Audio Documentary: Painting a Picture with Sound


This class gives students with some recording and editing experience a chance to work with a veteran radio producer to create a short, documentary-style radio feature. We will go through the steps of researching, designing, recording, writing, and editing a piece in order to create an engaging radio program based on a coherent thesis with high production values. Compelling audio documentary incorporates a creative weave of elements, including narration, interviews, music, scenes, dramatizations, performances, archival tape, and ambience beds. Students will learn to paint a picture in sound by employing a number of these elements in their own work. While elements of style will be stressed, even greater emphasis will be placed on the documentary’s structure. Students will learn to tell their story through a clear, unfolding treatment of the subject.

As part of the class, students will have the opportunity to pitch their pieces to Making Contact, a weekly half-hour program distributed to over 140 public, college, and community radio stations around the country. Acceptance is not guaranteed, but guidance will be given to strong candidates. (12 hours/Advanced)

For the past thirty years Claire Schoen has been involved in media production, working on a wide variety of documentary and educational projects. As a producer/director, she has created several documentary films and over twenty-five long-format radio documentaries, as well as numerous radio features. As a sound designer she has recorded, edited, and mixed sound for film, video, radio, websites, museums, and theater productions. Claire has taught media production in several venues, including UC-Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

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