Dana Atchley

In Memory Of Dana Atchley – Digital Storyteller

Today is my birthday. And I am thinking of #1 how lucky I am, and #2 the many people who have influenced me and helped me on my journey.

I thank you all – and today I want to celebrate one. Twenty years ago, at our company annual meeting, we had a guest speaker named Dana Atchley. Dana was the original “Digital Storyteller”. He sat on a stool onstage with a screen behind him and a monitor on the floor displaying a burning firelog. For an hour, using Macromind Director as the playback tool, he told stories of his life. These stories were made magical with graphics, photos, video and sound. Using the metaphor of a journey across America, it was called NO EXIT.

Our company, ICE, was a world leader in the production of graphics, video and multimedia. We built Apple’s multimedia tools in the 1980s, the first of their kind. We were one of only a few companies in the world who knew how to do that. We were a tough crowd to impress. But you could hear a pin drop as Dana told stories while the screen and audio took us on a fantastic journey. We were totally blown away.

Dana passed away in 2000. Four years later, while charting a new path for myself, I remembered him and his stories and how powerful they had been. Using the same tool he had used, Director, an incredibly talented team helped me create a library of multimedia stories about people, ideas and companies that have changed the world. And, like Dana, I narrated them live onstage.  Still do.

These stories, while constantly being refreshed and added to, are still the core of our keynotes and storytelling training. Unknowingly, the tens of thousands of people who have experienced The Mark of a Leader have all been influenced by Dana Atchley.

Next week, 15 years after starting, The Mark of a Leader will be re-invented as STORIES RULE! Our style will be different, but our principles will not:

Stories are the only form of communication that touches people on all of their levels and sticks. They are baked into the human DNA. Stories hold us together as a race, as societies within that race, and as companies in those societies. Stories are the glue that holds culture together. 

Thank you Dana for ushering in a new era of storytelling.
I feel blessed to stand on your shoulders, doing what I can to keep great stories alive.


Original article published here.

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