Welcome to the second installment of the R.A.P. Forum, a place where just about anything goes. This month, we hear from Andy Capp, Creative Director at KELO-AM/FM in Sioux Falls, SD. Each week he encourages creativity from the production staff at KELO with a memo like the following:
TO: All Production Staff
RE: Art Imitates Life
A town called Enid. A restaurant offering "more than you can eat." Fish stick tartar. An anal retentive cook who stores condiments alphabetically. Julia Childe in a Twin Peaks spin-off? No, something far stranger...real life. Pieces of real life. Odd bits picked up here and there and added to a creative endeavor can grab a listener and make them say, "Yeah, I've been there." Actually let them enjoy a commercial (gasp!). Consider this:
1. Keep a list of unique names, conversations, experiences. Nothing fancy. Just triggers that can be used later. (Example: "7-11 clerk, rag-head, expert on Slurpees..." or, "Met Reverend 'Red' Bones.") When it's time to create, refer to the list for ideas.
2. Listen to the "real world." How do people say things? What makes each voice unique? What benchmarks make a voice imitable? Be aware of environmental sounds. What makes the same sound seem different inside and outside? Listen for sounds which contradict the norm. Squirming on a vinyl chair. What does it really sound like? Make notes, mental or written, of what is learned. Then, use them.
3. Mix and match. How about a girl named Enid, organ player for the Right Reverend "Red" Bones, owner of the "Holy Mackerel," featuring fish stick tartar. (The organ could sound like the pipes are submerged.) Or Hadgi, master of the art of Slurpee, who knows the ways of flavored shaved ice, but when the automobile makes the sound of the camel in heat, he knows diddley, which is why he goes to Wrench Brothers Auto Service. Use the material collected. Turn it upside down. Twist it. Bend it. Or use it as is. Just do it!
No matter how off the wall fiction is, it always has some basis in fact (you know, "truth is stranger than fiction"). Grab their attention with something they can relate to. Remember, no matter how bizzare something appears, you're not the only one to notice.
CREATIVE QUOTE #2: "Make it a practice to keep on the lookout for novel and interesting ideas that others have used successfully. Your idea has to be original only in its adaptation to the problem you are working on."
Thomas Edison, Creative Genius.