Passing Judgment

The Big Blue Door Jam enlists audience members to serve as volunteer teams of judges who give out the coveted jar of Big Blue Door Jam jam at the end of each show.

We’re not taking the judging process too seriously and we hope our storytellers won’t either. We don’t view storytelling as a competition. Having judges is just a way to get more people involved, subtly encourage storytellers to stay within the time limit, and pick some storytellers to appear in our Big Blue Door Slams. As unfair as judging can be, it’s still a fairer way to pick a ‘best of’ than Jen and I picking.


This is an experiment so the process is expected to change–maybe we’ll drop judging altogether–but this is what we’re starting with:

1. Each Door Jam will have three teams of judges of 2-4 members picked before the beginning of the show.

2. Each team will be issued only one ballot to fill out as a group.

3. At the end of the night each team will circle three names, the names of their three favorite stories of the night, based on the criteria below.

4. If the team agrees on an absolute favorite they’ll put a star by that person’s name.

5. The Big Blue Door staff will collect the ballots and total the votes.

6. The storyteller whose name is circled the most will be declared the favorite, winning the coveted Big Blue Door Jam jam. If there is a tie, see the tie-breaking procedures below.


The judges should try to base their decisions on the following criteria:

1. Was the story a story? Did it seem to take the listener on a journey?

2. Did the story fit the theme?

3. Did the story use time effectively? Especially, did it seem too long?


In the case of a tie, the following procedures should be used to determine who wins the jar of Big Blue Door Jam jam:

1. If there is a tie in total votes, the storyteller whose story is under 8 minutes or is 1 minute shorter than others in the tie is deemed the winner. (i.e. if you and I are tied and your story is 7 minutes and mine is 9, yours wins. Or if you and I are tied and your story is 9 minutes and mine is 10, yours wins.)

2. If there is still a tie, any storyteller no longer present at the Jam is disqualified.

3. If there is still a tie, the name (if any) which is starred more than any other will be the victor.

4. If there is still a tie, victory goes to whomever has not won before.

5. If there is still a tie, victory goes to whomever has appeared in more Door Jams.

6. If there is a still a tie, we have two winners!

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