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STORYTELLING LAB

 
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BORN TO TELL

TWO FALL CLASSES SOLD OUT!

THIRD CLASS LAUNCHES

JANUARY 9, 2021

Our lives are narratives. We're writing it every minute of every day.

Decades of experience as a writer, producer and university professor have shown me storytelling is the key to understanding the world we live in—whether it’s understanding how to tell a story, interpret a story, or write one. Storytelling has become so significant, universities are now offering undergraduate majors in Narrative Studies.

Corona has given us an unexpected  opportunity to stop and focus on what matters. This class provides a key to unlocking the stories you already possess and instills the confidence for you to own them. At a time when we're all struggling to make sense of the world around us, this class offers a rare and unique opportunity to connect with your inner voice. 

This wholly original six week, six person course offers a multimedia approach to storytelling that spans the disciplines. It explores a range of skills applicable to multiple fields of study or simply personal growth.


REGISTER BY 12/10

RECEIVE $200 DISCOUNT!

 
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HOW IT WORKS

Using film, graphic novel, and documentary storytelling, students will learn to translate what they’re watching into a broader life experience. Each class will encompass topics such as theme, metaphor, character development, and interpersonal relationships. Each story will be examined through a broader lens to include history, culture, art, gender, race, music, etc.  Students will be challenged to form and express their ideas and opinions through a series of fun and creative assignments.


The lab will be a cohort model, consisting of only six students. The intimacy enables people to form a cohesive group where everyone can contribute, and no one hides or gets lost. The atmosphere promotes a safe environment to express thoughts and ideas. 


Having been marooned together at the dinner table, the class will have to encourage meaningful table talk. Students will receive a weekly suggested topic relating to the broader issues addressed in the film.

 

ATTAIN NEW SKILLS

  • Analyze and deconstruct the elements of storytelling

  • Enhance and hone writing skills 

  • Build confidence and ability 

  • Expand and improve verbal communication

  • Learn how to contextualize and express ideas

  • Promote cultural awareness and understanding

  • Open new intellectual pathways 

  • Stimulate imagination and creativity

  • Understand and appreciate film in a broader context

 

CURRICULUM

SIX WEEK SCHEDULE

Virtual Classroom:

2-hour live weekly class 


Discussion and analysis of storytelling: character development; theme; metaphor; symbolism; socio-political landscape; historical context; music and art. Students will be able to post their work, receive notes and communications on this easy-to-use, accessible platform.


Homework:

Weekly writing assignments challenge students to translate what they’ve seen and heard into a deeper personal experience.  Each assignment teaches the student to expand their ideas into the broader social context. All assignments are crafted to help students develop, evolve, express and individuate their ideas. 


Group Discussion Debate

One-hour weekly group session via ZOOM. Students discuss and analyze their writing assignments. Although I'll be present to oversee and guide this class, a different student will lead the discussion each week. 


Family Engagement

Films can be watched together and then discussed (study guide included). 

Individual Support

Each student will receive two thirty-minute private sessions with me over the course of the six weeks. This one-to-one will be about their work, productivity and ideas for how they might enhance their learning experience.


Family Discussion Guide

Weekly questions to discuss with family and friends whether they are familiar with course material or not.

COST: $950 ($200 off if you register by 12/10).

NOTE: This course is not accredited.

 
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SYLLABUS

THE SOCIAL NETWORK. The film explores the origins of Facebook. We’ll examine the impact of the platform from inception until today, as well as Free speech, sexism and the legal system.


THE HATE U GIVE.  Based on a book of the same name, it tells the story of a black teenager torn between two worlds - the inner city neighborhood where she lives and the world of white privilege where she attends school. We’ll examine Black Lives Matters, civil rights movement, family, cultural appropriation, class and race.


THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS. The only documentary in the course. As adults, three men discover they are in fact triplets. We’ll examine the differences in fiction and documentary. We’ll discuss the nature of family, secrets, mental health issues and "nature vs. nurture."


BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM. This delightful comedy explores a British Indian teenager’s desire to play professional girl’s football which conflicts with her traditional Indian family’s ideas about her future. We’ll discuss multi-culturism, loyalty, India-British history, women in sports, inclusion. 


PERSEPOLIS.  A graphic memoir hailed by the NYT as “a wholly original achievement in the form and one of the best memoirs of the last 50 years.” Told from the point of view of young girl and schoolmates coming of age in Iran among upheaval and uncertainty. Discussion will include Middle East history and culture, Iranian revolution, evolution of graphic novels.

ISLE OF DOGS. A stop motion sci-fi comedy-drama set in Japan is wholly and gorgeously conceived by Wes Anderson. A brilliant allegory for the world we find ourselves in and told from the point of view of dogs. We’ll discuss animation, metaphors and allegories, dystopian fiction and culture, discrimination and bias. 

 
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BENITA (BONNIE) GARVIN

CREATOR/INSTRUCTOR

Bonnie has taught hundreds, if not thousands, of students. For the last fifteen years, she’s been part of the faculty at the renowned John Wells School of Writing for Film and Television at the University of Southern California. She also coaches writers privately and hosts writing workshops.   


As an award-winning writer, Bonnie’s worked in film and television in the U.S. and Europe. She’s a produced playwright and authored numerous biographical essays published in acclaimed anthologies. In addition, she is a professional painter and studied music since she was a child. 

Comments from Former Students:

"Bonnie really cared for her class and has the ability to turn insecure students into confident writers." Kim M.

"With Bonnie's guidance, I was able to craft a college essay that landed me a  spot at the university of my choice. But more than that, she showed me how to access the "voice" buried deep inside me."  Danny B.

"Bonnie knows how to bring out the best in her students. She motivates and inspires her students, bringing out skills we didn't know we possessed!" Alyessa K.

"I would just like to say how much it meant that Bonnie was always honest, supportive and genuine to her students. We all really loved her and I think it was because of that." Jeffrey C. 

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SAMPLE ASSIGNMENT

SAMPLE ASSIGNMENT


Read “Persepolis.”  


Using no less than 12 frames, tell a GRAPHIC story about being in lockdown. It doesn’t matter if you can draw or not. You may use your computer, a drawing program, absolutely anything you want. You may create the characters as stick figures, use cut-outs or anything you’d like to represent each person. Include dialogue. 


Be creative! It’s your story!


Questions:


What feeling surfaced for you as wrote your story of lockdown? What surprised you most about the experience? 

In her story, Marjane leaves Iran but holds onto her Iranian identity. What does "identity" mean in that context and how does shape it shape her once she leaves Iran?

 
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