There may be millions of storytellers in the world, but many consider me the only "storyfinder." I can mine narrative gold anywhere, from anyone. It’s a skill I’ve honed teaching for over 25 years and conducting over 3,000 interviews… with authors, artists, activists, filmmakers, politicians and “normal” people. I’ve spoken with Woody Allen and Jodie Foster, Lewis Black and Cornel West, Gail Simmons and Sir Salman Rushdie. I’ve spoken with the notorious and the unknown, the successful and the downtrodden. I’ve chatted with convicted killers and those whom many would call “heroes.” And, all of them talked. All of them told me their stories. Often people ask: “Warren, is there anyone you couldn’t interview, anyone who wouldn’t talk?” Nope. You know why? Because deep down, we all want to tell our stories, we all want to be heard. Sometimes, it just takes someone else to pull those stories out. Sometimes, it just takes someone… to listen.
What’s your story?
That’s what I can help you discover, uncover, excavate, encapsulate and express: your story. I don’t care if you’re an aspiring writer, a paid pro, a novice or a grade-school drop-out. I don't care if you're a middle-manager, a business consultant, a White House spokesperson or the voice of your start-up venture. I don’t care if you never write a book or a movie or a play or a poem, a business plan or a mission statement. I’d be thrilled if you did, but sometimes, just knowing your story is enough. Get your story out there however you like, share it with whomever you want. That’s your call. But no matter what, find your story, find it within yourself and craft it through character, and you will be the better for it — and for others, too, even if they never hear your story directly. Identifying your story is the first step towards shaping a healthier, happier future, a black-inked bottom line.
I am available to consult on scripts and on projects. I can tweak press releases and inter-office messaging, I train speakers and scribes, middle-managers and top dogs. I also hold regular classes and workshops for the general public. Let me help you find your story.
"One engagement or workshop with Warren Etheredge and you will be a fan. For any company or individual who wants to communicate better, tell more engaging stories, or connect better with their audience, Warren is the answer. Warren's style and approach to teaching is fun and hugely effective. He has made a difference in how I write and communicate.”
- John Hughes
CIO of MacDonald-Miller
Author of Haunting the CEO
"I have been working with Warren since 2006. There was a story that I was terrified to write. I could tell parts of what I am, but not all of my life experiences, because I felt too vulnerable to share some ways I might be found unacceptable to conventional society. I had written for literary magazines and was in command of my craft. But I had not yet grown the confidence of a writer who could make my own language choices, ones that arose out of a disintegration of beliefs following my husband losing his memories in a TBI.
In the wake of this trauma, Warren helped me discover my voice. He mentored me over the next few years, first in the development of a script, and then he became a trusted reader for my memoir, forthcoming from Tin House Books. It's a radical act to explore an authentic language.The set of skills that come in a creative writing teacher don't necessarily transfer to the kind of mentor who can become a witness to unexplainable life events, and encourage the beauty of honest storytelling, and facilitate an understanding of the conflict at the core of your own persona. Through his skillful techniques, I learned how the act of writing might evolve out of my own sense of myself.
The conventions of historical narrative typically confine the stories women can tell to tropes of masculine action and old models of psychological realism. Warren helped me define and claim my self, and through that acknowledgment, tell my story, a woman's story, one of a body joined with an intellect. Like Tillie Olsen and Lidia Yuknavitch and Alice Munro and other women writers seeking original ways to express their unique and ordinary experiences, I found the courage to take my place as an artist. And without Warren's steadfast support, thoughtful questions and non-judgmental observations, I don't know that I'd be here, sending my work into the world. I might have written; I might not have 'leaned in' as Sheryl Sandberg says. Now I'm taking more risks, publishing more difficult material, teaching students in-person and online, including developing a writing program for women soldiers.
I wish I'd written more about Warren, his good nature, his sense of humor, his integrity, the way he gently urged me to see sides of my character obscured from my view. However, I want you to know how he changed me so thoroughly that it altered not just my writing, but my sense of myself in the world. You should just bring him into your organization, and watch what happens to people."
- Sonya Lea
"I have worked with Warren on and off for over a decade. We first met during a screening of an independent film, and his expertise in storytelling came through during the subsequent Q&A with the filmmaker. I approached Warren afterwards and engaged him 1:1 to work with me on storytelling for film and video games. I also participated in the inaugural session of TheFilmSchool, of which he is one of the founding teachers.
Additionally, Warren and I were business partners in a script development and production company, Lockspring Pictures, for many years.
Warren has the ability to see story telling from a character and emotional perspective that allows him work beyond traditional narrative structure and formats. With this, he has the ability to work with creators and their vision to help them craft original, fresh, stories. Because his storytelling is focused on character and emotions and not generic "formulas" he has consistently shown the ability to apply that beyond traditional narrative structures and onto new media, technologies, and formats. It also drives within him a near insatiable curiosity for exploring how to apply great story telling in new ways.
While Warren and I no longer work together at the moment, his strength as a teacher of story telling allows me to continue to apply what I've learned over the years from him to everything I do as an executive in a large video game company. I apply my story telling skills not just to the medium of video game design, but also in how I lead teams, speak with customers and interact with the press. His teachings allow me to take a more customer centric view of the message I am trying to tell, and ensure that I speak to a deeper truth, with personal meaning, in a way that all can hear and understand."
- John Vechey
Co-founder and General Manager
"Warren – I wanted to thank you again for your remarkable session at Waggener Edstrom. Once again you proved that you can engage and move ANY audience. The feedback was extraordinary, and the session was accessible and dynamic. I loved how you created wonderful entry points to the storytelling topic. I felt your “big ideas” were accessible. People loved how you honed into the power of active listening. Multiple people told me after that they can immediately see how to use these tools. You made the session relevant to their clients and to themselves.
I would like to talk with you more about your theories on how to develop a story within minutes. Your examples were so damn good. I can see any novices being able to use them. Each of the tool sets you shared will now be an asset for the agency. Members of our creative and account teams said in the feedback that they feel even more confident about putting clients and subjects at ease with your techniques. You’ve made it easy for people to tell their stories. Essentially, you have mastered the Art of Storytelling. The fact you can make it practical and usable for anyone is a true gift. I can’t wait to have you come back – over and over and over."
- Eddie Rehfeldt
Executive Creative Director
Waggener Edstrom Communications