It was my first year to attend the Third Coast Conference and I'll never miss it again. Radio producers came from everywhere to convene in Chicago. Folks I have admired for years; all gathered in the same room. Very highly recommended for any and all with an interest in producing public radio and/or sound art. Come! You can even stay in my hotel room.
THE HIGHLIGHT, if I had to pick just one: An amazing one-on-one feedback session with Jad Abumrad of Radiolab. I'm still reeling from the opportunity. We listened to the first five(ish) minutes of my most recent long-form piece, Sealed. The positive feedback: "You use silence in a compelling way.... your voiceover performance sounds really good; a comfortable and natural delivery... I was invested in the story from the start and was disappointed we couldn't listen to the whole thing in one shot." The could-be-better feedback: "You need to seduce listeners into the central tension at the very start... it took me a couple minutes before I realized how compelling your story is. Especially with long-form work, you need to suck people in from the start." My favorite direct quote: "I want the scent in my nostrils that something peculiar is coming." I still need to figure out how to do this. Feel free to listen to my piece and donate assistance in that regard.
As for the rest of my time there, I learned so much about my craft and felt inspired every other moment. I was scribbling down quotes, thoughts, and ideas like a mad woman. So, long after the fact, here are a few quick nuggets from the various sessions I attended. Should something pique your further interest, the audio from all sessions is available from the Third Coast Audio Library.
Opening session: Presenting the 2010 Third Coast ShortDocs: Book Odds
In the Moment Radio with Scott Carrier
Tales of the Tools with Jeff Towne
AIR's Pitch Panel with Chris Turpin, Tony Phillips, Julie Subrin, and Laura Starecheski
Out of Thin Air: Sound Design for Radio with Steven Tilley
The Sound and the Blurry with Amy O'Leary
Final session: The Mysterious Production with ANDREW BIRD (!) and Jay Ryan
TWO BONUS TIDBITS FOR MAKING IT ALL THE WAY THROUGH:
Bonus 1: The only photographic proof I was there: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thirdcoastfestival/5143717730/
Bonus 2: Julie Shapiro, Third Coast Festival Artistic Director, ran into me in the hotel foyer. After introductions, she asked if I was the Colleen Kelly who submitted Sealed to the audio festival. (YES!) She said she really loved it; that divorce is a common topic and that I successfully covered it in a new and interesting way. Praise the Lord.