Listeners to episode 6, “A Different Medium,” will know that I originally intended to make that story for the 24 Hour Radio Race put on by KCRW’s Independent Producers Project. I was supposed to create a four-minute story over the course of 24 hours. Instead, I created a ten-minute story over the course of two weeks.
Despite the fail, I was very happy to put a new episode out. This was the first real episode of Random Waves since last November. I’m talking NINE MONTHS! That’s an incredible hiatus. And hopefully it will unleash the floodgates on several new episodes that I have in the hopper. I do think it will. One thing that this experience taught me is that I can avoid one of the most grueling tasks in creating audio stories – tape transcription. I absolutely hate transcribing tape, and it takes me sooooo long to do it. But for “A Different Medium,” I skipped all that and just picked out bits in my tape based on listen-throughs. Much more efficient.
That was a lesson learned from this experience. But there is something else that will stick with me from the day of the race. In the week before, I had already figured out that I would be using the roast battle for my story (at least, it was in the top three story ideas – but it was the most promising lead going in). In the first two hours of the Radio Race, as I was grabbing lunch and getting my first interview lined up, I skipped over two other great story leads that came out of nowhere.
The first was an older couple who were laying what I believe was irrigation pipe for the very large company I work for. There they were, two folks from a literal Mom & Pop outfit, laying irrigation pipe on a Saturday in a deserted parking field for a large corporation. It may not sound like much on paper, but the scene looked like there would be some good tape from these two.
The second was a guy I’ve known about for years, and just happened to drive past that afternoon as well. There is this old truck driver who lives near where I work who is one of those continual yard sale types – always having stuff for sale at the curb, always sitting out in front of his house. This is a guy that is waiting for someone to listen to what he has to say. Again, maybe not so great on paper, but I could have sat with him all day, collecting tape and helping him try to sell his stuff. Trust me, I could have made that work.
Going into the Radio Race, I was so worried about not figuring out story that I pre-planned a few leads the week before the race. However, within the first two hours of competition, I stumbled across two great leads just by driving around thinking about stories.
It just goes to show you – story leads are EVERYWHERE. You just need to be open to them.