Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Back in the Saddle

It’s been a few months since I’ve updated this blog. I promise for the five people who read this it that I will not disappear that long again in the future. So what’s been up with me? A ton. In the last couple months I’ve been to NY, Detroit, Chicago, LA, Ashland, Oregon and Atlanta. Mostly for the radio show but also for some theater stuff.

I’ve been working on the newest episode of State of the Re:UNION: Motor City Rebound. It’s been a while since I put together an episode, actually close to a year ago, so I’d forgotten how intense of a process it can be. Fortunately I have an excellent team. My advisors helped me find the producer of the show Zak Rosen, and I got my old producer Taki Telonidis to be the senior advisor of the show for this episode and hopefully for the entire development process. I think it’s important that Taki stay involved with the program since we made the pilot together. He took all my ideas and gave them shape. I think the concept could stand on it’s own without either Taki or I, I believe together we can put our personal stamp on the program and create something really special. Along with Zak, Willie Evans Jr (the incredible beatmaker)and my business partner, Ian, I think we have a good team.

That however does not mean that everything is easy. Creating an episode is like giving birth. It is giving birth, not the physical pain of course, but the mental strain, the sleepless nights, the joy of seeing the baby for the first time, all of it is the same. Zak and I started working on story ideas in August. Zak had an idea of the story he wanted to tell, I had a different take. We went back and forth for a while, but once I got on the ground in Detroit, I could see the story, and it was much closer to Zak’s vision then mine. Taki listened to our ideas gave us some insight, Ian was excellent logistical support. We did all the field recording in Detroit for about three weeks total. For the two weeks we edited the interviews did a lot of writing, and a lot of polish, and I can finally say it’s done.

Prior to going to Detroit, I was really nervous about what kind of show I’d be creating. I wanted to create something that uplifted people but all I heard about Detroit was negative. I’m writing this two weeks since completing the episode, and still the only things I hear in the news or online are negatives. What’s striking to me is that when I went to Detroit, I found a lot of positives. In the vast space between what you’d normally expect in a city and what they actually have in Detroit, I found that the people are making it happen on their own. They aren’t waiting for the government or outsiders to handle it and save them. Instead they’ve started finding ways to get around the road blocks and create a new model for how a city can work. It’s not perfect. People are hurting, the economy is in shambles, the political structure is struggling and yet when I left the “D” I felt hopeful.

Right before our eyes the world is changing. America as a whole is being challenged in a way it hasn’t in decades. What Detroit taught me, was that beyond all of that are the people. The foundation of this republic and that foundation, while battered and bruised is what will see us through.

If you get a chance check out the episode here:

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