On Friday, it all comes to a head. Since November 2013, storytellers, both experienced and raw, have been spilling it on stage, sharing stories as part of the Spillit slam series. At each slam, with preordained themes ranging from heroes to redemption, participants have spun their tales, with the winner promised a spot in the Storytelling Grand Slam.
The theme for the Grand Slam is silver lining. The winner gets a crown, a sash, and a scepter. There may or may not be confetti canons involved.
Spillit creator Leah Keys says that participating in Spillit is a leap of faith. "We have no idea what's going to happen," she says.
The stories can be funny or touching or crude. The ultimate goal is to connect with the audience. Preselected judges measure the stories in two categories. First is story content. Did it have a strong beginning? Did it arc? How did it end. The second category is presentation. Did the storyteller engage the audience? Was the story kept within the time limit?
Of the participants, Keys says, "There are many repeat slammers. They come for blood. And then there are people there who just want to tell stories and forget there is a contest."
Vying for the Grand Slam crown (and sash and scepter) are Victor Sawyer, Francesca Tronchin, Ray Belli, Dana Wilson, Sean Mosley, Sam Scherer, John Adcock, and Eildh Jenness.
"Any story, if it's descriptive and engaging and invokes emotion, whether it's humor or empathy," says Keys, "if it holds some power, is a great story."