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The Big Presentations

Developed as part of a workshop on new forms of storytelling at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, The Big Presentations are a series of visual, interactive media lectures. Incorporating video, audio clips, and over a hundred images, they are fast-paced talks on the opportunities, realities, limitations, and practicalities of telling stories through modern media. At the moment, they cover three topics:

  • Radio Dramas and the Tools of Audio Communication
  • Blink: What We Don't See In the Movies
  • The Secret Art of Creative Storytelling (And Why You May Already Be An Expert At It)

Each presentation has its own unique characteristics, going in-depth on the particularities of radio dramas, film, and creative writing respectively. All of them, however, touch upon the foundations of effective storytelling, the intersections between mediums, the world of communication, and the creative landscape. All three work towards the same objective:  breaking the invisibility of the craft and illuminating how these old mediums are colliding with twenty-first century sensibilities.

Additionally, all three talks feature similar, elaborate visual presentations, complete with graphics, illustrative clips, and (hopefully endearing) bad jokes. 

I greatly enjoy giving these talks - they bring together not only my experiences in the creative field, but my years working in media commentary, online education, and the New York tech community. I do my best to tackle complicated subjects in the most accessible way possible, and to always talk up to my audience. These talks are great for schools, workshops, and conferences, but would be a great addition to the programming for everything from museums and festivals to studios and corporations.

Each version of The Big Presentation lasts about an hour, and it's usually followed by a Q&A or discussion session (if desired). The length of the talk can be compressed or expanded, although this may require additional prep time. 

Among the topics covered in these talks: why radio dramas are unlike any other narrative medium in existence, the importance of silence in storytelling, the evolution of digital distribution, the role of the audience in suspense, the necessity of withholding information, the foundations of narrative structure, the state of podcasting, and the roles stories play in our daily lives. 

For pricing and availability, please contact me at contact@gabrielurbina.com


Workshops

For those seeking the fullest possible experience, I have created a three-day seminar on media storytelling, bringing together the material from all three variations of The Big Presentation. Combining theory and practice, this is an intensive, hands-on creative crash course.

The workshop, Narrative Communication, takes students through a series of interactive lectures, discussions, writing assignments, and in-class exercises focused on the craft of writing for visual and audio media. While the class covers narrative forms such as film, radio dramas, and graphic novels, this is first and foremost a creative writing workshop - strong emphasis is placed on the process of getting material to work on the page, and the skills developed will be applicable to virtually any form of modern of writing.

This is a seminar on narrative decision making, not technical craft. The ultimate goal of the workshop is to help students identify challenges they will encounter when trying to tell a story through modern media, and to help them conceptualize solutions for these problems.

No previous experience is necessary, and all levels of writing expertise and interest are welcome to attend. By the end of the class, each student will have created a short script for an original piece of narrative media. These workshops are lots of work in a short, intensive burst, but also a lot of fun. I have attended enough writing workshops to have very strong opinions about what makes for an entertaining, useful, practical, down-to-Earth seminar, and that is exactly the experience that I strive to bring to my students. 

For pricing and availability, please contact contact@gabrielurbina.com.