Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

Archive for September 2012

Promos done for Interviews

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I’m reasonably happy with some promos I’ve created to promote the interviews I’ve been doing.  So far, I’ve done four of them; Loveness Wesa, Pat Metheny, Dean Obeidallah and Squarepusher.  I’ll get the rest of them done in the next day or so.  They take about an hour each to produce and post.  But, when finished, they’re linkable from a new site I’ve started using called Buffer. The free version of Buffer lets you schedule up to 11 tweets over any period of time.  I imagine lots of people use it or something like it.  When you’re sleeping, you can still have a presence on Twitter by scheduling tweets for the wee hours or for when you’re not near a keyboard.  And these promos are dynamic, not static.  So, all the better.  The music isn’t from the artist, but from their genre.  And for that, I go to Kevin Mcleod at Incompetech.com.  He does some fantastic beds that are Royalty Free.

Written by Interviewer

September 18, 2012 at 23:25

Posted in Scratchpad

The Front Door is Almost Open

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My website is almost finished.  It looks pretty good, it’s functional and it does a lot without being too cluttered or busy or confusing.  I could tweak it forever, but for the most part, it’s done.  And I think I’m going change the focus of my blog a little.  I think I’m going to talk a little more about the art and science of interviews.  Most of what we hear in the media are interviews, whether they with politicians, musicians, the military, financiers … all of these are efforts by these people to convince us to see the world the way they do.  They want to convince us to give up some resource to them; time, money of course, but most of all, belief in something or disbelief in something else.  When that happens, I think they get more power and we get less; rarely is it shared.  And all of it is based on the ancient art of rhetoric.  Rhetoric, aka spin, serves the talker more so than the listener.  So besides talking about conversations and interactions, I’ll be trying to do some decoding.

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September 17, 2012 at 03:55

Posted in Scratchpad

I’m Enjoying Myself

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It has been a busy and exciting last few days.  I’ve interviewed and posted the interviews of country music superstar Dwight Yoakam, Arab-American comedian Dean Obeidallah, and Walt Parazaider, the founder of the band, Chicago.  I love this.  I expect, in the next few days, to interview jazz great George Winston and the Ravonettes.  And I hope to get a lot more interviews.  I hope you get a chance to listen to them.  Let me know what you think of them.  I want them to get better and better.  You can hear them at http://www.soundcloud.com/interviewer-1.

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September 15, 2012 at 23:32

Posted in Scratchpad

Relax, he’s a comedian

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Listening to the Dean Obeidallah interview, I realized we talked about quite a bit.  Like, why aren’t there more conservative comics?  Like, why progressives get mad at him.  Like, how you really don’t want to go up against someone with a microphone.  And I got permission to use clips from his manager, so I can insert them to enhance the conversation.  This is going to be fun.

Written by Interviewer

September 15, 2012 at 00:02

Posted in Scratchpad

Cheaters

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It seems to me that everything in life is a matter of degrees.  I mean, everything really is connected to its essence, differentiated only by levels removed.  For instance, cheating is cheating and cheaters use rhetoric to minimize it at whatever level they’re at.  All of the Wall Street types that disclaimed any responsibility for their actions and their millions in the wake of the dot com, or housing or banking crisis use essentially the same language as people who use other people to buy points in video games, or Twitter followers of Facebook fans.  I guess everybody else who reads the rules and plays for the fun or the challenge are basically dolts and idiots to be used, squeezed and summarily ridiculed.  Of course, Wall Street cheating might make someone in Des Moines realize they’re wiped out and jump out of a window, whereas someone finding out their co-worker just bought 10,ooo twitter followers might just get a little pissed off.  The affect doesn’t cause the same effect, even if the intention is the same – to shortcut.  Still, that neighbor grilling steaks and bragging that he filed bankruptcy while you’re cutting coupons could raise the water temperature a bit.

Reminds me of that old joke; a man approaches a hooker and says, “Would you sleep with me for a million dollars?” and the hooker says, “Sure.”  Then he says “Would you sleep with me for a dollar?”  Indignant, she asks, “What kind of person do you think I am?” to which he replies, “The type of person you are has already been established.  The only sticking point now is price.”

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September 14, 2012 at 08:18

Posted in Scratchpad

Genetic Errors

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I remembered something from my early days of editing … let’s say you create a first generation original of something.  If you make changes to that original and save it, you now have a second generation copy with a first generation change.  If you make another correction, you now have a third generation copy with a second generation change and a first generation change and so on.   The bad part about that is any errors not bad enough to be noticed in the first generation get amplified in each copy.  I used to think that only happened with analog, but it happens in digital too.   They can be skips, almost like how old records used to skip, or what I call hiccups, where a piece of information for some reason, repeats itself, like a hiccup.  The software can create these, downloads can create them and for sure, subsequent copies can create them.  It can drive you crazy since each time you listen, you hear something that wasn’t there before  and you think, “What the hell …”  Especially since each fix is just as likely to create a problem as fix a problem.  The only solution?  None, because errors happen.  You can only police your source material, the software and the downloads as closely as possible, and stick to one copy.  What’s the branch of physics that deals with sound?  Acoustics.  Acoustics is a b****!

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September 13, 2012 at 11:32

Posted in Scratchpad

Good Enough ain’t Good Enough

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I’m in the middle of an edit; about 27 minutes in, and I stopped and restarted it because there was something I didn’t like.  I recognize that this doesn’t have to be perfect.  But my definition of “good enough” is extremely, extremely narrow.

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September 13, 2012 at 07:17

Posted in Scratchpad

Dwight Yoakam Surprise

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Out of the blue, I got a call to interview Dwight Yoakam.  So, quickly looked at his website, Wikipedia page (I’ll be sending you a donation), and his Facebook page.  That, plus the little I know about him turned a panic attack into a great interview.  We’re both from the same hometown, and grew up with Big Ten football looming large.  My HS battled his HS in just about everything, and he has that mid-western sensibility that I just keep encountering.  This man absolutely loves his music, and it goes beyond doing what makes the money and pays the bills.  Plus, he’s reached the point in his career where he can decide what he wants to do, whether music or film, and call the tune, so to speak.  I expect I’ll have it done in a few days.  Thanks for reading my blog and to hear the interviews I’ve done so far, go to  http://www.soundcloud.com/interviewer-1.  And thanks, Dwight, for a great conversation.

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September 12, 2012 at 08:59

Posted in Scratchpad

How does an Arab-American Comic deal with 9/11?

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The Chicago interview with one of the band’s founding members, Walt Parazeider, is done.  Too many things to do and I got a little behind.  So, I’ll be relying more on a calendar to keep things as uncluttered as I can.  Walt was such a nice guy.  He kept saying how much he appreciated the opportunity to work, and tour and how grateful he was to his fans.

Will also have the interview with Arab-American comedian Dean Obeidallah done in the next day or so.  He was a pretty normal guy.  I mention Arab-American because it’s part of his schtick; he says he goofs on white people, like all comedians of minority ethnicity do.  And for the most part, they’re good with it.  He gets an occasional heckler, but I wouldn’t necessarily want to be on the receiving end of his wit.  But, he also said that because he looks white, sometimes, he plays down the fact that he’s from the Middle East.  Considering today’s anniversary, I wonder if today will be one of those days.

When I think of comedians, I think of Robin Williams or Sam Kinison or, of course, Richard Pryor.  Dean was cool in that he is that special breed of comic, the political comic.  When I think of political comedy, I think of the Capitol Steps or, from an earlier time, Steve Allen, or Mark Twain even.

Comedians are the modern equivalent of the court jester.  Usually, the jester was the wittiest person on the King’s court and they were always skirting the line between life and death with the innuendo or in-your-face things they dared to say that would get anybody else s’ head chopped off.  But because they said it with the manner of a “fool”, they were forgiven or ignored.  But comedians have known forever that the best way to get past our defenses is with humor.

Dean was calm and cool and I hope his tour is successful.

Written by Interviewer

September 11, 2012 at 22:54

Posted in Art

The Music Man and the Funny Man

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Well, I decided I didn’t want to let my social media go fallow.  So, in addition to working on this website and making my social media links really easy to use, I decided to use Tweepi to help me manage my Twitter account.  It’s pretty nice.  And about the website, I just finished a video that I realized yesterday is sort of a commercial about what the site does.  It’s about six minutes, and I may cut it up into smaller pieces and put it in other places.  But the feature length version stays on the site.

And the interview with Walt Parazaider is almost done.  I’ve loved Chicago and listening to these songs is terrific.  And, I’ve been asked to interview a comedian, which should be interesting.  Will he feel like he has to be on?  Or will he just talk outside of his stage persona.  I think comedians are the toughest of all performers.  It seems to me that everybody else goes onstage and does what they do; almost following a script, blocking, a score, whatever.  But comedians, they’re constantly shifting gears to ride rise and fall with the mood of the audience.  And it could be a mood that lifts and carries them, or snarls at them and tries to eat them alive.

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September 7, 2012 at 06:58