Frequently Asked QuestionsAlready a storyteller on one of our shows? Check out our FAQ for Storytellers. For other FAQs, see below!
- Is The Story Collider educational?
- Is The Story Collider for kids?
- How can I tell a story at a Story Collider show?
- Can I tell a story at The Story Collider even if I'm not a scientist?
- What's a "personal" story?
- Can I give my talk or lecture at The Story Collider?
- I'm a very serious science person and this seems silly to me. Why the heck should we go around telling true, personal stories about science when we could be educating the public instead?
- I’ve never told a story on stage before. Does The Story Collider coach storytellers?
- Does my story have to be about science?
- What do you mean when you say a “story about science?”
- Does The Story Collider fact-check its stories?
- Does The Story Collider allow notes or visuals such as PowerPoint slides on stage?
- Do all stories from Story Collider’s live shows appear on the podcast?
- What cities does The Story Collider have regular shows in?
- How can I launch a branch of The Story Collider in my community?
- Does The Story Collider offer storytelling workshops for scientists?
- Does The Story Collider offer sponsored shows?
- Can I advertise on the Story Collider podcast?
- Can I donate to The Story Collider?
- Do you offer sign language interpretation and other accessibility services?
Is The Story Collider educational?
The first rule of The Story Collider is there’s no learning at The Story Collider – the science in our stories is for entertainment purposes only. That said, we are not responsible for any accidental learning that may occur. If you feel you’re at risk, we suggest preventive measures in the form of a visit to the bar.
Is The Story Collider for kids?
The Story Collider believes in creating a space for adults to connect about science. Most of our events are held in venues with bars, and many of our stories contain adult language and situations. Luckily, there are many excellent organizations dedicated to educating and entertaining children about science, such as Biobus and local museums, zoos, and planetariums. Episodes of our podcast that are not rated “Explicit” on iTunes may be appropriate for younger audiences, but we suggest that parents and teachers listen first.
How can I tell a story at a Story Collider show?
Just head to our submissions page and send us your pitch! We look for a strong story arc – or a change that takes place in the storyteller from the beginning to the end. And of course, we hope that science plays a major role in this change.
Keep in mind, The Story Collider currently produces regular shows only in New York, Boston, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas, Toronto, Vancouver, and Wellington, New Zealand, and unfortunately we have only a small budget for travel.
Can I tell a story at The Story Collider even if I’m not a scientist?
Yes! As long as science plays a pivotal role in your story, it doesn’t matter if you have a PhD in organic chemistry or the last science class you took was in the tenth grade. The Story Collider believes science belongs to everyone and that people of all backgrounds have stories to tell about science. For example, our executive director has a background in marine biology and science communication, and our artistic director doesn’t know a proton from a neutron.
What’s a “personal story”?
Because we believe that firsthand personal narratives have a unique power to connect with audiences, every story on our stage must be about the person telling it. Not fictional or historical characters, not someone you know or interviewed once, but YOU, the person on stage.
Can I give my talk or lecture at The Story Collider?
Nope – see Question 1. The science in our stories is for entertainment purposes only.
I’m a very serious science person and this seems silly to me. Why the heck should we go around telling true, personal stories about science when we could be educating the public instead?
Well, first of all, lighten up, man. Second, while our focus is not directly on educating the general public about science, we believe personal stories have a unique power to connect with audiences from all walks of life. You seem like the type of person who needs hard data, so here’s a study by scientist Dr. Jeff Schinske, who found that community college students who listened to our stories as part of their coursework reported stronger interest in science and were more likely to see a path for themselves in science.
I’ve never told a story on stage before. Does The Story Collider coach storytellers?
Yes! Our producers work with each storyteller to help them prepare, one-on-one in the weeks leading up the show and in a group rehearsal a few days before. You can find our advice on how to get started here.
Does my story have to be about science?
Yeah – that’s kind of our thing. If you’re interested in storytelling, but don’t have any science-related ideas, try other storytelling shows in your area. You can find our recommendations here.
What do you mean when you say a “story about science?”
When we say science, we include all traditional fields of science, plus technology, math, medicine, and social sciences such as economics, sociology, and criminology. When we say our stories are about science, we mean science plays a significant role in setting events into motion or in the storyteller’s interpretation of events. We don’t mean that every story takes place in a lab, or that every story is told by a trained scientist. We believe that science can be found everywhere and experienced by all people.
Does The Story Collider fact-check its stories?
The Story Collider asks that all stories on our stage and podcast come from real-life experiences of the folks telling them. We do not do any formal fact-checking. If something scientific jumps out at us as being incorrect, we will absolutely work with the storyteller to confirm facts, and if a detail feels false, we will question it during the story development process, but otherwise, like other storytelling organizations, we don’t believe it’s our place to contradict another person’s personal narrative. Our stories are meant to entertain and engage, and are not scholarly texts meant to inform or educate. (Please don’t cite our stories in your thesis!)
We will, however, reject any stories that feel like sales pitches to us, or that we believe have the potential to spread dangerous disinformation. For this reason, while we’re open to folks from all backgrounds, cultures, and political beliefs, we’re unable to run stories that contradict science by advocating against things like vaccines or climate science. Apart from that, however, every storyteller is entitled to his or her personal beliefs, which do not necessarily represent those of The Story Collider or its staff.
Does The Story Collider allow notes or visuals such as PowerPoint slides on stage?
No. We believe that true, personal stories are most impactful when told in a conversational way, like you would to a friend over a drink.
Do all stories from Story Collider’s live shows appear on the podcast?
Our weekly podcast features two stories recorded at our live shows in every episode, for a total of 104 every year. Whereas, in a given year, we produce somewhere between 50 and 60 live shows, each featuring five storytellers, for a total of… a lot more (hey, we’re not mathematicians). So roughly one-third of the stories at our live shows appear on the podcast, based on a nomination process conducted by our pool of screeners, producers and volunteers. However, we are always happy to share raw audio and photos with storytellers — just email our deputy director at firstname.lastname@example.org to request yours.
What cities does The Story Collider have regular shows in?
The Story Collider currently has Home Stages in New York, Boston, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas, Toronto, Vancouver, and Wellington, New Zealand. Subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive updates about upcoming shows.
How can I launch a branch of The Story Collider in my community?
The Story Collider is always looking for opportunities to expand into new places and find new perspectives about science. When we launch in a new home city, we train two local producers to coordinate with local venues and vendors; find and coach local storytellers; and host the show. If you are interested in producing a series of shows in your community, get in touch with us at email@example.com and tell us why you and your community would be a great new home for us. The number of cities we expand to every year is limited by our time and resources so we are not be able to accommodate all requests.
Does The Story Collider offer storytelling workshops for scientists?
As a matter of fact, we do! I’m so glad you asked. We lead workshops in a variety of formats that empower scientists with the skills to communicate with audiences through storytelling. Over 90% of participants in our workshops report that they’re more likely to incorporate storytelling techniques in their next face-to-face outreach activity. We’re proud to work with elite institutions like Yale, Cornell, and Cambridge University, powerhouse state schools, and small community colleges alike, as well as scientific conferences and nonprofit and corporate clients. For more information, see our Workshop page.
Does The Story Collider offer sponsored shows?
Great question again – yes, we do! We have worked with partners ranging from Springer Nature and Scientific American to the American Geophysical Union and major universities to produce shows on campuses, at conferences, and more. There are several options available – shows can be private or open to the public, and can feature storytellers from inside or outside your organization. For more information on rates and availability, contact our artistic director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I advertise on the Story Collider podcast?
Yes -- we offer pre-, mid-, and post-roll ads through AdLarge. If you’re interested in advertising on our podcast, get in touch with us at email@example.com.
Can I donate to The Story Collider?
Yes! (And thanks for asking!) You can sign up to become a monthly Patreon donor to The Story Collider here and receive rewards such as a Story Collider coffee mug, a comic book featuring stories from our podcast, and/or having your name listed in the programs at our shows around the world. You can also make one-time donations here. We are grateful for the support of our donors as it helps us continue to expand into new and story-rich territory!
Do you offer sign language interpretation and other accessibility services?
Yes, by request. If you plan to attend a show and require assistance, please get in touch with our artistic director at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to make appropriate arrangements.