Intro from Jay Allison: Another batch of stories from another Transom Story Workshop. 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.
Rob Rosenthal, Lead Instructor
What set this cohort apart, is seems, were the stakes. Many of them had put a lot on the line to be here and attending the workshop requires risk taking…
TSW: Class of Spring 2014
“Leaving Los Angeles” by Alison Byrne
I came to realize that I was the thread for the story, so I began incorporating myself in a big way… At first, I was really uncomfortable with this – I came to Transom to tell other people’s stories! But it also felt good to share my own.
“The Flying Diver” by Annie Costakis
In my wildest radio dreams, I never thought I would interview a Greek archeologist through an intercom as he hung from a crane in a next-generation, deep-sea diving suit.
“The Texture of Glass” by Kasia Gladki
I learned to trust the flow. Not procrastinate on contacting sources. And, roll with the punches –– when you’re working with technology anything can happen.
“Dark Night, Glass Eels” by Kara Janeczko
The reporting was so fun and there were so many interesting things to talk about that I thought the story would write itself. It did not.
“Moulty” by Alex Kapelman
Ask for what you need, because you’re likely to get it, and maybe even more than you could have ever hoped for.
“Keep Bowling As Long As You Can” by Nancy Klingener
I had a setting. But I didn’t have a story. I decided to spend an entire day [at the bowling alley], open to close –– a day in the life or tick-tock story. And be open to any other narratives that presented themselves.
“Bringing Wes Home” by Jakob Lewis
What do you do when your radio radar zooms in on a sensitive story? [This piece] is about a family who lost their son Wes at 22 in a car accident.
“Are You Ready Now” by Justine Paradis
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.
“Just Keep Playing” by Nathan Tobey
Making this piece was an incredibly useful lesson in narrative –– finding a storyline and crafting a narrative arc that does the subject justice.
TSW Spring 2014: Lead Instructor’s Notes
by Rob Rosenthal
We just hosted nine students completely bitten by the radio bug. They had it bad, that unrelenting desire to tell stories in sound.
The group was similar to previous classes. They came from all across the U.S. and Canada. They ranged in age from early 20s to 40s. They had college degrees. And, for the most part, they weren’t working in radio but were incredibly eager to do so.
Yet, as eager as they were, coming to the Workshop wasn’t easy. What set this cohort apart, is seems, were the stakes. Many of them had put a lot on the line to be here and participating in the workshop requires risk taking.
In addition to the time and expense required to attend the workshop, students left family behind. Some quit jobs they loved in order to spend eight weeks on the Cape. Most left familiar landscapes and travelled to the unknown. And all of them banked on the workshop to propel them into careers in audio storytelling.
But, despite those challenges, this group of students dug in. They completely and fully immersed themselves in their stories and the work of their classmates. Even when story idea after story idea didn’t work out, they went right back out and found another and eventually saw one through to the end.
The result is a solid collection of stories that will leave you saying “These guys are beginners? No way. Their risk paid off.”
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About Rob Rosenthal, Lead Instructor
Rob Rosenthal is a radio teacher and producer. He launched and then ran the internationally renowned radio program at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies for eleven years. He’s now the lead instructor at the Transom Story Workshop. Rob has also presented and taught at workshops for National Geographic, the National Press Photographers Association, the Third Coast Festival, and colleges and universities.
When he’s not teaching, Rob produces HowSound, a podcast on audio storytelling for PRX, the Public Radio Exchange. For many years, Rob was primarily interested in producing local stories for local audiences; content that connects people to place including Malaga Island: A Story Best Left Untold and the audio tour Deep Woods and River Roads. Rob has produced multi-media pieces on international stories including Justice Denied and Rights Not Rescue.
About Audrey Quinn, Teaching Assistant
Audrey Quinn is a multimedia producer and a reporter for public radio shows like Marketplace, PRI’s The World, and Studio 360. Her investigative work has been awarded by the Fund for Investigative Journalism and The Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund, and she is co-founder of the live radio performance event Radio Cabaret. You can find her work here.