Monday, March 14, 2011

Writing for radio

This past Friday we met with the Upstart Radio team and began writing for radio. We asked them to write a radio script about someone important in their lives. The process began with a “free writing” exercise in which they wrote for a few minutes everything that came to their minds without raising their pens. We then played a few examples of some radio talks so that they would have an idea of how they should go about changing their free writing notes to a radio script that would be written for the ear. The team then began writing their scripts with assistance from Tom and me.

Reggie editing his script 

I hoped that this exercise would be a continuation of what we began in our Body Maps session. Asking the team to write about someone important to them required a level of trust and comfort with each other. I think that by expecting them to do this kind of writing, we were affirming the existence of this relationship of trust. This was an important aspect of Friday’s exercise for me. While the team wrote their scripts Tom and I went around reading these drafts and helping them refine them. Asking each of the Upstarters individual questions about their scripts helped me get a better sense of what they were trying to express. When I tried to get them to clarify, it was interesting to hear stories that explained what they were saying. One of the team members spoke about how his dad took him for his first driving lesson without warning. When he told the story to me, you could hear the love and affirmation he felt from his father. I could also hear the smile on his face while he told the story. I tried to encourage them to use these stories in their talks because they had the effect of “showing” rather than just telling what their experience with the important person in their life was.
We asked them to read back their scripts to the whole team and this further allowed them to try and explain themselves as we gave them feedback. We then tasked them with going back home and further editing their scripts for this coming week’s session, where we will be recording the radio talks. I’m happy with what they managed to produce in a 20 minute writing session. Two wrote about their relationships with their parents. One team member tells of how her mother has disciplined her before, but she knows that through that, he mother always shows her love. Others spoke about their friends and siblings and the things they love the most about them.
We will be having two sessions next week. In addition to our Friday afternoon workshop we will now have a Saturday slot as well.  I mentioned last week that I’m getting nervous because all we had was an hour and a half per week, and that I definitely thought we needed more time.  Because of this, we have now agreed with the team on making some extra time, and it seems that Saturdays are ideal for everyone. I’m rather relieved.
With things beginning to fall in place, we do need to finalise our agreement with Rhodes Music Radio. We will be meeting with Gugulethu, the station manager on Tuesday to talk about what will be expected of the Upstart Radio team regarding the content that RMR needs. Last year’s team produced four half hour shows that demanded a great deal from that team. This year we want to reduce the work load and set realistic goals for what can be achieved and sustained by school children when Tom and I are no longer part of the project. We have an idea on how to do this but we do need to decide this in consultation with RMR. More on this as soon as the details are clear.


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