The Power of Story

The Power of Story

James Lecesne
Week 4: July 2 to July 7
Time: 9am-12pm
Tuition: $600
Discipline: Fiction, Playwriting
Open to All
Registration Open
Workshop Full: Waiting List may be available
On-site Housing Full
Workshop Description 

Whether you are working on a screenplay, a TV pilot, a play, a one-person show or a novel, storytelling, is hard work; it requires honesty, courage, craft and above all determination. But it can also be a mysterious and mystical experience, a means to enlarge and enlighten not only the audience, but the storyteller as well. For each of us, it happens differently, the idea might come in the form of a hunch, a worry, an inkling, a fear, an inspiration or sometimes fully formed. But however it happens, stories always arise out of something we deeply believe. We might not be able to articulate what it is exactly, but something in us knows, and a story is our effort to prove what we know beyond a shadow of a doubt; it is the part of us that can stand in the light.

This workshop is a highly interactive process of instruction and exercises that allow participants to engage with the story they want to tell and enhance the effect they hope to achieve. I pass along to them the means to not only identify the various aspects of any good story, but I also how to map out their own stories using a method that I've developed over the years. The work we do is less about writing, and more about learning to structure your story, puzzling out your underlying conflict, illuminating your characters, uncovering your deeply held beliefs. I like to think of it as a process of creating a vivid map of your story so you can't get lost. By the end of the five days you will be familiar with the landscape of your own story and you will possess skills to navigate any story you wish to tell.

I've found that people always have a much easier time seeing and understanding the principles of story-making when applied to another participant's story, thus making the workshop environment an important aspect of the learning process.

Requirements: 1.) Bring a good story, one you're dying to tell. 2.) Watch or read Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams so we all have a common story.



The New York Times ranked JAMES LECESNE “among the most talented solo performers of his (or any) generation” in a review of his most recent Off Broadway solo show The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey. Word of Mouth, an earlier solo show, won the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award. He wrote the Academy Award winning short film TREVOR, which inspired the founding of The Trevor Project, the only nationwide 24-hour suicide prevention Lifeline for LGBTQ youth. He created THE ROAD HOME: Stories of Children of War, presented at the International Peace Initiative at The Hague. For TV he adapted Armistead Maupin’s Further Tales of The City (Emmy nom), wrote for Will & Grace, and was story consultant for Vicious.  He is the author of three novels for young adults, and he is executive producer of After The Storm, a documentary film that follows the lives of 12 young people in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. As an actor, his credits include The Boys in The Band, Cloud 9, One Man Band, Word of Mouth, Motherhood Out Loud, The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey and the 2012 Broadway production of The Best Man. James teaches story and structure to documentary film students at New York Film Academy and has been a guest speaker on the topic of LGBTQ Youth at universities and corporations around the country.