Out on the Wire is the show about making stories, step by step. Join cartoonist Jessica Abel as she breaks down the principles of storytelling and puts you on the path to crafting your own story—in prose, comics, audio, video—in any narrative art form, fiction or nonfiction. Featuring radio and podcasting star producers from This American Life, Radiolab, Planet Money, Snap Judgment, and many more. Listen, learn, and collaborate with us to make something great.
Rough mix: Episode 7: Dark Forest
30:47In Episode 8: Your Baby's Ugly we talk a lot about how we edited Episode 7: Dark Forest into into its final form with the help of Jess Jiang and Robert Smith of Planet Money. We wanted to share that process, so here's our original mix of episode 7, which we sent to Jess and Robert, their edit meeting with us, and the final version of episode 7. Enjoy!
Out on the Wire Episode 9: Make It Work
42:32It’s one thing to finish a story, it’s another to make stories your career. In our final episode of season one of Out on the Wire we talk to three creative professionals, Jakob Lewis of the podcast Neighbors, Dave Kellett of the comics Sheldon and Drive and the documentary Stripped, and Kelly Sue DeConnick, writer of the comics Bitch Planet and Pretty Deadly, about how they create their work, put food on the table, and make a life in the constantly shifting creative landscape.
Out on the Wire Episode 8.5: Workshop
1:08:39Dan Waldschmidt and Matthew Williamson just produced the pilot episode of a podcast called "Ordinary Heroes," but they know they need a new point of view on it — time for an edit! Dan and Matthew bravely volunteered to go through an edit on the air with Ben, Matt, and me. We dig into who should narrate the story and how, the role of music in the show, whether we should explicitly lay out the message of the show, and more.
Out on the Wire Episode 8: Your Baby's Ugly
32:47Our stories are our babies, but not all babies are cute. This week, we figure out just how far we’ve still got to go when we take a finished draft of our own show and subject it to the cold scrutiny of an edit by Robert Smith and Jess Jiang of Planet Money. Our baby was kinda messed up, but he’s much prettier now. Also: learn what makes Ira Glass mad, find out how editing is like biofeedback, and hear how Rob Rosenthal of the Transom Story Workshop and the HowSound podcast trains the next generation of expert producers and editors.
Out on the Wire Episode 7.5: Workshop
36:16Céline Keller is making an autobiographical audio story about how she turned her life upside-down in order to raise two wild baby boars on her father’s remote farm in Germany. It sounded good on paper, but now she’s stuck in the dark, German forest, literally! So for our 7th workshop episode we’re actually DOING this week’s challenge with Céline, one of our Working Group participants. The challenge was to collaborate in a focus session to try to move your story forward. We workshop her story together to try and help her find her way out of the Forest by going back and re-examining what’s catching her attention, the scope of the story, and how she can reframe the story to include the best elements of what she was working on, with a new, more focused direction.
Out on the Wire Episode 7: Dark Forest
35:40The Dark Forest is where we go when we're deep in the writing process and lose our way. Overwhelming feelings of self-doubt, confusion, and inadequacy threaten to halt our stories’ progress. Sometimes, we forget why we started on the path in the first place. Luckily, many people have been here before, and they can help us find a way out. This week, we get very lost, and find our way back out again, thanks to Jad Abumrad, Jay Allison, Ira Glass, and more. Plus an interview with Kazu Kibuishi, creator of the graphic novel series Amulet.
Out on the Wire Episode 6.5: Workshop
34:34This week, Matt and Ben and Jessica critiquing scenes written by members of the Out on the Wire working group. An ethnographic memoir about marrying into a new culture, a literary biography of a dancer who found success copying the competition, and in their stunning debut, the Out on the Wire Players perform a scene from a short radio play about an orange.
Out on the Wire Episode 6: Proof of Concept
33:36It’s time to get some ink on that page. We’re in the lab, testing our story hypotheses in the crucible of the writing process. We put things in order, break them down, build them with little blocks, iterate, signpost, and answer the question, “what does Buffy feel?” With the help of Ira Glass, Joe Richman, Soren Wheeler, Glynn Washington, Sean Cole and more.
Out on the Wire Episode 5.5: Workshop
35:39This is our 5th workshop episode, where we discuss work posted the Out on the Wire working group. This week, interviewing—we talk about space monks, schadenfreude, the value of interviewing vs. reading for research, and how to feel confident as you’re starting out doing interviews. Plus a report from group member Dean Johnson about his recent interview with a man who was begging for money at a gas station when they met.
Out on the Wire Episode 5: You're Not Lucky, You're Just Good
46:42Don’t be lucky. Be good. Manufacture your own luck with the right kind of preparation for an interview. We hear from Zoe Chace, Robert Smith, Ira Glass and Jenna Weiss-Berman on how to research, prepare, and execute an interview that will provide exactly what you need. Plus we talk to New Yorker staff writer Larissa MacFarquhar about her interviewing technique and her new book.