CLASS: October 7, 14, 21 and 28, 2024 from 3-5pm PT / 6-8pm ET

From Topic to Story: How to Find Characters and Narrative Arcs to Draw in Your Listener

How do you find stories? In this class, you’ll learn how to take an idea you have or a topic you’re interested in and turn it into a compelling, character-rich story. “Sounds Gay” creator Sarah Esocoff will walk you through the process—it’s not as mysterious as it seems
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Key Takeaways

  • A completed outline for a story and reporting plan to move forward 
  • At least one completed interview for their story
  • The skills to identify and craft stories during the research and reporting process
  • The skills to interview for narrative 

About this class

  • Monday, October 7, 14, 21 and 28, 2024
  • 3-5pm PT / 6-8pm ET
  • Virtual
  • 4 x 2 hour classes
  • $370 AIR members 
    $425 non-members
  • Payment plans available at checkout. 
We’ve all heard an editor say, “This is really more of a topic than a story.” But the process of getting from one to the other can feel opaque and mysterious. How do you get from an interesting topic to a gripping, emotional, and nuanced narrative? In this class, we’ll figure it out. Students will come to the first class with a topic they’re interested in, which can be as general as they like. Over the course of four weeks, they will turn that topic into a story. 

First, we’ll talk about what makes a good story, so that we know what we’re looking for. We’ll talk about how story-finding is partly about finding a story, but it’s also about crafting a story. We’ll talk about how to engineer the elements of a good story when they don’t appear to be there. And we’ll talk about learning to follow our intuition to find the “seeds” of the story throughout the reporting process. In the later sessions, we’ll go deep on how to interview for story and how to adjust your reporting plan as new information emerges. 
The class will be collaborative, as we’ll workshop each other’s ideas and talk as a group about what intrigues us most as the stories take shape. Students will complete research, conduct interviews, and outline stories as homework. They’ll leave the class with an outline for a story and reporting well under way. This class is best for intermediate producers, perhaps those who have produced others’ stories and would like to start reporting their own.


Students should know how to use a DAW (doesn’t matter which one). 

Who is this class for? 

This class is best suited to intermediate producers. 
Meet the instructor

Sarah Esocoff

Sarah Esocoff is an audio documentarian and multidisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn, NY. She is the creator, host, and producer of Sounds Gay, a documentary podcast about queer music culture from Stitcher. Sounds Gay was nominated for an IDA Documentary Award for Best Standalone Audio Documentary. As a Senior Podcast Producer at SiriusXM, she produced a diverse slate of both narrative and celebrity interview podcasts. In addition to her audio work, Sarah is a painter, musician, and comedy writer for publications like Reductress.
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