The Power In A Sound

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Learning to Listen.

The irony of a title like that does not escape me.  This is the entire focus for ds106 this week, and yet, how do I approach the media? By trying to play it in the background while I chase the kids around the living room while skimming my Poly Sci readings.  Yeah.  That didn’t work.

I gave up for a minute and decided to read some more about the speakers.  I clicked on the link for This American Life, poked around for a bit, and then ended up listening to this story.  Oh. My. Goodness.  I was captivated for the entire hour of listening to that story.  I read the breakdown of the story, and couldn’t click away.  I knew I didn’t have time for it, but I played it anyway.  I justified it to my 6-yr old son (whom I homeschool) by telling him I was working on my school.  I tried to justify it to myself by telling myself I’d read my Poly Sci book while listening to the story in the background.

But I couldn’t do it.  I was captivated by the story.  Not that I could tell you exactly why I was captivated. But I was.  And before long, my son had abandoned the kitchen table (and his math assignment) and was sitting next to me listening with me, asking all kinds of questions about the story (like the good listener I’ve trained him to be when he hears a story;).

So the end of our school day today was a discussion about the Ghost of Bobby Dunbar.  (Have I mentioned yet how much I love homeschooling?)  But anyway.

Even after all that, though, convinced as I was that this Ira guy knew what he was talking about when it comes to storytelling, when I sat down to write up the key points, and decided to watch the videos again, I kept finding myself tuning out and looking at other things.  What in the WORLD has happened to my attention span?! How embarrassing.

But once I did get to the point of truly listening to the messages these artists were sharing, I realized they were sharing some amazingly insightful, rare big-picture glimpses that I was going to want to remember and use often to review my own work with over time.  So I did something I hadn’t done yet in ds106…
I took notes.
Yup, I sure did.  And I’m going to be honest with you.  I don’t want to put my fluff in between the awesomeness that these guys had to share.  So I’m going to post my notes here, for your benefit and mine.  It’s a little bit of quoting, a little bit of my interpretation of what they’re saying, and a little bit of my reactions to what they’re saying.  But it’s all what I want to remember about the things they shared.  So here ya go – enjoy!


Ira Glass (parts 1-4)
Audio Storytelling
Broadcasting building blocks:
1) anecdote: sequence of actions (a story in its purest form) includes actions and thoughts, ideas, etc – ‘and then’
– you should be able to FEEL inherently that your story has a destination
2) raises a question from the beginning
-constantly be raising questions

Either you don’t have a solid sequence of actions, or you don’t have a compelling why/moment of reflection. Be willing to cut it.

POINT: sometimes it takes just as long to find the story as it takes to produce the finished product.

Ditch it when it feels bad, even if you don’t know why.

Failure is a really big part of success.


Good taste does not equal good work.

Create the crap so you can get to the good stuff.

Create LOTS of crap so you can get to the good stuff FASTER.

#Idon’tknowwhatIrawastalkingabouteither #evenIraGlassmadecrap

Talk natural, not reporter-ish. Ira held my attention and fascination and gained my understanding and sympathy much stronger with his one-second summary of the corn story than he did with all his fancy words during the story he played.

Ira on Common Pitfalls
1) Sound like you, not your idol. Everything will be more compelling the more you just talk like yourself.  Be you, create your own presence.
2) Have good personality – be good in conversation – talk amusingly and interestedly about yourself, and then let somebody else talk about themselves – show interest in what’s going on in the world. Your personality should be clear, as you investigate the personality of your main character. Even in 1st person stories, highlight your interactions with others. That creates the drama.

Jad Abumrad
‘The coolest thing about radio is what it lacks.’

Storytelling without pictures – I tell you the story, and you get to paint the picture. 8D

Because we have to fill this gap of picturelessness, we have to be connected. <3

Build a connection, make art together. <3

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