One advantage of living near colleges and universities is that innovative galleries such as the Opalka Gallery at Sage College host Pecha Kucha nights.
Pecha Kucha is a unique presentation format: you get 20 slides, each slide stays on screen for 20 seconds and then automatically advances to the next. You get exactly 6:40 to present (20 slides x 20 sec/per = 400 seconds = 6 minutes 40 seconds).
This creative outlet got its start in Tokyo by two renowned architects. Legend has it that architects are long-winded and never tire of showing slides of their work. Pecha Kucha held them in check.
This format fascinates me.
Most presenters are visual artists. The format lends well to showing and talking about images of their work. I’ve also attended Pecha Kuchas on raising puppies, creating bike lanes in urban areas, the benefits of atheism, and many more.
I’ve presented twice. As a writer, I had to get creative with visuals to tell my stories. Here they are:
“The Structure of Story”
Starting with my interest in the unique structure of Pecha Kucha, I talked about the classic three-act story structure that most films and many novels follow. I used “The Wizard of Oz” as an example. Act 1: Tornado; Act 2: Dorothy journeys through Oz with her buddies; Act 3: Showdown with the witch and return home.
I segued into how I got started telling (writing) stories, talked about how to make a fire, discussed storytelling innovations (Jennifer Egan’s A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD), plugged my own novels (STASH, CLEAN BREAK), and more.
Here are the Pecha Kucha slides for “The Structure of Story.”
This one was fun. I wanted to take a short story I’d written and adapt it to the Pecha Kucha format. The story is called “Food Truck.” You can read it here. I had to make some significant changes, which was an interesting exercise. Corresponding Pecha Kucha slides here.
If Pecha Kucha comes to your town, give it a go. It’s an experience.