July 26th, 2006


Media conventions and podcasting

When movies first came into existence—no, make that when movies first were used to tell stories rather than as a novelty—they plopped the camera down in a position corresponding to the best seat in the theater, and let it roll. Actors did what they were used to doing: performing on a stage.

Eventually people figured out that they didn't need to do things that way. You could start out showing the whole set and then cut to a close up. You could cut back and forth between two different locations (the villain tying the pure heroine to the railroad track, and the dashing hero riding to the rescue). Acting had to change to match: a broad gesture suited for the stage wouldn't work in a close-up.

So... podcasts are a new medium. Or are they? The "grammar" (as it's called--the stuff with establishing shots vs. medium shots and close-ups, and cross cutting etc. are collectively called "film grammar") of an audio stream surely was established over decades of radio broadcasting. That in turn made me think of radio drama, and then of Rejection Slip Theater.

RST was an hour-long radio show that aired for a time on Sunday evenings on WHO AM (1040 KHz, in Des Moines). The premise of the show was that the scripts performed had all been submitted elsewhere and rejected. (I don't know whether that was always the case...maybe the first of Paul Berge's Arnie Azetti segments was rejected, or the concept.) I listened to it regularly (little suspecting that one evening I would hear my wife-to-be!).

So, I thought to myself, "Self, it would be really neat if there were a Rejection Slip Theater podcast!"

Already there: click here for info.

Thence by free association, I thought of that master of surreal audio soundscapes: Ken Nordine. It is a joy to be able to tell you that he has a blog and a podcast: click here for a magnificent experience.
  • Current Music
    "Flipperty Jib," Ken Nordine