Where to find behind-the-scenes info of TED talks?
July 9, 2013 2:12 AM   Subscribe

I'm writing a TED conference parody, and I'm hungry for some good behind-the-scenes info. I can't find much of anything. Which makes me hungrier. Do you know of any good blog posts, essays, articles out there? For people who have attended or have some inside info, would you mind dropping some info here about what it was like? Particularly, unusual or annoying things.

In my parody, a character is invited to give a TED talk. She goes to the conference, grumpily adheres to all the TED rules, runs into obnoxious faux-intellectuals, and makes a really dumb 18-minute speech that manages to be a crowd-pleaser by fitting certain TED cliches. I'm having a hard time finding background info on TED to base it on. The best thing I found so far was Eddie Huang's account on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast where he talks about being bunked up with another presenter and pushed through lengthy overplanned TED agendas. I read the wikipedia entry and followed all the leads there without finding much meat.
posted by ErikH2000 to Technology (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I was at one (TedX) where a speaker performed an almost faith-healing scene; speaking about their vague illness (not one recognised fully here because of geographical boundaries, somewhat like chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia) and how it - sometimes - confined them to the wheelchair they were sitting in; then getting out of the chair only at the conclusion of their talk. They had no other major accomplishments, unlike many of the other speakers.
Other things that did not go over too well: excessive exhortation to give to a small charity this person ran, a talk by someone at a bank post-GFC.
posted by quercus23 at 6:27 AM on July 9, 2013

Best answer: I read an article not that long ago that was kind of behind-the-scenes on giving a Ted talk -- how they prep you for it (really, line by line, where to pause for applause, etc.), how they've changed talks by filming them like rock concerts, how they go for a feel-good tone even if it's not clear what people are going to do, etc. Bad day for me to go looking, but you might try the New Yorker from the last couple of years or just Googling a "my personal Ted experience" story...
posted by acm at 9:49 AM on July 9, 2013

Best answer: Sebastian Wernicke gave a kind of "meta-TED talk" where he tried to use statistics to optimize his TED Talk. Pretty funny in itself, and could be a source of inspiration for you.
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
posted by Wretch729 at 10:39 AM on July 9, 2013

Response by poster: @Quercus23, do you think the TedX confs are much different than the main TED conferences?

@acm, I Googled and "my ted experience," and oh my god, what a frigging lovefest. "How TED changed my life" (vomit) I did find the New Yorker article. Still deciding whether I want to pay to see the whole article.

@Wretch729, just finished watching the Wernicke video. It's great!

Thanks all for the tips.
posted by ErikH2000 at 3:16 PM on July 9, 2013

TedX conferences are apparently independent of the mothership and generally have a lot lower standards. So yeah, if you think some of the stuff peddled at TED is weak - TedX fails to make that bar.
posted by outlier at 3:20 AM on July 10, 2013

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