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Okay. Back to business. I've been twirling* around all week — stimulated by the Toronto conference, yet unable to latch on to a project. But by 11 PM last night, an idea emerged from the chaos.
Chicago's Third Coast Festival is considered the mecca for creative radio. Each year they have a "ShortDocs" competition and this year's is called "99 Ways to Tell a Story." The challenge: Produce a piece that starts: "To begin with, they never got along." Incorporate 3 specific sounds (pre-recorded voice, a rhythmic noise, an exclamation). Limit to 2 min 30 seconds. The judges will chose four for presentation at the Chicago conference in October.
I've been racking my brain for a story idea so I could enter the competition. By 10 PM last night I had X-d it off my list. Why torture myself? I went searching for some old files for a short video I did — kids talking about "respect." The sound was good — maybe with a few tweaks it could be a radio piece. But when I listened to it again, I realized that the first sentence could be "To begin with, they never got along." Eureka! My ShortDocs entry!
The hard part is already done — getting the kids' voices. They already add up to 2 minutes, 30 seconds so I need a bit of paring down in order to add some other sound elements. The current background music puts the voices into a dream space. I think I'll try to put them into a school.
One of my workshop instructors in Toronto was Steve Wadhams (who I now see is pretty famous — a Third Coast Festival Audio Luminary lifetime achievement award winner). He gave us these criteria for a successful radio piece:
Did you go anywhere?
Did you meet anyone interesting?
Did you learn anything?
Did you feel anything?
Were there any surprises?
Those seem like a good questions to ask myself as I start my revisions.
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*Twirlling: energy without direction.