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STAYING IN NASHVILLE
with more than 2.5 million
Author and Founder of
More Love Letters
Visual Strategist for NASA’s
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Communicator and Founder of AdoptTogether
Author and Founding Partner of Novus Global
Chief Film Critic at
Magician and Consultant
for TV & Broadway
Renowned Illustrator and
Author of Drawing is Magic
All Sons & Daughters
Freelance Artist and
Master Printer and Archivist
at Hatch Print Studios
Spoken Word Artist
Head of Business Development at Visioneering Studios
and Founder of
Sounds Like a Movement
Lee “Keebz” Kebler
If you've ever spent any time on YouTube then you've probably heard the name Casey Neistat. With over 2.5 million subscribers and more than 300 million views, Casey is an elite digital storyteller. With his innovative and groundbreaking video work, Casey made a global impact with his short film, "iPod's Dirty Secret," which went viral before the launch of YouTube.
From winning awards with HBO, to creating a mobile app, to snowboarding through Times Square, to doing a back flip off of a pyramid in Egypt, his filmmaking skills have taken him around the world. We can't wait for one of those travel stops to be Nashville, TN for this year’s gathering.
He is the creative genius behind the viral sensation, Kid President, as featured on Rainn Wilson's SoulPancake. Brad is a writer, director, and father who believes that if kids and grown-ups work together, we can change the world.
We agree with him. And we're honored that he'll be making a major contribution to helping us learn how to tap into that child-like imagination, and change the world together.
Are you a writer who sometimes struggles with the creative process? Whether you’re just venturing into your writing career, or have been writing for years, STORY is going to leave you inspired.
We couldn’t be more excited about Hannah Brencher joining us. She’s a TED speaker, the author of the memoir “If You Find This Letter,” and her popular writing intensives are consistently packed. You’re going to fall in love with her perfect blend of instruction and inspiration. And before she was inspiring others on the TED stage, she was doing it through her words.
She has made it her job to make sure everyone feels special through the delivery of beautifully crafted sentences. Hannah founded More Love Letters in 2011 and since then, this community has worked to deliver over 100,000 letters of support across all 50 states and over 70 countries. Her work has been featured in outlets like Oprah, the Huffington Post, Glamour, CNN World News, the Wall Street Journal, and soon, STORY 2016.
Meet Dan Goods, the “Visual Strategist” for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Dan leads a team who is developing creative ways to transform complex concepts into meaningful stories that can be universally understood.
Not only is Dan’s work seen in public spaces and art museums around the world, but also in outer space. How many artists and storytellers get to say that? That’s probably one of many reasons why L.A. Weekly named Dan “One of the most interesting people in Los Angeles,” and after we're finished being inspired by his creative presentation in Nashville this fall, we believe he might go home with the title of “one of the most interesting people to ever appear on the STORY stage.”
We can't wait to hear from legendary singer-songwriter, Joanne Cash on the STORY stage. Not only does she have more than 30 albums to her name, but she was a performer at the historic Grand Ole Opry from 1972-1976.
We have no doubt that she will share some fascinating stories from her life, the stage, and the power of perseverance . Oh, and by the way, did we mention that her brother was the legendary man in black, Johnny Cash?
What role does spirituality play in producing excellent art? The tension that is often found in discussing creativity and the church is a conversation that STORY has never shied away from. It’s a conversation that matters deeply, and we fully embrace it.
Hank Fortener is an entrepreneur behind the creation of World Adoption Day and AdoptTogether, the first crowdfunding site for adoptions. In just 4 years of operation, AdoptTogether has raised over 7 million dollars and helped 1,500 families cover adoption costs. You can also find him inspiring audiences through his popular podcast about the adventures of life, Typically Hazardous.
You can probably imagine why Hank is also one of the leading teachers at Mosaic, a faith community in the heart of Los Angeles that is highly respected around the world.
When you think of “cultivating imagination”, “innovation”, and “storytelling legacy”, it’s natural that you would think of Walt Disney.
On our stage this year, STORY is thrilled to have Nikkolas Smith, Facility Designer & Concept Artist at the renowned Walt Disney Imagineering, as well as incredible sketch artist and activist who has had his work featured on CNN and in Lionsgate films. He has used his gift as an artist and a Master of Architecture to assist in the construction of our favorite Disney parks in Florida, California, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. As a Disney Imagineer, Nikkolas is encouraged to “make the magic” through creativity, innovation, and design in an effort to breathe awe and wonder into every experience of Disney, no matter where that might be.
Nikkolas' job at Imagineering is one of the coolest jobs in the world, and we can't wait to learn from him this year.
We love introducing talent to the STORY tribe that has been personally inspiring us as a STORY team. Someone who has been blowing our minds lately is Jason Jaggard. He's an author, speaker, and founding partner of Novus Global, an elite executive coaching firm for CEOs, creatives, and high performing teams.
Jason has worked with organizations like NBC Universal, Chick-Fil-A, Disney Animation Studios, United Way Worldwide, Starbucks…the list goes on and on. What has coaching leaders of that caliber taught Jason about the connections between creativity and leadership? Needless to say, quite a bit, and we can't wait for you to learn along with us. Jason’s creative work has been featured by The Huffington Post, Entertainment Weekly, Perez Hilton, The Wrap, and more...we are excited to hear from him this year.
What has being a chief film critic for one of the leading publications in the country taught Alissa Wilkinson about our culture? And what can it teach us as creatives about the art of storytelling? You will find out.
Alissa is the critic at large at Christianity Today, an assistant professor of English and humanities at The King's College in New York City, and a contributing writer at Pacific Standard. Her writing on film, books, TV, and religion appears in a wide range of publications, including Vulture, RogerEbert.com, Books & Culture, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and Paste.
This year, we will have a conversation as a tribe about the role that imagination plays in creativity. Our theme, “Your Invitation to Another World," has already kickstarted that discussion. What if we could create another world? What if the role storytellers play in the world is to help others reimagine what could be, and then invite others to be a part of creating that better world?
When it comes to imagination, creatives love to talk about thinking “outside the box”…to not be limited by what is "possible.” But what if we could learn from the mind of someone whose creative process is a daily act of not being ruled by what is or isn’t possible?
Kyle is a magician, but not just any magician. He’s the consultant and creative genius behind many of the magical moments that you've seen performed on live TV. What he has conceived, designed, and implemented has been experienced in shows on the Las Vegas strip, in Broadway’s highest-grossing magic show, on London’s West End, countless movies and television shows, AND he's been on The Tonight Show. The coolest part is, while you may never become a magician, Kyle can challenge your creative process and teach you to think like one. You’ll soon change your mind about the art of possibility, which will help unlock your imagination and your creativity.
In the 6 year history of STORY, there has never been a repeat speaker. This year, due to popular demand and off the chart feedback on our survey, we’re excited to announce that we are breaking this trend.
Coming back to STORY this year is Jeremy Cowart and just wait until you find out what he’ll be attempting for the first time ever. By now, you’ve likely seen Jeremy’s visual portrayal of his life’s story, “I’m Possible.” If you missed it at STORY 2015, you may have seen the viral video that has now racked up over 2.1 million views and counting.
We called Jeremy to brainstorm about a unique experience that has never been attempted at a STORY conference before. The more we talked, the more we all collectively thought, “We have to try this.” So, we are thrilled that he will be presenting an experiment that will likely surprise you, and most-definitely inspire you as a creative. We can’t wait for you to experience this at STORY this year.
We are so excited that author and illustrator, John Hendrix will be joining us at this year at STORY.
I addition to his own books, including “Drawing is Magic,” John’s incredible illustrations have appeared in numerous publications, such as Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, Esquire, The New York Times, and Time Magazine among many others. He has also drawn book jackets for the likes of Random House, Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, Knopf, Penguin, Abrams Books and St. Martin’s Press. And his talents have been displayed through advertising campaigns for ESPN/ABC, AT&T, and Travelocity.
We could keep going on and on about John’s talents, but you should just
come to STORY this year to see what kind of unique work he will be partnering with us on. Trust us, you don’t want to miss it.
Have you ever heard of a little California studio known as “DreamWorks Animation”? Meet Rick Rekedal. He’s one of two employees who have been at DreamWorks for the full 20 years of its existence, and is actually a 26-year veteran of children’s entertainment. He started his creative career working on brands like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Jurassic Park, and Star Trek. Then he found himself at Dreamworks, and is now the Chief Creative of the Global Franchise Group.
What does that mean? It means he has a ridiculous amount of experience as a creative, and he has more practical knowledge to share with us at STORY than you could possibly imagine. Seriously, when we found out the kind of projects that Rick is involved with every day, we realized that he has one of the coolest jobs in the world, and we can’t wait for you to meet him.
All Sons & Daughters
STORY has always had an ongoing conversation about craft and calling. Why does our work matter? What do the stories we tell say about our humanity? We are both matter and spirit, so how do we tell stories that relate to both? STORY is a conference where the senses and the soul collide, which is one of many reasons we're thrilled that All Sons and Daughters will be joining us at STORY 2016.
Fresh off an extended tour in Europe, David and Leslie have a new film and album inspired entirely by the lives and writings of the poets and saints that came before them. They'll be joining us to not only inspire us with the performance of their art, but to have a conversation about their creative process and experience of crafting their newest work.
Danielle is a professional left- and right-brainer: she splits her time between being a freelance artist and working in strategy at an education non-profit in Los Angeles. Her work has been featured in the podcasts Sounds Like a Movement and Leaders of Transformation; a documentary that explores the power of the written word, Words of Art; and on numerous online publications. She deeply believes in the power of poetry as a cathartic tool and means of compelling storytelling. Danielle has a Masters in Education, and wrote her thesis on arts education as a venue for social justice. She's an east coast native, former high school teacher in Inglewood, and breakfast lover.
“The printing press is dead.” At least that’s what the world was saying, but artist Jim Sherraden has always been a visionary. Since 1984 he has served as the Master Printer and Archivist at Hatch Show Print, one of America’s oldest surviving show poster and design shops. He has overseen its transition from a cultural survivor to a widely recognized graphic design icon and destination for letterpress enthusiasts.
It doesn't matter what creative industry you work in, this will be a conversation that will inspire you.
Do you remember when you were a little kid, and how your imagination ran wild? Then, you grew up, and for so many, applying imagination to your work became a challenge.
This year at STORY, we want to inspire you to tap back into that child-like wonder, and remind you of what's possible when you apply that imagination to your creativity. We have some pretty crazy surprises that involve talented kids that are going to blow your mind this year, but we don't want to keep you totally in the dark, so it's our pleasure to introduce you to Katherine.
Katherine is a 5th grader who started her musical journey at age three and was performing at Boston's Steinway Hall by age four. She has taken top honors in numerous piano competitions and she made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2015.
It wasn't that long ago in America's young history that you'd see a sign with two arrows, pointing white folks in one direction and colored folks in another. Those times of segregation were born out of a lack of imagination, and it wasn't until some people decided to tell a different story and establish a new narrative, that America started down the path of change.
When we limit our perspective, we limit our creativity. At STORY, we fully embrace the tough conversations that need to happen, and this year, it's time for another conversation.
Micah Bournes has been a student of rap lyricists since childhood, but during college he began venturing into spoken word poetry, for which he is known best. He has partnered with organizations such as World Relief and Food for the Hungry using his gift to invoke thought.
We are thrilled that Micah is coming to STORY this year, not only to challenge us as a poet, but as a creative voice to help us ask some tough questions about the role creatives play in continuing to help reimagine what America can and should be.
The feeling that an environment evokes is key to the experience that the space is designed for. That’s why at Visioneering Studios, they are intentional about every detail that goes into creating a space with a specific purpose in mind.
We are excited to have Steven join us at STORY 2016 to teach us about how they use the art of spatial storytelling in their work at Visioneering. He is a multi-disciplinary storyteller who speaks + writes + advises at the intersection of Design + Business, and there’s so much valuable insight that we can learn from him.
CJ brings over 10 years of marketing strategy and creative expertise to companies and organizations. As a consultant, his unique approach helps refocus, reposition, and refresh brands starting with their core culture, then translating it through visual identity, branded content, and customer experience design.
Part storyteller/part strategist, CJ has a proven track record of applying digital, video, and print strategies along with research, insight, and imagination to help companies grow. Some brands CJ has worked with include Whole Foods, World Vision, TOMS, The Salvation Army, Active, OBEY, and the RED Campaign.
His work has taken him all around the world, through Iraqi streets lined with machine guns, to London churches and Times Square. In addition his work has been featured in media publications like CBS Money Watch, The Huffington Post, MTV, VH1, Q Ideas, RELEVANT, and Darling Magazine.
Thousands of subscribers tune into CJ’s weekly show, The Sounds Like A Movement podcast, which features intimate conversations with creative innovators who have something meaningful to say. Guests have included best-selling author, Seth Godin, Grammy Award-winning artist, Jon Foreman of the band Switchfoot, two-time Emmy Award-winner, Tony Hale, and world-renowned artist, Elle Luna, author of The Crossroads of Should and Must.
He sits on the board of Teen Leadership Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to helping at-risk youth develop the leadership skills they need to thrive after leaving the foster care system.
Birdtalker is made up of Zack and Dani Green, Andy Hubright, Brian Seligman, and Jesse Baker. Zack and Dani write songs as a way to simmer in, learn from, and share ideas they care about and sentiments they feel deeply. Playing music has proven to be a powerful avenue for connection and communion, within the band as well as with listeners. Birdtalker's hope is simply that the more music they write and share, the more true and vulnerable interactions may be born from it.
They have been creating a lot of buzz lately, so we can’t wait to share their incredible talent with you at STORY 2016.
Cole NeSmith is an artist, musician, actor, writer, producer, and the executive director of the Creative City Project, an annual arts event in Downtown Orlando featuring collaborations with Cirque du Soleil, Orlando Ballet, The CFCArts Orchestra, and over 1000 artists, performers, and musicians.
He has consulted on and produced creative content for some of the nation’s biggest and most respected conferences and events. In June of 2016, he served as the Creative Director of "Beautiful Together : an artistic journey from mourning to hope," a collective creative response to the Pulse Tragedy in Orlando.
It’s safe to say that Cole has a lot of unique experience that we can all learn from in creating meaningful art. His presentation is sure to inspire you.
Lee “Keebz” Kebler
Lee Kebler is a visionary, an innovator and a wizard when it comes to new media and interactive technology. He is skilled in creating and consulting in technology development for artists, brands, and events. He has designed and project managed innovative art, interactive installations, technology infused marketing, and technology trend prediction. His collaborations include: Intel, Coca-Cola, Levi Jeans, will.i.am, Britney Spears, and more.
He’s worked side by side with will.i.am (formerly of the Black Eyed Peas) to create new and innovative technology for the consumer electronics market. Lee also helped develop large scale technology installs for events and product launches such as Vivid Sydney (Intel), I.Am+ London, Ekocycle (Coca-cola), Levi's Jeans.
It just didn’t feel like #STORY2016 would be complete without a conversation about the role of virtual and augmented reality as a storytelling medium. We’re thrilled that “Keebz” will be joining us this year to kickstart that conversation and put this technology on your radar. Don’t miss this innovative talk, and the surprise experience we have planned that follows.
Ron Hall’s life was centered around a successful career as an international art dealer and a passion for his Rocky Top ranch on the Brazos River west of Fort Worth, Texas. All this changed in 1998 as a result of an encounter with a homeless man who was threatening to kill everyone in sight in the homeless shelter where Ron and his wife Deborah had begun to volunteer two weeks earlier. They had gone there as a result of her prophetic dream they would meet a homeless man who would confound them with his wisdom.
This life changing encounter, featured on many television and radio shows such as CNN, Fox News, and NPR, inspired Ron to write his first book Same Kind of Different As Me, a story of hope and redemption. The word of mouth hit became a New York Times platinum bestseller and stayed on the list for more than three and a half years.
Ron’s fascinating and compelling story is told in an upbeat motivational program at collegiate, non-profit, corporate and church events across the nation. Discover how this story has helped raise more than $70,000,000 for the less fortunate.
Matt Renner is vice president, production for National Geographic Channel (NGC), responsible for further developing the network’s visual style and production practices while expanding the breadth of the network’s producer pool. Renner is currently executive producing the network’s upcoming global event series MARS, an epic six part genre-busting series from executive producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard that follows the thrilling quest to survive Mars.
Renner is a Primetime Emmy Award-winning producer (“Deadliest Catch”) whose credits include “Game of Arms,” AMC’s highest rated nonfiction series; “Shark Wranglers” for History Channel; and two seasons of “Airplane Repo” for Discovery Channel, to name a few.
Artist, Photographer, Entrepreneur, Humanitarian
Creator of Kid President
Chief Creative of the
Global Franchise Group
at DreamWorks Animation
IS MY TICKET TRANSFERRABLE?
Yes, please email email@example.com, and we will take care of you.
CAN I GET MY TICKET REFUNDED?
Unfortunately, STORY 2016 tickets are non-refundable. If you would like to transfer your ticket
to someone else, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
IS THERE A GROUP DISCOUNT RATE?
Please email us at email@example.com so that we can work with you to cater to your
WHERE SHOULD I STAY WHILE IN NASHVILLE?
Please visit our Hotels page to view our offerings of discounted hotels that are within
walking distance of our venue.
WILL MEALS BE PROVIDED?
Unfortunately, no. But the good news is that Nashville is becoming a foodie’s paradise. There
are plenty of great places to check out around the CMA Theater.
WHERE SHOULD I PARK?
There are plenty of parking lots around the Country Music Hall of Fame, including at the Omni Hotel,
and the Music City Center.
WHAT IS THE SCHEDULE FOR THE CONFERENCE?
The exact schedule will be released closer to the conference dates. For now, plan on enjoying
presentations all day on Thursday the 29th and all day on Friday the 30th starting at 9:00am.
WHO IS PRESENTING?
Please visit our Presenters page to see who you will see at STORY 2016.
CAN I SPONSOR THE CONFERENCE?
Are you or your company interested in partnering with STORY? Awesome. Please email
firstname.lastname@example.org to start a conversation about this opportunity.
QUESTIONS STILL NOT ANSWERED?
Email email@example.com and we will do our best to provide an answer as soon as
Event & Production Designer
Director of Development at Think Big Stuff®
Ed James is an event artist who has been an integral art of the growing corporate and entertainment business community by creating innovative approaches to marketing and event design. His career includes not only working with artists, corporate brands and celebrations of all kinds, he also specializes in creating parade story and content. In 2004, he designed the “Light the World Parade" for the Olympic Celebrations in Athens, Beijing, and London. His team is currently designing the live show production of the 90th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena.
Ed has served as Creative Director of ARK 2 Studio producing visual content for major concert tours, sports and entertainment events for over 30 years. He is Director of Development for Thing Big Stuff and Let’s Think Big Now Productions creating story content for major brands, festivals and parades worldwide.
Chad Cannon is the Founder & CEO of Chadwick Cannon Agency. He was formerly the VP of Marketing at Thomas Nelson Publishers, the largest faith-based publisher in the world (now a division of HarperCollins). In his three years there, he led over 225 book marketing campaigns, with 16 reaching the New York Times Bestseller List.
Prior to his leap into the marketing world, Chad spent seven years as the General Manager of Speakers and Vice President of Sales for Outreach, the world’s largest provider of church outreach products and services. (He rocked that job but realized that marketing is way more his jam.)
Chad is an Apple lover and the Cubs’ biggest fan. You will often find him watching a game (while he works, of course) or bantering about sports on Twitter. Pizza and tacos are the way to his heart. Chad and his wife, Julie, live in Nashville with their dogs Maddux and Rizzo.
As a partner at Louder Agency, Ben Stewart helps business owners, personality brands, and organizations utilize the web to further their mission, grow their platform, and engage their audience.
Kevin Page co-founded Makeshake, a marketplace for social media creators. The company has been featured in Adweek, Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, and more. They have worked with London & Partners, HarperCollins, and other top-tier companies. Before Makeshake, Kevin Page worked on campaigns in partnership with Viacom’s CMT and countless film and television productions by major studios.
Allen has been a photographer for over 20 years and has traveled the world doing what he describes as his dream job with a side of glorified stalking. Over his career he has photographed 2 presidents, 2 knights, a host of musicians, producers, writers, politicians, celebrities, and what he likes to call “everyday hardworking people (you know ...the normal ones). If you’re looking to up your Instagram game this week, this is where you’ll want to be.
Kate Sweeney is a nonfiction television producer with 14 years of experience writing, producing, and delivering projects for international broadcast. Kate’s work has aired all over the world on networks including MSNBC, Al Jazeera, Showtime, History, National Geographic, Smithsonian Channel, and Arte. When she’s not developing documentaries or working with students, you can find her on a horse or pleading with her goldendoodle not to steal the neighbor’s tomatoes.
In this session, you will learn to communicate your unique style, from concept to production, with Filmsupply's Joel Edwards. Joel is best known for his Emmy Award winning films for brands such as Disney, National Geographic, and