Intro from Jay Allison: Another batch of remarkable new radio producers is loosed upon the world! The Fall 2015 Transom Story Workshop was notable for being our first class to receive scholarship support. (THANK YOU to our donors like This American Life, Mailchimp, AIR, PRX, and many, many individual supporters and alumni.) It's notable too for the range of stories they made. Many of these students are sure to fly on to great things. Listen to them now, as they take wing. Our Transom feature includes background and audio stories from each of them and they'll be hanging out to take your questions in our discussion boards.
Rob Rosenthal, Lead Instructor
…one of the things I love most about my job as lead instructor [is] I have no idea what’s going to happen. From day-to-day, from workshop to workshop… every class is different. The stories are different. Even the style of storytelling is different…
TSW: Class of Fall 2015
“No Flush, No Fuss” by Devika Bakshi
Follow the good tape. Like a besotted stalker. Like you followed Teju Cole on Twitter. With utter devotion.
“Good Intentions: A Story of Cross-Racial Adoption” by Brenna Daldorph
Someone once told me that if you are comfortable during discussions about race, then nothing important is actually being said. I held that close to heart as I worked on this piece…
“An Act Relative To Sex Offenders” by Ciara Gillan
You’re prepped from the outset that your story may not unfold the way you thought it would. But sometimes, at that very last minute, your story can grab you by the ears and spin you right upside down.
“More Than A Game” by Jimmy Gutierrez
It took me a long, long, long time before I understood the ingredients to make this story work. In the editing process I relied heavily on all eight classmates, along with Rob and Catie.
“Ears Underwater” by Bethel Habte
…go out and drink beers with scientists. More generally, always be on the hunt for stories.
“Trigger Warning” by Jacqui Helbert
It was extremely difficult to share so much about myself and make myself vulnerable while working on the piece. But both Paige and I are happy with the end result and hope that our story will help someone who has suffered at the hands of a family member.
“Secession’s the Answer” by Sally Helm
On my way to gather tape at the karaoke bar, I wondered if I was crazy to think that this might work. At first it was awkward to record people on their night out. By the end of the night, though, I’d started to enjoy the rush that comes from talking to strangers and going out on a limb.
“Driving In Circles” by Martine Powers
Coming from the world of print journalism, I always believed in the adage, “Everyone needs an editor.” Here’s what I learned at Transom: Everyone needs eight editors. Or nine. Or ten.
“Slime Style” by Todd Whitney
I believe one of the things that warmed [my story subjects] up to me was an appreciation for my Instagram handle: a reference to the rapper Raekwon. Something ostensibly insignificant helped create trust that turned into radio goodness. That, and keeping my mic on at all moments. Do that.
TSW Fall 2015: Lead Instructor’s Notes
by Rob Rosenthal
See if you can detect the common thread through these story topics:
- sex offender legislation
- coral reef health
- the secession of Martha’s Vineyard
- addiction recovery through skateboarding and photography
- cross-racial adoption
- an at-risk teen and an after-school basketball program
- domestic violence
- the psychology of driving through intersections
If you’re having a hard time, don’t worry. It’s not obvious. The only commonality is that students produced stories about these topics during the Fall 2015 Transom Story Workshop.
And, frankly, that’s one of the things I love most about my job as lead instructor. I have no idea what’s going to happen. From day-to-day, from workshop to workshop… every class is different. The stories are different. Even the style of storytelling is different — from the sound design in Martine Power’s story about driving psychology to the humor in Sally Helm’s piece about Martha’s Vineyard’s secession movement in the late 70s to Todd Whitney’s sonically interesting work on skateboarding, addiction, and photography… the stories will massage your ears and your brain. Listen up!
About Rob Rosenthal, Lead Instructor
Rob Rosenthal is an independent producer and a teacher. He’s the host for the HowSound podcast — a joint project of PRX and Transom — on radio storytelling. He started and then ran the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies’ radio track for 11 years. And, he is now the lead teacher for the Transom Story Workshop, which launched in the fall of 2011.
About Catie Talarski, Teaching Assistant
Catie Talarski is Executive Producer at WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio, concentrating on original talk programming, community outreach, and education. Her work has been featured on NPR, PRI’s The World and Studio 360, and PRX. She teaches audio to high school students at Hartford’s Journalism and Media Academy. Catie founded The Ear Cave, a listening session hosted by a rotating cast of local radio professionals. She got her start in documentary radio at the Salt Institute in Portland Maine (class of 2006). More here.