Episode 1: Eureka, transcript

with your host Jessica Abel

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We adapted this transcript from our working scripts, so it may not always be word-for-word accurate (particularly in the interview section), but it follows the structure of the recording, and may serve to help you locate what you need in the tape.

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Out on the Wire Episode 1: Eureka

I’m Jessica Abel, and we’re going Out on the Wire.

The show about making stories, step by step.


I’ve been making comics for 25 years. I’m probably best known for my graphic novel La Perdida, and for my two textbooks about making comics, Drawing Words & Writing Pictures, and Mastering Comics.

I’m currently working on a series called Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars. which is about rollerderby. on Mars.

For my new book, Out on the Wire: the Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio, which is available right now, by the way, I spent the last 3 years interviewing the best storytellers on the radio, and researching how they craft their work.

Because I wanted to know how they do what they do, and…more than that, why. What drives them?

A while ago I was interviewing Ira Glass over Skype, and  I asked him motivates him to tell stories. And what he said surprised me.

Ira Glass:

I’m interested in making stuff that’s amusing. To me.

It surprised me because I was like, really? That’s it?

But then he kept going…

And I want it to be a thing where, it pulls you in and you can’t not listen to it.

If you hear minute one, and you can’t turn off and miss minute two.

That’s what’s so interesting to me.

That’s like going into a casino. That’s like trying to sell a car. That’s like trying to like ride a bucking bronco, I say as somebody would never do any of those things.

Except for the casino one.

You have these people who are going to be your interviewees and you want to turn them into this thing that’s going to be a product, and it’s, you want it to be incredibly special. And magnetic. That’s the thing that seems so captivating. That’s what I think about.

What’s Ira saying?

Yeah, you want to do stuff you’ll enjoy doing, for sure.

But when Ira’s like, “I just want to do stuff that’s amusing to me,” it seems like he’s saying he just wants to have fun when he works.

but no.

He goes on to make clear that making his stories as good as they are feels like walking a tightrope. It’s risky. It’s brave.

Because what he wants is to make the most gripping, compelling, take-you-by-the-throat-and not let you go, entertainment out of an actual person’s story, that’s possible.

He wants to take us by the ears, grab us and not let us go. He wants to do stuff that makes him the king of radio.

Which is what we all want.

Aim high, and the danger is, you’ve got further to fall. But if you don’t risk falling, you’re sure to come up short.

Way back in month one of the project, week one, actually, I was interviewing Jay Allison, the producer of the Moth Radio Hour.

The name of my book, and of this show, was inspired by something he said to me about the storytellers on the Moth, about what it takes to tell a great story.  

Jay Allison:

When they stand up there, if they don’t get out on that wire…well out on the center of that wire, and it’s bouncing, and they’re, you know, if they’re just walking across the floor… people won’t listen.

People. Won’t. Listen. Did you get it?

Me, I want to grab you by the eyeballs. I want readers who are like, Oh my god.

I cannot put this down, this is amazing.

But the only way I’ll do that is if I get way out on that wire, and it’s bouncing. If I don’t commit, why should my reader?

And so here I am, way out on this wire, with this show…

which is a super new and super scary thing to try to do.

Way back in December, I was sitting in my studio hunched over my drawing table, thinking about my next step…

Jessica tape:

How am I going to get out of this…it’s funny, I want to say “rut.” I’m a successful, accomplished cartoonist. It’s not a rut. It’s a life choice.

In some ways I’ve reached the logical end of life goals set for myself when I was…21 or whatever. I just couldn’t imagine beyond getting to where I am now. And somehow I thought that when I got where I am now, everything would be what I wanted it to be. And it’s not. And I’m 44 years old…no, wait, I turned 45. I’m 45 years old. It’s time to do something different.

Well, this is different all right.

I’m playing the same game these Masters are playing. But taking creative risks is what it’s all about. That’s how we make things that are worth making.

The producers in Out on the Wire are not in radio or podcasting to chit chat, to meet people, or to build their platform. They’re trying to make the most powerful, compelling stories possible, bar none.

I wanted to get the details: what gets them up in the morning. What are they thinking about?

Because in some ways, I want to know what makes me get up in the morning. Why do I keep doing this stupid job. What keeps me in my studio for three years, looking out the window at the river down there below instead of sitting on the bank eating cheese and grapes?

I admit, when I talk to others about telling stories I’m always thinking about how it applies to me, to my own process.

And, I expect no less from you, my friends.

You’re thinking about how this relates to you, to your secret story ambitions.

and that is A-OK. Think about yourself, cool.

“This story needs to be told. Oh my god. I can’t tell this story.”

Do you feel that way?

You are among friends here.

This show is about how to build narrative, all kinds of narrative.

For obvious reasons, this show will often appear to be about making radio and podcasts. And sometimes, it will sound like a show about making comics. But it’s not.

You may have no interest in making audio stories. And that’s OK. I used–I am using–these same principles to write my nonfiction graphic novel, Out on the Wire, and to write my very fictional comic, Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars. Take me as proof this stuff works.

This is not a show about radio. Radio people do this stuff super awesome, so we’re going to talk to a bunch of them, but the show is about story.

And my book is about story. It’s right there in the title, “storytelling secrets.”

In researching my book, I recorded hours and hours of interviews with master storytellers, interviews no one has ever heard, until now.

In fact, I made these tapes with the idea that no one but me would ever need to hear them. and that’s sometimes evident in the audio quality.

Lesson learned: you just never know when you’re going to want to turn your research into a radio show, so learn how to record good tape, kids!

I’ll be bringing you lost treasures from my Out on the Wire interviews with people like Ira and Jay, as well as star producers from shows like Radiolab, Snap Judgment, Radio Diaries, and Planet Money.

We’ll hear what they have to teach us, and we’ll learn how to build a narrative, together.

At the end of this episode, We’ll be talking to New Master of Radio Stephanie Foo of This American Life to get her story on making stories, and we’ve got a narrative-making challenge that will put you on the road to making something great. But more on that later.

Out on the Wire. It’s about taking risks. Putting it all on the line. Opening yourself up to the world. Telling your story.

c’mon– let’s get out on that wire.

This is episode 1: Eureka.

Pay attention to what you pay attention to.




part 1: taste.

Ira Glass:

there are things that come down to technique, which is how to make a structure and how to focus a story, but one of the things that doesn’t get talked a lot about is, so much what makes something good is just your taste. Enforcing your taste. And noticing what your taste is. And noticing what you really love, and what you only kind of like.

To be successful you have to have interesting taste.

When Ira first said this to me, “you have to have good taste,” I was like, I was like, taste, what? pff. What is he talking about, taste, that sounds so weird and elitist.

But I thought about it. A lot. And this is what I think he means: Pay attention to your attention. Pay attention to what you feel connected to.

That’s your taste.

When I first started writing this episode I was in my studio with my producer Ben, and he played   me a piece of tape you heard earlier:

it’s funny, I want to say “rut.” I’m a successful, accomplished cartoonist. It’s not a rut. It’s a life choice.

and he was like:

[tape: that is such a good piece of tape, like…]

I’m like, huh. OK. I can see that.

He has a different ear from me.

Taste is about what captivates you. Which of course gets straight back to the the idea that you should work to amuse yourself, like Ira said earlier.

Amuse yourself, and you’ll realize you’re following your taste.

What will keep you going for however long it takes to get through it?



I’ve got a funny story about how I managed to amuse myself.

A few years ago—actually, quite a few. It was in December, 2006—I was working on my textbook about how to make comics, Drawing Words & Writing Pictures. I collaborated on it with Matt Madden, my husband and fellow cartoonist, and we were working on a chapter about how to create characters.

There’s an activity in there we’d done many times in our classes, where you randomly choose a physical characteristic, a job, and an emotional characteristic, and you put them together, and you build a character out of it.

It’s really funny, and fun, and it demonstrates definitively the power of juxtaposition—just put those non-aligned things together and your mind starts working. I can’t tell you how many students have gotten bizarre combos like “melancholy jockey who wears colored contacts”… and then gone on to actually love those characters and use them in stories.

Anyway, I had Matt give me those keywords for two characters, so I could draw some illustrations for the book.

Here are the prompts Matt gave me:


spiked collar



wears a skirt

tour guide

…And I came up with a roller girl and a 7-legged Martian.

The second part of the assignment is to put the characters together into a scenario, and build a story structure. So I gamely put Trish Trash, my rollergirl, on Mars, and invented a wacky caper plot involving a stolen suitcase, and then drew another illustration to suggest that storyline.  

…it was just an example for our textbook. I wasn’t trying to come up with anything deep.

But days later, I still felt myself drawn to the idea. On Christmas day, 2006, I jotted down a few notes:

Roller Derby is the biggest Earth sport.

Mars is the farm league – it’s not competitive.

Bad roads, too many rocks. Dust, wind.

Martians use wheels, very uncool.

All right, a farm machine breaks down and she gets this holo-image asking for help? Has to find an old martian. yeah, ok.

She gathers a girl gang in high school, and has all these sidekicks like old Wonder Woman from the 40s?

…that’s just goofy. clearly riffing on Star Wars and the silly illustration I’d done for the book.

immigration problems

all brown kids. backwater, political strife, maybe?

blonde Earth teams.

…which is where I start to feel the pull of my usual, more serious concerns in fiction: class struggle, institutionalized racism, complicated personal relationships.

About 20 minutes into making my first page of notes on this idea. And I was off.

Six months later, I had read up on leaf-harvester ants, bee colonies, various theories about terraforming Mars, and I was halfway through Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars trilogy. I went to a bunch of derby bouts and talked to players.

And as bits stuck to it, my idea grew from a silly Nancy-Drew-on-Mars romp, to a massive,  world-spanning story, touching on climate change, class conflict, and coming of age.

I built a world in my mind, and eventually, with the help of my assistant Lydia Roberts, I drew it. It’s now almost 9 years later, and I’m finally close to finishing the book.

Making this book has been an epic struggle. But it all stems from 3 prompts:

cheerful, spiked collar, X-games.

And Trish isn’t even really all that cheerful anymore.

I paid attention to my attention, and I dove in, way way in. Eight years and two planets in.

And let me say again: this is MY taste. Someone else would see roller derby and mars and be like, whatever! And keep walking.

I mean, that person would clearly be nuts, but hey, different strokes.

Learn to pay attention to what you pay attention to.

It’s so easy to dismiss it. You have to train yourself to grab onto those things and not let go.

There’s a story in Out on the Wire about this same process, on a topic that’s much closer to real life.

As far back as 2005, Alex Blumberg became curious about how all his very non-rich radio producer pals were buying houses. How were they getting mortgages? What was going on in the housing market?

Alex Blumberg:

And I became sort of obsessed with  all these websites that were talking about it, and I got totally obsessed with this one website called “Calculated risk.” In early on in 2005 it had been sort of a place where skeptics about the housing bubble gathered.

Alex worried that reading sites like Calculated Risk meant that he was just succumbing to alarmist internet rhetoric.

He kept trying to pitch stories on the topic to This American Life, where he was a producer at the time, but nothing seemed to gel. He consulted his old friend Adam Davidson, who was a business reporter.

And he would tell me like, the people I talk to say there’s not really a problem as long as the models are right, you know, and he’s like, but you know, the models could be wrong. Ha ha. You know.

There was something about the subject that he couldn’t let go of. And then, in the summer of 2007…

The first big subprime lender collapsed. Which was a company called New Century, I think. Then a bunch a bunch of them collapsed after that. And then, I remember Adam sending me this email saying, maybe it’s too late to do that subprime story. I was like, I think it’s still ok.

The 2008 story they made to explain what had caused our economy to virtually collapse is called “The Giant Pool of Money,” and it’s among the most listened-to, talked-about, important hours This American Life has ever made.

And that episode, and the reaction to it, is what inspired Adam and Alex to found the show Planet Money.

What’s important here, is that the germ of the idea that eventually made Planet Money possible, this weird tingly feeling about mortgages, seemed like a total outlier when Alex started poking at it and developing it.

And then it took four years to come to fruition!  

Sometimes that’s just how it is. I know:

My book La Perdida took 6 years.

another graphic novel, Life Sucks, also 6 years.

A novel, which has never been published, 5 years.

Drawing Words & Writing Pictures and the sequel Mastering Comics, 6 years.

Out on the Wire, well, you could call it 3 years, or you could call it 16, if you count Radio: An Illustrated Guide, the comic I did with Ira back in 1999.

…And the tales I could tell about how I struggled to make these works real. In fact, probably I will tell some of them. But it comes down to this:

When I have a good idea, I grab on, and I don’t let go. I read and research, I write and I talk, and I keep building material until it clicks into place, like Alex did with the story that became “The Giant Pool of Money.”

I also toss and cull, and strike and annul. I have plenty of ideas that I don’t like, but at the core, the ideas I chase are the ideas that I love.

My works take years to come to fruition, and I need ideas that can fuel me for a long long time.

Like Ira says: your taste matters.

And how do you know what your taste actually is? You have to listen to yourself, pay attention to what excites you, what you talk about. And then invest in it: invest your time and your attention.

Ira Glass:

And chances are, like, if you’re somebody wants to make stories, the reason why you want to make them is because you love stories, and you probably do have interesting taste. And that’s kind of what’s getting you into the game.

Now, I’m telling you to trust your taste, but I know that that is a tough thing to do, it’s really hard. You have to believe you have good ideas. And that other people want to hear your ideas.

You have to believe that, or you can’t make anything.

You do have something to share, you have a point of view that’s worth having.

That’s what Ira saying in that tape.

If you want to do this it’s because you’re good…at having good taste.

Which does not make you good at making stories. Only actually making a bunch of stories can make you good at that. Ira is also famous for talking about that.

When I type “Ira Glass” into Google, the second suggested phrase is “Ira Glass the gap.” Which means this lo-fi video on youTube of Ira taking to Current TV about storytelling gets more searches on Google than his actual show. Not more listens mind you. Let’s be clear. but this idea has definitely hit a nerve.

[tape from gap video]

“All of us who do creative work, the reason we get into it,

What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me …is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work is kind of a disappointment to you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit.

Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s totally normal and the most important thing possible you can do is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week or every month you will finish one story.

It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. Look, I took longer to figure out how to do this than anybody I’ve ever met. It takes a while. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile.

You’ve just gotta fight your way through it.


As soon as I decided to start this show with an episode on ideas, I knew I wanted to use the opportunity to circle back to Stephanie Foo, a radio wunderkind I first met while researching my book Out on the Wire in Snap Judgment out in Oakland, California. Stephanie is one of the most engaged, ambitious, openhearted producers I met, and she’s also amongst the most productive.

Stephanie is an ideas machine. She’s crammed all 10,000 hours of deliberate practice of her craft into about three years. So I was not at all surprised when Ira snapped her up to work at This American Life last year.

Our conversation was wide-ranging, and I’m sure you’ll be hearing more from her in the future. Meanwhile, I asked Stephanie how she managed to have so many great ideas.

interview rough log:

S: just being super curious everything is a story you have to walk through the world, tassuming htat you are surrounded by storeis. As I’ve come to become older, that is not the truth, fewer things are stories, but it;s a valuable way to live,

this gargoyle whats that about, what about? cocktail party what are they about

Especially when I just started out, I was just i interviewing all my friends, everyone I knew. I was lying about being a journalist and calling random people. I remember  I thought the “i can has cheezburger” meme, was just so ridiculous, I wonder how that guy came up with that? So I just called that guy up…


wait what do you mean you were pretending to be a journalist?


I mean, I was like…oh I have a podcast that’s legit. Where I interview people about, uh…their life goals or dreams or whatever… I mean, I didn’t, i mean I did. I had a podcast called “Get me on This American Life.”

Which wasn’t really legitimate at all. I lied and I snuck my…got myself pres passes into lots of things. Conventions.


i don’t think that’s lying that’s being brave, ambitious


Also a little a bit sneaky


Maybe a little bit, what level is your podcast is at


No no, i kept that a secret. I kept it a secret that my listenership was five.

what i like to tell young producers that are starting out is “don’t get mad get tape.”


good one


the things that irritate the second you feel irritated delve really deep into that, figure it out do others have the same experience.

I used to skateboard around San Francisco and guys would yell at me KICKFLIP! so original. and i would get so irritated so i carried a recorder and i recordered the hollars, J: hollers.

and then i started chasing other girls getting to interview them, you know, yellow fever, dating, encountering guys dating only asian women. fvocal fry it was very upsetting.

which is not to say write a rant and read it into a microphone. Its about finding tape find other perspectives

you are a hunter for stories go out into the wilderness with your bow and  arrow and like, crawl through the brush, can’t like just sit at home in front of the TV

when Snap didn’t have money if i wanted to reporta story somewhere, like say texas i couldn’t bring back one story it was a couple thousand to send me, i’d couch surf, so i told them i would bring back 10.


But here’s the thing, i didn’t go out and talk to people in bars, no,  i planned ahead. Weeks beforeI would research, local papers, email local bloggers and personalities, if there are interesting people, i would call the comedy clubs, see if anyone specialises in long-form storytelling record improv performers, ask friends of friends call them, and ask who’s interesting, And then there were instances of, I was driving in West Texas, and I saw a taxidermy sign off of one chain, and an ibex in a tub of blood, I’m going there! I pull over, I’m gonna talk to people


wonder if you have feelings about these concepts might apply to a fiction writer or someone who wants to write a nonfiction book.


its exactly the same i used to do comics

I used to apply the same things when i did comics about dating, when things that made me laugh or pissed off and examine them through comics, i write a lot for myself, I don’t necssarily publish it. three years later it might be an interesting this to explore


what about fiction


only done it one time, i think you could apply these principles, i see stories on the news that aren’t really stories, but i’m like these are great writing prompt, florida man, and why would Florida man do that?


what about ideas that don’t turn into anything


it’s like fanfiction

yeah if it were this, i have cool ideas for fiction stories all the time because i have ideas of what my non fiction stories should be, but again


the beauty is that it’s different, fiction is you make whatever you want happen


fiction is wishful thinking. in your own life, wishful thinking is if, it’s like that question earlier, why would somebody do something like this? Why would somebody do something like this? what would their motivation be? That’s how you get into a characters head and building it.




i’m lazy that’s why i do nonfiction. I like other people to live their lives for me.


excuse me, as someone who just got done with three years of work in non-fiction, I would assure you it’s not lazy


that’s true


How does it feel to be the grown up woman now, working at This American Life, what do you say to the skateboarding girl who was “pretending to be a journalist,” who had a podcast called Get me on This American Life?


I wouldn’t talk to that girl, because she always felt like it. She was excited.

I would talk to the girl who was at Snap Judgment, producing five stories a week and feeling like her head was going to explode and like she was crazy and not good at her job and say…

you’re in  it, this is what it takes. this is what it takes to be good, and it’s working.

you might not feel like it’s working, because you’re might be buried in a million stories, and you might not be able to find your way out, and your bosses might be arguing with you and everybody at work might be an absolute chaotic mess, but that’s what it takes, that’s what everybody goes through to be good.

Getting completely messy, feeling completely lost is absolutely necessary to finding your way out and becoming good,


german forest


Yeah, the dark forest, exactly.

Yeah, just over and over again, you find different paths out, so at a certain point you can go almost anywhere and know how to find your way back.


that is freakin beautiful, that’s great, that’s amazing.



Now here’s this week’s challenge:

Wait. First, let me explain this whole concept a little further.

We’re going to post new themed-episodes every two weeks. At the end of each episode, there will be a challenge, designed to get you working on a narrative project of your own. In-between the themed episodes we’ll stage a workshop episode with some of the best material from the community, to explore the process of collaboration and critique.

The episodes will build on one another, so that over the course of the season, you’ll be moving forward with your story.

The aim is, you and all your fellow listeners can use this show as inspiration, and concrete help, to produce a work. Remember what Ira says about the gap. You have killer taste, but it’s only through making the work that you will get as good as you need to be to make the story in your imagination come to life.

Some of the works you set out to do will not be achievable within this time frame. You’re not getting a 200-page graphic novel out the door in a few months. But you could get it entirely planned and ready to start penciling.

But working on big stuff like this is super demanding.

It’s enormously helpful to have a support group, and more than that, specific, direct editorial help. I’ll be talking a lot about collaboration in this show; it’s the secret weapon of these great radio producers, and it’s my secret weapon too.

So to make that possible for all of you, we have started a Google+ Community for all of you to join, and work on this together.

It’s a private community, and we’ll be doing our damndest to moderate it to make it a safe and productive space for working together. You join by going to my website at jessicaabel.com/podcast, and signing up to receive my newsletter.

That’s Jessicaabel.com/podcast.

If you’re wondering why we’re using Google+, when everybody and her mother is on Facebook: the Google+ Community platform allows for creating topics of discussion, in a kind of folder structure, like a forum, so that we can easily access discussions on an individual challenge. It’s also very easy to link material from Google Drive, so if you have large files you want feedback on, you’ll be able to make those available to the community easily.

So even if you never use Google+ otherwise, we hope you’ll give it a try.

Even if you miss the initial release of this episode, and you’re on a different schedule than those who started at the beginning, there are discussions devoted to each challenge separately, so you can dive in at any time.

We are super-excited to try this, and see if building this kind of community can foment the creation of all kinds of new stories.

So let’s get started.


For this week’s challenge, I want you to come up with an idea for a narrative project.

That’s a tall order. After all, I’ve had over 15 years to think about Out on the Wire in one form or another. That’s a long runway.

But there are a lot of ways to quickly produce a list of 15 or 20 possibilities to pick from. And remember what Stephanie did to prep for her trip to Texas.

I asked Jenna Weiss Berman, who was then a student at the Transom Workshop, a program for future narrative radio producers, how they went about finding ideas quickly for their coursework:

Jenna Weiss-Berman:

We were given a list of resources, 50 places to find great stories, you know, like the weeklies around here, Craigslist. A lot of people found their stories through Craigslist.

This girl Erika who, she’s in the second class today. She just looked in pet section, and found this guy who makes knives out of your pet’s ashes, and he ended up being like, having like the most amazing story. And he’s like He was like totally in love with this woman, and she died at 37, they were engaged, and he is making a knife with her ashes, it’s turned out to be this amazing story, so…

So, try Craigslist.

Get out of the house, talk to friends, talk to strangers.

eavesdrop in a cafe. Get a great story from a bartender.

“Get lucky” on Google.

OK, this is a little scary, but why not take a look at your Google search history. What have you been searching for lately? Other than…you know, the usual, things that people search for on Google.

If you can’t find anything off the bat, try juxtaposition, like I did with Trish Trash. Cut random words out of newspaper headlines, and combine them with random Instagram photos. Just whatever picture comes up in your stream. Write down whatever you come up with, no judgment.

I’ll even post the character prompts that I used to spark Trish Trash on our Google+ group.

But once you have a list of ideas, pay attention to your taste—which idea starts turning your wheels?

Which one is keeping you up at night thinking about it?

Which one are you telling your friends about?

When a random association or notion attached to that idea comes into your head, chase it down.

You’re going to need a notebook with you at all times.

Research your idea by looking up related things online, or by questioning your friends about it, or by painting a picture. Get deep, and start attaching information and inspiration to it.

Your mission is to write up a short, one-paragraph description of your idea, and post it on our private, moderated Google Community.

Do not ramble! Just tell us what’s intriguing about this idea, and what directions it’s leading you in. What is starting to stick to it?

Make as many notes as you can, but don’t go further. In the next episode, we’ve got a bunch of tools to assess and strengthen your ideas. We’ll poke some sharp sticks at them, and see if they hold water.

Oh! And name your medium. What are you intending to do with this idea? A fictional short story? A nonfiction brick of a book? A 10-page comic? A short video? Tell us what you intend to do.

We post a new, full episode of this show every two weeks. That’s not just because it’s a lot of work to produce these things. It is, don’t get me wrong, but the reason we’re keeping this schedule is that we plan workshop episodes in the intervening weeks, where Matt and Ben and I will discuss some of the most interesting work posted on the community that week. (Though, please be assured that we’ll never discuss your work publicly without asking permission).

So: Work posted by Sunday Sept 15, at midnight Pacific time is eligible to be discussed on our next workshop episode, which means that if you’re listening to this on or near release date, you’ve got a major opportunity! Get moving!

You can get access to the group by signing up on my website: jessicaabel.com/podcast.

I cannot wait to see what you produce.



And, by the way, if you are listening to this show and NOT producing a story, you are absolutely, totally welcome.

If you want to follow along the adventure as a supporter, all the better. Join the Google Community and feel free to help those who are working on projects with feedback and ideas. The more the merrier.

I’ll have show notes on this episode, including lots of Trish Trash art from the early stages until now, A link to Ira’s gap video, and a written reminder of this week’s challenge, on my site, at jessicaabel.com/podcast. You can also get show notes emailed to you if you’re on the newsletter.

Please subscribe via iTunes now, and, especially just as we’re getting started here, it would be enormously helpful if you’d leave us a review while you’re there. Let’s get this show on the radar! That’s how we’ll build the strongest possible creative community around your projects.

To support this show, I’m giving Patreon a try. So if you’d like to become a patron, please go to my website, at jessicaabel.com/podcast.

Out on the Wire is Produced by Benjamin Frisch, with music by Matt Madden. Made with the support of La Maison des Auteurs, Angoulême.

If you’re enjoying this show, you will definitely want to check out my new book, Out on the Wire, the Storytelling Secrets of the new Masters of Radio, which covers the same ground, but differently, and with a hell of a lot more pictures. So there’s more about that at my website, at jessica.com/outonthewire, all one word, outonthewire.

You can find me on twitter at @jccabel. Benjamin is @BenjaminFrisch.

You can also search for us on Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest, find links to that at jessicaabel.com/podcast.

See you next week with our first workshop episode, where Matt Madden, Benjamin Frisch, and I will discuss interesting examples of project ideas from our Google Community.

And then we’ll be back in two weeks with episode 2: Focus.

Help us out by sharing this show with your friends!

Get Bonus Content & Support Out on a Wire


Check out the Out on the Wire Bonus Pack. Featuring all of the new interviews we conducted for the show, plus our soundtrack music by Matt Madden. It’s ten bucks (or more, if you’re feeling generous.) It’s a great way to spend more time with our fabulous guests and support the show.

Includes full length interviews with:

  • Stephanie Foo (This American Life)
  • Jonathan Mitchell (The Truth podcast)
  • Larissa MacFarquahar (The New Yorker)
  • Kazu Kibuishi (Amulet)
  • Our edit with Robert Smith and Jess Jiang (Planet Money)
  • Rob Rosenthal (the Transom Workshop, How Sound)

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