Let The Tape Sing And Other Lessons From A Filmmaker Turned Podcaster

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For this episode of HowSound, I watched a few excerpts of films by Tally Abecassis. She’s made documentaries for twenty years and they’re a lot of fun. Take Unlikely Treasures for instance. It features curious people and their collecting obsessions.

There’s also Small Wonders and Warshaw on the Main. They’re both “Hey, come here, I want to show you these cool, kinda weird, anachronistic stores and their owners'” kind of movies.

The characters in Tally’s films are interesting. She takes us inside places we might not ordinarily go. They’re visually interesting. There’s a lot to like.

But, where’s the story?

Even Tally wonders the same thing.* Looking back, she says she has no interest in making those sorts of films any more. “I don’t think I want to do anything else that’s so meandering and observational again,” she told me.

Why the change in perspective on her own work? Podcasting.

Tally started producing a podcast back in 2015 called First Day Back. It chronicled her return to work after a lengthy maternity leave. Even though she had twenty years of experience producing film, she says podcasting was a whole other thing. “That was a huge learning curve. There’s only sound!”

Along the way, producing the first season of “First Day Back,” Tally learned a lot about audio storytelling — lessons other filmmakers thinking about podcasting could benefit from. Radio producers, too. Tally recounts what she learned on this episode of HowSound and says she’s applied what she’s learned to season two of the podcast, as well as to new films she’s making.

* Not every film Tally has made lacks story. Check out Lifelike a film about the cutthroat world of taxidermy competition (no pun intended).

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