Audio Documentary


Erin Anderson
Composing Digital Media
Fall 2012



For this project, you will propose, script, record, and edit a 4- to 6-minute audio documentary exploring a “phenomenon” that intrigues you—it can be as ordinary or extraordinary as you like. Your documentary should weave together a range of sonic elements (oral interviews, voiceover commentary, field recordings, music, etc.) that you have produced and collected to tell an original nonfiction narrative.

Before beginning your project, you will compose a 250-word proposal for your audio documentary, providing a rationale for: the questions your project will raise, the individual(s) your project will involve, the methods you will employ, the audience you will target, and thesignificance of the phenomenon you will take up.

After collecting your recordings, you will produce a detailed outline of your project, laying out the sequence, arrangement, and transitions of your narrative. For all sections that will feature your own authorial voice (i.e. setting the scene, providing commentary, etc.), write out a verbatim script for your oral performance, with attention to principles of “writing for the ear.”

Finally, you will compose a 500-word reflection on your audio composition process, discussing (1) your rhetorical and aesthetic aims in selecting, layering, and arranging your audio content and (2) how your project responds to and expands upon the approaches to audio documentary that we discussed in class.

Upload audio files as mp3s to SoundCloud and embed them in your website.



Students used Adobe Soundbooth audio editing software to produce this project. Audacity is a good open source, cross-platform alternative.