A dramatic story and deft editing set this podcast apart from others.

I rarely associate the word “drama” with podcasts, but this Radiolab podcast has everything: a 100%-fatal disease; an infected girl spiraling towards death; a doctor grasping at straws; even a miracle cure (that may not be a miracle at all).

And some truly inspired, wholly dramatic editing.

There’s more here than a fascinating disease (Fun Fact: the rabies virus attaches itself to the first neuron it finds, then crawls up to your brain, where it kills you nearly 100% of the time.)

The editing is dramatic. The producers cut the participant’s statements together so tightly, at times they overlap.

In other instances, dead air spikes the drama.

New people pop into the narrative without preamble. And quirky background effects and music surface at dramatic moments.

It’s an eye opener for someone who thinks of podcasts in terms of people taking turns talking.

That Drama Thing

“OK” you say. “High-end podcast. Quick cuts, dramatic editing.”

“I write copy. Why am I reading this?”

Imagine a client asks you to help create a video. The budget is tiny and the subject matter is not visual.

In fact, all you’ve got to work with is a guy talking about economics…

Transition Economics 2014 from Eric Garland on Vimeo.

Lookey there. Tight cuts. Tight enough that Eric Garland’s rapid-fire pitches for his Transitional Economics conference) sometimes begin before the scene does.

Some sentences even span scenes.

He’s telling an intriguing story. Which is critical. But let’s face it — Garland is not exactly a supermodel (sorry Eric), nor is he wearing a meat dress.

Yet the video is eminently watchable, and in the context of its audience, pretty dramatic. Imagine a standard talking head standup video in its place.

Will this change my approach to next week’s website copy? Probably not.

But after a couple decades in the business, the phrase “Stop learning, start dying” acquires real meaning. And these days, there simply is no business as usual.

Let’s call it a new tool for the toolbox.

Keep writing (and finding interesting new stuff), Tom Chandler