From Our Staff | March 12, 2012

I was able to spend a fair portion of the recent AWP Conference camped out at The Missouri Review’s book fair table. It’s always fun meeting former TMR contributors and past contest winners face-to-face—and I get especially get excited, as the contest editor, when people take an interest in our upcoming contests. This year we gave away quite a few flyers announcing our Audio Competition, but I also noticed faces falling when people took note of our deadline. “That’s not a lot of time,” a number of people said. And it’s true; March 15 is now less than a week away.

For this reason—because so many folks learned about our contest for the first time at AWP—we’ve decided to extend the contest deadline by an extra week. Additionally, our online entry format and our pay-by-donation fee structure are completely new this year, and it’s taken us a while to adjust the website to accommodate those improvements. We thought a deadline extension was the best option all-around. Entries are now due (emailed or postmarked) by March 22nd.

I also wanted to address any concerns about the re-defining of our contest categories. In the past, we’ve had separate categories for professionally-recorded and home-recorded documentaries, but we did away with that this year. In the end, we found that there was little qualitative difference between entries submitted in the two categories. Many home-recorded pieces were just as strong, if not stronger, than those recorded by “professionals.”

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts and emails, home recording is fairly straightforward with the help of a computer, a microphone, and free recording software like GarageBand or Audacity. I’ll share a link here for a website that offers some helpful tips on ways to improve the quality of home recordings. While the focus of the site is Audio Documentaries, most of the suggestions would be just as helpful for recording other kinds of content too.