Image by Edu Lauton

STORYTELLING LAB


INT'L VIA ZOOM
6 WEEKS, 6 PEOPLE
September 21st (group decides schedule
at first meeting
)

Discover, liberate and own your voice in all
its variations!




Click on "Book A Service" to learn more info!

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BORN TO TELL

ONE DAY- 3 HR SAMPLER

              or

6 WEEK CLASS STORYTELLING LAB

The Storytelling Lab is unlike any class or workshop on Zoom or in a classroom. It's an intimate, creative place where people discover their own voice and learn to bring it to life. You won't learn to write. Instead you'll discover how to access the writer who already exists within you! 

Storytelling isn't new. People were telling stories on the walls of caves 40,000 years ago before their was language! Once language entered the equation so did criticism. We became our worst enemies. Rather than become more comfortable with our stories we became self-conscious and uncomfortable. We went so far as to convince ourselves we had nothing to say!

                 TESTIMONIALS

PRAISE FOR STORYTELLING LAB FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE

"Ironically, it's difficult to put into words how valuable Bonnie's courses are. The environment she creates transcends the usual barriers of awkwardness and insecurity and allows you to deeply engage with yourself as a person and a writer. Sign up today."

-Sian Nelligan, Australia

"You will never regret joining the Storytelling Lab! Bonnie's charismatic approach brings out the creative power in absolutely everyone. It's a total gem of a course that really does enable people to explore their own voice; I feel so lucky to have found it."

- Anna McDonald, UK

"I loved Bonnie's Storytelling Lab. I hadn't written for fun for years and had joined the course thinking it might improve how I think about storytelling at work. It has done this but it has also rekindled in me a desire to write for joy. 

- Rachel Le Sueur, Switzerland

"There’s too much to say about Bonnie’s life-changing course, so much nuance and many light bulb moments. It’s not so much a course as an awakening, an opportunity to voice your thoughts and memories, half-formed ideas, new ideas, you may never have verbalised before. Bonnie is so informed and magnetic, a joy, and a one-off energy. My only regret is that I didn’t find Bonnie sooner."

- Paula Collins, Ireland

"Bonnie's classes have helped me rediscover a love of writing as well as introduce me to new techniques, different approaches to storytelling and a space to share work with a group of brilliant women. I feel so lucky to have been taught by her and absorb her wisdom, she's an actual dream of a person, and her classes will open up your mind, invigorate/inspire you and set you on an exciting path. 

- Isobel Rogers, UK

 

"Storytelling Lab has been a revelation. Not only is it created and led by Bonnie with a sense of humor, creative freedom, and a light touch, but we have all uncovered aspects of ourselves and been surprised by the results. Who knew to spend Zoom time with five strangers from across the globe would be so heartwarming and life-enhancing."

 - Sophie Mills, UK 


"The little girl in me always loved writing, but the adult in me told me it was frivolous and a waste of time. I’m so glad I ignored my self doubts and took this course with Bonnie! Every week, setting aside time to be creative and to meet up with other likeminded people has felt more and more like a gift to myself. Thank you Bonnie for putting on this course- for bringing the joy back to writing and for helping me get out of my head and into my heart. I can’t recommend this course enough."

- Bec Gourlay, UK

"The Storytelling Lab experience has been such a joy.. Bonnie graces her classes with just the right blend of teaching, encouraging pep talks and personal anecdotes. Generous and enthusiastic, she creates such a warm space for people to share, explore and ultimately find their voices, completely free of judgement. It’s a little like therapy but way more fun! It’s the only Zoom session I genuinely looked forward to each week!"

-Sally Gaynor,  Ireland

"Three hours with Bonnie unlocked so much in me and gave me motivation, focus and above all - a sense of belief in my own voice.  If anyone is considering the course, I would say do it! You'll have no regrets and if you feel half as good as I did after it, you will have stared the New Year with a bang.

- Fiona Rattay, Scotland

"Bonnie's Storytelling Lab has helped so much with my writing and creativity. I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to take before I took the class, but it's allowed me to experiment and have fun with my own imagination. This was by far one of the best things I did last year!"

- Sophie Moran, UK

"Bonnie's Storytelling Labs are a fantastic way of unleashing your creativity. She helps break down the barriers and get things moving. A great place to meet like minded people as well".  

- Sarah Grattan, Italy

"What can I say about Bonnie's classes... they have truly been a wonderful tonic to what can seem like the mundane routine of everyday life. My favourite thing about this class is that there is never any pressure about what or how you write; there is no critique and no set outcome so you truly feel safe and supported to create. Don't deliberate; just say a big YES and watch the magic unfold!"

- PIppa Orr, UK 

"Bonnie's weekly writing class has been the highlight of 2021. Thanks to the class I now write often, short and longer pieces, and I have realised that writing can bring meaning to personal experiences and also clarity, in all kinds of ways. My fellow students have become friends, even thought we have not ever met - I have gained so much from taking this course in addition to the power and possibility of writing - new friends and a new mindset."
- Rosie Donachie, UK

"Like many, I felt frozen in my creativity during the pandemic. I also wanted something to relive any pressure to create anything meaningful as I couldn’t!  I knew I was in safe hands the minute I met Bonnie and the class. It was liberating to try out new ways of story-telling each week, develop an intimacy with the class and cheer each other on. It’s been a form of creative therapy for me and galvanised me to keep producing work..."

- Camilla Nazaari, London

"Bonnie’s style allows you to sink in and enjoy this experience for what it is – the opportunity to write without rules. There’s no judgement, there’s no rigidity, there’s nothing that will smash your smokes. It’s just pure fun, which is in short supply these days. “Being creative lets you become more of who you are,” said Bonnie. My god, what else do you need to know?"

- Marci Frumkin, Los Angeles 

"Bonnie is bubbling with energy and enthusiasm, she inhaled much wisdom into the course. The exercises stretched my writing style, in an open and supportive environment. On top of that I was introduced to films I had not previously seen and books, and loved sharing analysis with a group of like minded and wonderful people. I can’t wait to start on our next stretch of the creative journey with a brilliant guide. All in all  I highly recommend."

- George Wilson, London 
 

"In Bonnie’s class I experienced the opening of a place within me that was closed for a long time.  The writing that came out was from a person that I swear is not me!"   
- Sharon Miller, Florida 

"Not only did the weekly tasks broaden my reading and viewing horizons, they also generated new and interesting discussions in my household, which has been so refreshing and fun during the monotony of lockdown life! Bonnie is warm, positive and engaging and creates an environment that welcomes vulnerability - as a result our group bonded very quickly. It is such a great way to connect with new people on a meaningful level - especially during lockdown!"

 - Jenny Eade, Australia 

"Storytelling Lab was amazing. Exercises to help us with our own powers of observation and 'homework' to help each of us step outside our comfort zones, all done in an intimate and completely supportive environment. Best of all was Bonnie's constant mantra "There is NO wrong way to find your own voice." ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 - Ted Fox, Palm Springs, CA. 

"Bonnie's storytelling class has been a highlight of my year and a silver lining of this pandemic. Each week Bonnie brought us together in intimate sessions where we discuss art, life, current affairs and, of course, tell stories. Our own, those of others, those of things that happened and things that might have been. Creating something I was so proud of was only possible thanks to the supportive and inspiring space that Bonnie has created for her students.

- Emma Kriskinans, Spain


"Bonnie Garvin’s Storytelling Lab has given me far more than I ever imagined.  It has been fascinating  to witness my own stories as well as those of others unfold in a creative, fun-filled way. Bonnie is articulate and supportive, hilarious, and knowledgeable.  The process has been so rewarding that many of her classes including mine have gone on further to nature and develop projects born in the Storytelling Lab."
- Gina Pressman, CA

"I had really lost my spark in 2020. Storytelling Lab helped me to rediscover my creativity. The classes were unlike anything I had done before. It was such a supportive environment, I felt able to take risks and re-connect with both a new community and myself."

-Emily Kempson, London/NYC. 

"Loved this class Storytelling Class! The layering of the class was excellent with writing, expressing, reading/journaling, and, yes, the movies!  It was a good weaving of forms to consider and use.  I highly recommend it!"

-Mary Ginter, PH.D., Tucson, Az. 

"Bonnie's class was so cathartic for me...blasting through several layers of creative blocks, I didn’t even know I had, to reveal unexplored creative areas of expression desiring to come forward. The class is a magical hybrid multi media storytelling exploration, coaching/psychotherapy, creative excavation/unblocking process. Bonnie's reach is far beyond just writers, and is geared towards how to travel the geography of your mind, find the joy in our unique voice and the multitude of ways we can express ourselves. 

- Kathleen Wilson, Michigan 

 

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Something Different

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. 

 

CURRICULUM
 

SIX WEEK SCHEDULE:

 

Virtual Classroom:

Two-hour weekly group session via ZOOM. Students discuss and analyze their writing assignments. I also provide analysis and discussion about the dramatic construction of each story.​

Homework:

Unique, fun and engaging 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 enable students develop, express and individuate their ideas.

One-on-One Consultation

One hour private session to discuss your work, ideas, your future or whatever you'd like to discuss.

Discussion Guide

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

COST: $750 for early registration ($900 a week before class begins)

SAMPLE 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. 

Contact Us

Thanks for submitting!

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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. 

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!

 

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