Show Prep Technique: Imagine "What If"
July 19, 2016
Show prep is the art of turning topics into ideas, and ideas into entertainment. The best prep material comes from life experience and observation. This is the art of turning daily life into daily content.
It's a hard thing for many air personalities. As potential content happens all around them, they miss the cues and fail to capture those moments for their show. Usually, improving these skills is simply fine-tuning your show prep radar!
3 Tips For A Show Prep Technique: Imagine!
Radio isn't real life, and on-air personality isn't a literal representation of your off-air character. It's simply based on your life. Embracing this concept will stimulate your imagination and you'll discover more content than you could ever use...every day.
Here are some tips on how to do that:
1. Stay Alert.
Whenever you see or hear anything interesting, amusing or funny, imagine how you'd respond if it happened to you. For example, you notice a man walking a small dog in a canyon, and the dog is off-leash. Overhead, a hawk is circling. What's your first reaction to it? What are the possibilities? What if the hawk is hunting? Could it swoop down and carry off that little dog? What would you do if you were in a situation like that? How would you fight off that bird of prey?
2. Use Your Imagination.
Let the ideas flow as scenarios play out in your imagination. The hawk carries off the dog. How does this guy explain that to his kids? Would his wife help out or is he on his own? It's easy to imagine that she's warned him about letting that dog run off-leash. How big is that fight going to be? Is the cruelty to animals? Should he be arrested (the city has a leash law)? What if the animal rights organizations got involved?
If this happened to you, how would you re-tell the story to friends? To family? How would you explain it to the police?
3. What Else?
Then, imagine how it could escalate to that next level. Let your thoughts run wild. What if he tried to rescue the dog from the clutches of the hawk, and the hawk attacked him with its talons? Or they ended up in a tug-of-war over the dog?
Sources For Personal Show Prep
Sources for content are everywhere. Eavesdrop on conversations at the coffee shop. Pay attention to how people interact at the supermarket. Use other peoples' lives to inspire your creativity.
When watching TV, apply the storyline to your life. How does it fit? Does it resonate? Apply the same steps described above to the topics presented. How do you react? What could happen?
As you process the possibilities, develop more and more angles. The more you brainstorm it through your character filter, the more personal it will become.
When you have a list of ideas, identify those with the greatest potential. Develop these into interesting, personal stories. Then inject the story with the three E's of entertainment: Exaggerate. Embellish. Energy.