Came late (but better than not at all). Ira Glass DJing, audio storytelling
Came in at part of him playing things about race and Obama election. Guy talking about friend who was racist
Iraq War vet who joined Muslim student association to deal with war feelings. First greeted as liberators then oppressors/evil. In war dealt with it by being aggressively racist. Came back, went to UIUC, dealing with PTSD when dealing with Middle Eastern students, wanted to get rid of that feeling. Hard but worked. Glass: says he, most people would not want to sit down and listen to segment on PTSD but because encased in an intriguing narrative, someone’s
Glass: I was told you would all be hung over this AM and I should speak slowly
Structure of narrative/story: Chain of events, can be boring events but they have a destination. Create feeling of suspense. Get people to lay it out in series. Holds off from saying this is what the show is about
What’s the universal thing here, the human thing we’re related to. Action then reflection. Glimpse of something profound: the world doesn’t see yourself the way you do (sometimes not in a good way).
For good story, need plot to be surprising, likeable characters, and you need to learn something
Started at NPR at 19 and did every production job including tapecutter. Found that there would be stretches that were gold no matter how many times he listened. Telling story and jumping out of story to talk about it. Woman on Terry Gross’ show running NGO in Afghani village, tells story about local village but then jumps to international context. Wondered if you could dispense with news and just do story
Series for Morning Edition; interviewed bunches of people
Dialogue: Brecht said that’s natural theatre. Ground zero of story-happening at actual speed of story. Bradley Harrison Pickleheimer (sp?) telling story about working parties for the rich. Hilarious!!
Did series on educational reform, started This American Life in 1995, went back to Baltimore for high holiday services, listening to rabbi who was a “total entertainment package” Sermon structure: anecdote, thought about anecdote, action, action, anecdote
Feel like such a dumbass, does everybody know this but me? School doesn’t it teach it. “I blame the topic sentence. . .I feel like . . .as a culture we must stop the sentence. The problem is that is a topic sentence”
This American Life TV. Major diffs with images. Radio-stories in the past, but TV you want to be filming on the scene. For good TV story, looking for compelling character & plot that drives to big idea that hasn’t happened yet.
Story of life through story of 7 John Smiths-last ep of TAL
Hard to do on radio: examining everyday ordinary lives, very small things. No big surprises and plot turns, just documents what happens
What are stories good for? Tells story of Arabian Nights-king’s wife cheats, he executes her and goes crazy, marrying a new woman each night and killing her afterward until Scheherazade. From first moment she appears in story she’s very fierce, self-possessed, BtVS S2 or 3. Arabian nights-nested, interlinking stories. Saves her life using narrative suspense. Practical tools for you to survive with. Theatrical version: stories about whether women are evil, love is offered and turn their back on it and perish. In this story king knows he’s wrong. 1000 nights of practicing empathy-king is not mad anymore. Empathy 1st step to sanity. 1001st night says your father must be worried. Narrative is a back door where logic doesn’t reach
Inundated by narrative like no other people who have lived. Mass media-falseness to images. Rare to encounter anyone who seems real. Here’s what it would be like it if this was you. Not the biggest thing in the world but important to him. I understand, I feel more sane. “An explanation is where the mind comes to rest.” We don’t get many explanations or that much rest
Takes a lot of staging to get that in TV, in print must be gifted writer, but in radio you can just get tape of someone’s voice
Oh man, Ira Glass made me cry!
Too many stories? They usually use at least one story from the slush pile in a show
Music: Helps it be a fable. Gives it a grandeur that just the human voice doesn’t have. Musical sting in spaces. Makes the uninitiated sound good. Builds in pause. Can direct people’s attention–cut out of music, the next thing sounds important. Moves things forward-soundtracks. Must be appealing but not say a lot. Amelie banned form show ’caused used so much. Bill Frizell (sp)
Woman thanked him for piece on returning war vet and Muslims. She’d come from Middle East after 11 yrs and found so littel coverage that she pushed that at all her friends. He said they did a lot of stuff on non-right-wing-nutjob-Christians and Muslims
Live performance: Did it because his first speech
Intimacy warning/meter! Can’t get through show without sobbing and neither can her daughter.
Not a natural storyteller. Had to learn how to do this mathematically
What happens to leftover recordings? Just in boxes in temp-controlled place but never really done anything with this so if you know anybody that can. Email him!
Does he have trouble remembering people? Yes and often doesn’t even meet people F2F
Shows on mortgage “Giant Pool of Money”, bad banks, Planet Money podcasts-”good research tools and cheaper than Elsevier.”
Maybe doesn’t have same view as librarians and archivists. Life of show is on radio and podcast not longterm. All his show could be destroyed and it wouldn’t matter (ripple of librarian gasps You are causing us pain!)
Do so well at telling other people’s stories when will you tell yours? He said his life wouldn’t make the show. Wedding 3 years that was biggest day of his life and it was just like everybody’s
Stories our parents pitch us-lots of boring stuff