An update from San Francisco

Three interviews posted and two more to edit. The bottleneck for this project has become very clear: post-production. Initially, I expected the conversations would require fairly minimal editing and could take on the rhythm of actual conversations. Perhaps they could but, as I go back and listen through them, the editor in me wants to cut to the essence of each idea and flush out repeated phrases, extraneous examples, and all of the little packing material of speech. Another reason I’ve been spending a lot of time editing is because, thus far, all five interviews have been a little too interview like–I have been trying to ask questions that allow each thinker to develop their ideas without challenging their plausibility. My goal isn’t to judge ideas (you’ll do that quite well on your own), but to get developed ideas on the table and seek areas of difference and convergence. If I was more engaged in the conversations as a speaker, I think they would have the back-and-forth dynamic to work with less editing while, at the same time, sounding less like a traditional interview project. The trade off is that, the more I speak during the conversations, the less you hear from the interviewees. I am still trying to balance a spontaneous, conversational quality versus offering a concise portrait of a thinker. Hopefully the short conversations Micah and I have been bracketing the interviews with give the series a less interview-y quality.

Whatever the balance, editing is still going to be slower than anticipated. Two interviews a week may be possible while I’m stationary, but while I am traveling it could be tougher. Especially when the motorcycle breaks in the middle of nowhere, as it did two days ago. Three interviews every two weeks may end up being the right rhythm for the project.

I’ll be in San Francisco for the next few weeks. Micah and I have a lot of incredible folks lined up and we think you’ll enjoy hearing/talking to them. We’re still ironing out how to make the site work with comments, but if you want to register now, you’ll have to donate at least $5 to our Kickstarter drive. This isn’t clear from the site design (wah-wah) but we will fix that soon. The Conversation is only a half-project until we connect the audio conversations to a web conversation, so if you’ve donated, comment! And if you want to comment, donate! It’s $5 for access to the site, which is mostly a fee to keep trolls out of The Conversation. We like it civil, you know?