Kill your darlings

This week brought a crash course into radio. While killing your darlings is important to all work, I’ll mention it here because it hit me here so strongly.

The first piece

I did two pieces. One on how DW protects their journalists in Germany, with violence against members of the press increasing, as also NGOs report. For this piece, I interviewed DW’s reporter on right-wing movements who by coincidence also interviewed me during the DW assessment center. I messed up the piece in two ways: I spoke my narration too slowly and then tried to cover it by putting dramatic music. Major learning: Practice speech (more below).

The second piece

Then I met Klaus, who runs a currywurst bude just accross from DW, on the Rhine. Beautiful interview, great partner, would like to get back to him again.


Major learnings:

  • Take your time when getting to a scenery. Have a cup of coffee first, be patient, chill and then figure out where to to the interview.
  • Hold the microphone really close, otherwise the voice is too low and if you boost the volume there will be background.
  • Ask them to turn off music to have a quite place for a chat.
  • Chat to them first, then turn on the machine.
  • Kill your darlings: I had so many nice quotes but having less in the piece would have been more.

Overall learnings

  • Anmoderation/Narration
    • Don’t reveal too much in the Anmoderation, make listeners curious; But use Anmoderation to place the story.
    • Write teaser/Anmoderation first. Then you will know where you’re going.
    • See Anmoderation and Narration as one unit.
    • Anmoderation: Put the listener on the track for the first part of the piece
    • Cappuchino-Effect: Tell your story over a cup of coffee.
    • Your hook needs to be close to your agenda.
    • Structuring Narration: Use simple stuff: Sleep, eat, toilet but be aware if the simple structure fits your story
    • Push background info into the middle of your story, be scenic.
    • Use your experts to give examples, provide pictures. Put explanation into your narration.
    • Be aware to portray your people well. Even if they use Phrasen that may portray them, don’t put them, it doesn’t do them justice.
  • Production:
    • Have subjects help you: Quiet place, turn off music
    • Before you go out: Check of your subject can answer your driving question.
    • If you talk to a customer/visitor, make sure their statement fits/enhances the story
    • Music works to show something: I.e. cliché music (hip-hop) can introduce a scenery (young people) but is context/audience specific
    • Always record a lot of long ambience on the ground
    • Atmo: Is it clear what the Atmo is? Is it aggressive or drunk people yelling? Which picture do you see when hearing the sound?
  • Technical stuff
    • The auto-level can boost background noise in short breaks of speech
    • Clean »ahs« from soundbites
    • Check level of recorded voice visually on recording device
    • Check level of ambience with your ears through headphones

Sinnverstehendes Lesen

Andreas nennt ordentliches Sprechen für’s Radio »Sinnverstehendes Lesen«, das Internet verortet den Begriff in der Grundschule.

Wichtige Punkte:

  • Text nicht in Grammatik unterteilen, sondern in Sinnabschnitte
  • Text durchgehen und markieren:
    • Pausen
    • Binden
    • Stimme Runter
  • Immer ganz einatmen, dann kommt man auch weit
  • Geschwindigkeit: Wie mit einem normalen Menschen reden
  • Fragezeichen: Stimme hoch, Betonung auf Fragewort
  • Deutsche Bühnenhochlautung:
    • Endung -ig: König wird Könich
    • Endung -en: Essen wird Essn
    • Im Zweifel: Aussprachedatenbank
This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.