Meet the Contributors: Mark Goldman

Book Chapter: How to be a Storyteller at Slams

His Thoughts: Story Slams seem to be popping up all over. Small venues are sought out where anyone can put their name in the hat and tell their personal, five-minute story. The proliferation of slam-type events has brought both kudos and concerns.

On the plus side, storytelling is being introduced to thousands of people who never even knew what the art form was. Those who thought storytelling was a person reading from a picture book to kids in the library have become educated to the fact that it is something much more, and has many, many aspects. Slams are bringing a form of storytelling to the masses, in a way that traditional telling never did or could. On the flipside, some fear that Slams don’t represent the traditional forms of the art such as folktales, fairytales, historical stories. They are concerned when seemingly “novice” tellers merely reveal sensational or salacious details of their lives and become the “favorites” simply because of their material. They are concerned for the teller who has spent time carefully crafting their story, but is left in the dust by a more “flamboyant” teller or subject matter.

I say, “So be it! That’s what makes horse races.” It’s a new world, with more forms of storytelling than we ever could have imagined, business stories, digital storytelling, stories as performance art, the list can go on and on. Who is to decide what is or is not storytelling? Slams are just another form of the art. And the genre has many sub-forms too. Who knows where Slams, or traditional storytelling will be in a few years? And if Slams have brought more people to the art form of storytelling, that’s a good thing!

Mark Goldman: With a background in theatre since the age of eleven, Mark has had an extremely eclectic life. He has been (in no particular order) an actor, director, stage manager, speaking coach, magician, mediator, psychodrama therapist, web designer, meeting planner, and chef at a small New York City restaurant/bar. Goldman made a decision in January of 2011 to quit his job and focus full-time on storytelling. Along with telling to adults and children, he provides many outlets for local storytellers in Phoenix by producing S’More Stories Campfire Stories, a monthly Storytellers Open Mic, and The Great Arizona Story Slam. Mark also publishes a weekly, online newsletter with storytelling tips and tidbits, and news about storytelling in Arizona. He recently, joined the staff of NSN’s Storytelling Magazine as their advertising representative. Find his site at

See Mark tell at a Storytelling Slam

About Storyteller

Sean Buvala has been engaged with storytelling and communication since 1986. From kids in classrooms to bosses in boardrooms, from presenting workshops for global salt miners to consulting with Ph.D.’s in pharmaceuticals, Sean has told and taught stories in nearly every industry and setting. He’s been the boss (and janitor) of a non-profit organization and is currently the entrepreneur-in-charge for his work as the “No-Nonsense Storytelling Coach™.”

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