South Charlotte

He has a passion for telling a good story

While it might seem true Renaissance men are scarce, one south Charlotte resident nearly fits the description.

Michael Haun, 57, is a blacksmith, painter, photographer, videographer, inventor, sketch artist and storyteller. Not to mention husband, father and grandfather and leader in the church.

Now Haun wants to help others follow their passions and tell their stories.

Haun grew up outside Knoxville, Tenn., where he recalls listening to his father's stories about back-country Tennessee in the 1930s and '40s. Haun's father had grown up in the Keller Bend area, which now lies at the bottom of Fort Loudon Lake, created by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

"I didn't know he was a really good storyteller until some professors from the University of Tennessee started coming to our house, taking notes and asking questions," Haun said.

It was the legacy of storytelling that shaped Haun: He spent one semester at the university before leaving in 1974 to get a job at Young Life camp in Windy Gap, just north of Asheville.

He married his high school sweetheart, Carol, and spent the next 10 years working for Young Life and traveling as a storyteller, songwriter and singer.

Asheville became a hotspot for film in the 1980s, and Carol took over a model, talent and casting agency. From 1985 to 1990, Haun got involved with special effects, set design and location consulting in movies like "Red October," "Mr. Destiny" and "Last of the Mohicans."

He also had his own radio shows out of Asheville: "Once Upon a Blue Ridge" and "Michael in the Morning." He produced five albums: three of music and two of storytelling.

In 1990, he moved with his wife and three children to Ponte Vedra, Fla., where he served as the worship pastor at Ponte Vedra Presbyterian Church. The new location made it convenient to tell stories in the historic town of St. Augustine and teach at seminars.

"One night, in Lakeland, Fla., I was teaching a seminar about storytelling," Haun said. "Afterward, someone from Disney came up to me and said, 'Would you tell a story to our storytellers?' and they brought me to the Grand Floridian Hotel to teach their storytellers how to tell stories."

Haun didn't just tell stories with his mouth. He also told stories with his hands.

At his church in Ponte Vedra, he created a city that looked like Bethlehem, complete with 300 people, 70 animals and first-century tool reproductions. He went to Israel for the research.

"Amazingly, all the tools used in the first century looked like the tools my father and grandfather used," Haun said.

The Haun family moved to Charlotte in 2002 and live in the Rosecliff neighborhood, between N.C. 51 and Rea Road. Haun started working with the kids' ministry at Forest Hill Church, but left there in 2010.

With the help of his 25-year-old son Grant, Haun launched Storyrealing. The two-man operation helps businesses communicate their ideas.

"Storyrealing exists as consulting production," Haun said. "We coach, shoot, edit and produce stories. Grant came in to help with that. He has a great eye for the camera."

After graduating from Appalachian State University, Grant traveled to the Congo for a year, where he taught communication and English. When he returned home, Grant got involved with Storyrealing.

"We help people tell what they are passionate about in a fun, creative way - either in video form or in a live setting," Grant said. "It is about real people, real things, real truth and real passion."

Recently, the father-son team agreed to build six contraptions for a Chick-fil-A expo. Haun's vision is hand-cranked, like an ice cream freezer, while cups will cross conveyor belt and trip small levers that dump the right amount of beans, corn, peppers and so forth into a mixing container.

His imagination spills over to art. He has an room in his home where he paints watercolors - mostly of roosters and blue hens. He sells his paintings and humorous greeting cards on his art website:

"Our motto is follow your passion, make a dent, and if you leave, leave a hole," Haun said.