Don’t wait for permission to make something that’s interesting or amusing to you. Just do it now. Don’t wait. Find a story idea, start making it, give yourself a deadline, show it to people who’ll give you notes to make it better. Don’t wait till you’re older, or in some better job than you have now. Don’t wait for anything. Don’t wait till some magical story idea drops into your lap. That’s not where ideas come from. Go looking for an idea and it’ll show up. Begin now. Be a fucking soldier about it and be tough.
Quick tip for things to do immediately post-interview:
When I come out of an interview, I jot down the things I remember as being my favorite moments. For an hour-long interview usually it’s just four or five moments, but if out I’m reporting all day, I’ll spend over an hour at night typing out every favorite thing that happened. This is handier than you might think. Often this short list of favorite things will provide the backbone to the structure to my story.
Read through for the gear This American Life uses and its editing process.
I spent the greatest afternoon at the University of Maryland’s Radio Broadcast Archives today! Michael Henry, Research Specialist in the Mass Media and Culture Collection gave us a tour of the broadcast library and special collections, and provided an incredible amount of information on the history, formats, and stars of old time radio. Above are a few photos I snapped during the tour - and Mr. Henry was so kind to pull out some Jack Benny outtake stills of a photo shoot from Radio Times. I’ve worked with digitizing video/audio collections in the past, but had never seen anything as extensive as UMD’s holdings: they had thousands of photographs, books, radio scripts, and audio recordings in every media imaginable (and some even unimaginable- wire recordings, for example). in addition to radio, their collection contains such a huge wealth of material on television, the history of humor, magazine serials, memorabilia, biographies, etc. etc. Their catalogue is available to view online, and if anyone interested in broadcast history is near the Maryland/DC area - I couldn’t give a stronger recommendation to visit these archives. A big thank you again to UMD, if you’re not already following them on Tumblr, make sure to do so!
(Also: If you’re wondering about the Mae West photo and her ban from the radio waves… see the next post!)
“I got some of the suits afterward. I was kind of like well, ‘Who else is gonna wear them?’ They’re super tailored to my body, so I got like a dozen. Unbelievable — Paul Smith and Dolce & Gabbana — amazing suits. And then I proceeded to lose 20 pounds to play Hedwig, so I look like a hobo man in the suits now. The pants are gigantic; I look like David Byrne in all of these amazingly fitted suits. So they’re all just sort of sitting, waiting in stasis for me to be able to eat a pizza.”