Photo by Eugene Huang

Photo by Eugene Huang

Many of you (more than 4,000!) have listened to the story in its original form and its most recent form on narrative.ly. Thank you!


 What I'll share now is the back story while it's fresh in my mind.

Travis (center) dancing at the housewarming party where I met him

Travis (center) dancing at the housewarming party where I met him

I met Travis fall 2010 at a housewarming party in San Francisco. It was around the time my friend Mary and I were interviewing entrepreneurs for a podcast we were in the midst of creating. I knew as soon as my friend told me his profession, that I wanted to interview him. within 10 minutes of meeting him, I asked if he would be willing to share his story with us. he agreed.

we met with travis twice: one time to get the story. second time, to cuddle. with four hours of raw audio to go through, we had our work cut out for us. this was new territory. neither of us had any podcasting experience, though mary did have a degree and time spent as a recording engineer for music. we both had our love for great stories, and that is really what kept us going over the next 9 months.

it was an adventure. with full-time jobs and packed social calendars, mary and i were working on this story with what little extra time we had. we spent hours upon hours listening to the audio separately, together, taking notes, e-mailing the notes to each other, meeting, articulating how we wanted it to flow, listening to radiolab, this american life, listening, re-listening, before we even began to write a script. once we did write a script, it took at least 5 tries to get each line of narration right. one thing i learned about my voice is i sound a lot more enthusiastic and full of emotion in my head than I do recorded. lesson: always overcompensate.

Photo by Eugene Huang

oh, i can't even tell you how intense it got, but in the best way possible. there were some disagreements on what we should include. i wanted to include more details afraid if we didn't, our listeners would be left unsatiated. mary was OK with listeners filling in the gaps for themselves. we compromised. above all, we both were so committed to making the story the best it could be, and highlighting what we really thought was important about Travis and his life's work.

finally, we had something! 14 minutes and 37 seconds of a story we were both very proud of. we shared it with our close group of friends and family. i pitched the story to this american life and radio lab, no response, but we were OK with that. it was complete, and that was an accomplishment in itself.

me and Mary in NYC, 2008

me and Mary in NYC, 2008

very soon after we got the podcast out there, we each went our separate ways. i left for taiwan to experience living abroad as an adult, and mary left for san diego to pursue her doctorate degree. we or at least i didn't expect to do much with the podcast from that point on, maybe share it with friends i made along the way, and include it as a point on my resume. there was little chance we'd be in the same city again to do another one, though we both would have loved to.


a year and a half passed before I returned to the Bay Area. I happened upon narrative.ly, and as soon as i read their mission statement (all about timeless, local stories), i knew i had to pitch them the podcast. it was the perfect place for the story. a few months passed, no word. i had forgotten about it. 

and then one monday morning i get an e-mail from an editor who wrote, "Let's talk." On the phone, he told me that in a few weeks they were planning to do a series on "Intimate with Strangers" and they wanted to include Travis' story. was I in? of course I was!

the next three weeks were wild. met up with travis again for an update, filmed that 2-hr meeting with the help of my dear friend Eugene, wrote a proposal for the editor to review, it was for a film + audio story, proposal got rejected, no time for film, just audio, said the editor, focused on audio, bought a nice mic, downloaded loads of software, recorded narration, tried to integrate new audio with original audio, several drafts, back and forth, soo many listens, file transfers, phone calls with editor, phone calls with Mary, uploading, downloading, compressing, unzipping, selecting tracks, fading in, fading out...

and...whew, it's done! 

published on narrative.ly

published on narrative.ly

the narrative.ly pick up was instrumental in motivating me to explore sound editing, re-purposing a story, and made me seriously ask myself: can I see myself doing this for a living?

still working on the answer to that, but for now, enjoying this.

Thank you friends and family for your encouragement, feedback, and genuine interest and curiosity throughout all of it. this has easily been the most fun and rewarding personal project i've worked on in my life.

J

Posted
Authorjustine lee
Categoriespersonal