What's a '2nd Story' Story?

We tell stories that are real. We shy away from the word “true”, as memory can be a tricky beast, and we use a lot of literary techniques to tell the best stories we can. But your story must be your story (and not your sister’s or your friend’s), and must have actually happened. It’s okay to consolidate characters, or to play with timing or sequence, but the majority of the story must be something you can stand behind as truth. Because our audience has access to our artists after their performance, storytellers frequently find themselves approached by an audience member who starts off with something like “Your story really spoke to me, that happened to me, too!” and it is critical for what we do that the teller is able to engage with that other human about a real shared experience.


Writing Guidelines

TEN MINUTES, MAX.

Please read your story aloud and time it before you send it in. We don’t read anything over ten minutes.

STORY CHOICE.

Keep in mind, most 2nd Story events take place in bars, clubs, restaurants, or other non-traditional performance spaces. Can the story you’re telling hold an audience’s attention in a venue with a lot of distractions?

VARIETY.

We like stories that we haven’t heard before—stories that will bring variety to what we do. If you’ve already heard us tell a certain story, consider choosing a different subject matter.

SCENE-DRIVEN.

2nd Story stories are all about scenes.  This means that they contain description of the setting, character development, dialogue and, most importantly, SOMETHING HAPPENS. And just telling us about something that happened isn’t enough—we want Scenes. With Dialogue. And Action.

FIRST PERSON.

Keep in mind that this is YOU telling the story. Your voice, your situation, your realizations. We are open to literary techniques to make the best story (like exaggeration for effect, consolidation of characters or timeline, etc.) but YOU are the main character. And though literary techniques are acceptable, we ask that you tell about events that really happened.

NO FOURTH WALL.

Yes, we explore different writing and storytelling styles and techniques, but at 2nd Story, we write our stories with the audience in mind. The storyteller is not in a bubble, you’re telling the story TO the audience. They are there, you can see them, they can see you, which means that you can talk to them directly.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

Our Artistic Director asks, “Why should anyone besides you and your friends care about this story?” There needs to be a clear idea of what the story is about—what it means (or meant) to you, why it’s important to tell This story in This moment. That is what a larger audience will connect with.


Ready to submit? Here's What you do:

1. Write a 2nd Story story! We get tons of submissions that are lovely pieces of writing but not really in the spirit of what we do. Please please please read our writing guidelines or check out what we do before you submit!

2. Send an email to submissions@2ndstory.com.  Please format the email as follows:

  • The subject heading of your email should read: “2nd Story Submission—Your Name” (as in “2nd Story Submission—Joe Schmoe”)

  • In the body of that email, please include:

    • Your name

    • Your contact information (phone, address, and email)

3.  To that email, please attach:

  • Your 2nd Story story.  Please format it in the following way:

    • Times New Roman, 12 pt font, double-spaced

    • A header on every page that includes:

      • Your name

      • The story’s title

      • The page number

  • A  resume.  Please include any performance/writing experience you have (performance and writing experience is not required at all, but we’d like to know about it if you have any.)

4. Be patient. Our turnaround time depends on the number of submissions we receive, and we take great care to make sure that each one gets our full attention. We send a top-notch letter to every person who submits that includes our thoughts and questions, whether or not we ask you for an audition. Believe it or not, we frequently get thank you notes in response to our rejection letters. This amount of care take a tremendous amount of time, so please be patient.

5.  If you’ve got what we’re looking for, we’ll ask you in for an audition. Either way, we’ll get back to you as fast as we can.

Note: As a volunteer-run organization, we’re all juggling day jobs and families and art on top of the day-to-day operations of 2nd Story. We promise we’ll get back to you, we promise we’ll give you feedback, but it might take a little while. Thank you for your patience.