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.


ira glass recently gave a talk on how to tell a story are his pointers

  • Builds momentum, slowly but surely. Listeners will hang tight when you build suspense, sequencing one event or step after another. We're all hungering for surprise (the media too).
  • Features multiple characters. Use different voices (with all their intonations, accents, and other specs) to highlight interplay among characters; otherwise you're doing a monologue -- much less interesting than multiple points of view.
  • Casts the right storyteller. Whose perspective will shape the most compelling tale?
  • Is specific. The details -- like the minutia that make up your life -- make it real. Like it or not, that's what 90% of our daily life is made of.
  • Connects pieces and voices in an overall theme. Make sure to step away here and there to frame events in a context that ties them together. That's your theme.
  • Uses music to build suspense. For greatest impact, stop the music for a few seconds of silence before your revelation. But make sure the music doesn't overwhelm the teller's voice or distract from the story.

1 comment:

coursework essays said...

You know This American Life reaches over 1.7 million listeners on over 500 stations weekly, with an average listening time of 48 minutes. Glass can be heard in all but four episodes.