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Apr 22, 2012 at 12:00 am

Finding the Hidden Story: An Audio Evening with Big Shed

With Ari Kuschnir, Scott Thrift, Ben W, and David Usui. Moderated by journalist Tom Roston.

It’s a noisy, noisy world out there. Big Shed wants you to isolate the signal of the good stories from the din of mediocrity.

Big Shed’s throwing a party, and you’re invited. Their work making audio and multimedia documentaries over the last few years has them thinking about the ways we gather and share stories. They will present two of their ongoing projects – Verite x 2 and the Place + Memory Project – as a way to examine ideas like treating your microphone as a camera, the value of real social networks beyond the virtual kind, and what happens when your audience becomes your collaborator. The evening will be part discussion, part dinner theatre and part dance party. And how can you say “no” to that?


Verite x 2: In 2011, Big Shed held an audio challenge called Verite + 1 to encourage audio producers to create a story almost entirely out of verite recordings. Big Shed believes this is a powerful and beautiful storytelling tool, which you’re unlikely hear on North American radio documentary. Producers rarely use verite in their stories and when they do, radio editors find it confusing, too long and disorienting. Big Shed finds that lame, and the challenge is their way of turning the tide. At the event, we’ll hear selections from the first contest. And with a little help from the audience and The Big Shed Players, they will not only announce the details of Verite x 2, they’re going to put you in the middle of the scene. Picture the Maysles brothers hosting Let’s Make a Deal… it’ll be kinda like that.

Place + Memory: How do we use the past to connect people in the present? Place + Memory is a radio and web-engagement project that answers that question while recreating places that were significant in our lives but now, no longer exist. Using documentaries as a starting point, the project unleashes public stories of time and place. The project was launched as a national project in 2009 with NPR and AIR. Now Place + Memory is working to launch a series of local projects across the US, using story gathering to build community relationships. And since that sounds 10 times more boring than it is, they’re going to show you how it’s done with what they like to call a documentary square dance. You bring your boots, they’ll call the dance, and by the end of this choreographed, storytelling fandango they promise to leave you in an exhausted state of documentary bliss.


Shea Shackelford is an independent documentary producer, and his audio and multimedia awards include a Bronze for Best Radio Documentary at the 2010 Third Coast International Audio Festival. He is the creator of the Place + Memory Project, a public media project mapping a landscape of remembered places. When Shea isn’t producing his own stories, he’s busy training other media makers and helping organizations design and create their own media projects. Shea is a regular producer-in-residence at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.



Jesse Dukes has been working as a journalist since 2005, producing audio and multimedia stories for radio and the web. He also writes magazine articles. His radio work has aired on Studio 360, Weekend Edition and Day to Day and other national and regional radio programs. Print and award-winning multimedia work has appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review and Global Post. When he isn’t working from his home in Charlottesville, VA, Jesse’s frequently reporting from places as far and wide as central Alaska, Downeast Maine, or Tanzania.


Big Shed Players – Big thanks to Sam Greenspan and Ben Pagac who helped design and create a bit of audio theatrics for the evening’s presentation.

(Big Shed is Shea Shackelford, Jesse Dukes and Jennifer Deer. Jennifer couldn’t be with us for this presentation.)


Apr 22, 2012
12:00 am


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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