Summary: The Backstory to Great Radio Storytelling, hosted by Rob Rosenthal, for Transom and PRX.
Two solidly produced, fun stories from students at the Transom Traveling Workshop in Marfa, Texas. Both are well worth your listen.
"Radio is the most visual medium." Aviva DeKornfeld's story "After the Storm" is proof. So much so, it's just as much a photo essay as it is a radio story.
Jad Abumrad of Radiolab delivers the goods on sound design in radio stories. A must listen if you're thinking of sound designing your next radio story.
A recent story on NPR about the Confederate flag got Rob wondering about the practice of correcting interviewees in narration. Producer Zach Hirsch produced the story and he explains why he felt challenging the interviewee's viewpoints was necessary.
Greg Warner is one of Rob Rosenthal's favorite radio writers. He deftly put the "broken narrative" to good use in an episode of his NPR podcast "Rough Translation." In fact he's so good at it, you'd have no idea he was using it. What is the broken narrative? You'll have to listen.
Why is it so hard to sound like yourself when reading narration for radio stories? Transom's Viki Merrick offers some voicing coaching gold. You'll wanna take notes.
After teaching documentary storytelling for seventeen years, I feel confident in the advice I give students, most of the time. But, as soon as someone brings up sound design, I’m flummoxed. I feel like my advice is next to useless. Typically, what happens is this: a student feels like their story is boring so they want to throw some sound in — something from a sound effects library. They think it will make the story more dynamic. And, typically, I respond by saying, “If your story is boring, write better. Or, play around with the structure. Or, find better quotes. Don’t expect to solve a problem by tossing in some sound. It will end up sounding cheesy.” I do think that’s solid advice. But, in reality, there are times when a bit of sound design might actually help a story. Not to make it less boring, but to drive home a point or help the story be more visual. That’s when I return to my problem as an instructor: I don’t know how to help. But here’s the good news. I produce a podcast about audio storytelling and I can actually ask people for advice! And so, I did. My first stop was Matthew Boll. Matt works at Gimlet as a lead producer and music composer. Of particular interest to me was his work on Crimetown, a podcast on crime and politics in Providence, Rhode Island, that uses a lot of sound design. Matt and I covered quite a bit of ground but I feel like I’ve only started to understand how sound design works. So, consider this the first in an ongoing, from time-to-time, set of episodes on sound design that will appear over the next few months.
With the glut of first-person stories these days, how do you make yours stand out? Neil Sandell has some ideas.
Producer Samantha Broun and This American Life's Christopher Swetala join me to talk about fact-checking "A Life Sentence" on this episode of HowSound.
If you have one day to produce a story for KCRW's 24-Hour Radio Race, reach for low hanging fruit, right? Not if your Esther Honig. On this episode, Esther recounts how she and her team produced an emotionally difficult story for the race in 2015 -- and won! An inspiration to sign up for this year's race.
Filmmaker Tally Abecassis learned a lot about audio storytelling when she jumped in the deep end & started producing "First Day Back." The lessons she learned are useful for filmmakers thinking of producing audio stories -- & radio producers, too.
Irish radio producer Ronan Kelly has a great ear for compelling radio. He plays story DJ on this archive episode of HowSound from 2010.
I was so nervous talking to Ashley Ahearn the producer of KUOW's new podcast about the environment "terrestrial." I should have been. I asked her about her appearance.
Sook-Yin Lee describes the combination of improvisation and structure that informs the production of Sleepover, a hit podcast from the CBC.
Sometimes, pitching a story is the last thing you want to do. Just press record and see what happens. Jay Allison is the guest on this episode of HowSound.