This American Life

Last night I went to a screening that KCRW was hosting for Ira Glass' television show This American Life (a spin off of his award-winning radio show). They screened 3 episodes and had a panel of Ira + 4 producers talking about the creative and technical process that goes into the making of both the radio and tv programs.

At the heart of the screening was an episode call "John Smith" - the story of one life, told through the lives of 7 people, all named John Smith. It was great. The 7 John Smiths were a cross-section of society, all at different stages in life (an infant, an 8 year old, a drug abuser, a new father, a father whose son just game back from Iraq, a widower, a man in hospice) . To find their Johns, they put ads in local papers and trade magazines, scouted little league teams, birth announcements, wedding announcements, etc. Apparently there are over 50,000 John Smiths in America and the TAL team interviewed over 500 of them to find the right 7. It was so beautifully put together... the art of storytelling is a dying skill. I'm really thankful that there are people like Ira out there who are willing to work 60 - 70 hour weeks to bring such poignant stories to people like me.

Image c/o This American Life

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