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Pivot Spokane Storytelling is BACK and we are hosting a storytelling event on March 11th, 2021. Due to social distancing concerns, this will be primarily a livestream event for viewing online. Depending on the weather, we may be able to hold the event in a covered space outside, which would allow us to have a limited in-person audience. Our theme for this event is Out of the Ashes. You can buy tickets by clicking on this link!


So what are Out of the Ashes stories? They are moments of grace--stories of renewal and redemption, resurrection and resilience, and surveying the damage after survival. They are the Phoenix rising from the ashes...and turning lemons into lemonade.


For those unfamiliar with Pivot, over the past couple years members of the Spokane arts community, local educators, and community advocates have come together to plan a Spokane Storytelling event we call Pivot.  We believe in the power of true stories to connect a community, to remind us of our diversity and common humanity, and to provide deep understanding between the storyteller and the community.  In the spirit of The Moth and other storytelling events, Pivot brings Spokane stories to the stage; true eight-minute personal stories related to the evening’s theme. 


Visit the Pivot YouTube channel or hear NPR recordings from our past events here

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May 21, 2020 - Fish Out of Water winners announced!

Thank you storytellers and storywatchers for helping make our contests successful. The videos on our YouTube channel have been watched over 5,400 times, which adds up to over 250 hours of watch time! That's so amazing!

The Pivot board has selected the winners for the Fish Out of Water storytelling contest. All of the stories were great, but in the end, we had to pick our top three...and we couldn't do it, so we picked four again. Here are the winners!

1st place, winning $150: Tracy Simmons

2nd place, winning $100: Alyssa Bashor

3rd place, winning $50: Ben Faulkner

3rd place, winning $50: Eamonn Neff (who took second place in the last contest...nice!)

Please watch the stories by clicking the links above, and leave some likes and comments while you're there. You can also watch all submitted videos by going to our YouTube channel. It has been an honor and a pleasure hearing our community's stories and seeing how hungry we are to hear them. We don't know what the future holds for more contests or live events, but at least we have the 29 stories you submitted to keep us company until next time. Thank you everyone who has supported Pivot through your donations, your attendance, your attention, and most importantly, your stories. You're the best.


The Pivot Team

April 30, 2020

The first ever Pivot Storytelling contest was a success! The contest videos on our YouTube channel have over 3,700 views and people have watched them for over 170 hours (so far). Because of the powerful response, we have decided to run another contest with prizes! But first, here are the winners of the first contest! If you haven't already, click the links and watch the videos. They're great!


1st place ($150): Travis Naught

2nd place ($100): Eamonn Neff

3rd place tie ($50 each): Rick Clark, Stacey Conner, and Ella Kerner


Because the videos were so wonderful, the Pivot board had a hard time deciding. So we decided to give five prizes! And we are ready to give more! 


Our theme this time is Fish Out of Water. It could be a time you were the new kid in a confusing world, or the older person who has grown out of touch. The time you tried something and realized you were in over your head. New school. New job. New town. New life. How did that feel? How did you respond and grow?


Once you decide on a story, create a video of yourself telling your story, upload it to YouTube, give it an interesting title, and send us the link. We will screen it to make sure it’s safe for public viewing, and on May 11 we will release the videos for viewing on a Pivot Spokane YouTube page. The board will use views and likes to help us determine first through third place. (Note: we are trying to avoid making this purely an online popularity contest, one in which the top prizes go to people solely on the breadth of their social media presence or friend network. The likes and comments are part of the judging, but the board will ultimately determine the winners.) Winners will be announced on May 20.


And there will be prizes again! If you would like to submit to the contest but you do not currently need the money, please submit anyway! You can take the money and leave big tips for delivery drivers, or donate the money to your favorite charity. Prizes are $150 for first place, $100 for second place, and $50 for third place.


Here are the guidelines for the video:

  1. It should just be a shot of your face. (Filmmaking contests are for the other guys.) 

  2. This should be told live, with no edits. We want it to be just you telling a story. Therefore,...

  3. No notes. Telling a story is much more interesting than reading a story.

  4. Stories should be 4-8 minutes.. Any story longer than 8 minutes will be ineligible for the contest. 

  5. This contest is open only to people from eastern Washington and northern Idaho.

  6. Each participant is limited to one submission.

  7. Upload the video to YouTube and send the link to pivotspokane@gmail.com. We will download the video from your link and upload a copy to our YouTube page.

  8. Previous entrants, winners, and storytellers at live Pivot events ARE eligible for this event. 

  9. The deadline for submission is May 10 at midnight.

  10. See below for a list of tips and tricks to make your video the best it can be.


If you want to listen to the stories again, you can find them on our podcast by searching Pivot Unintended wherever you get your podcasts.. And don’t forget to like our Facebook page, Instagram, and Twitter


Best wishes to you and your loved ones. We look forward to hearing your stories!

The Pivot Team



  1. Rehearse your story. Create a video that you can send friends for feedback, then spend some time crafting and rehearsing your story some more for your final submission.

  2. Consider how your video is framed. Choose a background that does not distract. Place your face in the top half of the frame, not the center. Get in close so we can hear you.

  3. Just start your story. Begin at the beginning, rather than giving preliminary information about yourself, or giving a thesis statement such as “this is a story about...” or “this is a funny story.” Just start!

  4. It is often best to avoid using the theme title in your story. It punctures the magic, it breaks the fourth wall, and it reminds us we are being told a story. Let us live in the story.

  5. Be specific rather than general. Be concrete, not abstract. Not “I had two jobs” but “I was working as a food-room clerk at Jenny Craig weight-loss center and as a lubrication specialist at Jiffy Lube.”

  6. Have a specific audience in mind. Pretend you are telling your online story to one person; it is more intimate in this form.

  7. Consider storytelling structure. Many great stories are about a change over time (e.g. “I once was that, but now I’m this.”) Find the most important small moment in that change (small moments have more concrete detail than big moments), make sure that every part of the story helps us understand that moment, and when we get to that climactic moment, take us there fully, in the present tense.

  8. Find the two or three most important scenes or moments in your story, and only give us information that will help highlight them. Zoom in tight on those moments, and place us inside your head. Think like a great movie director. Find the details that push the mood forward, then cut away everything else. Cut away the resume, the biography, the unnecessary backstory, how you traveled from one place to another — anything that doesn’t reveal character traits, moods, theme or motivation. Your raw story is a block of marble. It’s what you cut away that makes it into a work of art.