Last month, I was invited to lead a KUOW RadioActive youth media workshop for advanced producers on exploring identity through story. RadioActive supports young people’s growth as media makers by sharing access to public radio’s knowledge, skills and institutions.
In preparation, I spent an afternoon of binge listening their stories. Soon realized there was little I could “teach” them about story structure or narrative voice. So I abandoned my original talking points, and focused instead on sharing the behind-the-scenes story of making our film, then opening it up to discussion.
When I shared my personal road map with them, they devoured it, and within 15 minutes, they came up with some of the most personal, insightful road maps I’ve seen. As a closer, they each shared one thing they were taking away from our time together. I’ll leave you with what they said:
– In order to tell my story, I need to look at the bigger picture of my family.
– Not only are the problems that are the most prevalent the ones not spoken about, they’re also the ones with the hardest solutions. And they affect everyone.
– Even in a story not about you, it’s important to know how you relate to it – that will make the story more authentic. If you know where you fit in, it’s easier to tell.
– It’s okay to tell a story about yourself.
– Everything you put in a story should be rooted in love.
– Let the subject tell the story and put away your preconceived notions.
– The story needed to be told and you didn’t know how to tell it – but you just decided to figure that part out.
– Sometimes you have to let go of a story you have put a ton of work into [7 years of work in your case!] in order to find the right story. That’s really hard.