Documentaries, CSEC Docs

Back again, with more stories of This American Life

When I get frustrated with my own creative process (which happens often), I borrow someone else's.

My experience of my own creativity is deeply frustrating. I never seem to be able to get at the problem head-on. Instead, I have to sneak up on things. Concretely, this means I spend a lot of time fretting with writer's block, anxiety, and late nights of trying to get my creativity in gear.

It is at such moments that I start looking around to those that inspire me, to see if they can offer insights from their own process - either to goad me into something helpful, or just to give me reassurance that people I admire have the same kind of struggles that I do.

Because I am a radio nerd, a key inspiration for me is Ira Glass, creator and host of the Chicago Public Media mainstay, This American Life. Glass's advice on narrative and creativity are essential touchstones for all producers.

So I was especially happy to find this little gem - a behind the scenes look at the frantic process behind the early days of This American Life. (thanks, Chicago Tonight!) 

Seriously - we see Ira literally rewriting the show at the last minute, switching things out and fighting to make the show better, right down to the wire.

These sort of moments are gold to me. Seeing my own struggles to get a narrative to come into focus, to get a documentary to take shape, it gives me courage to see Ira and the team go through their own battles with the material. As Ira once said, "Your purpose is to find your story's purpose."

So there you have it. On a Tuesday afternoon, when I'm struggling to find my way through the script of the upcoming documentary we're working on, this is where I go for inspiration. Hope it helps you, too.