The Beast

Intro from Jay Allison: This piece comes from a student in the Transom Story Workshop Fall 2013. For many of the participants, this is the first radio work they’ve ever made, which is not an excuse but a cause for amazement. In their two months in Woods Hole, under the guidance of Rob Rosenthal & Sarah Reynolds and the Transom Team (along with renowned visiting teachers like, this time: Jonathan Harris, Ira Glass, and Andrea Seabrook), they learn the skills of recording, interviewing, structuring, editing, writing, voicing, mixing, etc. etc… while creating work for broadcast. The fun part is not that they just learn the rules, but that they also break them creatively. The harmony in these groups, as they help one another, is inspiring. We asked students to write about their challenges and what they did to surmount or circumvent them. They share their own vulnerability in order to help others, which is part of the wonder of these workshops.

Listen to “The Beast”

About “The Beast”

Not too long before the workshop was over I turned in a draft of the script for this story with this note attached:

“Here’s what we’ll be looking at. It’s bad and missing a character.”

Several short interviews I’d done hadn’t made it into the script, and I was worried that without them the piece wouldn’t work.

Rob, Sarah, and my classmates stepped in. They told me that I was being ridiculous. Marcia was awesome. Marcia was a story in herself.

They were right. I was getting in the way of what the story was by over-thinking it, getting caught up in a preconceived (and really overwrought) idea of what the story should be.

It’s fine to have preconceived ideas about a story. Actually, it’s good to have them. They’ll lead you to important questions and perspectives and all those nice things.

But you should be ready to jettison any notion you have about how a story you’re making should be if it’s holding that story back. That can be a difficult thing to do, but sometimes it’ll force you to figure out a really cool way to tell the story that you’d never have thought of otherwise. Or maybe it’ll make you crash and burn.

There’s only one way to find out.

Ethan’s Sonic ID

Listen to “Ethan’s Sonic ID”

I heard about Pete from a friend of his who said something along the lines of “he’ll make you care about fishing.” I spent about six hours — from 8pm to 2am — hanging out with Pete at a spot he forbade me from revealing. He goes out almost every night between May and November (sometimes staying out all night), looking for striped bass. He did make me care about fishing, but I cared much more about his relationship with fishing.

Listen to More Pieces from this Story Workshop Class

Ethan Chiel

Ethan Chiel

Ethan Chiel is an independent producer based in the New York City area. He spent the past four years in Toronto, where he (in order of importance) ate burritos and studied philosophy. He's peripatetic, though, so this bio might be useless three months after it's posted. If that's the case, please accept his apologies. You can find more of Ethan's work at PRX and at his website. You can also follow him on Twitter.

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