Kevin Sturmer 0:10
Hello, my name is Kevin Sturmer, and welcome to another episode of a moving tale sponsored by the Outermost Ring. This episode's a little different in that I'm going to answer some questions and share more about who I am and what we're doing here. Once again, we start with the question I get more often than anything else, what is the Outermost Ring? It's the title of a musical I'm writing and I liked the philosophy so much that I made it the core of my company. It refers to the rings of a tree. And as a tree grows and expands, it adds one ring for each year of its life. The Outermost Ring refers to the presence or the current time, and I like the idea that we're always learning, always growing and taking new shape, while never losing sight of where we've been, and what's at our core. What I love even more is that we've partnered with Trees for the Future and for each podcast episode, the outermost ring donates 100 trees to be planted in their forests around the world.
Now in that description, I mentioned that the Outermost Ring is the title of a musical I'm writing and I'll get to the details on that in a little bit. But as we do on all of our episodes, let's start at the very beginning. Just like the Sound of Music, it's a very good place to start. All the way back at middle school. I was a tall kid, taller than most of my classmates, I could see all the way down to the end of the hall. But what happened next, I could have never seen coming. I was finishing lunch with a friend and the music teacher walked over into my friend he asked, "are you coming?" And my friend noddin started to get up and then teacher turned to me and asked the same question. He said, "are you coming?" I had no idea what they were talking about. But I had finished my lunch, and I had nothing else to do. So I said, "sure." Next thing I know, I'm a backup singer in an orchestra pit of a musical. Night after night I'm sitting there and I'm watching these performers on stage singing, and dancing and acting. And I thought, I want to do that. So the next year I auditioned, and I got in. And I kept coming back and auditioning and getting into more shows. And by the time I was a senior in high school, I was playing one of the leads and singing and dancing and acting on stage just like I had seen those years before. Now, while all of that was happening on stage, I had a friend who said, "hey, I have this musical that needs some music. Do you want to write it with me?" And once again I said, "sure." So each day over the summer, he'd come over and we'd write a song or two. And then by the end of it, we had written this entire musical and decided to make a concept recording. Next thing you know, we're two kids in their late teens would written a show we have a concert recording, and we're going to a theater, a professional theater downtown and saying, hey, we've got this show. This is what it sounds like, do you want to put this up? And we got lucky - and they said yes. And so we wound up doing a workshop. And just like that I was the music director for the production. And the following summer, they did the show again. And this time is a full production. And again, I was the music director, something that I had never done before. And then we had liked that experience so much that we said, hey, let's write another show. And so we did. And so that went up the following summer. Did I have a degree or formal training? No. What helped a lot was that other people saw something in me that maybe I didn't see in myself, and they encouraged me and they got me to do something bigger and better than I ever thought I could possibly do. After college, I started auditioning for professional shows and wound up on the national tour of a show called The Scarlet Pimpernel. Immediately following that tour, I took what was supposed to be a temp job and it lasted for 17 years, I was in house creative for a market research company. These days, post pandemic, I find myself coming home to theater, home to writing musicals, and that's how the Outermost Ring started. When it comes to creating theater, I often dream stories and scenes and songs I have to keep, you know, a pen and a paper behind you know, near my bed, and sometimes get up in the middle of the night to go and record a melody or or just a little motif or something. And the Outermost Ring was really unique. It was the same story, the same dream two nights in a row. That pretty much never happens for me. And it was so out of the ordinary that I paid attention. I wrote everything down and over time have developed it and figured out really what makes it a compelling story. It examines the question, "can we fix the future by changing the past?" and it's the story of family responsibility and family legacy and it spans generations. In the show the rings of the tree represent time, the Outermost Ring being the present day. Each ring spins independently, and depending on how they line up, it determines how far back in time this family can travel using this special tree. They've had this family responsibility of going back and fixing these major events fixing the war or trying to prevent a war trying to prevent a disease from happening and that's how we enter into the show. What I also like is that as you might have guessed, if you go back in time, and you change something, the reality around you changes. I'm writing in augmented reality and writing in virtual reality to make it more of an immersive experience for the audience. If you want to keep up with the show, head over to OutermostRing.com and subscribe to the email list. That is where you will get the updates first. And there are some very cool things coming. If you're on the list. I share all of this to reinforce that life rarely turns out as we have it planned, be open to opportunities be open to change. Leaving lunch early in middle school to audition for a show or saying yes to something like music directing, even though you've never done it before. Take a leap of faith when the door opens in front of you. If somebody else believes in you enough to do something, go ahead and believe in yourself as well. There's something called the Emotional Cycle of Change. It was published by Don Kelly and Daryl Conner in the late 70s. If you want to picture it, it's an upside down bell curve reading left to right. So on the left, we have uninformed optimism, we started in the upper left. And that is where you just said yes and you have this feeling of being excited and terrified all at the same time. And then it descends into this informed pessimism. And that's where you begin to feel like well, maybe I've really gotten a little bit in, you know, over my head, then it just drops to the bottom and you've hit the bottom of this bell curve in what is called the Valley of despair. And that's where you're really just trying to figure anything and everything out, you feel completely lost. And I know that is a common feeling. I've had that feeling. And it feels like you're never going to get this done, and you're never going to get out of this project. But that is where it's important to have the people around you supporting you, and giving you guidance, and helping you through that part. Because sooner or later, you're going to start swinging up, you're going to start that journey back to the top, where you reach a place of informed optimism and ultimately achieve the success, or the change, or in some cases the show gets produced. So for everyone out there who is trying something new, creating something, taking a leap of faith, you've got this. And it might feel like you're in the valley of despair. And it might feel like you're never going to get out of there and you don't know which way is up, you're going to find it. You're going to find it because you're simply in the middle of this chapter of your life. And informed optimism is just around the corner on your journey. So thank you for joining me for this special episode of A Moving Tale. For more details head over to AMovingTale.com that's A Moving T-A-L-E.com. If you enjoyed today's episode, head over to your favorite podcast platform and leave a review subscribe download, do all of the good things. And finally, I want to say thank you for taking the time to listen to a moving tale. My name is Kevin and you are on the Outermost Ring.