Week 8: Story Structure

Today we focused on story structure. We started class by reporting out on how everyone's first interviews went. Some people had tech issues, which we resolved. All in all, everyone had positive experiences. Next, we went over some interview Quick Tips (which, we realized, double as pretty solid life advice): 

  • Ask for what you need (move furniture, turn off noisy thing).
  • Go in with a plan. Write out questions, but be open to going off script. Listen and respond.
  • Don’t be afraid to get up close and personal (your mic should be about 4 inches from their mouth).
  • Seek out emotion and anecdotes.
  • The best thing you can do in an interview is be a human being. Be kind, be present, be curious.

We listened to Rabbit Hunt from NPR and SoundPortraits to demonstrate powerful story structure. After a discussion, we read this How I Work interview with Ira Glass about he attacks his stories. We gave them a bunch of examples of story structure possibilities. We ended with an activity called Phone a Friend where they had to partner up and tell their stories to each other. The idea was to get them speaking conversationally. 

For homework, they're reading the story structure chapter in Out on the Wire, conducting second interviews and writing first drafts! For additional for-fun listening, we're recommending Where No One Should Go (Snap Judgement/16 min) and The Act of Listening (TED Radio Hour/60 min).