Writing in Stereo

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It should not surprise you that fiddling with the digital audio workstation (Audacity on a computer with small mic and mixer) will occupy students for hours.  They love to write, record, edit and mix their own sweepers ("You're listening to the Juan and Marie Show") and public service announcements.  Kids love to fool around with the bells and whistles Audacity offers them to change their voices, add sound effects and mix tracks.  No question that this is the attraction of the program.

Taking advantage of that incentive, we can teach students the principles of old school radio dramatics.  Learning these tricks of the trade will make their PSAs and other creative recordings far more effective and fun to listen to.  The Writing in Stereo program offers a sequence of lessons to get students in the habit of using the tools correctly.

Here are the elements of radio dramatics taught as part of Writing in Stereo since 1982:

  • 1. Dialogue — most important element of radio drama
  • a. Voice characterization - makes character sound real
  • b. Planting - describes setting, character, action
  • c. Tagging - adds character names to identify them
  • d. Effort - demonstrates physical exertion
  • e. Off-mic - suggests space and movement
  • 2. Narrator - commonly protagonist in first personcdrsquare.jpg
  • 3. Ambience - surrounding space’s effect on sound
  • 4. Sound effects - added for imaginative realism
  • 5. Music bridge - change of scene or passing of time
  • 6. Script formats - two-column, play-script, outline
  • For more information write us at writinginstereo@gmail.com.