Buck, Naked

Intro from Jay Allison: Participants come to the Transom Story Workshop with the intention of creating change in their own lives. That makes it exciting for everyone. The class of Spring 2012 came from all over the country and Canada to spend two months here in Woods Hole. They were led by their gifted teacher, Rob Rosenthal, and dedicated teaching associate, Sarah Reynolds, along with a roster of visitors from This American Life, Studio 360, PRX, The Kitchen Sisters, and other Transom friends and staff. Most of the nine students had never made a radio story before. When they left, they had made stories as good or better than those you hear every day on nationally-distributed public radio programs. If you don’t believe me, listen to their work.

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Listen to “Buck, Naked”

About “Buck, Naked”

We were in class to discuss what we had in mind for our first story and it was my turn. I had a bunch of ideas written down. And they all kind of sucked. But at the bottom of the list, scribbled in my Moleskine was “naked model.”

It just seemed sort of… weird. And a job I would never want to do—a job I probably shouldn’t do.

Within a day or so, thanks to a couple local art instructors, I had about a dozen names and phone numbers of figure models (turns out that’s the preferred nomenclature) that were willing to be interviewed for the story. So I got on the phone and talked a bit with each of them. “Pre-interviewing,” if you want to sound fancy.

The great thing I learned about finding subjects for the radio is if a person is dry, boring, inarticulate—you don’t have to talk them. Just say thank you and find someone else. How awesome is that? If only things worked like that in life.

Then I found Buck.

From our brief chat he seemed well spoken, genuine and… well, he answered his phone. That was a big plus.

But I didn’t know until I was sitting in his living room about his repertoire of poses, the pain of modeling or the show tunes—oh, the show tunes.

Soon I was sitting in his car outside a modeling session while he belted out the title track from Annie, micing him removing his underwear in the bathroom and seeing his 10′ x 5′ wall of show tune CDs in his basement.

I was making radio. Sweet, sweet, weird radio.

So I wish I could say it was pure journalistic prowess that led me to Buck. I mean it kind of was, but a lot of it was luck. I guess I went with my gut and it paid off. I still feel like it was more luck than skill, but that’s kind of how it works, right?

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