The Other Shoe Drops

photo of Nike sneakers
Listen to “The Other Shoe Drops”

Sometimes people get really excited about their passion and talk WAY. TOO. FAST. David is one of those people. My challenge was to figure out how to slow him down with questions and how to pull the relevant tape from someone who speaks in run on sentences, while still highlighting how interesting and fun he was and making sure it seemed like he breathes when he talks.

When I showed up at David’s house, some of our plans had fallen through or weren’t ideal for radio making. We were going to go play basketball and talk about shoes, but the recreation center was closed on Sundays. We had planned to talk in the living room, but his dogs weren’t cooperating. And there was a constant buzzing sound in his room. But that’s where we ended up. I think it worked out.

We huddled together in his room, and I extended my arm. Him on his bed, me on his desk chair, trying to combat the random buzzing sound. Soon my arm was shaking (I should lift more, probably) and David was talking at what felt like 400 words per minute. He barely paused for breath. He was so excited. That’s the thing about radio that I think is so taste-based. Who actually is a good speaker? Who is to say? Had I struck out because I had someone who was speaking way too fast? He was loud and fact driven and so knowledgeable, but how could I get all of his passion and knowledge to shine through when I couldn’t even pick out sentences because they all ran together?

So, a lot of my interview became me asking him the same questions over and over, or interrupting and asking for clarification. Personal questions gave him pause, which slowed his speaking and made it more deliberate. And then we started talking about shoes. That’s when the real gold came out. That’s when he wanted me to ask the deep questions. Is the box important when collecting shoes? What about the laces? What makes the tongue of a shoe good? How can a shoe be worth more if you’ve already worn it? Do they depreciate in value like cars? Do your parents think you’re out of your mind? How much of the stuff in this room was funded by shoes? How many pairs of shoes do you own? Can you unbox that pair you bought yesterday for me? And another pair? And another pair? The interview went just like that.

Some things I had to pull out of him, like describing how things looked. But that’s okay. It was hard, but it was worth it. It might not be the most sound-rich story I’ve ever made, but it holds emotional honesty and shows his knowledge of shoes clearly, which was very important to me.

Micaela’s Sonic ID

Listen to “Micaela’s Sonic ID”

I did my second story on Juliana Meyer, who had recently moved from Boise, Idaho to East Sandwich. She had a pet parrot, Hiccup, who she was grooming for me. Birds hate grooming, but I learned it makes them feel so much better.

Listen to more pieces from this Story Workshop class here.

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