Good discussion. A couple of thoughts and points.
First, I want to reiterate that I don't think teaching great DMing strategies in a more organized and systematic way is a path toward 'sameness' or 'uniformity' behind the DM screen.
People learn how to play guitar or how to play basketball or how to be an actor -- then they go and use that education to do their own thing. I'm sure the same thing would happen with DMs.
I think what I'm mostly grappling with is that a lot of people think DMing should be sort of intuitive.
Koloktroni gets at this a bit when he says, "The only thing you can do is be prepared, pay attention, learn how the game works and establish open communication with your players on what produces a fun time and what doesnt."
But that's not true, IMO. Great DMs do all of that, but they also use a lot of really cool strategies as entertainers, as story-tellers, as pace-builders.
Some use music, some use voices, some use visual aids (minis, art, etc.), some move around and act out events. Why do they make those choices? How do they decide when to linger over a role-playing encounter and when to rush things forward into a battle?
And it's also just not true IMO that DMs generally learn through osmosis. I've been gaming for 35 years with dozens of different DMs. Most of them didn't really think very much about what they were doing at the table.
(That's not a jab or a put-down. It's just a fact. They thought that once they'd learned the rules and made up the adventure, everybody would just sort of get through it together.)
My personal shift in attitude came about a year ago when two things happened. First, I saw a video of Chris Perkins DMing and I thought, 'He's doing something much more interesting than what I'm doing and I need to learn from him.' I also saw some of the better clips of the Dice Stormers and the techniques they were using.
I mean, taken to maybe a slightly silly extreme: Why aren't there three or four day DMing workshops around the country where gamers can go to really learn cool strategies for doing what the really great DMs are doing?
I can find a volleyball workshop or an acting workshop or a writing workshop. Why not a session for people who want to be great DMs?
Thanks for the conversation,