Evernotes of Note: Unthinkable's Podcast Episode Rundown

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ABOUT THIS SERIES: Heading into the New Year, I'm cleaning up my Evernote -- aka my brain, outsourced. It is, um ... chaotic. But every so often, I stumble upon a gem that I either forgot was there or need to use more. I'm sharing those publicly here, because it's my blog and I can if I want to. (Also maybe they're valuable too. Okay, good talk.)

Creating a narrative-style podcast like Unthinkable can be back-breaking. To help ensure story quality stays high but episode production runs smoothly, I created what's called a "rundown." This is a concept stolen from TV writers' rooms -- hat-tip to Andrew Davis for teaching me this approach.

Today (December 21, 2017), I sat in a coffee shop and updated my episode rundown to prepare for Season 4 next year. I used my most popular and, I thought, highest quality story yet: The Man Bun.

Here it is...

    •    Vivid description of something happening with hero

    ◦    Within the above action, establish the larger theme of the episode
    ◦    e.g. he knows, it’s all about putting in those reps

    •    Create a few closed loops
    ◦    Use analogies, and offer incomplete details
    ◦    e.g. it’s a rare craft he pursues in our digital world, but he’s a master craftsman 

    •    Example of their great work, playing out
    ◦    e.g. quote from Scott Stratten’s speech // clip from documentary, etc.

    •    List the what and why it’s exceptional
    ◦    e.g. Scott is a keynote speaker, who has done X talks to Y brands and sold Z books…

    •    BUT…
    ◦    Introduce reasons the hero’s work seems unthinkable
    ◦    Use 3 adjectives over the opening sting/music to drive that point home
    ◦    “I’m Jay Acunzo.” 

A BLOCK: How do they run counter the convention? — 5 MINUTES
    •    Conventional wisdom about the industry or task, delivered in a clever way

    ◦    e.g. Public speaking, biggest fears…not so much

    •    Make it clear: There’s a ton of advice, and there are stakes here — doing this thing matters, so people cling to the convention
    ◦    Combo of VO and quotes

    •    BUT…
    ◦    How is the hero an exception to all that? 
    ◦    Use some examples, Q&A, clips, VO…
    ◦    How do they JUSTIFY that exceptional thing? What does it DO for them?

B BLOCK: Aspirational Anchor: Lead story and reflection on the emotional battle within — 5 MINUTES
    •    STORY — Friction of conventional thinking vs. them

    ◦    Have they struggled with that at all? Why don’t others do it that way? 
    ◦    Stories they can share about what others have said? Self-doubt and feelings?

    •    ANAYSIS & REFLECTION — VO + quotes to make sense of this battle within
    ◦    Go deeper here — find the nuance. It’s not about being a rebel. 
    ◦    What happens in reality? 
    ◦    Get messy! Reality is a mess.

    •    VO: Final framework or quote to stick in your brain about this

C BLOCK: First Principle Insight: Why does this happen? Why best practices in general? What’s the human context? — 5 MINUTES

    ◦    Why does this happen? Is it BAD? GOOD? How do they think about this? How do they FEEL?
    ◦    Find the fundamental reality of this situation. 
    ◦    Strong opinions from the hero are key here. 

    •    VO Call-Back: Bring back the theme of the episode, armed with new First Principle Insights from the discussion
    ◦    Knowing THIS…and knowing the Best Practice…something doesn’t add up, or something new has come to light.
    ◦    Given that…(D BLOCK)

D BLOCK: Doing the Work: Revisit their great work and backstory, now that we know more — 10 MINUTES
    •    Another story of the hero’s great work, now through our new lens

    ◦    Zoom way into it and talk through something specific
    ◦    Get their DETAILS and FEELINGS in their story

    •    Reconstruct the backstory
    ◦    Where this all began
    ◦    Early influences (in life and work)
    ◦    How it grew
    ◦    Conflicts he encountered
    ◦    Results and status today

    •    The craft — Focusing on the process above all else
    ◦    Geek out about the process, what they love about it
    ◦    Where they draw inspiration, anything outside the echo chamber?
    ◦    Looking ahead
    ◦    Embracing the struggle — what’s still hard? What’s hard about doing it DIFFERENTLY? 

    •    What others get wrong about this
    ◦    What do they think is wrong about the usual process? What are they mad at?
    ◦    Why that hurts results…or careers.

E BLOCK: Emotional final punch — 2 MINUTES
    •    Quotes: What kind of meaning do they get in the work that they do?
    •    VO: Wrap it up, challenge them
    •    Final tweetable moment: quote or VO


Posted on December 21, 2017 and filed under IDEAS.