Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It's All About the Chocolate, Baby

Maven Darcy BurkeCheck it out over there on the left, MaveFave is winning (or it was as of 11:00 Tuesday night anyway)! If you haven't voted yet, be sure to make your voice heard!

This week we're talking workshops. I've been scratching my head a little because it's been awhile since I've given one. So I started thinking about workshops I've been to and I've been to a ton (not just writing-related). As I recalled certain workshops and presenters, I came up with the questions posted at the end and realized that since I'm giving the first workshop I've given in a very long time this Sunday, I want to hear from you about how I can make it great.

Mavens Erica, Lacey, and I are giving a workshop called Storyboarding 602 (the number makes it graduate-level!). In this workshop we will deliver a lecture-type presentation about storyboarding and then we'll break into groups to actually develop storyboards. I really like workshops that combine presentations with practical experience. I learn by doing just like I learn by taking notes, which is why my hand is usually ready to fall off by the end.

What makes a workshop or presentation great for me isn't flashy A/V or handouts, but a really dynamic speaker who knows her topic well. They don't have to be the best speaker, but I find that people who are really passionate about their topic naturally do a good job. Right now, I'm so in love with my storyboard I'm thinking of writing a novella about it (not really, but you get my drift) so hopefully that means I'll rock the workshop on Sunday!

Oh, I should tie in the title! Chocolate. I've always found that bringing chocolate to your workshop is a very, very good thing.

What kinds of workshops are your favorite? Interactive, lecture, short, long? What's the best workshop you've attended in recent memory and what made it stand out?


Bill Clark said...

Storyboarding 602 (the number makes it graduate-level!)

LOL! You guys are something else!

As for the chocolate, it sounds suspiciously like bribery. But hey, if it ups the attendance and keeps the troops happy, then I'm all for it! (Save some for me!) :-)

Bill Clark said...

P.S. It looks as though the Mavens are winding up in third place in the Predpoll contest. Not bad for a group of bright and sassy young ladies whom no one had ever heard of a couple of years ago! :-)

Isabel said...

Best workshop I've attended so far, Empowering Character's Emotions by Margie Lawson. She's an amazing speaker and teacher.

And yes there was tons of chocolate candies and chocolate cake, yum!!!

Seriously, Mavens, when you guys take storyboarding on tour let me know, wouldn't it be cool if you did a workshop at my local chapter?

And what about National in SF this year?

*Isabel who is feeling a tad demanding this morning* *G*

Jennifer Linforth said...

Interactive--by far. I really don't think anyone learns by lecture. I need hands on.

Best one I attended: Surviving the Editor/Agent Pitch with Jess Anderson at the New England Conference. Not because of the content.. but because I proved something to myself.

Jess asked for volunteers to come up and give their pitch to the world... throw themselves to the wolves in front of the leering eyes of hungry writers.

Crickets... you could have heard crickets.No one wants to be first--especially with that. Until I slapped my hand down on the table, stood up and said to the room "I am not afraid of you..." I was shocked that I did that and for a minute I my heart stopped beating. But there was no turning back so I pitched before a room full of people on something being recorded for the RWA. But I never went back to being shy about my writing ever again.

Now I love passing on what I have learned about marketing yourself as a writer before you are published. I learned a lot that day--about writing and myself. I hope to one day give a workshop about it at NEC.


Patricia W. said...

Interactive are the best (with chocolate, of course)!

The presenter's enthusiasm is not enough for me, though. The presenter needs to have some sense of the knowledge level in the room about the topic and tweak the presentation accordingly. So if she finds that folks have some general understanding of storyboarding, for example, she probably shouldn't start with "what is a storyboard?"

The presenter also has to tweak based upon how fast people are picking up the concepts. If it's a small group and they pick up quickly, it may be possible to cover more ground. If folks are having problems getting it, it may be necessary to slow down.

The best workshop for me is where the presenter is knowledgeable, able to adapt to the attendees' needs, and makes it fun. (Oh yeah, and brings chocolate!)

lacey kaye said...

I think Patricia W said exactly what I would have said if I'd have gotten here first.

Patricia, I think you won a Maven doorprize? Isn't your name on the sidebar? I don't think you ever claimed it.

Vicki said...

I'm an interactive person all the way. I love workshops that allow you to do what your learning right then and there. :)

You guys will have a fab time!!!

India Carolina said...

There are a few things that really make a difference to me in a workshop. First, a knowledgable presenter (you've got that covered :-)) and a good topic.
Chocolate. So far you are good to go. So here's what drives me nuts in a workshop.

When the presenter encourages questons during the presentation itself. I was at one where if you asked a question you got a prize. Guess what? The whole time was taken by people asking questions which side tracked the lecturer and prevented us from getting the information we were expecting befoe the session ended. But we did have chocolate.

I love interactive workshops, and I think questons are essential for learinig. But I like the idea of breaking out for the interactive component and holding questions to the end.

I wish I could be there. Knock 'em dead!

Jackie Barbosa said...

In my professional life, I do all kinds of workshops: interactive and lecture, short and long, large and small. You name it, I've done it.

As an instructor, I definitely prefer the interactive, hands-on variety. I think participants get so much more out of it. But sometims that's not possible, and I've been at presentations (on both sides of the podium) that I learned a lot from that were strict lecture format. It just depends on the venue and the situation.

I'm sure you and Lacey are going to do great, and chocolate can't hurt. (Although I have to say that when I saw the title of the post, I really thought it was about the PRESENTERS getting the chocolate. Because yeah, I'd totally present just about anything for chocolate!)

Darcy Burke said...

Isabel, we're working on it! It's too late for SF, but stay tuned for other stuff. And let's see how this weekend goes. ;-)

Jennifer, I love, love your story!!! Go you!!! Inspirational, people.

Patricia, excellent point. And I'm totally with you. I've given many presentations that didn't go at all as I'd planned because I had to adapt on my feet. And I think they were better for it.

India, another good point. I have to admit one of my bad presentation habits is going down ratholes, usually because of questions and I'm a talker by nature, not a lecturer...point taken! ;-)

Thanks Jackie! I'm sure Erica, Lacey, and I will post about our success next week! (Pictures at least!)

Isabel said...

Isabel, we're working on it! It's too late for SF, but stay tuned for other stuff. And let's see how this weekend goes. ;-)

Bummer about SF. :(

Can't wait for the other stuff. You guys are going to ROCK!

Patricia W. said...

I won a prize??? Woo-hoo!!!

What do I need to do to claim it?

lacey kaye said...

Maven Erica, correct me if I'm wrong but I believe Patricia gets a choice between Judith Ivory: Angel In a Red Dress and
Edith Layton: For the Love of a Pirate, per our Maven Halloween Round Robin giveway!

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