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Grad Student Discos for Dollars

From: Hillary Frank
Length: 05:19

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A grad student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago pays for his living expenses by disco dancing on the street. Read the full description.

Disco2_small Jason Hopkins didn't know how to dance when he was the student body president at his high school. But when he was put in charge of promoting an upcoming school dance, he figured he'd have to learn quick. So he rented Saturday Night Fever and learned all of John Travolta's moves. He had no idea that one day those moves would earn him around $10,000 a year and would help him through grad school. This story first aired on Sound Money.

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Piece Description

Jason Hopkins didn't know how to dance when he was the student body president at his high school. But when he was put in charge of promoting an upcoming school dance, he figured he'd have to learn quick. So he rented Saturday Night Fever and learned all of John Travolta's moves. He had no idea that one day those moves would earn him around $10,000 a year and would help him through grad school. This story first aired on Sound Money.

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Review of Grad Student Discos for Dollars

Frank has a knack for ferreting out interesting stories. This one has character, texture, and fun tunes. It's a light, evergreen piece. Gives a good sense of vibe on a Chicago street, and imparts do-it-yourself inspiration.

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Review of Grad Student Discos for Dollars

The dancing is a clever idea. But this is a Sound Money piece, so the revenue element is front and center, and that's what gives this piece its depth. Yeah, the dancing is interesting, and the idea of it is funny, but this kitsch wears thin quickly -- what works is the explanation of why he started dancing, how he first felt about this newfound income, and how his entrepreneurial techniques have made an impression on other grad students. Good stuff.

As an aside: It's funny that he models his moves on Saturday Night Fever -- I don't know anything about dancing, but I've been told John Travolta doesn't know anything about it, either.

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Review of Grad Student Discos for Dollars

Refreshing story of creative minds exploiting their talents no matter where they may ly. A good lite ending piece

Broadcast History

First aired on Sound Money on Aug. 28, 2004.

Transcript

Grad Student Discos for Dollars – script

HOST INTRO: College students are notoriously low on cash and competition for jobs can be fierce. Hillary Frank tells us how one Animation student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago invented a job for himself.

If you walk by the Watertower on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile on a Saturday afternoon, you can be sure to hear this [music: "superfreak"], this [music: "funkytown"], and a whole lot of this [woman laughing]. What’s all the fuss about? A grad student. And what’s he doing?

tape – [:08] (woman in crowd) he’s dancing his little tail off for money...and he’s really selling it too! (laughs)

tape – [:29] my name is jason hopkins...i disco for dollars on weekends...which means i get an old boombox, put on some vintage clothing, and get down with the boogie...[music in clear: "play that funky music white boy"]...i've put...
Read the full transcript

Timing and Cues

story: 4:55
+ :24 end music