Introduction to Podcast Storytelling


ORALCOMM127
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.


Your American Life

ORALCOMM 130
Instructor: Jake Warga
Winter 2019, Tues/Thurs, 3:30-5:20
4 Units

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.


StoryCraft


TAPS 21, 2 Units, satisfies WAYS-CE requirement
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?).


Documentary Fictions

Documentary Fictions poster
AMSTUD 176B, 4 units, satisfies WAYS Creative Expression requirement
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.


Sound Stories

Rainbow audio wave with Sound Stories written above

ORALCOMM 129, 4 units
Instructor: Jake Warga

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)


Narrative Design


TAPS 176A, 4 Units
Instructor: Jonah Willihnganz

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.


Who Killed Jane Stanford … The Podcast

History 50N, 4 Units
Instructors: Jake Warga, Richard White

In 1905 Jane Stanford died of strychnine poisoning. Who may have killed her remains unknown. For this seminar, you will become collaborative historians and journalists to research the case and create investigative audio podcast much like WBEZ’s Serial. Building on research by a previous freshman seminar, you will together you will examine suspects, circumstances, and the often odd actions of central figures and then build an audio story out of interviews, archival materials, and sound recordings. In your application explain your interest, and any experience with, podcasting.


Nemesis

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.

Producers: Dan Hirsch

Featuring: Hal Mikelson

image via flickr

Story 2: Anyone can have a Nemesis

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.

image via flickr

Story 3: The Beguiled Romance

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.

Producer: Dan Hirsch

Featuring: Jasmine Aarons

image via flickr

Story 4: Satan

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.

Producer: Charlie Mintz

Featuring: Martin Evans and Laura Stokes

image via wikipedia

Story 5: Turning on yourself… and winning

In the end, you are your own worst enemy? The last story shows that we can inspire our inner hero to defeat our inner nemesis.

Featuring: Tiffany James

image via flickr


Finding Your Story


PWR 91, 3 units, satisfies WAYS-CE requirement
Instructors: Jonah Willihnganz and Fred Luskin

This class will feature a special session with US Poet Laureate Billy Collins and Grammy Award winner Aimee Mann.

Life challenges us to become aware of the stories that shape us—family stories, cultural mythologies, even popular movies, television shows, and songs—and then create and live our own story. We face this challenge throughout our lives but perhaps most acutely as we move into adulthood; this is the period when we most need to become conscious of stories and their power, and to gather practices and resources for finding our own story. This class, designed with seniors in mind, will explore how great stories and your own storytelling can help you reflect deeply about what truly calls to you in this life.

We will engage with some of the world’s great stories—myths, parables, teaching tales, modern fiction, even aphorisms, koans, and riddles. In them we can find both elements that resonate with our own story and provocations that help us unearth and cultivate our native gifts—the genius in each of us. We will look at short excerpts from masterworks and myths from around the world, all voices in the largest conversation we have as humans, the one that asks: who am I? why am I here? what truly matters? how can I be happy? Together we will investigate how these stories, and stories like them, can be used to help us find our own story.

The scholar and storyteller Michael Meade says that we live two adventures in each life. The first involves securing our basic needs and making a place for ourselves in the world. The second is learning, deeply and continuously, who we are and what we stand for. This is a class for the second adventure.