Three Stories, Marfa Style

photo of Marfa, Texas
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At Transom Traveling Workshops, we throw students into the deep end. It’s sort of like “Here’s your gear. Go swim.”

The workshop assignment is this: In just a week, produce a profile of an interesting person that lives near the workshop. The thing that makes them interesting has to make sound. In other words, no mimes allowed.

Before students arrive, they have to find someone to profile. That means weeks ahead of time, they conduct research, make cold calls, and pitch their ideas. Because that’s half the job, it seems, for radio producers, we make sure students build muscle in that area.

When students arrive, here are some of the steps of story production we take them through:

  • Learn to use recording equipment
  • Interview strangers
  • Prep for reporting profiles
  • Introduce Hindenburg, the editing software we use
  • Report stories
  • Log tape
  • Learn mixing and editing
  • Writing for radio
  • Edit scripts
  • Track narration
  • Produce
  • Present a finished story at a public event

It’s a lot. Attending a Transom Traveling Workshop is not a radio vacation.

In the end, we hope students leave with a story they’re proud to share, even if it’s rough around the edges. Additionally, we hope students gain an understanding of best practices for the steps of producing a sound-rich story. And, that they learn a system for reporting and producing a story so they can make more after the workshop.

The three student pieces featured on this episode of HowSound were all produced in a week at a workshop hosted by Marfa Public Radio. If you’re inspired — and I think you will be — sign up for one of our upcoming Traveling Workshops in Denver, Nashville, Seattle, or Santa Fe.

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