Sometimes I’ll call another producer and I’ll say, “Hey, I can’t quite figure out what to do in order to… ” And they might respond and say, “Well, did you hear the latest episode of such-and-such podcast where they did this thing where… ” And I say, “Yes! That’s it. I’ll try that!”
Of course, maybe that sounds like stealing. But I think borrowing a maneuver from another producer is more like flattery (wink wink). On this episode of HowSound, I dissect an excellent story with a slew of clever writing tricks that I plan to steal, I mean, borrow some day. I bet you’ll hear a few that you’ll want to use, too.
The podcast is The Experiment from The Atlantic magazine. It’s super smart (as you might expect from The Atlantic) and tells what they describe as “stories from an unfinished country.” The episode I dissect is “The Crime of Refusing Vaccination,” which focuses on what might be considered the birth of anti-vaxxing in the United States back at the turn of the last century.
One of the tricks I hope to steal, um, borrow is a question asked by the host, Julia Longoria: “So, if we were going to do the movie in your head of how Henning’s life went, how does it start?” The reason that’s theft worthy is because radio producers always want interviewees to speak visually, to give us pictures. Referring to a movie in the question automatically prompts the interviewee to answer descriptively.
That’s only the first of many moves you’ll pick up from my dissection of “The Crime of Refusing Vaccination.” Take notes.