Interview with Pamela Smith

The classic story tools of Mythic Themes, Archetypes and Symbols can improve your story, clarify your message, and improve collaboration and leadership. Plus it's very effective in your personal life and creative projects. Story consulting for fiction and non-fiction, workshops for story conferences, presentations at film festivals, corporate events, non-profits, military organizations...all can benefit from Applied Mythology from MYTHWORKS.
Who are the main clients of MYTHWORKS, and how has your clientele changed since you founded the company in 1992?
I count among the successes of MYTHWORKS everyone from the writer who hasn't published anything or had anything done yet, but who is using these mythic tools and comes back and says, "It made my writing so much easier. I enjoyed it so much more because it gave me a sense of where I could go with it." Also a number of actors have worked with this. I worked with the archetypes and helping people realize, "What myth are you living? What's your archepath: wre you in the warrior path or scientist or the magician?" And then learning that they have been able to better take on other roles and yet still hold their own identity, and so that's been very rewarding to see that working over the years. I recently had a paper accepted to the Mars Society. I wrote a piece on the first gods of Mars and I'm very pleased that that was, and is now, included in their official library. And some of the other, I would say successes, include: I was asked to be a myth expert in the special features on FOX's Ice Age: Continental Drift, because they actually followed the myth of Ulysses and so I was able to address that and that was fun. And also I was a spokesperson for Microsoft's Age of Mythology game, and also got to design their 'Which God are you?' quiz. That was fun also. And I've worked on a number of films including - I was so fortunate to be able to work with a wonderful director Wes Craven on a couple of his movies, and that was a real learning experience because of the product and also because of him. So that, and then I think the other big one I would count would be work on the think tank out of Fort Knox. That was during the 90s. And they were very open to presentations on the warrior spirit and communication leadership, teamwork, using the mythic tools again. So that felt very rewarding to see people who are out there, being part of that very noble warrior service, and embodying the mythological backgrounds, the mythological archetypes - that was really terrific. And I've also seen it working with businesses, from medical practices and even also with a travel agent - oh and travel agents are coming back. Thank goodness.
What have been some of the most innovative and unique ways in which you've seen your client use tenets from mythology in their work?
The influence that my work has on my clients and people who just hear a presentation, I think, is more about the work that they do once they get the tools, once they see - aha! Here's something out there that's been working for hundreds, thousands of years, and you know what? I could use that too! So it's about pattern recognition. It's about group dynamics. It's about seeing where you might want to go for your next step. And once again, the mythic tools, these patterns that have been used for so long and so many different ways, offer you a way to follow a progress to actually map out where you want to go. And once again, using symbols, to use those even if it's just for yourself, or internally for your organization, or how you project yourself out into the world. So it's about leadership, communication, teamwork, building a path, and knowing where you're going. And that's so essential, particularly with businesses and organizations, as well of course with storytellers. Like they say, you kind of need to know the end so you can make every step in the story pointing towards that direction. So, again, it's about having tools that can help you be more effective in your creativity.
How do you acquire the clients of MYTHWORKS?
When I first started the business back in the early 90s, one of the main problems I faced was the 'woo woo' factor like, "Oh you're gonna talk about all this stuff and none of it's true. We want real world. We want science." Well, interestingly enough it's said that every myth is true on at least seven levels - every good myth - and some of those levels might be: sociologically, physiologically, historically, geographically, geologically - lot of myths tell stories about big earth changes - as well as history, psychology - big in that, particularly with the chakras. And so, being able to tie the myths, and these more esoteric things, to actual real world experiences and empirical evidence and science really crosses that bridge well. Also now, more people are aware of all these things, so I don't have to do that kind of initial introduction or say, "Well this is this, and that's that." More people know about it - makes my job easier. So how do I do outreach for MYTHWORKS is kind of a big combination of things, and it includes speaking a lot and appearing and presenting at story conferences, at film festivals, web festivals and the corporate and organizational world. I've taught high school military cadets and presented at a think tank at Fort Knox, the Advanced Warfighting Working Group, and also at Space conference, on the Boeing workforce development think tank, Entertainment Industries Council, conscious creativity presentations - it's a wide range of in-person or on video presentations, and that does a lot for outreach and then word of mouth does a lot also. I'm fortunate to be working with mythology, because most people are so fascinated by it. They'll tell other people about it, so that's great. And then we also have a monthly newsletter which you can sign up for at the website, and of course social media. So the the outreach is actual going out and reaching out and giving people the information, learning a lot from them in the Q and A and the feedback in those sessions, and then the usual outreach media. So I would say that a combination of good concept that I didn't make up but I'm so happy to pass on to other people, and then just the ability that we all have these days - because of technology - to reach out around the world at any time has made a real difference.
What's next for MYTHWORKS? Where do you see the company in, say, five years?
What's next for MYTHWORKS? I intend to continue doing what we have been doing all along and also to doing more outreach to organizations that might not have thought about doing something like this but seeing that, hey it works from everything. The wide range from media to military, it can work for you too, whatever it is that your organization or you as an individual are doing. One of the main goals of that is to work with our program Mythic Challenges, create stories that can change the world. And once again we use the mythic tools. Our pilot program was with high school media students in Los Angeles and their sister school in Afghanistan, through the State Department. So there is a lot of growing openness to using these kinds of communication tools and I am really looking forward to continuing with a lot of that. Also, I've been getting into consulting on virtual reality and augmented reality projects and that is so interesting, from the technology itself, to the fact that you have to tell stories differently when they're not living here. So it's been a great learning process for me, and I am looking forward to doing more of that. The main focus, however, is going to be - after entertainment - is going to be social justice projects, and over the last couple of years I've really been involved in a number of conferences and think tanks that deal with that. This is a time when we all do need to start to better identify and embody our ideals and our ideas for a better world for all. And what I see is that mythic themes, archetypes and symbols are fabulous effective tools to help us do that. Thank you. End of interview. If you need anything else just let me know and I really appreciate the opportunity to do this. Thank you Alexander and thanks to the entire team for helping out with this.
Hello Pamela, could you please introduce MYTHWORKS and what key projects you have managed since founding the company?
MYTHWORKS offers a plot of mythology to individuals, organizations and people in the media arts. And I use the storytelling tools of mythic themes, archetypes, and symbols, to help people better understand themselves, their projects, their organizations, and to make use of a lot of this ancient wisdom that's held in these old stories in every culture, and bring those principles into what they're doing today. I've seen that to be very effective. Some of my clients have included, of course, people in the media arts (writers, directors, actors, production designers); and also I've worked in other businesses and industries, including the US military and aerospace (Boeing, Hughes Space and Communications); and a number of private enterprises as well (attorney, doctor and all their medical staff); and just individuals who are looking to improve their lives and what they do. So these tools of mythic themes: what's your background story? What's your creation myth for your company's garage band thing? Then taking a look at what myth you are living, if is that stealing fire from heaven, like bringing good things to people that need them, or their search for the promised land, or the wakeup call. Helping people realize more about themselves, more lives or what your organization or your company can do to help them. Then we've got these wonderful story tools, to help you organize your information, presentation to others. The working with the archetypes - very powerful for, once again, personal awareness and growth, but also for building teams, selecting teams in the first place, and in becoming more effective at communicating your message. Symbols - always helpful. Choose the right symbol, it makes a huge difference.