Driveway Moments


What is a driveway moment?

Picture this: you're driving home after a long day at work. The radio is on, but instead of some ordinary news piece, you're listening to a story that really grabs your attention.

The voices, the use of sound and maybe music, the events of the story pull you in so completely that when you get home, you don't get out of the car. You sit there with the radio on, in the driveway, so that you can listen to the end of the story. Everything else can wait!

That is a driveway moment.

I love stories like that. Stories that make you forget whatever else you're doing; the kind of stories that you want to tell friends or your family about afterwards.

When I'm choosing stories for American Voices, I look for pieces with those moments. I know it's a good story if I forget that I'm even working on this project: I'm listening just to hear the end of the story.

Here are a few of my favorite driveway moments taken from stories you'll hear in the American Voices project.

--Curt Ford, Editor

When you can't turn the radio off...
When you can't turn the radio off...
... because you have to hear the end of the story.
... because you have to hear the end of the story.


00:00 David Schulman: Jacques Cousteau called it “the Silent World” ... Let’s just say, he got that one wrong.
00:06 [sounds] 00:08 Off the coast of Bermuda, 2,000 feet down. These are humpback whales singing, in a tropical storm.
00:20 [whales]

00:26 DS: But these days, those whale singers have a lot of competition.
00:32 CC: The ocean is being industrialized — acoustically industrialized.


...They live in a charming neighborhood of bungalows just off Hollywood Boulevard. But they secretly dream of living in a giant igloo made of dirt.00:17 Speaker 2: And here is Cal-Earth, you can see on your right.

00:20 Speaker 3: Oh my god.

00:21 S2: Yeah, it's - it's totally, totally different.

00:25 EM: We drove an hour east of LA to the town of Hesperia. As I entered Cal-Earth, I felt like I was walking onto the set of Luke Skywalker's house.

00:33 Speaker 4: It's like "Star Wars" and "Lord of the Rings" put together.

00:37 EM: The connection to outer space is not a coincidence. The idea for these houses came from a lunar colony. It started out as a NASA project designed by the Iranian architect Nader Khalili...


An actor walks on stage. It's stripped bare, except for the color green. His co-star is a tennis ball...It sounds like experimental theater, but this is how actors work in Hollywood these days. It's called a green screen.

Ioan Gruffudd was trained at the Royal Academy of the Arts in London. Then he got cast in the Fantastic Four series as Mr. Fantastic.

"The times where we had to create things were... Well, especially for me, was whenever I stretched. You know, I mean, I can't physically do that obviously, so I'm continually imagining myself doing it and I think that's the key word here is – you just have to use your imagination. And that's where I think it's probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do as – as an actor because you're not only acting, you're then imagining what you're reacting to also. So you're almost doing twice the work."

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