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View of Georgetown campus from the Virginia side of the Potomac

View of Georgetown campus from the Virginia side of the Potomac

Audio and Podcasting Projects

How to start?

Planning, or pre-production, is a crucial step when creating an audio project or podcast.

1. Consider your constraints

   Be aware of your constraints, which often include:

  • The goal(s) of the assignment itself. Examine your rubric thoroughly. Understand exactly what your professor expects from your project. This is the most important starting point.
     
  • A short time limit
     
  • The software and equipment you will be using. (For recommended gear, check out the Production section)

 

2. Brainstorming

   It can be tough to get started, especially if you have a very open-ended assignment.

  • Decide on a topic (try to pick something that interests you!)
    e.g. "I am interested in Buddhist meditation."
     
  • Narrow your topic by generating questions or new ideas to explore.
    e.g. "What are different ways meditation is done in the US?" / "What exactly IS meditation?" 
     
  • Do the research. Explore news, academic journals, blogs -- whatever is appropriate for your assignment. Your research will lead to more questions to explore, and interesting new insights.
    e.g. "Meditation research shows huge benefits to physical and mental health" / "Meditation is being prescribed more and more by psychologists"
     
  • Summarize what your project will do in one sentence.
    e.g.  "A self-reflexive podcast that combines excerpts from a personal 30-day meditation journal, and explores recent research about the benefits of meditation.

3. Write a script

A script is the road map that is going to get you to your finished product. Even though the final outcome may differ significantly from your script, it will save you a lot of time and keep you focused.

The goal of scripting is to start putting together ideas for how the story of the piece will come together through its various media components (spoken words, music, etc).

  • Start with an outline.
     
  • Consider and decide on what types of media you will use. See the sidebar to the right to find out more about what is involved in using different media in your project.
     
  • Start assembling the script. Use the scripting resources to the right to find a template or format to use.

Writing for an Audio Project

Write your script:

  • Introduce yourself and the topic
  • Determine your "intros" and "outros"
  • Figure out how you will transition from one segment to the next
  • Find a structure that will enhance the story you are trying to tell
  • Determine who your audience will be

Determine your style:

  • Use a simple conversational style
  • Remember you are creating an AUDIO project so use simple clear sentences and try to avoid being wordy and longwinded
  • Write out each word, number, and symbol (and, if needed, add the phonetic pronunciation)
  • Watch out for awkward pauses and filler phrases ("um," "you know")
  • Use the active voice
  • Use the words "we" and "our" to build a connection with your listener(s)
  • Consider using sound effects, music, and ambient noise to add more texture to your final audio project. Plan how you will incorporate these additional sounds by including them into your script.

 

 

Script Example

Here is the script used for the audio assignment Life of Pi example:

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