people have choices of where to buy similar items, the better story will win because it means a more satisfying or meaningful connection. At least your brain — and heart — think so. Scientists say endorphins are involved, too.

So when I learned that there was a Viera girl who recently won a scholarship to attend the Florida Storytelling Festival, I was intrigued. Kids and the art of storytelling, in its original form.

Delanie Nicole Gill, 12, is the first Brevard County recipient of the Virginia Rivers Youthful Voices Scholarship. Congratulations, Delanie!

She won for her presentation of her original book she wrote when she was 11 through a homeschool project, called The Adventures of a CATerpillar. It has six different characters, and both her entry video and presentation on stage — which took between five to seven minutes from memory — involved her sharing that story, with a different voice for each character. And with the flare and expressiveness Delanie always brings to her performances.

The young woman is an accomplished actress already, both on stage and screen. She acted in several videos for the The Scott Center for Autism Treatment in Melbourne and has been in several commercials, both acting and doing voiceover. Her commercials include SeaWorld and LEGO, and she’s been in three independent films and four stage productions with The Viera Studio for the Performing Arts. She’s portrayed “big” characters like Ursula in The Little Mermaid, Jr., Willy Wonka and just this past June, the Wicked Witch of the West in Wizard of Oz. So it’s no surprise she is able to deliver a story with her own original flair.

“(Storytelling) is kind of like acting … you get to tell a story that you made that tells who you are and also get to do really funny voices,” Delanie said.

Delanie’s scholarship came with an expenses-paid trip to the festival in Mount Dora, including several workshops that focused on how to write more stories and get into character. She said she enjoyed presenting her story on stage because of the connection to her audience.

“Everyone starts laughing, wow this is really amazing,” she recounted. “I like to entertain people.

“Imagination is the best part of being a kid, and in storytelling you get to express that. Everyone should be writing stories in their own way, it lets creativity and happiness and joy and imagination run free,” Delanie said.

Wow, is that some amazing kid wisdom. We look forward to more of your stories, Delanie!

See video excerpts of Delanie Gill’s winning story presentation:

Check out this article in our DIGITAL MAGAZINE.


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