Inspiration #1: Ira Glass on Storytelling

So I’ve had this blog for almost two years now, where I post on a whim – and on everything from American Idol recaps to introspective artist-y things.  This year I wanted to post on something I think about on a regular basis so that I could blog a little less haphazardly/more consistently.

I realized that one thing I have a voracious appetite for are bits of inspiration from creatives I respect.  These are usually found in the form of interviews, essays or single quotes.  I usually post them on facebook or Twitter, and then they inevitably float away.

This year I’m putting them here.   I’ll post old faves and new faves as I find them, and offer a little about how the bit affected me.  I hope that my fellow artists and writers will enjoy these too.  It’s a strange and mostly difficult path we’re on, but it can be so rewarding – and hearing others’ stories is encouraging and helps us feel less alone.

The first one I’m going to start with is this great interview with Ira Glass about his approach to storytelling.

Why I Love This: This is a great general lesson on finding your voice.    It took Ira yeeaaaars to get to where he is as a master storyteller, but we all have to start somewhere, and he talks about pieces of the creative process that beginners may not know – or old pros may forget.  I take a look at these vids every once in awhile as a kind of mental echinacea.

My Favorite Part: In Part 3, Ira explains that we all get into creative work because we have great taste.  But in the first few years, there is big a gap between our taste and our ability.  Our taste is so “killer” that we know what we’re making isn’t living up to our ambitions.  Most people quit at this point.  Ira explains that everyone goes through this phase and implores people to keep working in order to close the gap.

Part 1 of 4 of Ira Glass Interview:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Hope you enjoy the vids!  Next one coming up soon :)

In Bed With TED!

I’m so late on the train, but is anyone else obsessed with the TED Talks?  My first day logging on, I spent about 4 hours in bed watching these videos!!!

From left: Al Gore at TED2006; Jane Goodall at TED2003; Brian Greene at TED2005

With the motto “Ideas worth spreading”, TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) has been putting on conferences for over twenty years to bring together brilliant people from these three industries.

Launched in 2007, their website features over 200 TEDTalk videos, which are 18 minute “Inspired talks by the world’s leading thinkers and doers”.  Wow!!!  These aren’t your ordinary “how-to” videos presented by teenage girls in their bedrooms – nonono, TED is like the Lincoln Center of YouTube.  Part personal storytelling/part motivational speech TED is The Moth with a point.

And now thanks to video, we can all sit at the table with the cool kids!  TED rolls with people like:  former VP Al Gore, THE Jane Goodall, and neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Tayler.  We’ve also got the class nerds and band geeks such as:  Johnny Lee (who actually was a YouTube star) hacking into Wii remote controls before our very eyes,  Sir Ken Robert talking about how the school system is killing creativity (whaaaa???), David Gallo showing us phosphorescent creatures of the deep and Nellie McKay performing some songs on piano and uke (though she doesn’t actually give a speech, as I don’t think anyone could sit through 18 minutes of someone talking in a 1930s voice).

My absolute favorite, though, is Benjamin Zander.  Zander is conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, and he has an INCREDIBLY infectious love for classical music and is a tireless cheerleader in sharing his passion with others.  Given by anybody else, this talk would have been a corny trainwreck, but Zander’s bursting-at-the-seams enthusiasm is really disarming.  Plus, he’s funny (middle-aged white dude funny)!  If he wanted to, he could be the next Victor Borge.

This entire series reminds me of a more mini-mic-wearing version of the Ira Glass storytelling video on YouTube that I looooove:

He should do a TEDTalk!

Anyway, I think these talks are a great hybrid of educational and cultural content – weeee!  I am truly relieved that amongst all the crap that is being broadcast on YouTube (although I will always love Hamster on a Piano), we have some quality original videos online.   I’m preaching to the choir, but I think TED proves that although absolutely nothing can replace the magic of a live event, it’s fucking great when the good ones documented so that they can live on in embeddable, 3″x5″ glory!