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Pitch Your Story

Lesson 1 from: Essential Storytelling Techniques with Producers from 'Snap Judgment'

Anna Sussman, Julia DeWitt

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Lesson Info

1. Pitch Your Story

Next Lesson: Find Your Story

Lesson Info

Pitch Your Story

Welcome the creative live this is essential storytelling techniques with julia do it and anna sussman my name is chris jennings and I am going to be your host for the class now if you're not familiar with julian and they're actually producers on the show snap judgment and if you're not really snap judgment, it is a fantastic radio show podcast it is all about people telling their stories so these ladies are experts when it comes to storytelling, they do this day in and day out, and they're here today to share some of their techniques and ways to help you become a better storyteller because no matter what you're doing, if you have a podcast, if you are a blogger, everyone has a story to tell and you need to be doing a better job of it so that's why they are here to teach us. So without further ado, please welcome to the stage. Julia dewitt and anna sussman great. All right, so you have a lot to teach your gonna be sure sharing a lot of tips for people to become better storytellers and y...

ou have lots of audio clips from snap judgment and I know a lot of people out there are snap judgment fans, so you've got a lot to get to, so I'm gonna let you take it away, okay, all right, thanks hi, thanks so much for coming out. So that's really that's really great? Um, like chris id, we're gonna be talking about how to make narrative longform audio going to be playing a lot of clips to try and illustrate how you do that, how you don't do that. Um, so to get started, we're going to start with listening to the beginning of a story that we recently produced for snap judgment. I know I'm listening. Uh, it is just that and it's really tempting to, like, look at a screen or want to find something to do with your eyes, and the best thing to do is to just close your eyes and listen. The kind of advice for the best way to listen now, then imagine for a moment is over. The next year, hundreds of motley, poorly guard, angry men in the most isolated and remote corners just walked into the cities across america with guns and heavy explosion toe announce that bay were in charge that, according to our next storyteller, is what it was like living in couple afghanistan. When the taliban took over case akbar omar says it was a bad movie come to life. At the beginning I was very scared because you see these people that you have never seen before in your life tall brush holder mostly long here big beard and they always put on call and their eyes just imagine all of that I think the best way for people to see that image is that as if they walked out of the bible that kind of characters coming to kabul in a place where people used to dress up on certain time going to schools and go to work every day and now these people are ruling the country so you of course you get scared so we're gonna be talking about this story a lot today um and had a build story just like it where you have dramatic tension you have a talker you have a reason to listen and hopefully by the end the listener is changed by hearing that story um often before we have a story we have an idea. Um yeah, very generally. The challenge that we are trying to overcome today is the problem of turning a no idea into a story but also into a really good, compelling story hopefully by the end of his class uh you're gonna know how to do a number of things uh you're gonna note had a kind of identify and define your story um and a good story, not a medium story but like the kind of story that stays with people right like you all know this kind of story you know when you see it moving that stays with you here starting the radio that stays with you you talk about it with other people you over here other people talking about it right? Because it's that good of a story um you know howto pitch your story so pitch it to ah broadcaster a podcast out letter a publisher so that your story doesn't stay in the dark forever so that the work that you do reach is other people um we don't talk about howto structure and build your story howto arrange the material howto make it make sense had to make it kind of unravel in a way that's compelling and beautiful for people experiencing it um and we're gonna know how to get the materials you need for that story so in this case that's doing interview do an interview that results in what you need to build the story if that makes it great so hopefully at the end that's all the stuff you need um yeah so we are we are radio producers ahn drea work in narrative nonfiction but wait do hope and I think you know on believe that this whether you're a podcaster or interested in just making stories for yourself for your family that you can get something out of this uh I also think that you can use a lot of this in other mediums if you if you work in in film. Um, you're a writer. Not really photography, but almost any other medium. Yeah, we hope that educators, uh, performers just we think that there's a lot a lot to be gotten. Ivan. Actually, a lot of these thes rules even apply tio to fiction. So and just before we get going really quickly for anybody that doesn't. No snap. Judgment is a non fiction narrative radio show on npr. We just about two million listeners, aras on over three, other stations across the country. I in largely first person stories. I'm a senior producer at snap judgment, and anna is a senior producer in the managing editor. I also teach the advance radio class over at uc berkeley at their school of journalism. Um, and now we're going to pull back the curtain until you had to make great radio.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

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

Ratings and Reviews

Serena Larkin

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:

Georgia Buchert

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.


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.

Student Work