This week we were asked to watch a series of series of videos with Ira Glass, the host of This American Life, speaking about the makings of a great story. I honestly found the videos great to watch simply because the way Ira speaks draws you in no matter what he’s talking about. Throughout all four videos I kept thinking about how everything he’s talking about will help me greatly in my final project. Ira has really inspired me with this interview to get started on my project and start putting out some great work. I can’t wait to start.
We were also asked to listen to at least one of the archived stories listed by Martha. My favorite one was Switched At Birth– a story of two baby girls who were sent home with the wrong parents after birth and told the truth over 40 years later. Jake Halpern tells the story of Marti Miller and Sue McDonald who were told by Mary Miller- Sue’s biological mother- 43 years after the fact when she knew that the switch had occurred as soon as they got home from the hospital. The story, which was originally aired on 7-25-2008, features interviews with both daughters, both mothers, and a few family members from each family and is narrated by Jake for the most part. It’s heartbreaking to hear the girls’ voices crack as they read letter written to them throughout the ordeal and to hear them talk about how they felt cheated. I can’t imagine what I would do if anything like this were to be revealed to me- especially after 43 years.
Although the story is extremely sad- it displays each of the things that Ira speaks of in his talk perfectly. The audience is introduced to great characters and taken on a journey with suspense and thrill with a lovely discussion after each segment to tie everything together in the end. The recordings of the interviews give the listener a “face” to put with each name in its own sense that it literally gives a voice to each character. Listening to the background noise of interviews and audio taken from parties where the girls were together lets the audience form a picture in their head of what’s going on, even if there is no visual input. I really liked the choice of music that producers used to transition from one segment to another as well- it set the mood for the story perfectly.
After reading RADIO by Jessica Abel and Ira Glass- it’s easy to look back at the show I listened to and see (or rather- hear) all the elements that went into creating such a great story to listen to. You can hear just how much work goes into making sure the speech flows naturally and how ambient noise is added in to allow the reader to reflect on what was just said. I loved how the graphic novel format- it was much more interesting to read than a boring manual and it really made me want to try working with radio. I just don’t think I have the patience for it.