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Essential Storytelling Techniques with Producers from 'Snap Judgment'

with Julia DeWitt and Anna Sussman

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  •   Trailer

  •   01 Pitch Your Story

    06:21
  •   02 Find Your Story

    09:21

Class duration: 2h 20m

See all 5 lessons
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  • 55% recommended

    29 student reviews

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About The Class

create well crafted stories.


Storytelling is one of the most effective tools we have as a species – to connect, to persuade, and to entertain.

There are stories all around us. We watch stories on TV, read them online and share them with each other. They are the most important and powerful way we have to interpret our world. 

Essential Storytelling Techniques with Producers from Snap Judgment will be of particular interest to those drawn to crafting and sharing intimate stories about the human experience.

This class will cover storytelling techniques that will help you turn an idea for an audio, radio story or podcast into a real and concise narrative. 

You’ll learn about:

  • Finding and pitching stories 
  • Constructing a focused, compelling story arc 
  • Conducting interviews to craft a complete, engaging story 
  • Building dramatic tension, narrative surprise, and higher meaning 
Whether you’re a podcaster or simply curious about the mechanics of building a better story, you'll leave this class with the tools you need to connect and engage your audience through story.

Lesson Plan

  1. 01

    Pitch Your Story

    06:21
  2. 02

    Find Your Story

    09:21
  3. 03

    Course Introduction

    1:07:45
  4. 04

    Build Your Story

    27:34
  5. 05

    The Interview

    29:10

Meet Your Experts

Julia DeWitt

Julia is a senior producer at NPR's Snap Judgment. Her work has also appeared on This American Life, 99 Percent Invisible, and Love + Radio. Before coming to radio she was a bartender, National Geographic Young Explorer, and ardent traveler. She lives and works in the San Francisco Bay area.  ... read more

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Anna Sussman

Anna Sussman is the Senior Producer and Managing Editor of NPR's Snap Judgment, a weekly narrative radio program airing on over 300 stations nationwide. She is also the Advanced Radio lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism. ... read more

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Bonus Material

Access your course materials here!

Get access to exclusive bonus content when you purchase this class.

  • pdf Interview Success Checklist
  • pdf Sample Pitch Packet
  • mp3 Extremist Makeover Story Full Audio Clip
  • pdf Find Your Story Checklist
  • mp3 Multiplicity Story Full Audio Clip
  • pdf Story Map Worksheet

55% of students recommend this class.
See what some of them have to say.

  • Serena Larkin

    January 2016

    Loved this training---plenty of great takeaways from women who've done the hard work, done it successfully and well, and know how to share that with others. Especially enjoyed: 1. Their clear story checklist (Compelling lead, Unique angle, Who will listen?, Who will speak?) 2. Their hammering home of continuing to ask yourself throughout the process why YOU love your story, so that that passion helps to drive it 3. Their emphasis on the dynamism of storytelling and its taking shape between the producer and the audience Great stuff---thank you! PS Could commenters here please focus on content, rather than the presenters' voices? I liked both myself, but if you didn't, that's really not the point of this review section. Also, please see: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/545/if-you-dont-have-anything-nice-to-say-say-it-in-all-caps?act=2#play.

  • Georgia Buchert

    January 2016

    Three hours and 10 1/2 pages of furious note-taking later, I'm feeling encouraged and excited to get back into some story projects I'd put on hold. Julia DeWitt and Anna Sussman brought to my memory some great concepts I've interacted with in my previous work and gave me fresh information to help me evolve and become a better storyteller. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and helpful resources.

  • Sara

    Sara

    February 2016

    My high hopes for this class were exceeded. Co-instructors Anna and Julia did an excellent job conveying what story collection is like in the field, offering pointers for capturing necessary tape, and explaining the building blocks of narrative that's strong enough to keep the attention of distractible listeners. I loved that they're seasoned producers who get the human elements of storytelling and understand that it's a messy, challenging process, but shared the paths they've mapped out that work. Also appreciated the pointers on pitching, which was one of the most useful part of the session to me. I second the comment of another reviewer that the moderator's interjections distracted a bit from the flow of the instruction, though understand why CreativeLive wants to do this.

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