Visual Story Network


“There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.”

Ursala K. LeGuin


The Urgency of Creating Story Culture

How well do you understand story? How well does your organization understand story? It could be said, "He who has the best story wins."  But in reality, “He who tells the best story wins.”  He wins our attention, our interest, our loyalty and our financial investments.  The entertainment industry grasped this concept a century ago and continues to shape culture at a global level.

As Christ followers, we have the Greatest Story Ever Told. Yet we do not always tell it well.  As a leader of a ministry, church or business, your story is your brand...your position of influence in the world you inhabit and seek to influence.  Are you creating a culture of story within your organization so you can effectively have the impact God is calling you to have?  Join us for a one-day seminar learning from experts in how story works in

          -  the people we seek to influence

          -  the organizations we lead

          -  the strategies we develop

          -  the content we create

Why is it critical I understand how to integrate story into the organization I lead?

  • If we don’t tell our own story well, others will tell it for us.
  • Learning the art of story will change how we tell our organization's story and the Great God-Story of scripture. 
  • For the sake of the Great Commission, the body of Christ must learn the art of story as it relates to evangelism, discipleship, scripture engagement and church planting.
  • Your organization's impact will be hindered if you do not know how to let your story be heard in an age of mass marketing and digital chaos.
  • Story is at our core. We are created for story. It is hardwired into our DNA.
  • Learning the art of story will change how we live stories, tell stories, write stories, film stories.

Who Should Attend

  • Church, ministry and business leaders
  • Christians involved in content creation (film, television, authors, writers, producers, pastors)

What You’ll Get from this Seminar / Objectives

  • Leave with a five-step action plan to create a culture of story and expand your impact in the next year.

  • Improve how you tell your brand story.
  • Discover 7 ways to make your organization more compelling.
  • Learn how story applies to leadership, content creation and being a vibrant witness.
  • Apply the Ten Laws of Story to your organization.
  • Grasp the key elements of the 3-act structure.
  • Learn the best ways to peel the layers of your faith-story.


Date  November 13, 2014. 8:00 a.m. to 3:55 p.m.

Venue  Bel Air Presbyterian Church

            16221 Mulholland Drive

             Los Angeles, California 90049

Bel Air Presbyterian is a historic church known as a "church of the presidents."  It is scenically located above the San Fernando Valley.

Cost  $225 (includes snacks and lunch).

  • Bring team members and donors: If you get 2-4 others to join you (3 - 5 people counting yourself), each participant receives at $50 discount.
  • Host a table: If you get 5 or more to commit to coming with you (6 minimum counting yourself), each participant receives a $30 discount and the host gets a free registration.
  • Before registering, email for a discount code if you qualify for one of the discounts.


Here are several hotels in the area.

     Best Western Plus Carriage Inn
          (818) 787-2300, $129/night

     Days Inn Santa Monica/Lost Angeles
          (310) 829-63333, $139/night

     Hampton Inn & Suites, Los Angeles/Sherman Oaks
          (818) 785-2211, $144/night

     Hotel Angeleno / Los Angeles

         (310) 476-6411, $175/night (ask for the "email blast rate" of $175). This includes free breakfast and valet parking. This is where Clyde and Shirin will be staying the night before because of the proximity to the church.

     Courtyard Los Angeles Sherman Oaks
          (818) 981-5400, $219/night


Los Angeles International Airport is 17 miles from the church. Some hotels may provide a shuttle to and from the airport. A rental car is recommended to get to the church from your hotel. Interstate 405 can be crowded in rush hour. Allow time for traffic and roadwork.


Presentations will be 10-18 minutes in length.  Personal reflection and table interaction will be interspersed throughout the day.

8:00 Registration / Meet and Greet / Coffee

      The Need for Story   (Clyde Taber)

      Why Story is Powerful and Universal   (David Sanford)

      A Theology of Story   (Clyde Taber, Glenn Paauw)

      My Life As Story   (Drew Sams)

      Your Story is Your Brand   (Phil Cooke)

      Seven Ways to Make Your Organization More Compelling   (Jeremy Casper)

      Cultivating Story Throughout Your Organization   (Mariam Varghese)

12:00 Lunch

      Three Act Structure   (Jeremy Casper)

      Reaching Your Hard to Reach Audience (John Humphrey)

      Five Ways to Know You Have a Good Story   (Brian Bird)

      Ten Laws of Story    (Jeff Holder)

      Peeling the Layers of Your Faith Story  (Charlie Matz)

      The Next Five Steps You Need to Take  (Clyde Taber)

 3:55 Finish

 4:45 For those staying in the area, groups will be formed to find dinner (everyone covers their dinner costs).

For more information, contact Meredith at



Brian Bird. Brian has worked as a writer and producer in Hollywood for more than two decades. His most recent writing and producing credits include Janette Oke's "When Calls the Heart" (2012), Beverly Lewis' "The Confession" (2012) and "The Shunning" (2011), all for the Hallmark Channel; "Gametime" for NBC (2011); "Not Easily Broken" (2009), adapted from the novel by T.D. Jakes, for Sony/Screen Gems; "Saving Sarah Cain" (2008) and "The Last Sin Eater" (2007) for 20th Century Fox. Brian served as co-executive producer and writer on the final five seasons on the series "Touched by an Angel." His TV series writing and producing credits include more than 200 episodes of "Touched By an Angel," 'Evening Shade," "Step by Step" and "The Family Man," as well as pilots for ABC, NBC and Showtime.

Jeremy Casper. Jeremy is a writer/director/producer from Los Angeles.  He recently completed his first feature film, Vacant House, which premiered at the United Film Festival and won the first-place for best screenplay at the CineRockCom International Film Festival 2013.  Jeremy has worked professionally in the film industry at Warner Brothers and interned at James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment during the production of Titanic.  Jeremy teaches at the Los Angeles Film Studies Center where he has helped develop over 600 short films.  He is currently co-authoring The Inside/Out Story, a book on story structure for short films.  He has led filmmaking seminars in Egypt, Ukraine, Ethiopia, New Zealand, Australia, and Italy. 

Phil Cooke. An internationally known writer and speaker, Phil Cooke has actually produced media programming in nearly 50 countries around the world. In the process, has been shot at, survived two military coups, fallen out of a helicopter, and in Africa, been threatened with prison. And during that time - through his company Cooke Pictures in Burbank, California - he's helped some of the largest nonprofit organizations and leaders in the world use the media to tell their story in a changing, disrupted culture. He's appeared on NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, Fox News, and his work has been profiled in the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

Jeff Holder.  Jeff is a media veteran in family programs. Jeff began as a writer on Dennis the Menace and Scooby Doo and served as an executive at ABC, VP Development at Hanna-Barbera/Cartoon Network and VP Creative Affairs at Sony Wonder. He's produced Veggie Tales’ Cartoon Adventures of LarryBoy and The GodMan. Jeff currently creates content as Executive Director of Communications for Children's Hunger Fund. Jeff serves as a judge for UCLA’s screenwriting expo, the Humanitas Award and is a teacher for Act One and other venues.

John Humphrey. As Director of Communications and Marketing for e3 Partners Ministry, John manages the strategy, production, and marketing communications for the missions organization. With those duties he serves as Executive Producer of I Am Second, having helmed 110 short films to date reaching a world-wide audience via A media veteran, Humphrey has created, produced, distributed and marketed projects for companies such as Lorimar, ProServ, and then his own VisionQuest Communications Group. With VisionQuest he co-founded the Heart of Champion Foundation and later its flagship character development program, now used by public schools in 23 states. He and his wife Kathleen reside in Garland, TX and have two grown daughters, Jessica and Laura.

Charlie Matz. Charlie has an extensive background in video production. As CEO of VeracityColab, he has a passion to see the team become family, creating an environment that produces the highest level of creativity while developing outstanding character in each individual. Under Charlie’s leadership, VeracityColab has created significant results for national brands and mid-sized businesses in a variety of industries. He is proactive about delighting each client through service, excellence, and real results. At home, Charlie focuses on loving his wife as Christ does the Church, raising his kids to be champions for God, and serving his church. Charlie is married to his best friend, Kristina and has three children. He won’t turn down a good cigar or the opportunity to play a round of golf.

Glenn Paauw. Glenn is the Executive Director of the Biblica Institute for Bible Reading, a global Scripture ministry that transforms how people experience the Bible. The focus of his 26 years at Biblica has been to research, speak and write on the topic of reading and living the Bible well. He led the development of the revolutionary The Books of the Bible format that uncovers the natural literary form of the Scriptures and re-introduces people to the grand narrative of the Bible. Glenn’s education was in philosophy and theology at Calvin College and Seminary. A native of Colorado, he has forgotten how old he is and continues to climb the state’s 14,000 ft. peaks and to cycle the back roads of the Front Range. He lives in Colorado Springs with his wife Jain and has two adult sons.

Drew Sams. A Los Angeles native, Drew is Senior Pastor at Bel Air Presbyterian Church where his passion is to equip people to encounter and echo Jesus everyday and everywhere. Having received his Masters from Fuller Seminary and Doctorate from George Fox Evangelical Seminary, his primary areas of focus have revolved around narrative identity theory, semiotics, and new media. In other words, he is interested in cultivating a community of people who are intentionally helping one another tell better stories with their lives in today’s context. In their free time, he and his wife Erika love to explore the outdoors at the pace of their toddler son, Judah.

David Sanford. David has coached scores of individuals representing every major sphere of life (arts, business, higher education, entertainment, professional sports, etc.). Some were mega talented up-and-comers. Some were ultra-successful individuals with millions of fans. David's focus? Help them achieve their personal aspirations, dreams and goals. The reality? The same principles apply to all of us, whoever we are, whatever we love doing, and wherever we want to go next. One very important key? Discovering, understanding, and presenting our given story. David currently serves on the leadership team at Corban University.

Clyde Taber. Clyde leads the Visual Story Network, a coalition of 230 organizations and 1900 media leaders in 70 nations working to expand a worldwide movement of visual story so everyone has the opportunity to encounter Jesus and His kingdom. Since the VSN launch in 2007, more than 100 projects, products and partnerships have been established reaching an estimated 2.3 million people. Prior to this, he developed new media for The JESUS Film Project (Magdalena, Damah Film Festival, JESUS: Fact or Fiction?) and coordinated the campus work of Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) throughout North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. Clyde’s wife Shirin is a mother, writer (Muslims Next Door, Wanting All the Right Things) and advocate for the Church in the Persian world.

Mariam Varghese. Mariam is Vice President of Organizational Development for OneHope. She immigrated to the United States from India at the age of ten with her family. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Master of Arts in Christianity and Culture as well as an MBA. As a Systems Engineer and Project Management Professional she accepted the role of Director of Administration for OneHope. In 2012 she transitioned to the role of VP of Research and Design and currently is VP of Organizational Development.  She is passionate about God’s Word and seeing the next generation of children and youth come to know His Word and His power. She enjoys mission trips, writing, attempting to blog, painting, cooking, reading and spinning. 

“Master storytellers know how to squeeze life out of the least of things,

while poor storytellers reduce the profound to banal.” (Robert McKee)


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