The Story Laureate
A pioneer in the art of storytelling
Long before storytelling became the flavor of the day for some of the marketers and communicators who claim to be experts now, I was blazing the trail as a pioneer in the field.
I happened upon the importance of story as a writer for Seattle area companies more than 20 years ago, discovering that in an age of information glut, facts and figures were falling on deaf ears, everyone claiming to have the first, the biggest, the oldest and the most effective.
To drive the point home with sales reps and marketers who lived and breathed numbers and superlatives, I would ask them in meetings to tell the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Without exception, the stories were almost always the same. The story of two men and their fellow adventurers who started out for the west, who faced great challenges along the way, was befriended by a tribe whose chief lent his daughter Sacajawea to them as a guide, and who were the first Americans to chart a course from the eastern seaboard to the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
Never once did anyone relate the time it took, the miles traveled, the number of men in the scouting party, the weight of the supplies they brought along… not a single fact or figure. The story didn’t need them in order to resonate, even years after a high school history lesson.
Story has always been a huge part of my writing, not only for my employers when I worked with some of the largest companies in the Pacific Northwest, but for the hundreds of clients I have worked with over nearly two decades as Mister Know-It-All for CommuniCreations and now, The Story Laureate. My award-winning work has not only gained the respect of my peers, but more importantly, helped create an enduring legacy of narrative for my clients who were lost in the clatter and din of the marketplace, only to become highly valued and successful enterprises because of my unique ability to create a riveting tale that not only resonated but was fondly remembered years later.
I even do it in my spare time
Though I’ve been in this game for a long time, my love of story has only become stronger and more refined over the years. Schooled by master story educator Robert McKee as well as other legendary story experts, I have learned to use my natural-born storytelling skills in many different forms.
Of course, telling the story of my clients is still my bread and butter. Clients worldwide turn to me for my expertise, creativity and experience, knowing that I will find the hidden nuggets, the rare jewels of messaging that will capture the imagination of their target audiences, increasing brand and product loyalty as well as profits in the process. Through my knowledge of story, I can turn the driest mix of facts and figures into a real page-turner. I can even make accounting firms sound sexy, a feat of prestidigitation that would amaze Harry Houdini himself.
If full-time storytelling weren’t enough, I also tell tales in my personal time. I am the author of a weekly, once-daily, humor blog, RobZerrvations, which was published in book form in 2013. This is my second book, Memoirs of a Buccaneer: 30 Years Before the Mast being my first. It is a collection of short stories and recollections about my three decades (and counting) as a costumed entertainer. I recently kept a crowd mesmerized for 2 1/2 hours with my extemporaneous and improvised tales of life as a pirate. I think that speaks highly of my skills as a professional storyteller.
I have also written several plays that were produced and performed at festivals and corporate events throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean. I have completed the manuscript for a children’s book which tells the loving lesson of treasuring others, even if they appear different, largely because they may just be misunderstood.
I am also in the midst of writing my first screenplay, which is slated for completion in 2024. The story, set in the world of corporate greed, power and control, is a guaranteed cliffhanger from start to finish and has the promise of being optioned for studio release.
In addition to being a noted expert on communications and marketing as well as a prolific writer, I admit to being a mediocre musician but a talented entertainer, fervent community activist, dedicated father of two, horrible gardener, occasional world traveler, professional misfit, bon vivant and, of course, a pirate at heart.
My sense of humor, ability to relate seemingly unconnected topics into compelling and effective prose and deep commitment to my craft bring a sensitive, identifiable slant to my work.
I am a graduate of the University of Washington with a B.A. degree in Journalism. I also have an A.A. in Communications. After being on the lam in Florida for eight years at The Story Laureate, I have returned to the Pacific Northwest and live just north of Seattle on a secluded cul-de-sac where no one knows my true identity.
– APEX Award for Publication Excellence, Newsletter Writing
– APEX Award for Publication Excellence, Newsletters
– APEX Award for Publication Excellence, Newsletters
– PRSA Totem Award Silver Medalist, Writing/Publications
– Finalist, IABC Gold Quill Competition, Employee Publications
– Finalist, IABC Gold Quill Competition, One-Time Internal Campaigns