This post contains bits from both segments. I have separated them with a bolded title.
You have to cut a lot of crap to get something good;
Wow. Ira Glass’ video series was fascinating. I used to video blog (I’ve deleted most of them out of embarrassment) and the amount of crap I had to cut out to get anything remotely good was extensive. After listening, I think this was partially due to my lack of ability to tell a good story. Glass explains the best way to tell a good story is not about the story itself necessarily, it’s about the building blocks of the story. He says there are two basic building blocks: anecdote which is a story in it’s purest form, and “bait” which is questions that are raised (and hopefully answered). This builds a shape, which relates to Vonnegut’s approach from last week. Some stories, Glass explains, will be good, but they will mostly be not-so-good and that is okay. In talking about his earlier radio days, he says that there may be one “good” story in 6 weeks of recording, but that one good story makes up for the other five weeks of not-so-good ones. I take away a message of “just keep working at it and keep interviewing/hunting for good stories” along with working on these building blocks he mentioned.
It’s this deep act of coauthorship;
I personally love the idea of the listener using a paintbrush to create images for themselves. Thinking back to last week, most audio stories are like this. If you sit around a table with friends, and one describes, for example, sandy white beaches with crystal clear blue waters, you more than likely create your own picture in your mind of a trip to the beach. It may not be the one the person telling the story went to, but you can visualize what they mean and what they are hinting at. Jad Abumrad talks about this idea of empathy coming through co-imagining images and feelings by this media. And, as Abumrad goes on to say, it is all in the voice. Inflection; musicality. It is important not only to have good building blocks, but to convey the story appropriately.