Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Story!!

If you have been through NAI training you know the story is the connection between you and the audience. I received this video from a friend, as it finished I thought "Boy, if I can tell a believable story as well as this fellow, Tilden & Mills would be proud" especially when I'm doing first person! The last line on the screen is the clincher!

Parlez-vous Destination, Enrichment on les Cruise Lines?

Article 4 - Interpreting Facts Creates an Emotional Bond.

To spark an interest, interpreters must relate the subject to the lives of the people in their audience. Beck and Cable 2002, principle one, Interpretation for the 21st Century   
Tilden stated “interpretation is relation”. When a good speaker creates an emotional connection it will cause people to act upon the information shared.  It will cause a response of astonishment, wonder, inspiration or action.

The cruise lines books three types of people for their enrichment programs. They are destination speakers, special interest speakers and those who can do arts and crafts.
The destination speaker is not bound to only the one particular spot the ship may be in port next but the geographical area the ship is traveling through. What vast resources of these areas are available for you to connect to your audience? Consider Venice, Italy, renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. Can you tie the art of the Venetian painters when docked at Venice to your audience today that creates an emotional bond, a bond that goes beyond you? Can you start the process of thinking about supporting the arts, to visit the various arts not only in Venice, but the geographical region they hale from? “A great Venetian painter, Titian, was known as the fleshly painter for the beautiful portraits he painted during the 1500’s.” This factual statement is a recital of facts; it is informational in literature or a presentational power point of the painters of Venice.  However if you were to state, “A great Venetian painter, Titian, was known as the fleshly painter for the beautiful portraits he painted during the 1500’s but even he had to “delete” his portrait of Isabella d’Este and start all over again. Ahhh the vanities of women who view a picture they think unflattering of themselves.” Now you have everyone’s attention, probably everyone in the audience has had to deal with someone wanting a picture deleted they think is unflattering. You just made a connection from the past to the present. You related the subject to the lives of the people in the audience; this is the spark in the first principle of Beck and Cable.  Now when using your power point and you show Titian’s portrait of a woman painted 40 years younger than what she was, it is personally intriguing. An audience member may feel the need to view this portrait and others in Venice.  For the cruise lines this means booking an excursion to see the paintings in Venice.  Interpretation on destinations is more than dates, who did what and a list of what there is to see or names of trees, plants or animals of the area.

The special interest speaker finds himself in the role of interpreting the interest of his field, to set forth the meaning of the information that connects to the audience. If your specialty is movie stars or stars of universe how does good interpretation connect to your audience? How do you make that emotional bond? Interpretation is about connections from the past to the future, from current and past information to connections to themselves. Do they see themselves repeating the mistakes or emulating the good qualities of the movie stars? Do the stars of the night sky connect to their view of order in the universe? A sense of connection is critical in interpretation; otherwise you are a dry text book reciting facts.
Arts and crafts are charged with the same edicts of interpretation. They should be able to combine a physical activity with an emotional tie in. For the cruise lines the bonus would be tying a craft to the maritime, geographical, cultural history, art or science of the area.  Your crafts must create an appreciation for history, the arts or science. Research suggests that people learn through their five senses: sight, 75%; hearing, 13%; touch, 6%; taste, 3%; smell, 3%. Definitely the interpreter doing arts and crafts has the advantage for passengers retaining information using the sight, hearing, and touch, they will retain 94% of what they learned and had fun doing so. Our brain will appreciate a physical activity combined with facts and the cruise lines will appreciate you.

As a presenter you are the catalyst, the person responsible cause a spark. Tilden stated this as one of his first principles “Any interpretation that does not somehow relate what is being displayed or described to something within the personality or experience of the visitor will be sterile” And who wants a sterile presentation? Certainly not the cruise lines!
Another guideline in the next posting! For more information on interpretation I would encourage you to check out National Assoication of Interpretation.  For information on the nuts and bolts of how to begin speaking on cruise ships I would refer you to Daniel Hall’s, Speakers Cruise Free Program. Daniel's program does cost to join but Daniel’s program will get you on the ships; NAI will keep you on the ships as a successful speaker/interpreter. As far as I know Daniel Hall's program is the only agency that has a program you must go through or it is best to go through to be considered for speaking on cruise ships. They will work with placing you on board a ship. There are other placement agencies; Compass Speakers and Entertainment, Inc. , Sixth Star Entertainment and Marketing , Tim Castle, and To Sea with Z . I mention all of these agencies (there may be more) for you to check out the opportunities with each company, however there are cruise lines that will allow you to book directly with them. There are certain protocols one must observe to do direct booking.  If interested in cruising or would like more information feel free to contact me.  The bottom line though, you need NAI type of skills to be successful.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Interpretive Posing

As many of you know I find models for the Nevada Museum of Art class Historical Costume Painting and Drawing. In this class I pose models such as you might find if you were to time travel to the past. Imagine Rex, our mountain man, sitting on a stump around a campfire. Each student is free to draw/paint the entire model, 3/4 pose, head or focus on an accessory the model may carry with them. I have been fortunate and blessed that each model is particular with their entire ensemble from head to toe, to be as historically accurate as possible.  We ended a six week class on Monday. We start again on February 7 - March 13, 2012, Tuesdays. If interested in being a model contact me at and I will give you the particulars.  My thanks to all who modeled this time, you're the best.


 Rex did a fabulous job as a Mountain Man. I've seen him sitting in an encampment at Rendezvous in Carson City. Rex also teaches at the Nevada Museum of Art. I noticed on the schedule for this next session he is teaching two classes, Mask Making and Cartooning. This is a man of many talents!

 Erika is in a Renaissance gown, mid-1500's.  In most classes there are at least five students, sometimes eight, once there was about ten. Modeling for such a small group makes it easier to get to know the artist.

 Erika costume for this evening was mid 1800's, she calls this one her Dickens outfit. She a beautiful gal and lovely to paint or draw.

Lisa was the model for this session. She is in an Edwardian ensemble. Her daughter tagged along with her that evening and drew a picture of her mother! She did a fine job!

This picture reminds me of an old stereoscope card.

Me, Carolyn in 1920, a relaxed pose with legs crossed. Definitely not an appropriate pose before the 1920's.  

 Paintings are not like film, I always tell Daniel, the artist of this painting and one above he often captures the look of my Grandmother on my father's side. I see the genes in the eyes and jaw, cheek. It reminds me of the old saying, "Mirrow Mirrow on the wall, I am my grandmother afterall"

Monday, December 12, 2011

Parlez-vous Destination, Enrichment on les Cruise Lines?

Article 3 – History of Interpretation   Before we jump into a discussion on guidelines of interpretation maybe we should look at the history of this fascinating profession.

Long before the National Park Service (NPS) was born in 1916 interpretation was sought out by the public and they were willing to pay for that service. This was the case at Yellowstone and Yosemite, long before they became national parks. Military troops had responsibility for protecting the land. A few troops found themselves in the position of interpreting these sites to visitors. However not everyone was as conscience in sharing their information as the troops.  Some stagecoach drivers and “guides” at the hotels told clients all manner of stories hoping for good tips. Interchange Cruise Lines with Yellowstone or Yosemite and it is easy to understand that National Parks Service, cruise lines and other entities appreciate professional, ethical guidelines or principles.

The National Park Service (NPS) is first recognize as the entity that sought to find common guidelines or principles which could be taught to rangers in the field who were imparting information to the public. What NPS discovered in the 1950’s were some rangers were great in engaging the public, other rangers left people yawning and leaving the campfire and park tours. Freeman Tilden was hired by NPS to find the common denominators of interpretation that could be taught to rangers. He visited scores of national parks. He visited state parks and private historical areas. He visited living history or craft demonstration areas such as Colonial Williamsburg. He engaged in discussions with those who interpreted their sites for the public. He gave interpretative talks. He looked at brochures, signs, and displays to find common principles among the written and spoken word.  He pondered what the guiding principles for interpreting information were. In 1957 he wrote Interpreting Our Heritage.  He found six principles that an interpreter must use when sharing information with an audience. These six principles have stood the test of time. In 2002 Larry Back and Ted Cable expanded on these six principles into fifteen when they wrote Interpretation for the 21st Century.

The art of interpretation is now used by those involved in the interpretation of natural and cultural resources in settings such as parks, zoos, museums, nature centers, aquariums, botanical gardens, historical sites, historical societies, corporations and cruise ships.

 A professional organization, National Association for Interpretation  (NAI), with over 5,000 members, has various levels of training for those interested in this profession.  At one time there was a cruise line that only would hire those trained by NAI for their programs aboard their ships. This cruise line is no longer around, although they did realize the need for speakers who could connect information to their audience using the interpretive guidelines. 

The same principles NAI promotes are the same the principles that the cruise lines expect. However unlike the cruise line that discovered Certified Interpretive Guides or speakers, most cruise lines are not aware of a program that would enhance their speaker programs. You have the advantage of learning these principle and guidelines and putting them into practice to help secure your place as a speaker on various cruise lines. 

In the next postings we will look at a couple of Beck and Cables fifteen principles and how they apply to cruise lines.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Parlez-vous Destination, Enrichment on les Cruise Lines?

 Article 2 - The “Art” of Interpretation Interpretation is an art, which combines many arts, whether the materials presented are scientific, historical or architectural. Any art is to some degree teachable. Freeman Tilden
Interpretation goes beyond talking about your subject it is the story of your subject. The art of interpretation is weaving words, props and technology into a finely choreographed dance that captures the emotions and connects people to the subject.
You may have been to a party where new guests start sharing information of their travels and historical tidbits with wit and charm. They used great descriptive verbiage, pictures and mimicking that you found yourself wanting to go see “the tough guy monkey in Costa Rica on the stone bridge that was hand built by the natives in the 1883, in which there is much local pride.  This tough little guy is tearing the stones out of this historical relic to throw at you.” 
You enjoyed yourself so much you found the time flew by and it was later than usual when you left. What an enjoyable evening, what an entertaining couple with their stories. You learned some interesting facts; the evening was a pleasant surprise.
This should be how guests feel when they walk out of your presentation. What a pleasant surprise! Yes, they have been to other presentations on the various cruise lines as they travel. The talks are usually informative. But the person who was sharing information today made them welcome from the moment they walked in. The presenter was witty and engaging, his talk and slides followed in great order and he knew how to make the power point compliment his presentation. The passengers not only gathered facts, they found themselves wanting to see this site and its connections to humanity. It was pleasurable and they look forward to the next presentation.
This is what it is all about folks. This is the type of speaker the cruises are looking for. It’s not the fact that you may or may not have degrees after your name. Yes you know your subject matter but can you interpret your information where it connects history, cultural sites, science, and the arts with the individuals in the audience? Can you make an emotional bond? Can you do the choreograph dance? This is interpretation at its best.  Destination, enrichment speakers and even arts and crafts can forge this bond. If you make that emotional connection, by the artful way you do your presentation, your audience will have a pleasurable experience, which makes happy cruisers, which make happy cruise lines. This is the beginning of the principles for interpretation. Beck and Cable call it a Spark. The next postings explore these guidelines and principles.