22 Aug 2017 A View from the Cutting Room Floor
An urgent call, email and two texts on Friday from a dear-but-far-away friend brought a new project: KCRW’s 5th Annual 24-hour Radio Race. I’d never heard of this wonderful thing and I was intrigued. KCRW in Santa Monica hosts this annual competition in which contestants are given a theme at 10a Saturday (PST). Contestants then have 24 hours to write, record, edit, and upload a 4-minute non-fiction work of, “the most original, the most moving, the most inventive, the most unexpected piece of ‘instant radio’ anyone will hear in 2017.” (No pressure, of course.)
Susan (my dear-but-far-away friend) called with a scheme – she wanted to do this. She wanted to put together a team of extraordinary women to create and produce an entry into this competition. And she wanted me to be a part of it.
I said yes, and… no. Yes, I said – of course! I would love to be a part of this strange and remarkable project, yes! But… no. I’m not at home, I said, I’m not in Brooklyn or even NYC; I’m in Massachusetts, I said, I’m in the hinterlands – my access to strange and remarkable stories is limited and BESIDES I have a summer cold and I feel miserable. I would like to curl up please, no-thank-you-on-this-project-thank-you-for-thinking-of-me-maybe-next-time, but… something (Susan is very persuasive) moved me to say yes, and so… yes won.
Which is how I ended up on my parent’s porch in Massachusetts skyping with a team of women I’d mostly just met on a Saturday afternoon in August. Three hours we brainstormed and chatted and convened. Ideas were batted. Tossed. Obliterated and resurrected. I mostly just listened. I was shy. These were new people and I was sick as a hound and out of my urban element. But I also knew that my distance, location and circumstance didn’t really lend itself to the direction we were moving in. I had a wonderful interview subject at my disposal, and that was my hidden card – if the 4-minutes went in a particular direction, bingo: the interview was gold. And if it didn’t? I landed where so many wonderful talents do at some point – the cutting room floor.
And that’s exactly where I landed, somewhere in the wee hours of Sunday as the magic was taking hold. I wish I could have been there with them as they put it all together. It was a fabulous experience – I’m so proud of my team, and I loved being a part of it even if my participation was limited. Our piece, “No One Said It Was Easy,” is now up on SoundCloud here.
I encourage you to check out not only this year’s entries and winners, but past seasons as well. There are some remarkable 4-minute stories produced in just 24 hours.