Ira Glass Video Summary

When telling stories through television or radio, you don’t want to think of it like how you were taught in high school. We were taught that there is a topic sentence and then you follow it up with facts that fill out the rest of the argument. Broadcasting is different as it has two basic building blocks. The first one is the anecdote, which is just a sequence of actions. One action leads to the next with thoughts and ideas that are relevant to the story that can bridge parts together. Another use of the anecdote is to raise questions throughout the story to help grab the listeners attention and make it sound interesting. The second building block is to have a moment of reflection. This moment is to tell the listener why they are listening to this story. Glass states that for the people who are new to broadcasting, is that they either have one block or the other. They might have an amazing story with a lot of action, but no real reason as to why you would be listening to it, or they might have the opposite, a very boring story that someone might have something interesting to say about it. In a good story, you will need both and will flip between the two.

The next point Glass touches on is finding a decent story. What most people think is that the more time consuming part is editing the video/recording when more often than not, it is finding story that takes more time. You shouldn’t be afraid to kill any story that you have recorded. If at first, say you’re talking to a person on the phone about a story, they sound interested and excited about it. That’s great, but when you go to interview them in person, it just doesn’t feel as exciting as it did over the phone. This is the point where you kill it, which can in turn make something better live. You shouldn’t be afraid to abandon crap. If you want a story to be good, you have to be ruthless and get rid of the boring parts while keeping the more exciting ones. Being picky isn’t a bad thing when it comes to storytelling. He also says that failure is a big part in success. You can’t learn from mistakes if you don’t make any. If you aren’t failing most of the time, you won’t be able to create a situation where you might get lucky. People want to go into this career wanting to make exciting stories, and they can do so if they take advice from people like Ira who have been in their situation before.

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