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I listened to two episodes of This American Life last night. In one of them, Ira introduces recordings made during a prom night. He was with the gang of young people and so was his large boom microphone, yet after a while the young'uns acted very normally, and Ira mentioned how it usually takes many long hours for people to get comfortable enough to speak naturally to the mic. I have noticed this myself, of course. I am pleased that my conversation with Dorothy sounds as natural as it does, because we were both aware of the microphone. And I am thinking of the way I did things wrong during my visit to Palm Springs.

To get the richness of Steve's stories I think I need to spend long hours there with him, with the microphone ever present. I need to ask ahead of time and make sure he's up for that. He has been in many articles lately, had his words misinterpreted in print, and he may appreciate my taking the actual recording, using that as my piece.

If nothing else, the time in PS taught me that i am not quite prepared for this project. One thing I intend to do is to write out a series of questions. Whether I use them or not, they will provide a starting point and keep me more on track. I've also noticed that when I speak into the microphone, describing past events, I tend to hesitate and speak ineffectively. I think for those types of things I am better off writing the remarks ahead of time. I do so much better in writing. It's an odd thing.

The more I listen to this radio show the more I learn about technique and the need to project an engaging, but not intrusive, personality. I think that's why Ira Glass does so well. One thing I love is his laugh.

And that reminds me! When I have listened to myself on tape I notice that my laugh is quite distinctive and now, when I laugh in conversation I see that laugh translated as audio signals in my editing program.


Judith Lautner
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January 2012


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