Spring 2019, Fridays, 11:30-12:50
Instructors: Jonah Willihnganz, Jenny March
2 units, WAYS-CE
This introductory course is designed to teach you the fundamentals of creating stories for new media, especially podcasting. You will learn how to develop and produce pieces across a variety of genres, from memoir to reported pieces, and you will learn the entire process, step-by-step, from pitching and interviewing to scripting and audio (and sometimes photo and video) editing. The course combines a traditional seminar format with a practicum where we workshop work in progress for fiction and nonfiction podcasts produced by the Storytelling Project. Though we focus on audio stories, the craft skills you learn here are transferable to making stories for any medium, from print and performance to web multimedia and film.
May be repeated for credit.
Instructor: Jake Warga
Winter 2019, Tues/Thurs, 3:30-5:20
This small seminar is designed for students interested in creating audio stories for radio or podcast. You will examine the craft elements of the medium, popularized by programs like This American Life, Radiolab and Serial, and then produce your own documentary, memoir, or investigative story. We will explore the basic principles of strong storytelling, and you will learn how to develop your material, choose an effective structure, blend dramatization and reflection, ground insights in concrete scenes, create a strong narrative arc, and manage elements such as characterization, description, and dialogue. We will also examine craft elements unique to the audio form, and you will learn skills for interviewing, scoring, and audio editing. Students will have the opportunity to work with special guests from some of the best narrative podcasts in America. No prior experience with story craft or media required.
CSRE 141E, EDUC 141/341, LIFE 124
Instructors: Anthony Antonio, Jonah Willihnganz
Winter 2019, Wednesdays 1:30-4:20
Counterstory is a method developed in critical legal studies that emerges out of the broad “narrative turn” in the humanities and social science. This course explores the value of this turn, especially for marginalized communities, and the use of counterstory as analysis, critique, and self-expression. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we examine counterstory as it has developed in critical theory, critical pedagogy, and critical race theory literatures, and explore it as a framework for liberation, cultural work, and spiritual exploration.
Instructor: Jake Warga
Fall 2018, Fridays 10:30-12:20
This workshop will lead students through the process of turning interviews, archival tape, and other recorded material into an accomplished audio documentary suited for public radio and major podcasts. Students will learn how to build story out of their materials, design and create a script, edit and mix sound, and distribute their final product. Suited especially to students returning from summer documentary and oral history research projects. Instructor Permission Required
Instructors: Dan Klein and Michelle Darby
StoryCraft is a hands-on, experiential workshop offering participants the opportunity, structure and guidance to craft compelling personal stories to be shared in front of a live audience. The class will focus on several areas of storytelling: Mining (how do you find your stories and extract the richest details?); Crafting (how do you structure the content and shape the language?); and Performing (how do you share your stories with presence, authenticity and connection?).
Instructor: Jonah Willihnganz
More and more of the best American fiction, plays, and even comics are being created out of documentary practices such as in-depth interviewing, oral histories, and reporting. Novels like Dave Eggers’s What is the What, plays like Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight Los Angeles, and narrative journalism like Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, all act as both witnesses and translators of people’s direct experience and push art into social activism in new ways. In this course students will examine the research methods, artistic craft, and ethics of these rich, genre-bending works and then create documentary fictions of their own. Readings will include works by Katherine Boo, G. B. Tran, and Charles Johnson, and author visits will include a master class with Rebecca Skloot. No prior creative writing or journalism experience required.
This special seminar is designed for students interested in creating documentary stories for radio, podcast, and other sound media. Students will learn both the core principles of telling strong stories, whatever the medium, and the strategies of telling entertaining, persuasive stories for the ear. Just like film or the novel, sonic stories offer a fascinating mix of constraints and opportunities, and you’ll learn how to invite listeners into an experience or insight that combines theories, facts and feelings into a single space of empathy. This is a hybrid class – equal parts classic seminar and creative workshop – and students will create stories from start to finish and learn skills from pitching and interviewing to writing, editing, and digital production. Students will work in small groups to document places through the stories that inhabit them – from police departments and local shelters to and community centers. Recommended for students interested in creative nonfiction, documentary, film, and even sound art. No prior experience necessary. (Cardinal Course certified by the Haas Center)
As of 2023, approximately 144 million people in the U.S. and 464.7 million people worldwide listen to a podcast every month. But back in 2007 when the Stanford Storytelling Project began, podcasting wasn’t yet part of our vocabulary. Instead, we made audio stories and aired them online or on public radio. From 2007-2010, during the years when we were learning to love this medium from the creators at public radio shows like This American Life, Radiolab, and Radio Diaries, the Stanford Storytelling Project released student-produced audio stories under our Soundings feed. Beginning in 2011, SSP created State of the Human, our flagship (and now award-winning) podcast that features our very best student work. Our Soundings podcast feed has become the place where completed student work lives, and it includes our Braden grantee projects, the episodes produced in our Sound Stories and Stories to Save Our Planet courses. Often—particularly when students want to continue working on these projects beyond the scope of their courses or grants—these stories find their way into State of the Human as well. The stories below represent the Soundings stories released in those early pre-State of the Human years. You can find our full list of Soundings stories here.
Do you have a special someone in your life who does all the same things you do, but better? Are you nursing a grudge and need some vindication? On this week’s show we have epic college feuds, petty rivalries, sweet love affairs gone bitter, and the battling little voices in your own head. It’s stories of conﬂict, within and without. Animosity, axes to grind, enemies and nemeses, hosted by dynamic doppelgänger duo.
Host: Charlie Mintz and Dan Hirsch Producers: Charlie Mintz and Dan Hirsch Featured: Hal Mikelson, Carmen Gray, Emily Cox, Will Rogers, Angela Castellanos, Matt Larson, Jasmine Aarons, Laura Stokes, Martin Evans, Roland Greene, Tiffany James Music: Lauchlan Casey
Release Date: 4 December 2008
Story 1: The Axe
At the core of all animosity, there is a story, usually a story of betrayal and deceit. When we remember the story, hatred crystallizes into something real. A legendary college rivalry tale has shaped Stanford’s relationship with it’s great nemesis across the Bay. One man re-tells the tale every year to keep the spirit (of animosity) alive.
Storytelling producers take to the streets, asking strangers to tell their personal nemesis tales. Prop 8, parents, styrofoam, ambitious conservatives… we encountered an abundance of nemeses, including ones that push people into playing more heroic roles in their own lives.
All humans are susceptible to a type of chemical warfare that assaults us at unsuspected and undesirable times. One student tells of an instinctual attraction that goes against her sense of principle and better judgement.
One may think that the concept of Satan is as tried and true as the institution of Christianity. In this story, two professors provide a more historical take on our understanding of the Angel of Darkness.
This class examines narrative design in performed storytelling, especially live drama, oral storytelling, and radio, and compares it to narrative design in other forms, such as print, photography, and the graphic novel. After considering what media theory, psychology and neurobiology understand about how different forms of narratives operate on us, students will create a “base narrative” in print and then versions of that narrative in two different other forms. The goal is for students to understand narrative design principles both across and specific to media forms and be able to apply them to move audiences. Students will have the opportunity to meet and work with master storytellers including Anthony Doerr, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, All the Light We Cannot See.