A Podcast Idea

May 3, 2021

STORYBENDING is a competitive life story podcast/gameshow I've been developing. I pitched it during a Twitch stream recently:

Pitching STORYBENDING on my Twitch stream to my one viewer that day

In short, each week's guest will tell their life story through a thematic lens. That theme could be anything, honestly. Life through family, sports, video games, trauma, health, religion, education, romance, politics, you name it! It could be a broad overview of everything or narrow in scope, focused on one chapter. It could go deep and get very real, or skim the surface, and be a laid back, good time. It's really up to the guest and their style.

Life Stories, a board game from the 90s

The second segment of the show will be a literal game. I have a pile of cards from the original Life Stories board game from the 90s that we'll dive into for a freestyle, rapid fire round. This is your typical "road trip questions" to hear people's random thoughts on a variety of topics.

Some dice, I guess

The third and final segment will be another storytelling game: role-playing! I've been enjoying running a couple of DnD games during the quarantine, and I thought I'd steal from that as a fun way to get to know someone in a game of pretend. I truly believe how someone behaves in a role playing game can reveal their real-life character, sense of humor, and beliefs, even if they are "lying" and making everything up. It will be a short scenario, 10-15 minutes tops, but just a way to learn about someone by how they play. As I said in my Director's statement for DDD: "Play is sacred."

Storytelling competition?

The "competitive" twist I am putting on all of this is that I am going to be grading the guest, and assigning points in a set of storytelling categories I have created. This scoring aspect isn't such a serious endeavor, mind you, and obviously is largely subjective, based on my own sensibilities. But it's my podcast, so I make the rules! Think of the points more like Whose Line Is It Anyway? - rewarding cleverness, emotional responses, poignancy.

The podcast will be produced in a seasonal format. Each season will start with 8 weeks of guests. After they all get scored, the top 4 will move on to the semifinals and come back, choosing a different thematic lens to unpack for us. Then the top 2 advance to the championship, for another round, perhaps even in a live face-off against each other. We'll see! Then we will crown that season's Storybending Champion for a prize/trophy!

At this rate each season will run about 13 weeks, 3 seasons per year if I can get a regular flow of guests. Then, after we crown 8 champions, we can have a Storybending World Cup where all the winners come back against each other!

Sounds fun, right? We'll see if I ever get around to it!