Today’s Lesson: be yourself, make a connection, and don’t give up.

So first I listened to Ira Glass’ series and now I just really want to be his friend. I listened to all four parts but I think part one and four were the most educational for me. What I really got out of this, to summarize: be yourself, don’t give up, and practice. Glass basically wants his viewers to have a personality. Don’t try to be like the people on television or the people you hear on the radio. Be yourself because there is only one you, everyone else is already taken. Also, the process will take awhile because we have these expectations of what we want to be but we won’t start out perfect. This ties into the fact we have to practice. If we try a few times, suck at it, and decide to quit then we will never be where we want to be. But if we practice at storytelling every week then we can get there. He even showed us an embarrassing audio story of his own from when he was really far into practicing and how he differs now because he kept working on it.

There were also a few pointers I noted while listening. I noted the few things a story needs: to have an anecdote (sequence of events), raise questions, and reflect on why the story is important. If there is no sequence it won’t draw listeners in. If you don’t raise questions then is it really a story or just listing off facts? If there is no reflection then the whole piece means absolutely nothing. I also noted his two errors: (first of which I already mentioned) one is that people try to mimic the TV/radio, and two, there is only one character (usually themselves). I already explained the first error but the second one was actually more interesting to me so I will explain. If someone is telling a story that is completely about one character then how entertaining will it actually be? If there are no supporting characters then there is no conflict or friends or interactions in general. I never even thought about this! Pretty much everything I have ever read or watched has at least two characters.

Side note: his “boring” story was actually pretty suspenseful just based on how theatrical/low his voice was alone with his hesitation between sequences. I want to know more! What happens next?

What I will look for differently now will definitely be how other people talk or act in their own stories simply because I have never thought about mimicking them until I watched these videos. I would also never have a reason to without this class! So of course now I will be paying close attention to how other people talk or act in real life or on TV. I will also try to implement in my own work the persistence he mentioned, as well as trying to be myself. I’m sure as soon as I start recording myself one day I will start acting like a confused robot because I will have some kind of stage fright. I will try to just relax and be me. I will also try to remember to raise questions in my stories and to reflect. Although, I am still confused on how the reflection works in a story because to me it seems like a conclusion but he mentioned to forget high school story set-ups.

Next I listened to the short interview with Jad Abumrad. He basically put into words why I always like the book better than the movie. Audio stories are cool because they’re like someone reading you a book so there’s minimum effort like watching TV BUT you get to create your own images versus the TV that forces them onto you. I also thought it was cool how he explains how empathy works with the radio and the listener: there is a co-authorship that basically one is creating the story and the other is making the images. There’s some mutual understanding here that a non-listener would never have.

I think this has implicated me in a way of how I will feel when listening to the radio on a long drive. Having someone speak to me and it sounds personal for such a long amount of time, I will probably feel like I just made a friend! I think this connection that both speakers kind of mentioned will be something I look forward to finding when I turn on the radio (or for future assignments). I also think that Abumrad has influenced the way I will read or listen more than ever: I will not only make my own image but will feel a connection to the author. I have probably felt this before but now I will be searching and attempting to reproduce myself.


2 thoughts on “Today’s Lesson: be yourself, make a connection, and don’t give up.

  1. Which do you like more Ira or Jad Abumrad? In the beginning of your post you said that you felt like he would want to be your friend. I liked Ira more because he seemed like he had more experience and had a really good idea of what is going on on the airwave as far as creating a story on the airwaves.

    1. Yeah I feel like because I listened to 20 minutes of Ira I have a better feel for him and understand him better personally. Perhaps I could like Abumrad more if only his interview was longer and more in depth.

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