As an undergrad Scott Carrier studied cultural anthropology. “It was almost like it was an infinitely deep subject.” He explains, “The mysteries and complexities and strangeness of culture, I was just amazed at how different people are."
Having an interest in filmmaking, he became fascinated with the old anthropological documentaries shown in his classes. “They were terrible, most of them,” he admits, “But they blew my mind, and so I started studying documentary film, watching every film I could, sometimes two or three films a day.”
Carrier didn’t have enough money to buy a camera or 16mm film to make documentaries, but he did have a portable cassette recorder and an Electrovoice RE-50 microphone. He and a friend would hit the streets in Salt Lake City and randomly interview people they met. These interviews were the beginning of a life journey in radio, writing, journalism, teaching and podcasting.
When he was 26 years old he hitchhiked to Washington D.C., interviewing the people who picked him up along the way. Armed with these stories, his plan was to go to NPR with the hopes of having a radio show on All Things Considered. “Even back then, it was very unlikely they would let anyone do that,” says Carrier. “You just can’t walk in off the street.” But it worked. The producer at the time, Alex Chadwick, let him have a chance.
“All stories are constructed whether they are fiction or nonfiction,” says Carrier. “There’s a lot of creativity in nonfiction. Where do you start and where do you end, and what the hell do you put in all that middle part, and in what order, what’s the context- these are choices we make.”
Scott won the Peabody award for his NPR story “Crossing Borders.” He’s written for Harper’s Magazine, Mother Jones and is a contributing producer to NPR’s This American Life and Hearing Voices.
His current project is Home of the Brave where you can listen to his podcasts on a plethora of subjects, thoughts, adventures, misadventures, refugees, his neighbors, political rallies, Bears in Yellowstone, the West Desert and more. You can also find Home of the Brave on various listening apps.
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