So you have a story for us? That’s awesome!! Here’s what you should know if you want to perform.
1.) Write a five minute story: You get five minutes to perform, and not a second more. Our extremely scientific methods show that works out to around 900 words, but we’d suggest reading it aloud yourself and timing it. Different people talk at wildly different rates. Honestly? Anything goes in those five minutes, but we definitely lean towards prose fiction. (There are a lot of poetry readings, but not as many for us prose types.) It helps if it’s a complete story and not a segment too. Still, if it fits in five minutes you’re good. We do ask that the stories be appropriate for a reading. You may also want to prep a Lightning Round story in case you make it through. More on that here.
2.) Come on down to the show: To make sure you make it into the hat, please arrive to Pete’s Candy Store by around 6:15. Our hosts, Chris and John, will be outside the main room with a fedora, and some sign up sheets. Just ask for one, fill it out, and you’re good to go. If it’s your first time at the Prose Bowl, you get a second name in the hat, right off! If you’re late, you can always drop your name in at halftime. (Yes, we have a halftime.)
3.) Perform: We call four performers a night to come up and read their story. Two in the first half of the show and two in the second. We will announce your name and your story title. When you get up to the mic, your five minutes starts the moment you start talking. (That’s why the host makes introductions. So you can dive right in!) At about four minutes, you’ll see the host hold up his phone in the back of the room. At five minutes, he’ll start waving it around. At five minutes and thirty seconds, you get cut off. It’s not pleasant. Keep in mind, we do give you a little leeway over five minutes, but it might count against you. And you don’t want that happening because you want to get into the…
4.) Lightning Round: At the end of the show, our panel picks two readers to go into the lightning round. This is quick and simple. Read the shortest story you can possibly create. We’ve had stories of about a paragraph, and we’ve had stories that were six words long. Either works so long as it’s super short. The audience picks the big winner for the night. A do-dad of infinite impracticability awaits the victor.
5.) Come back: We want to hear from everyone. So, if your name didn’t get called one night, don’t despair. Come down to the next one, and you’ll get an additional name in the hat. If you did get to go, you can still go up at the next show, but you can only put your name in for the second half.
That’s it! We hope you guys will all come down. Brooklyn is stuffed with stories, and we want to hear as many as we can. Take a look at some of previous perfomers here.
See you at the next Prose Bowl!!