Ira Glass and Jad Abumrad: Storytelling in the Audio Space

When creating stories, there are a lot of intricacies that one must take into consideration when crafting them. You must draw upon several aspects of what makes a good story in order to craft the best story that you can. This is especially true of stories and content that is produced using the medium of Audio and Video. That exact topic is discussed by Ira Glass and Jad Abumrad. To get a perspective of what is being talked about, I’ll briefly introduce these two gentlemen. Glass has been a radio personality since 1978 and has worked on such programs as This American Life, Talk of the Nation, and Morning Edition, along with many other different works. Abumrad is also a radio personality, who’s the co-host of the program Radiolab and also has a background in music. As you can see, both of these men have years worth of experience in the business of audio and story crafting with the works that they have published and produced. This is lead them to go on and talk about what makes these works good in the first place on many different occasions. Some of the things that both of them touched on include something that Glass touched on, which is the concept of there being 2 principles. The first is the anecdote, which represents an occurring sequence of events that the audience follows. Glass says that you must make the anecdote interesting in order for the audience to be engaged. As an example he describes a person walking through a house quietly. While this may be arbitrary in real life, writing it this way and emphasizing the quiet of the person’s surroundings invokes suspense because the consumer might think that something will happen. This thereby gives what would otherwise be a boring action a little more suspense. The second one is having your work raise a question from the beginning and being self reflective every now and then. Basically, you must give your audience your why, what message are your portraying at the end of the day. Making this clear will give the work a flare of introspection and keep the audience focused in on that overlying theme. Abumrad talks about the empathy that the medium of radio creates. Because radio is an audio based medium, when stories are portrayed this way, the consumer has to leave things up to their imagination when the creator says certain things. This is also true to books but radio incorporates this empathy a lot. When you craft your story and encapsulate certain words, descriptions, and scenarios, the consumer can use their imagination and create their own images in their head that make what sometimes may be normal speech sound much more whimsical. He also was at a conference where he gives and engaging speech about why gut churn can be a very essential part of the creative process when constructing your works. Both Glass and Abumrad’s talks and works are recommend and some of the talks that I referenced will be linked below. Thank you for reading and I hope you’re having an amazing week. Take care.

Ira Glass:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Jad Abumrad:

Gut Churn

Radio Creates Empathy

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