May 1, 2012

Help Us Explore Creativity and Failure


→ Update: Whew. We made it. Below are some editors picks, but hear much much more on our Tumblr page.

This Thursday and Friday, Jad's doing a talk at the 99% Conference here in New York. It's not an Occupy thing; it's a gathering of creative minds hashing out where ideas come from and how to turn them into action -- the name is based on that Edison quote, "genius is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration."

Radiolab regular Jonah Lehrer will be there, too, along with tons of other smart, interesting folks, and the 99 Percent people asked us at the Lab to help spread some of the creative mojo that's happening at the conference out into the world.

We decided to do them one better. Why just let the conference talk to the world ... when we could invite the world to talk back to it, too? What does that mean? To begin with, it means we called our friends at Longshot Radio, a crack team of producers spread all over the country that convenes radio makers (and radio lovers) in-person and over the web to make a radio project in just two days.

And together, we're asking all you (producers and listeners alike) to help out.

Starting Thursday morning, Longshot will be speed-producing a series of radio pieces inspired by the 99% Conference. You can help in lots of different ways -- see below -- but overall, we're interested in gathering stories about creativity's most dramatic (translation: roughest) moments, and how those moment often (okay, every now and then) lead to creative success.

In short, we're curious about creativity's ominous clouds and silver linings: experimentation, failure, and revision. We want to hear about all those times things didn't go as planned...and about and what happened next.

You can get involved, from wherever you are. For those of you who are radio producers, this is an opportunity to push yourself and explore new storytelling tools. For those of you who (so far) are just listeners, it's chance to help make some radio. You can work from home (in fact, only the Longshot core will be at the conference itself), any time between noon Thursday and 6pm Friday EST. We'll be at the conference, but trying to connect people from all around the world.

Here's what we’ve got planned:

+ Story Booth Question Chain

One of our hallmarks is the story booth - sort of like StoryCorps on speed. We’ll be set up at the conference, asking people to step into a little room, lean up to a microphone and answer questions that begin with the phrase "Tell me about a time you...." Failed, got inspired, learned from someone else, etc... Once you answer a question in the booth, you get a chance to leave a written or recorded question for someone else.

The story booth in NYC if for conference-goers only, but we want to connect those stories with ones from around the world.

If you want to participate from home, use the tool below to ask or answer a question. Record directly from your computer. Widget Instructions

  • Tell us your name, and where you’re from
  • If you are asking a question, start your question with “Tell me about a time you...” 
  • Make your question about the general theme of experimentation, failure, and revision
  • If you are answering a question already on here, make sure you start by telling us which question you're answering
  • Note: The widget below only displays the five most recent submissions. Click here for a bunch more ideas!

+ Start A Conversation Of Your Own

One of our favorite games at Longshot is called, "Love is like a puddle"

Here’s how it works. I say, "Love is like a puddle, you never know how deep it is from looking at the surface"… then you could say, "Love is like a puddle, if you dive in head first, you’ll break your neck.."

It’s a great way to get lots of people thinking creatively.

Here are some to get you started:

  • "A good idea is like a family pet because …"
  • "Failure is like the ocean because..."
  • "If at first you don’t succeed..."

So, come up with some questions, hit the streets, and ask people to play. Or gather a group of friends and give it a shot. Once you've got some audio, email us or upload it to our Soundcloud page.

Don’t forget to get their (and your) name and city so we can give them credit. Once we get your responses, we’ll string them together into montages. Trust us, this’ll sound cool.

+ Submit A Piece

If you’re a radio-maker and want to just take the theme of creativity and work on a piece with us, have at it! First-person, reported, soundscapes, whatever...We’ll be around to help edit, guide, and distribute.

This is a great chance to push yourself and create something cool on a short timetable. If you want to work on a piece, email us. Submission deadline: 4pm Friday

+ Longshot Labs: Try New Stuff!

Got a weird audio idea you want to try? Want to suggest a tool, or a format, or anything else we should explore? Great! The beauty of this is that we don’t really know what we’re making until we start.

Tell us your crazy idea by emailing us.

+ What else?

Some other resources that might be helpful:

Longshot Radio on Soundcloud | Soundcloud Mobile App | Guide to Using Your Smartphone to Record

Upload to Longshot

+ Stay In The Loop

The best way to get the latest news is to follow us on twitter  

And remember, you can always email us too at

Talk soon!

Longshot Radio is an intermittent project to make radio in 48 hours. It's an offshoot of Longshot Magazine. The first Longshot Radio was in June 2011 in New York City. The next one is sometime soon. Lonshot Radio is steered by Jody Avirgan, Brendan Baker, Alex Goldmark, Dylan Fareed, Emma Jacobs and Pat Walters Twitter | Homepage | Soundcloud

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