Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #540: Why “Happy Accidents” Happen

The great movie director Arthur Penn (Bonnie & Clyde, Little Big Man, The Missouri Breaks, etc.) often spoke of what he called ‘happy accidents’ occurring during the filming. Little movements or reactions or lines that weren’t in the script, but were magical.

I see the same thing in radio – breaks that just “appear” out of nowhere and crack people up.

An example comes from my friend Wally, of The Wally Show on WAY-FM. He sent me this break with a note saying, “It works because everyone played their role perfectly and organically. I set it up with a polarizing statement for our audience. Betty (his female partner) provides the correct balance for the listener, and then (Producer) Gavin knew when to subtly add something that led me to an ‘out’ that was pretty funny. None of it planned, just a show firing on all the right cylinders.”
Here it is:

Then, with a different style, a break from Morgan Smith, afternoon personality on KSBJ in Houston. (*Salute to PD Randy Fox, who really gets this stuff):

Each of these just sort of “popped up”, but I think there’s a reason WHY:

When you get fully used to preparing breaks well, some breaks will just prepare themselves.

I’ve found that the more you prep well, the more “happy accidents” seem to happen. Shows that “wing it” more are usually sort of “hit and miss”.

It always pays to be good at constructing breaks. The improv moments “land” better as a result.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
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