Q: Where is this happening? A: All over the city. Find out where by clicking here.
Q: Can anyone participate? A: Absolutely. No experience is necessary to take part in the open mic. You are a human being, you have stories to tell, and you know how to tell them. We want to hear them.
Q: Is there a cover charge? A: Never.
Q: How does it all work? A: The list is opened a half hour before the event starts. We will proceed in the order in which people sign up until we reach the end of the list. When your name is called, the stage is yours for seven minutes. We estimate that we have room for about 18-20 storytellers each night. If we hit the end of the list before the night is finished, we will open things up for another round of stories
Q: What kind of stories can I tell? A: Anything goes, from your life story to what you saw on the bus last week. Family stories, funny stories, heartbreaking stories - anything you want to share. We are even cool with folk tales or traditional stories if they speak to who you are or what you think. Participants are welcome to tell from the head and heart, or to bring paper up with them if they need it.
Q: Is language/content a concern? A: It depends on the venue, but, generally, adult themes and language are OK if they are a part of you authentically expressing something you'd like to share. However, racism, misogyny, homophobia, or hate speech in any form will not be tolerated.
Q: Is the time limit strict? A: Yes. You have 7 minutes. You will get a warning at 6 minutes. At 7 minutes, you will get another warning, meaning you should wrap it up immediately. At 7:30, we will cut you off. We want to get as many people as possible, and need to keep things tight in order to do so. On nights with less participants, we will let you know if slots can go a little longer.
Q: Do I have to be there for the whole night? A: Ideally, yes, but it is not required. Your best chance of guaranteeing a spot in the lineup would be to get there close to when the list starts, but we can usually fit latecomers in as well. You are welcome to leave before the end of the night, but we remind you that the people after you on the list supported and listened to you, and it would be kind to return the favor.
Q: Can I tell more than one story in a night? A: Possibly. Once we reach the end of the list, we will start another round of first come, first serve. If there is time for it, you can tell as many stories as you'd like.
Q: Am I allowed to show up just to listen to the stories? A: Definitely, but we hope you will be inspired to share, whether on that particular night or sometime in the future.
Q: There doesn't seem to be a Do Not Submit in my neighborhood yet. Can I help? A: We would love your assistance in bringing a storytelling open mic to your community, whether it be by hosting, providing a venue, promoting, or organizing. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get the conversation started.
Q: Why are you doing this? A: We have seen personal storytelling empower, transform, and delight countless people since it started to get popular in certain parts of Chicago over the last several years. However, this movement has yet to be become completely inclusive and fully representative of our city, its neighborhoods, and its people. Do Not Submit is an attempt to bring all of Chicago to connect, share stories, and get to know each other.