Spring 2011 Syllabus: RTVF 242 –Documentary for Radio
“The advantages of orality have rarely been recognized by Western tradition.” – Ben Sidran
The radio documentary is one of the most significant forms to emerge from the field of contemporary post-war radio. Evolving from European and Canadian models, and the public radio and educational radio environments in this country, the radio documentary as a genre is represented by subtle and complex works in a wide variety of styles, examining an astonishing array of topics from personal profiles, to contemporary cultural trends, from local politics to world events. At its best, radio combines the power and immediacy of great documentary films with the intimacy and poetry of a New Yorker-style magazine feature, all the while maintaining the emotional impact of a memorable recorded musical performance.
This course teaches the art and techniques of radio documentary production. Student producers explore documentary storytelling through the use of strong writing for audio-only media, developing compelling characters, using a broad array of sound elements, and establishing scenes and locations through traditional and non-traditional narrative structures. This course will review various aspects of the radio documentary, its place in contemporary radio culture and the culture at large, and examine in detail important and representative works exploring intriguing and vital subject matter through groundbreaking technical and aesthetic vocabularies fashioned by the producer/artists.
1. Students will acquire the vocabulary, grammar, and language unique to the aesthetics, theory and history of radio, (and other audio media).
2. Students will learn the basic techniques of audio production and manipulating sound, from field recording to mixing and editing on advanced digital production equipment.
3. Students will develop the skills to conceptualize, write and produce comprehensive audio/radio documentaries for various formats and audiences; a wide variety of projects are intended to develop students’ ability to produce, conceive and write long-form radio documentary features.