Salt Institute for Documentary Studies

Located in Portland, Maine, the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies offers a 15-week immersion program for advanced undergraduate and graduate students in documentary writing, photography, or radio.
This blog is an update of current Salt students insights and musings.



We're sitting here....its almost 8pm and we should all really be transcribing. Boo. But instead, we're consulting each other regarding NYC neighborhoods (for summer sublets, that is). Should Erin live in Bklyn or the Boogie-down? Ahhh, the problems of a successful (with phenomenal internship) Saltie. The truth is, we're all doing fine but some of us have 6 hours of tape of transcribe (and yes, that would be me).

So I better get back to it.....just gotta check my email first.


i gatta bounce

Yeah! I'm bouncing! Bouncing! My headphones are hanging around my neck and my very first radio story is bouncing in real time onto a cd... or something... i dont know exactly what it's doing but i'm done! i did it! For salt radio, I'm erin! what torture! and fun! i'm so freaking proud of myself. it's not perfect. but i told a story. with sound. and words. and noises. bouncing! bouncing! bouncing!



hey, what's wrong with a little satire anyway. sometimes it's just called for. are you talking about me john allen??!?!? about my lobster guy? paranoid over here...

so salt teaches documentary. and i stumbled across this guy who (essentially) schemes, and whose ideas are kind of ridiculous (i.e. ending human lobster consumption internationally.) and now i'm telling his story - or perhaps even just a story ABOUT him. no, it doesn't get deep. no excuses. but im going with: fairness to the listener, they deserve a chuckle. and can draw their own conclusions about his psychology.

over 'n out.



This shit is hard....I'm realizing more and more that I'm a writer trapped in the body of someone in radio....Radio is so challenging and rewarding because you are making a story based partly on supposition but also an informal logic. You are required to be morally and ethically sound but also tell a story with conflict and drama, two devices that aren't necessarily rooted in logic. Plus the audience only gets to hear you once. Someone in my class has a great story with a great character who is unfortunately naive in the most aggravating way; my first inclination is to satirize, but that's something left for a.....well...........satire, or a "mockumentary". I like those a lot, because you don't have to be as truthful as you would normally be. I've also started smoking again; I'm not proud of it but cancer just tastes so good. Sweet, sweet cancer. In fact, I don't think I've eaten anything today, cause I've been busy plowing through tobacco and coffee. Transcribing.......makes you want to rip your arm off and beat a small child over the head. Not really, but it's crossed my mind.

Also, not everyone has a story. You hear that a lot. "Everyone's got a story". Not true. Some people are boring and willing to let their lives coast until a dream comes and takes them away to a happy place. Don't follow these people. Find someone who tells stories that make everyone listen. Like elderly people. Maine has the greatest old folk you've ever seen. I'd do a story about some guy's enema if he made me laugh, which after the day I've had, shouldn't be that hard to do. Enough whining. I'm gonna go buy some smokes and transcribe...