Announcing the Awesome People Project

15 November 2014 · 3 comments

I know lots of awesome people. So do you. We all do.

At the start of her excellent writing manual, If You Want to Write, Brenda Ueland states her premise: “Everybody is talented, original and has something important to say.” That’s my premise too.

The more people I meet, the more I believe that each of us has something unique to share with the world.

I don’t mean unique in a liberal “everyone deserves a gold star” sense. I mean it in an “everybody is the hero of her own life” sense. People are awesome. Despite the occasional evil action from an evil person, most folks are doing the best they can to make life better, both for themselves and others.

Lately I’ve been thinking that it’d be fun to highlight some of the awesome people I know. Not only bloggers — though I certainly know some awesome bloggers — but also teachers and scientists and bakers and retirees. Kim and I already plan to interview people during our future travels, but I want to get a head start on that project. I want to practice.

Starting today I’m going to put my new-found extroversion to good use. I plan to record and share a series of video interviews with the awesome people in my world. Sometimes these will be recorded Skype interviews. Sometimes they’ll be filmed in peson.

And because I’m not a guy who likes to watch video, I’ll provide both audio and written versions of the conversations too.

Note: When I mention this project to folks, they often ask if I’ve seen Humans of New York. Yes, I have. It’s terrific.

Early episodes of Awesome People will be imperfect. I know this. Quality will improve as I gain experience as an interviewer and learn to use my equipment. If you have constructive feedback, by all means share it! Do the interviews need to be shorter? Longer? Better edited? What parts were boring? Most interesting? What topics should I have pursued?

I promise that these productions will improve in time if you agree to provide feedback so that we can make this series something of lasting value.

What is in mind is a sort of Chautauqua…that’s the only name I can think of for it…like the traveling tent-show Chautauquas that used to move across America, this America, the one that we are now in, an old-time series of popular talks intended to edify and entertain, improve the mind and bring culture and enlightenment to the ears and thoughts of the hearer.

[…]

In this Chautauqua I would like not to cut any new channels of consciousness but simply dig deeper into old ones that have become silted in with the debris of thoughts grown stale and platitudes too often repeated. “What’s new?” is an interesting and broadening eternal question, but one which, if pursued exclusively, results only in an endless parade of trivia and fashion, the silt of tomorrow. I would like, instead, to be concerned with the question “What is best?,” a question which cuts deeply rather than broadly, a question whose answers tend to move the silt downstream.

— Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

1 AZ Joe November 16, 2014 at 04:58

On NPR there is a program, Story Trek which does something similar to what you are planning. I suspect their interviews are very heavily edited to meet production constraints, but you might find it of interest/value. Here is a link to one such interview, there are more:
http://www.byutv.org/watch/8fb180f3-5257-4415-8341-ed23a4937f34/the-story-trek-i-should-be-dead
I find these kinds of interviews, with real people telling their personal stories, very interesting. I look forward to your efforts. Thanks for the Blogs, both
this one and GRS.

2 JoDi November 16, 2014 at 14:00

Sounds like an awesome project! ;-) I just love Humans of NY though I haven’t checked it in a while. So many websites, so little time!

I’m looking forward to watching the first video. I usually prefer to read transcripts of most videos, but when it comes to people’s stories, there’s nothing quite like seeing & hearing a person tell their story to you.

3 bon November 23, 2014 at 00:32

Sounds awesome – if you haven’t already definitely check out the good life project. Similar premise & great interviews, but I know your project will be unique as you will bring your fantastic style.

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