In this course on the audio essay, students will learn how to compose and publish their own podcasts, using a mixture of music, sound effects, and narration. Students will begin by developing several short sound-based narratives (“audio postcards”), focusing on such elements as place, voice, and/or music. Using the creative nonfiction genre as a model, students will then write an original audio essay, which they will record and workshop with their peers. In doing so they will examine what role sound plays in the development of voice and point of view, and what particular limitations and opportunities are afforded by writing in this medium. By listening to a variety of audio essays (from Orson Welles to Laurie Anderson to Ira Glass), students will also learn effective techniques for pacing, audio layering, and balancing anecdote with reflection. Finally, students will consider whether they can enhance their audio essays by introducing visual elements, in the form of an audio slideshow.
This mini-course is held from Sept. 6 to Oct. 18, 2013.