Intro from Jay Allison: This piece comes from the Transom Story Workshop Spring 2014. The students came from all over to spend two months with us on Cape Cod. Rob Rosenthal and Audrey Quinn led the class and were joined by all of us at Transom, plus Robert Krulwich, Nancy Updike, and a lot of other great producers who happened by. Check out their work. If these are beginners, look out.
About “Are You Ready Now”
One day, I was riding the bus from Hyannis back to Woods Hole, and a group of young people boarded the bus. They gave off a kind of nervous excitement, and they caught my attention. It took me a few minutes, but when I turned around in my seat to talk to them, they told me they were in the Travel Training program at Riverview School. I later learned that Riverview is a boarding school for young people with developmental and learning disabilities. Today, they were learning to ride the bus.
Wait, was this their FIRST time on a bus?! Yes, it was. I immediately starting rifling in my backpack for my equipment, but when I pressed record, I got a message on my screen: memory full. I had erased all my files the day before, though! What was happening?! Eventually, after scrolling in panic through the settings, I figured it out, but not before the Riverview students had already reached their stop.
Still, I pursued the lead, and found out that Travel Training is an ongoing program. I ended up profiling a student named Nina, just as she was about to graduate from Riverview. The story ended up being about her transition to adulthood, coping with scary challenges by using personal survival strategies.
It’s interesting how the stories we choose end up being the stories we need. As I pursued the story, I also encountered challenges, and sometimes resistance. For example, when Nina and I boarded the bus together — me, sporting headphones and a microphone — the bus driver was nervous about being recorded. As a beginning producer, I wasn’t feeling super confident. How do you feel legitimate as a radio producer before you’ve ever really produced radio? Still, I had to pretend to be sure of myself for him to trust me. You have to give yourself permission.
In conclusion: double-check your storage space before you head out. And sometimes, faking it can eventually lead you to something real.
Something real. A Studs Terkel motto we love.
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Justine’s Sonic ID
When I went into Main Steet Barbershop in Falmouth, I intended to just take some pictures. Mark and Linda Moorin were so fun to talk to that I ended up sticking around and recording a conversation with them. In this sonic, I’m talking with Mark, and you can hear Linda giving someone a haircut in the background. The sound of her buzzer kind of changed throughout the interview, and I didn’t get enough room tone, so editing was kind of tough. But talking to Mark was so great, it was hard to choose just one moment.