Class Agenda – Wednesday, Oct. 18


Pitches for your upcoming assignment (the first of two episodes of a scripted podcast) will be due on Monday, October 23.

The Assignment

The pitch is two-fold: You’ll need to pitch an idea for a scripted podcast that is broad enough/structurally conducive to including multiple episodes. You will also need to provide a specific pitch for what the first episode will consist of. You don’t have to pitch Episode Two yet, but you’re welcome to if it makes sense to do so. The first part should be 12-15 minutes long.

An example of a pitch would be something like this: “The podcast will be called ‘The Graveyard Shift.’ In it, I’ll take listeners on a journey through various jobs that take place at night.” Episode One could follow a vendor or a buyer at the Fulton Fish Market in the Bronx, which opens at 1am and closes at 7am. Episode Two could follow a drag queen through a performance night in Hell’s Kitchen… and so on. Or Episode One could be the first part of one longer story that will continue in Episode Two.

The podcast can be journalistic/verite or it can be fictional, if you’re able to find enough friends and volunteers to play the various parts.

So that’s the assignment. Now, let’s talk about audio storytelling.

For your consideration: The first few minutes of S-Town.

Discuss: How does this capture the listener’s interest? What’s with the whole clock thing?

And one of the all-time great episodes of This American Life.

As you listen to the first part of this episode, I want to you take notes about its structure and the storytelling techniques you notice. We’ll sort of deconstruct it together afterward. For instance, make a note every time we move to a new scene. What signals the transition? How long is each scene? How is narration artfully woven into the nat sounds and sound bites to tell the story? What parts really speak to you and why? How is music used to create a sense of tension or pathos? How does the introduction set the tone and theme for what follows?

We’ll discuss the first part together. For homework, please finish listening to it and before our pitch workshop on Monday we’ll briefly discuss what you thought of the the ending.

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