Category Archives: Gigs

TAL theme list

For those of you not on the AIR list, here are the upcoming themes for This American Life. -mia


Dear This American Life friends and contributors,

We’ve got a new round of themes-in-progress and we’re coming to you for story pitches, thoughts and suggestions for our upcoming shows.

How this process works: When you send in a story idea to me, I’ll respond with a generic email letting you know that I received your pitch and that I’ve read it. I promise. I read every pitch. (I won’t send you the auto response until I’ve read your pitch so expect a day or two delay sometimes to get that email.) If we think the pitch is right for us, or if we need more information from you, I’ll send you another email asking for more info on the story or letting you know we’d like to commission the story. But if you don’t hear back from us within two weeks, beyond the initial auto-reply email, it means the story just isn’t right for us or for the needs of that particular show. The idea of doing it this way is just to get through pitches and get back to everyone a little more quickly.

Like always, these themes are shows we’re actively pursuing right now but we’re always on the lookout for new stories or ideas. So if you’ve got a story that you think would work especially well for us but doesn’t fit a specific theme listed below, please send it along anyway.

Thanks so much for your pitches. All of us here are very appreciative.

Best, Julie (

CONTENTS UNKNOWN: Stories about guessing, fantasizing and projecting. For this show, we’re sort of running the gamut from the literal to the metaphorical. A literal “contents unknown” story is one we’re planning about people who bid blind on abandoned storage units up for auction. Most of the bidders have a pretty good idea what they’re doing (if you see any hint of a Christmas ornament in the unit, RUN AWAY) but aside from small clues, it’s a lot of guesswork and luck. A more metaphorical take on the theme is a story about a guy who completely loses his memory and essentially allows all of the people around him (family, friends, doctors, bureaucrats) to write his identity for him. We’re now looking for more stories about entering into something where all you really know are the faint outlines of the thing. Maybe entering into a relationship – either romantic or professional – where you really don’t know what you’re getting into? Or someone trying to trust something they’re not sure is true? Stories that head down the more literal route would be great, too. Maybe trying to track down the ingredients to something? Or facing a huge archive without knowing what’s inside? This show is coming up soon and, honestly, we’re feeling a little desperate so if you’ve got something that might be wedged into a “contents unknown” kind of theme, please send it our way.

PARENT TRAP: When a woman is diagnosed with terminal cancer, she writes a series of letters to her 16 year old daughter, to be delivered after her death on the daughter’s successive birthdays. From the time she is 17 until she turns 29, the daughter gets a letter in the mail – sent by her father, via FedEx – each year. The letters are beautiful, filled with encouragement and affirmations of love. They are also filled with plenty of upbeat words about the Mormon Church and moral advice. Moral advice that, over the years, starts to feel increasingly chafing to the daughter who is moving further away, socially, politically and spiritually, from the Church and her mother’s views. The daughter begins to feel like she is receiving letters written for a girl she no longer is but who her dead mother wishes her to be. For this show, we’re looking for stories about how – with the best of intentions – parents and children can sort of manipulate each other into positions they’re not sure they want to be in. We’d love funny stories for this show – maybe an actual “parent trap” type story of setting parents up or the parents setting the kids up. Maybe a story about a parent organization or event? A parent trying to do the right thing and doing exactly the wrong thing? Stories about feeling trapped in a family situation would work well, too.

HEROES: A woman in Las Vegas has spent the last few years in a battle with her daughter’s elementary school about a number of different issues – a prominent one being campus security. So when she and another mom find a first grader wandering alone alongside a road near the school one day, they are outraged. They pick up the boy and call the school district saying they’re returning the boy but have also called the local media to document the egregious lack of security at the school. The moms show up with the boy for the drop-off and are promptly arrested and charged with kidnapping. It’s the climax to the story where both the moms and the school have been gunning for each other for years, the battle increasingly fueled with the idea of doing “what’s best for the children.” We have another story about a guy trying to single-handedly save the integrity of Wikipedia entries from his friend who is purposely planting false information on the site. Other stories that’d be great for this show could include stories about unsung heroes – people who maybe don’t believe their actions were heroic despite evidence to the contrary? Or people who shun the spotlight? Or can’t escape their hero status? Maybe a story about someone who thinks he is a hero but everyone else thinks he’s a pain in the ass?

THE ISLAND: We’d like for all the stories in this show to be held together by a place, instead of an idea. So all the stories have to take place on an island. That’s it. Just an island. But a real island, not a “no man is an island”/”every man is an island” kind of thing. We’re working on one story with the Planet Money team about the economic histories of Jamaica and Barbados and how a fairly small, benign monetary move had very large consequences for those countries. Another story is about an attempt to repatriate lab chimps to an uninhabited island in Senegal. So stories that take place in the United States might be good for this show – Long Island? Rock Island? Hawaii? We were working on a story about Guantanamo that looks like it’ll probably fall through so any stories about Gitmo would work great for this show, too. Ideally, the island would be somewhat of a character in the story or at least the geography would play a part in the how’s and why’s of the story. Maybe a story about being stranded on an island? Opening a business on an island? Fantasizing about an island?

PERMANENT RECORD: A few months ago we were working on a really great, small story. A guy sent us a letter telling us about this time his father went to inter the guy’s mother’s ashes at a Veteran’s Cemetery in Illinois. Because both the father and the mother were vets, it was the father’s understanding that the interment would be free. But when he shows up at the cemetery, he’s told there is a $14.95 processing fee for the ashes. The father gets totally pissed, sees this as penny-pinching and a total betrayal of the U.S. government and, in his anger, dumps the ashes in the parking lot, goes home and tells his shocked kids what he did. Over the years – until his own death – the father is embarrassed by the story whenever the kids bring it up and accuses them of always “focusing on the bad things.” So it’s kind of a funny story of spazzing out, right? And the son tells the story beautifully. But when we call the Veteran’s Cemetery to fact-check the story, it turns out it’s not true. They DON’T charge a processing fee and, in fact, they double-check and say the mother’s ashes actually ARE interred at the cemetery – right next to the father’s ashes. We call back the son and ask what’s up. He’s shocked. He SWEARS this is the story his father told and his brother and sisters back him up on it. None of them can figure out why their dad would tell them this crazy story if it weren’t true. And all they can figure out is that their dad, in his later years, began to have a horrible memory. And maybe he was just messing with them the first time he told them and then, after that, forgot the story, forgot that it wasn’t true, relied on the kids’ version and then it just became fact. SoooooŠwe’re looking for more stories where something that maybe isn’t true becomes the permanent record. We’re working on a story about a an exonerated prisoner who keeps getting falsely accused of other crimes but that story may fall through so we’re open to more stories about trying to free yourself from an official “record.” Stories that might work well: maybe stories about trying to get free from a notorious reputation or past deed? Or trying to set the record straight? Or trying to change an identity?


TRUE URBAN LEGENDS: The thing that’s remarkable about this story is that you’ve already heard this story: a really normal guy who attends a very conservative evangelical college also leads a secret life on weekends, flying to places like Las Vegas and the San Fernando Valley, to star in hardcore gay porn films where he is known as “power bottom” Vincent De Salvo. The thing that I love about this story is that it’s true. Because I swear I’ve heard this exact story from my college roommate’s friend-from-high school’s sister. So what we want to try and do now is a whole show where the really remarkable part of the story is that, while the story conforms to the narrative structure and has all the editorial qualities of an urban legend, it’s actually true. We’re also thinking about doing something about the “monster fish” that showed up in a puddle behind a Dunkin’ Donuts in Baltimore a few years back (a popular story among the D.C./Baltimore set but, remarkably, little known to the rest of the country). We’ve got our eye on a story about organ trafficking, too. We’d love any other story you can think of that either traces the origins of an urban legend in a surprising way or lays out in a classic ‘urban-legend’ kind of way. A story about someone who created an urban legend, or maybe believes they are at the heart of an urban legend, would be great, too. And finally: we’re thinking we may just do a small part of the show where people admit the urban legends they believed for far too long. If you’ve got one of these stories about your own naïve beliefs, will you let us know?

MILLION DOLLAR IDEA: A few months ago our staff got to talking about our get-rich-quick schemes. It turns out Ira’s Million Dollar Idea is to domesticate foxes – he claims it’s easier and faster than you’d think. And then you’d have a really, really smart dog. A really smart, really crafty, really sneaky dog. Which sounds like a bad idea to me but I’d like to hear more of the argument before I truly pass judgment. Anyway, it got us to thinking that we’d love to do a whole show about various Million Dollar Ideas. The stories could be about unorthodox approaches to making money. Or, maybe, unorthodox approaches to solving a problem and going at it in a really big way. If someone is in the middle of enacting their Million Dollar Idea, that’d be great. Or stories about past successes that seemed incredibly unlikely at the time of inception. So-crazy-it-just-might-work stories would work well in this show, too.

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Making Contact Seeking stories on public education and the recession

Hey folks. Check out the opportunity below from the National Radio Project. -Mia _______________________

respond to email address below. Pay will be somewhat lower than normal pub radio rates, but reversioned stories are welcome. Pretty quick turnaround.

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Job in Sacramento

Writing job in Sacto – check it out! -Mia _________________________

For your listings — and happy new year!

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Temporary position at Making Contact /National Radio Project

Hey folks. See below if you or someone you know may qualify for this position. Best, Mia _________________________

Temporary position at Making Contact /National Radio Project IF YOU are SF resident low-income parent radio producer AND QUALIFY via stimulus money at “SF Jobs Now” Check out this site, and if you qualify to join the SF JOBS Now jobs pool and if you get processed into their system, we can consider hiring. (SFJOBS pays the salary employer pays payroll taxes etc)

“Consistent with the goals of the federal stimulus package, the primary objectives of the JOBS NOW! program are to provide an immediate source of income for low-income families and to stimulate local economic recovery. JOBS NOW! builds upon several successful transitional jobs programs already in place at SF-HSA, which were designed to help unemployed individuals address barriers to employment, develop soft skills, gain work experience and progress toward self-sufficiency. JOBS NOW! participants will exit the program with stable employment history, leaving them better positioned to obtain an unsubsidized job when the stimulus period ends. The JOBS NOW! program benefits local employers by providing referrals of qualified workers and by subsidizing 100% of their wages until September 30, 2010. It’s a win-win!”

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TCF seeks interns in early 2010

Hey guys. Happy 2010! I usually don’t post unpaid items, but the TCF is amazing and this could be a great opportunity for those looking to get work experience with some fabulous folks. Spread the word. -mia


From: Julie Shapiro

The Third Coast Festival plans to take on 2010 full force, and is looking for some interns to help with the assault. We’ll be hiring a Festival Intern, Website Intern, and Re:sound Intern, starting in March. These are unpaid internships, but will be extremely valuable for anyone looking to get a handle on the radio landscape in the US and beyond. There’s more information, including details about each internship, here:

The winter/spring internship deadline is coming up soon – February 1. Please forward to and encourage anyone who you think might be interested.

Thanks! And happy days as the year winds down.


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FreelanceFolder is Looking For Designers

Hey design folks. A blog I really like is looking for designers. Check out the following. And don’t forget about the holiday party at Bliss Bar, SF – tomorrow night at 7:30pm!

Best, Mia


FreelanceFolder is Looking for Designers!

Are you an avid FreelanceFolder reader who happens to be a graphic or web design fanatic? Do you spend more time using Photoshop or Illustrator than anything else, except maybe sketching in your Moleskine notebook? Do you happen to be looking for a new source of design work?

If you answered yes to any of those questions — then now is your chance. The current owner of FreelanceFolder, Mason Hipp, and the original founder of FreelanceFolder, Jon Phillips, are teaming up to create a new design site called MediaLoot — and we need designers. Here’s what’s involved:

– We need all sorts of resources: icons, buttons, brushes, vectors, etc… – You’ll get paid on a per-project basis for all of your work (no waiting) – You’ll get your name and a link on every resource that you contribute – We’ll be needing new designs regularly, so this could be a good ongoing relationship.

If you’re interested in applying, you can find all of the requirements and instructions after the read more link.

Job Requirements

Okay, before you go and apply for the job, you’ll want to know what we’re looking for and what you’ll be getting yourself into. Here are the basic requirements:

– *Lots of design experience.* The resources you’ll be designing will be used by other designers in their own work, so they have to be pretty darn good. We’re creating a sort of ‘design toolbox’ that will help make designers lives easier, and each of the resources you contribute will need to be very high quality and easy to use by others. If you’ve got this sort of skill (and the portfolio to back it up) then we’d love for you to apply. – *Resell rights.* We’re not sure what the exact licensing will look like, but we will need most of the rights for the designs you produce. These designs will be made available to others on a subscription basis, and they will be used commercially without attribution. We will definitely pay fairly for these rights, but please make sure you understand and are okay with this before applying. – *Consistency & professionalism.* We’re ideally looking to build long term relationships with designers, so the perfect applicants will be able to create designs regularly, work consistently, and act professionally. Most of this goes without saying, but it can’t hurt to put it in here 🙂

How To Apply

If you’re interested in applying, just send your application to jobs [at] medialoot [dot] com. In the subject line, put “Designer Application” and then in the body of your message include the following information:

1. What kind of design do you specialize in? 2. Where can we find your portfolio or past designs? 3. Do you meet all of our above requirements? Why or why not? 4. What resources do you prefer to design: icons, web elements, textures, brushes, vectors, fonts, other? 5. Can you provide us with 2-3 sample projects, and how much you would charge? For example: icon set with 20 icons, cost $xxx. 6. Do you have any questions for us?

Apply to for this design job →

If you can’t tell already, we’re really excited about building and launching this project, so I hope you’ll consider applying. We’re really looking forward to reading all of these applications and I hope to speak with many of you personally in the near future.

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UC Santa Cruz tape sync, Monday Nov. 30, 2pm

Hey folks. Anyone available for a tape sync on Monday, Nov. 30 at UC Santa Cruz, 2pm? It would take no more than an hour. Pay is $125. I would prefer someone already in/near Santa Cruz but we do cover mileage if needed. Lemme know! Best, Mia

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FreelanceFolder is Looking For Writers

Hey folks. I’ve been reading this blog for awhile and it definitely speaks to me. Perhaps there’s some work in it for some of you writers? -Mia ______________________________

FreelanceFolder is Looking For Writers! via FreelanceFolder by Mason Hipp on 10/29/09

Are you an avid FreelanceFolder reader or someone who has always wanted to write for an audience of freelancers? Are you a top professional in your field with unique skills and the ability to write? Have you been freelancing for so long that you just have plenty of wisdom to share?

If any of that describes you, or if you just want to write for FreelanceFolder — then now is your chance. We are looking to expand our core FreelanceFolder team, and we are ready to hire two new paid writers on a long-term basis. Here’s what’s in it for you:

– Payment for every article written. – Exposure to an audience of over 20k subscribers. – Author by-line and photo on everything you write. – Become a part of our team and help a lot of freelancers.

If you’re interested in applying to write for us, you can find all of the requirements and instructions after the read more link. Job Requirements

So you’ve decided that you want to write for FreelanceFolder — that’s awesome.

Before you send us an application, though, make sure to check out the requirements below to see if you’re a good fit for the job. Here’s what we’re looking for in our new writers:

– *Excellent Spelling & Grammar.* We do edit all of the posts that get published, but you need to have really great spelling and grammar so that it’s not too difficult for our editors. – *Long-Term Commitment.* Some of our writers have been with us for over a year — and that’s how we like it. This could be a very stable income for you if the fit is right, so make sure you can write at least 4 articles per month and are committed to helping out over the long-term. – *Practical & Valuable Writing.* We want to provide the best possible content for freelancers, so we’re looking for authors who are comfortable writing practical, hands-on, concrete stuff. We’re looking for tutorials, how-tos, and other *really useful* articles. – *Basic HTML and Image Editing Skill.* Most of the posts you’ll be writing will require some basic HTML (like headlines, lists, etc…) and basic image editing skills. It will be really helpful if you have these already, though we can teach them pretty easily. – *Unique Ideas and Information.* A big part of having great content is coming up with great ideas for articles or content that aren’t written about everywhere. We’re looking for authors who can think ahead of the crowd and write articles that are new, unique, and exclusive to FreelanceFolder.

How To Apply

If you’re interested in applying, just send us a message using this contact form In the subject line, put “Writer Application” and then in the body of your message include the following information:

1. Why do you want to write for FreelanceFolder? 2. Where can we see examples of your previous work? 3. Do you meet all of our above requirements? Why or why not? 4. How much do you charge for an 800-1200 word article with lots of usable information and detail? 5. Can you write How-Tos and Tutorials? 6. Do you have a specific topic or specialty you’d like to write about? 7. Any questions for us?

Apply to be a FreelanceFolder writer →

We’re all looking forward to expanding our team, and I’m really excited to start working with some of you. Please feel free to contact us with any questions, and we will definitely be in touch shortly!

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Kitchen Sisters Call for Stories and a Contest

Hey folks. The Kitchen Sisters are starting a new multimedia project and are looking for ideas. Info below! -Mia

The Kitchen Sisters are looking for stories and images and videos and writings.

We’re launching a new multimedia series on NPR this January, a listener collaboration in the tradition of Hidden Kitchens, Lost & Found Sound, and The Sonic Memorial Project. This one’s about girls. Girls and the women they become. Stories of coming of age, rituals and rites of passage, secret identities. Of women who crossed a line, broke a trail, changed the tide.

Small everyday stories, dramatic life and death stories. Stories from the middle of the city, to the middle of nowhere.

What women should we know about? What girl’s story should we tell? The famous, the infamous, the unknown, the untold. Women with public lives. Women with secret lives.

Call our NPR Storyline at 202-408-9576 and tell us your story, or the story of someone we need to chronicle. Or email us at

And here’s The Contest. We want you to help us name this new NPR series. We’ve called it The Secret Life of Girls Around the World, The Scheherazade Project, 1001 Stories, all names we like but can’t go with for one reason or another. So, we turn to you to join our brainstorming sessions. You can call or email us with your suggestions. Whoever picks the title will be featured on our website, get the full line of Kitchen Sisters products and productions, a wild boar dinner with forager, Angelo Garro, and the deep satisfaction of hearing the title you came up with on NPR throughout the year.

This soon-to-be-titled project will be full of richly layered sound and striking images, created by people around the world who help capture these stories of eccentric, trailblazing women and ground-breaking girls.

Join The Kitchen Sisterhood and help launch this new multimedia collaboration.

Many thanks,

Davia & Nikki

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KALW’s Your Call Producer Job Announcement

Hey folks. KALW is hiring. They’re doing some great work. Info below. -Mia

KALW is seeking a new producer for Your Call. The job announcement is attached, and it’s also posted at

The application deadline is Wednesday, November 11th, so please take a look today and forward it to your lists or any specific person you think might be interested. And of course, if you think you’d be strong addition to the Your Call team, I welcome your application.



Matt Martin

General Manager

91.7 KALW-FM, San Francisco

(415) 841-4121 x3003

Think globally, listen locally.

doc iconYour Call producer announcement 10 09 long.doc

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