Lake, story, lake

The other day, I was sitting around after a long expo shift (go Badgers!) when I remembered one of my gap year aspirations that had yet to be realized, or even worked towards: independent production.

In high school I ran the radio branch of the school’s student broadcast organization, BNC. They still make stuff, but I mostly stopped after I graduated, save for the contract I landed with NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland that was basically pro bono + mileage. (It’s a start.) Anyways, one of my intentions after moving to Madison was to start producing again. Mainly, I wanted to expand my [virtually non-existant outside of high school] portfolio in intimate storytelling-form documentary pieces. Basically, the type of thing that you would contribute to a program like This American Life.

Well, now that there’s nothing to do besides work and practice extremely limitedly, since I finally finished applying to UW and petitioning for residency, I’ve decided to get started. Initially I thought I would be bringing a car up with me, so I was planning to pound pavement across the entire state. That is definitely something I’d like to do eventually, but for now, I’m going to stick to Madison. The premise for the shorts will be a single story perspective, with various Madtowners weighing in if necessary. I’ll be asking for unique stories about past or present events or people all around the city. Think a sort of hybrid of Reinvention Stories (at least in length) from WYSO and the angle of the Georgia Rambler episode of This American Life from WBEZ.

If this is actually successful in some way, then I’m going to be putting the series on PRX and calling it “Lake, Story, Lake.” For those of you who don’t know (most of you), that’s a play on Madison’s semi-official slogan, “Lake, City, Lake.” Here’s why that’s our slogan:


Downtown Madison is on an isthmus between Lake Monona (right/south) and Lake Mendota (left/north). My apartment is almost on Lake Mendota.

So I’ll start to gather stories here in the next couple of weeks, and I’m hoping to have a few interviews done by the time Christmas rolls around.

Why do I want to do this? Well, I’m bored and I’m curious. Also, someone who reads this blog once gave me the advice that in order to succeed, I needed to learn how to make something. Well, it’s not going to be good at first, but that’s the other reason that I want to do this – I might as well hone my skills when the stakes are low.

So I’ll keep posted about that.

In semi-related news, one of my closest friends from high school did radio with me before he graduated, and his cousin lives in Madison, goes to UW, and works at a used bookstore in State Street. I met him today, which was pretty cool.

It feels good to be getting up and actually doing something.


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