Sunday, October 11, 2009

the one that got on the air

i should preface this by admitting that i am not a die hard this american life fan. i have not listened to every episode. (although i do have my favorites...) and i wasn't completely heartbroken when word got out that ira glass would be at mica, but the tickets would be insanely expensive. still, i certainly get the power of it all. and when i snuck into falvey hall last night (thank you, ann south) and all of the lights went pitch black and you could only hear his voice across the speakers, i got serious chills. he shared stories with us in person as he has been doing for so many years on npr. yes, the lights did eventually go on (he said he would have done the entire talk in the dark if mica and wypr had let him) to reveal him perched comfortably behind a table of electronics, chatting it up like we were all at one huge dinner table, and orchestrating each sound clip and interview with the fluidity of a conductor.

the only flaw of the night? that i didn't have something to write with. so i can't remember his gems word for word, but his advice for undergrads stuck with me. he said he wished that someone had told him when he was 20 years old just how hard it is to find a good idea. (amen to that.) he said he remembers looking around when he was in school and every artist/writer seemed to have a surplus of brilliant ideas. they appeared to be coming out of nowhere with great ease. he wished someone would have told him that the good ideas don't just come to you. you have to work for them. really work. you have to commit to research and constantly surround yourself with other good ideas. and hope for a little bit of luck. in the end, the numbers come out to about 50% searching (for an idea) and 50% working (on the idea.) when they look for stories to pursue for this american life, there are at least three they completely scrap for every one that gets on the air.

some tangents....

andy showed me this video afterward about ira's take on the creative process:

and interestingly enough, jackie had just sent me a link the day before to an excerpt from chuck klosterman's new book (something about dinosaurs...) where ira gets some shout outs amid some really relevant and intriguing thoughts about interviewing.

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