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DocLab Shorts 24 Nov at 19:45

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Ira Glass Presenteth

Help! Acute storytelling envy! Ira Glass, creator of America’s most popular podcast, This American Life, regaled a packed venue of excited listeners this afternoon with his behind-the-scenes tales from the land of radio. That’s right, the wireless: invented in 1885

This American LifeIra Glass at IDFA

Help! Acute storytelling envy! Ira Glass, creator of America’s most popular podcast, This American Life, regaled a packed venue of excited listeners this afternoon with his behind-the-scenes tales from the land of radio. That’s right, the wireless: invented in 1885 and still going strong!

Riding high on a heady cocktail of sleep deprivation and Red Bull, Mr Glass kindly explained the secrets behind the narrative-building excellence which has gained him a worldwide following of 1.8 million listeners per show (apparently it’s all down to a format developed by his rabbi which he unwittingly absorbed as a young synagogue-goer).

He introduced us to the borderless spectrum of material covered in This American Life: from exceptionally told humdrum, to new angles on the CNN continuous repeat loop. Where the latter may show a navy convoy of brave men and women fighting the good fight against a backdrop of American flags and rousing music, Ira’s show might focus instead on the lady who’s job it is to re-stock the vending machines on board. Seeing things from the bottom up and captivating viewers with the minutia of reality. Skirting the corners of journalism dogma, Glass’s unique approach means reporters may laugh, cry or (more likely, we gather) cringe if the mood takes them during a recording – and it won’t be edited out.

Excited for the follow-up tonight: the live theatre show-case of This American Life, with audio samples from the show, and video samples from the spin-off television series. Be still my beating heart!

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