In December 2013, Marsha Gordon, a professor teaching film studies at NC State, and Laura Boyes, a film curator at the North Carolina Museum of Art, agreed to discuss holiday-themed films on the North Carolina Radio program “The State of Things.” The two have hosted a monthly segment on the show ever since.
During the segment, called “Movies on the Radio,” Gordon and Boyes discuss movie-themed topics. Thanks to brainstorming sessions between the two hosts and idea crowdsourcing through social media, Gordon and Boyes have kept the monthly segment going for more than a year now.
The show crowdsources ideas from followers of “The State of Things” on Facebook and Twitter, and the producer picks ideas from among them to feature on the program, according to Gordon.
Gordon said the show has been a great opportunity to relate her professional work with a non-academic audience.
“As academics, we have a fairly limited audience within an academic environment,” Gordon said. “This is really a chance to talk to a much wider, more diverse kind of audience than we normally have the opportunity to do as professors.”
Boyes said the subject of the shows can be fairly topical depending on when the show is running. The last show they ran was on the best and worst films of 2014, and the next show, airing on Feb. 11, will be a Valentine’s Day-themed segment about the most memorable kisses in film.
“We talk about what we think the audience might be interested in,” Boyes said.
According to Gordon and Boyes, one of the more interesting segments was called “Movies That Traumatized You as a Kid” and garnered a multitude of different responses.
“I love the show we did on films that traumatized you as a child because everyone’s got one,” Gordon said. “People had so much fun kind of going back to think about that film they saw when they were too young or that was too scary.”
Boyes said even after the show, people approached her to share their own experiences with traumatizing films.
“I had all kinds of people coming up to me very anxious to share the movies that traumatized them as children,” Boyes said. “That just turned out to be a really interesting topic in general.”
Boyes said the responses people give to each idea have continued to surprise her, including the ones she has heard for the upcoming segment on memorable kisses in film. She had expected to hear people talk about scenes from the “Lady and the Tramp” and “Casablanca,” but has encountered some responses one might not think to hear.
“People talked about the kiss of death that Michael Corleone gives Fredo in ‘The Godfather’ and the kiss between Charlton Heston and the ape doctor in ‘Planet of the Apes,’” Boyes said. “It was really interesting to see people taking these topics and really running with them.”
Gordon said the feedback she has gotten from the audience has been rewarding.
“I’m always really impressed by how smart the comments from the listeners are. They give us great material to work with,” Gordon said. “I really like that you feel like you’re really having a conversation.”
According to Gordon, the show has been a great way for her and Boyes to share what they love through the medium of radio.
“I think it’s a chance for me, along with Laura, to share something we feel very passionately about with more than just our relatively small constituencies,” Gordon said. “I have my students every semester and she’s got the people who come to her film programs at the museum of art, but this is so many hundreds of people more, thousands of people more really, that you can reach through something like radio.”
Gordon said “The State of Things” does a Twitter call every month for listeners to submit their picks for what films Boyes and Gordon will discuss on the show. This can be accessed by following her on Twitter account @marshaggordon.