Old Radio Dogs/New Tricks
August 27, 2013
As creators in the most powerful communications medium, we sometimes dig ourselves too deep into the radio commercial groove. After awhile, our commercials start sounding like ... commercials. Developing skills in other kinds of writing can add breadth to our radio.
We can expand our writing horizons. The time we spend honing our craft should be fun and profitable. Here are some possible writing avenues to explore:
Poetry – you'll develop more colorful, non-linear, metaphorical, ways of expression.
Screenwriting – A radio commercial is a mini-screenplay, so learn the techniques that make writing for the big screen work and apply them to writing for the Really Big Screen – the human imagination.
Storytelling – some of the best commercials are stories. Got kids? Don't read 'em a story tonight. Make one up and follow it with new episodes from time to time. They won't hesitate to let you know when you're succeeding or falling on your face.
Comedy – the most challenging writing to do well. Study the masters.
Improv – one of the best ways to train for brainstorming and lateral thinking. It's the best training for radio writers
Songwriting – even if you think you don't have musical talent, practice writing to a tune you love, then give the lyrics you've written to a songwriter and/or musician (without telling them what song you used) and have them put music to it.
Audio theatre – explore the resources of the National Audio Theatre Festival http://www.natf.org/
Your learning can be in the form of workshops, classes, seminars, books, audio or video, online courses, forums or informal groups. Check out the resources available in your area or go online to your favorite search engine and search by topic.
Each of these different writing disciplines will stretch your abilities and contribute to making you a better radio commercial creator.