Blog·Video

Facebook Live: Ask a doc maker anything

The mind of a radio doc maker is a strange, at times confusing, but oh so interesting place ... so we invited you into the brains of three CBC doc creators with our first Facebook Live event! The Current's Josh Bloch, Sleepover's Veronica Simmonds, and The Sunday Edition's Ira Basen share their storytelling tips.
Josh Bloch from The Current, Sleepover’s Veronica Simmonds, and The Sunday Edition's Ira Basen on Facebook Live with Acey Rowe, host of The Doc Project.

The mind of a radio doc maker is a strange, at times confusing, but oh so interesting place ... so we invited you into the brains of three CBC doc creators with our first Facebook Live event!

The Current's Josh Bloch, Sleepover's Veronica Simmonds, and The Sunday Edition's Ira Basen share their storytelling tips. Learn how these producers take mere threads of a story and spin them into audio we can't turn away from.

Josh, Veronica and Ira answer the following questions  …

Highlights

Producer Steve Wadhams (right) with associate producer Edward Trapunski (left). They worked together on "George Orwell: A Radio Biography". The series aired on January 1st, 1984. (CBC)
Ira
— Steve Wadhams' piece about George Orwell from 1984. When he heard it he thought, "That's what I want to do. [Editor's note: Before he retired, Wadhams produced this follow-up series on Orwell for CBC's Ideas.]​

Veronica — Diary of a Bad Year by Kelly McEvers. Veronica loves how intimate and revealing this doc is. It makes her think about the power of radio documentary, and how there are so many different styles of doc creation. 

JoshBreak Up by Starlee Kine. The writing in this piece really pulled Josh in. He says it's such an amazing example of how to get someone you are interviewing to open up, even when they're Phil Collins!

Quick tips on doc production

Ira — Get somebody to talk about something while they're doing it.

Veronica — Always wear your headphones!

Josh — Think about how this is a radio story before you go into the field. How does sound work its way into the backbone of the story.

Inspired? We have loads more resources for first-time doc makers and audio storytellers.

Veronica Simmonds is an experimental radio producer. Her documentaries have aired on CBC, ABC and BBC, as well as in a weather observatory in France and a former grain silo in Norway. Her feature, Dr. Clock, was a finalist for the Prix Italia. These days she is the associate producer on the CBC series Sleepover, and she hosts a show called Braidio where she braids hair on air.
Josh Bloch is a radio producer mostly based at CBC's The Current. He co-created and co-hosted two seasons of How To Do It on CBC Radio One. His radio documentaries have covered topics from people living in the tunnels underneath Las Vegas to the art of the apology (award winner at New York Radio Festival). Josh co-wrote the documentary play, The Trial of Jeremy Hinzman (Summerworks Theatre Festival) and The Taxi Project, a play based on the lives and work of writers-in-exile. Josh is currently producing a virtual reality short documentary on The Highway of Tears that will be released in the summer of 2016 for CBC's The Current.
Ira Basen is a documentary producer with The Sunday Edition. He began his career at CBC Radio in 1984, has been a senior producer at Sunday Morning and Quirks & Quarks, and has been involved in the creation of three network programs: The Inside Track (1985), This Morning (1997), and Workology (2001). He has won numerous awards, including the Canadian Science Writers Association Award, the Canadian Nurses Association Award, the Gabriel Award, and the New York Radio Festival Award. In fall 2012, Ira was the CanWest Fellow in Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario, where he taught a course on the future of journalism.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now