first-person audio storytelling workshop, March 15-16 CDS

Two-day storytelling workshop at the Center for Documentary Studies in Durham, NC, March 15-16. Details here and below.

Strategies for First-Person Audio Storytelling


(Photo credit: Biff Jennings, Shooters-at-the-Beach)

First-person documentary storytelling can be intimate, arresting, and deeply personal. Many of the most vivid radio pieces of recent decades have been made without a narrator—think of the Kitchen Sisters, StoryCorps, and Radio Diaries. The ingredients of a compelling non-narrated story, however, are distinct from those of a news story or narrated documentary. First-person pieces call for a fundamentally different “audio grammar” and a thoughtful new approach to everything from prep work to editing, from interviewing to production, from logging to storyboarding.

Whether your primary interest lies in making radio pieces, or oral histories, or recording favorite family stories for the grandkids, this course will give you a new set of storytelling tools. We’ll consider what stories work best without a narrator, and you’ll learn how to gauge, during the course of an interview, whether you’re getting the audio you need to make a first-person piece—or if you might need to try another tack. (12 hours/All Levels) 

Since 2000, David Schulman has produced a wide range of radio programming for NPR, APM, PRI, and the BBC. He created and produced the Musicians in Their Own Words series, which was twice awarded national Corporation for Public Broadcasting grants. An early piece in the series was awarded the Best Documentary: Silver Award at the Third Coast International Audio Festival, andMusicians in Their Own Words has placed over 40 features on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, and American Public Media’s The Story. From 2009 to 2011, Schulman was senior producer of the BBC weekly radio program Americana, and in 2012 he produced WUNC’s Pop-Up Music Club. A violinist and composer, David often collaborates with modern dance companies, and he released his first album, Quiet Life Motel, in late 2012. For more information, see

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