Out On The Wire Your Baby's Ugly

Episode 8: Your Baby’s Ugly

with your host Jessica Abel

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Out On The Wire Your Baby's Ugly

Our stories are our babies, but not all babies are cute. This week, we figure out just how far we’ve still got to go when we take a finished draft of our own show and subject it to the cold scrutiny of an edit by Robert Smith and Jess Jiang of Planet Money. Our baby was kinda messed up, but he’s much prettier now.

Also: learn what makes Ira Glass mad, find out how editing is like biofeedback, and hear how Rob Rosenthal of the Transom Story Workshop and the HowSound podcast trains the next generation of expert producers and editors.

Listen to the show:

If you’re looking for a written version of this episode, you can find our transcript here.


The Episode 7: Dark Forest archive

If you’re interested in learning more about how episode seven came to be, we’ve compiled our progress here for you. First is our original mix of the episode we sent to Robert and Jess, followed by their full edit and the discussion Ben I had afterward, and then the final, finished episode.

Get better at helping others make their work shine. It’s a wonderful gift to give another storyteller. But it’s not all altruism: every time you work through a story, you learn more about your own work, and how to improve it.

This week we heard from

Glynn Washington, Ira Glass, Robert Smith, Jess Jiang, Soren Wheeler and Rob Rosenthal.

This week’s challenge:

Get an edit. This is different from the challenge for episode 7, where I suggested you to do a focus session, which is editorial collaboration that  happens during the conceptual or writing phase of a project.

An edit is a critique, and it happens on an at-least-semi-complete draft of a piece. This is when most people think of showing their work to someone (and often chicken out).

But it’s not that common that you’ll think to read your work aloud to someone. Unless you’re critiquing comics, where the images are key, I’d say this is the moment to pull out those junior-high drama club chops, and really perform your work, even it’s for an audience of one.

Your collaborator or collaborators don’t need to be editorial experts to have useful feedback, they just need to be able to get in touch with how they feel at any given moment in your story. have them take notes as best they can, and when you go back over the work after reading it, try to listen to what they say with an open heart, as hard as it can be to hear.

Workshop Episode 8.5: Your Baby’s Ugly

This week, we’re critiquing work from the challenge from the Episode 8: Your Baby’s Ugly.

Dan Waldschmidt and Matthew Williamson just produced the pilot episode of a podcast called “Ordinary Heroes,” but they know they need a new point of view on it — time for an edit! Dan and Matthew bravely volunteered to go through an edit on the air with Ben, Matt, and me. We dig into who should narrate the story and how, the role of music in the show, whether we should explicitly lay out the message of the show, and more.

Listen to the show:

Who we talked to this week:

Follow our guests on Twitter for more on their show. Thanks to Matthew Williamson and Dan Waldschmidt for volunteering their podcast “Ordinary Heroes” for our edit.

Next time on Out on the Wire

Our final episode of Season 1,  Episode 9: Work It, We get into how creative people make it work, money, family, everything.

Find us elsewhere on the internet

I’m on Twitter @jccabel, Producer Benjamin is @BenjaminFrisch.

Take a look around my website. Check out the great comics on Ben’s website. Find out more about experimental comics on Matt’s blog.

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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