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Dec 11, 2017 at 3:00 am – Dec 15, 2017 at 12:30 pm

Full Spectrum Storytelling Intensive Winter 2017

With Mona Chalabi, Alexander Overington, Jenna Weiss-Berman, Sean Cole, Christopher Allen, Alison Kobayashi, Nadia Reiman, Pejk Malinovski, Josie Holtzman & Isaac Kestenbaum

Full Spectrum will expand your definition of what audio can be, while imparting concrete skills to add to your producer tool kit. Multimedia producers Isaac Kestenbaum and Josephine Holtzman will lead an interdisciplinary group of accomplished specialists to take you on a journey from storytelling to interactive design to composing—and beyond.

The week will be a combination of hands-on instruction, workshops, lectures, pitch sessions, experiments—and even an excursion or two.  We’re looking for mid-career audio producers with the desire to expand their skills and their minds.


We are looking for producers and story-first technologists from all walks of the media industry and beyond who have demonstrable skills in sound gathering, editing and mixing. Filmmakers and those whose primary focus has been visual or moving image are strongly encouraged to attend, as well. AIR membership is not required, though AIR producers outside of the New York area are eligible for a small travel stipend. A work sample is required with your application. Please note: Participants will not be producing projects during the week.

Application Period: September 25 – October 10, 2017 Tuition: $850 Applicants must submit a $75 deposit to hold their spot. If selected, that deposit will go toward the full cost of tuition. Deposits will be returned immediately to those who are not selected for the workshop. Please note: There is a 3 percent processing fee for Paypal payments.

Full payment from those accepted to Full Spectrum is due November 6, 2017. After November 6, tuition is non-refundable.

In order to keep costs down, this workshop is a BYOL, i.e. bring your own laptop. Students must be fully proficient using and operating their computers.

To register for a workshop, students must pay in full via card, check, or cash . After the early bird registration deadline of November 14th, course fees are not refundable or transferable and any withdrawals or deadlines will result in the full cost of the class being forfeit. There will be no exceptions. To withdraw from a course please email info-at-uniondocs.org. In the event that a workshop does not receive sufficient enrollment, it may be canceled. Students will be notified at least 48 hours prior to the start of a cancelled workshop and will be refunded within 5 business days. If we reschedule a workshop to another date, students are also entitled to a full refund. UnionDocs reserves the right to change instructors without prior notification, and to change class location and meeting times by up to an hour with 48 hours prior notice.

Please note: Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

2017 Winter Curriculum Overview



Redefining Immersive Media

“Immersive” and “multimedia” are perpetual buzzwords, perhaps calling to mind an expensive virtual reality headset being hawked by a startup at SXSW. But this session will redefine those concepts—showing you how simple tools and a willingness to break rules can turn audio pieces into powerful storytelling experiences. Josephine Holtzman and Isaac Kestenbaum will draw on their work producing soundwalks, events, and interactive experiences to lead this session. Instructors: Isaac Kestenbaum and Josephine Holtzman, “Frontier of Change,” Localore: Finding America


Diversity of Stories

Stories on race and diversity can all too often end up in the realm of the cliché. Yet reporting on these subjects is increasingly important. Nadia Reiman will talk about avoiding blind spots, finding original subjects, recognizing clichés—and what separates a proper story from an “explainer.” Instructors: Nadia Reiman, Senior Editor, “Latino USA”



Story, Space & Serendipity

In this unit, we’ll take audio outside of the radio box—way beyond the comfort zone of traditional broadcast platforms and three-act structures. Award-winning producer, sound-artist and poet Pejk Malinovski will explore the “soundwalk” and other forms of site-specific audio that combine place, story, sound and chance to make something totally special. Instructors: Pejk Malinoviski, Indie/WNYC


Say Something Bunny!

Christopher Allen and Alison Kobayashi will present the first act of Say Something Bunny, an immersive performance based on found audio, followed by a presentation and discussion of UnionDocs’ expansive documentary production Living Los Sures.

Instructors: Christopher Allen, Founder, UnionDocs; Alison Kobayashi, Multimedia Artist



Next-Level Interviewing

In radio/audio storytelling, reported pieces and non-narrated pieces are dependent on good tape. Sometimes good tape, even great tape, falls in your lap. But that’s rare. More often, getting the tape you need is an act of will. Veteran reporter Sean Cole will go through how to find the right interview subject, planning questions, thinking on your feet, and various interview techniques he’s used over the years.” Instructors: Sean Cole, “This American Life”


Numbers with Heart

The Universe can feel random and sometimes a little lonely. Numbers help us understand where we fit in the world. The Guardian’s data editor, Mona Chalabi, will explain how to tell compelling, emotional, human stories with numbers – by using data to reveal patterns that shape our lives. And she’ll get you thinking about some creative ways to visualize and sonify data. Instructors: Mona Chalabi, Data Editor, Guardian US



Composing for the Ear

Learn how to use music and sound design to turn radio pieces into true compositions. Alex Overington will lead this session on how to score your pieces with music—and other sounds. You may never need to resort to the Free Music Archive again. Instructors: Alex Overington, “Radiolab”



The Podcast Boom

Podcasts are having a moment—there are over 400,000 podcasts out there now, with more podcasts and podcast production companies launching seemingly daily. Jenna Weiss Berman, co-founder of Pineapple Street Media, will talk about her own career path and what led her to start a podcast production company, as well as her perspective on the future of the industry. Students will then have the opportunity to pitch their own podcast ideas to Jenna. Instructors: Jenna Weiss-Berman, Co-founder, Pineapple Street Media



The week will conclude with participants workshopping their pieces with Josie and Isaac. Instructors: Isaac Kestenbaum and Josephine Holtzman, “Frontier of Change,” Localore: Finding America


10:00 am

Warm up, inspiring references, case study, ear training.

10:30 am

Presentation by guest speaker

1:00 pm

Lunch (bring your own except for MONDAY, when there will be a catered lunch)

2:00 pm

Presentation by guest speaker

5:00 pm

Wrapping up



Josephine Holtzman (lead instructor) is a lead producer for NPR Music’s multi-platform and award-winning program “Jazz Night in America.” She is also the head producer for “The Trip,” a travel podcast for Roads and Kingdoms. She is co-creator of “Frontier of Change” part of AIR’s Localore: Finding America initiative. A graduate of Vassar College and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, her reporting has aired on “Weekend Edition,” “All Things Considered,” “Studio 360,” and the “ReSound” podcast. She is co-founder of the climate change audio project, “Winters Past.”


Isaac Kestenbaum (lead instructor) is the co-creator of Frontier of Change, a multimedia project about the changing climate and culture in Alaska, part of AIR’s Localore: Finding America initiative. He is the former Production Manager at StoryCorps, where he won a George Foster Peabody Award and an Alfred I. duPont award for work commemorating the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001.  Other production work includes: The Fix, a series on NYC’s opioid crisis for the GroundTruth project, and Winters Past, a multimedia piece about changing winters.


Composer and producer Alexander Overington was born and raised in New York City. He is responsible for the sonic footprint of Q2 Music’s Meet the Composer podcast, which he co-produces along with host Nadia Sirota. After double-majoring in both acoustic and electronic music composition at Oberlin Conservatory, he apprenticed under composer/producers Valgeir Sigurðsson and Ben Frost at Greenhouse Studios in Reykjavik, Iceland. Alex now lives and composes back in New York, where he has opened his own studio and co-founded the record label, Rest Assured. Alex can be found teaching sound design at The New School.


Nadia Reiman is Senior Editor at Latino USA. She has been a radio producer since 2005. Before joining the Latino USA team, Nadia produced for StoryCorps. Her work there on 9/11 stories earned her a Peabody Award. She has also mixed audio for animations, assisted on podcasts for magazines, and program managed translations for Canon Latin America. Nadia has also produced for None on Record, editing and mixing stories of queer Africans, and worked on a Spanish language radio show called Epicentro based out of Washington, DC. She graduated from Kenyon College with a double major in International Studies and Spanish Literature.

Christopher Allen Portrait

Christopher Allen is a founder of UnionDocs and is currently the Artistic Director. After graduating from Columbia University and studying at Trinity College Dublin, Allen worked as a social entrepreneur, documentary director, and new media artist. His individual works and collaborative projects have been exhibited at the MoMA, Harvard’s Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, the Volksbühne Theatre, DirektorenHaus in Berlin, Independent Film Week, Sonár, DIVA, and Conflux Festivals, among many other venues. He directed the interactive documentary Capitol of Punk, which was part of “Design and the Elastic Mind” at the Museum of Modern Art, and he is currently in post-production on the feature Diamond Vehicle, shot in Tibet, China, Nepal, and India. Christopher was founding-partner of Counts Media, and played a leading role in the invention and execution of many art & entertainment concepts there, such as The Ride NY, a live theatrical and cinematic experience on the streets of the city, and Yellow Arrow, a place-based storytelling project exhibited online and in galleries and museums internationally.

Pejk Malinovski

Pejk Malinovski went to a Marxist kindergarten in his hometown of Copenhagen. He is a poet, translator and radio producer. His radio dramas, conceptual documentaries and sound art pieces have aired on radio stations around the world (including New York’s own WNYC and the BBC) and been shown in museums and galleries. In 2012 he launched Passing Stranger an audio walking tour of the East Village’s poetry history. He was also the co-creator and host of Thirdear an online audio magazine and he continues to edit and translate books for Forlaget Basilisk a poet-run publishing house in Copenhagen. In 2014 he won the Prix Europa for his work “Everything, Nothing, Harvey Keitel.”


Mona Chalabi  is data editor at Guardian US. She previously worked at FiveThirtyEight, the Bank of England, the Economist Intelligence Unit, Transparency International and the International Organisation for Migration. Follow her on Twitter @MonaChalabi and on Instagram @Mona_Chalabi.

sean cole

Sean Cole began his radio career as an intern at Boston station WBUR in 1997, and went on to work as field producer for WBUR’s “Morning Edition” and then as a reporter for the documentary series “Inside Out.” Over the years, he’s contributed to lots of other public radio programs including “Radiolab,” “Marketplace,” “Studio 360,” “All Things Considered,” “99% Invisible” and “This American Life” where he is currently on staff. Sean’s awards include an Overseas Press Club citation for his documentary “South Africa’s Kwaito Generation – Inside Out” and a UNITY Award for his story about P.B.S. Pinchback, the first African American governor in U.S. history.

Jenna Weiss-Berman

Jenna Weiss-Berman is co-founder of podcast company Pineapple Street Media, which has produced shows for The New York Times, Hillary Clinton, Lena Dunham, Morgan Stanley and Wieden+Kennedy. After almost a decade working in public radio on such shows as The Moth and StoryCorps, Jenna started the podcast department at BuzzFeed and created Another Round and Women of the Hour with Lena Dunham. She currently sits on the advisory board of The Moth.


Alison S. M. Kobayashi is a visual artist working in video, performance, installation and drawing. She has exhibited and screened work widely in North America and overseas at venues such as Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center, Jakarta International Film Festival, The Power Plant Contemporary, Anthology Film Archives, Bilbao International Film Festival, and The Flaherty International Film Seminar. In 2012 she was commissioned by Les Subsistances (Lyon, France) to develop and stage her first live performance. Her most recent project is the extremely popular performance Say Something Bunny!, based on two audio spools hidden inside an obsolete wire recorder purchased at an estate sale. She was born and raised in Mississauga, Ontario and is currently based in Brooklyn.

Presented With



Dec 11, 2017 at 3:00 am
Dec 15, 2017 at 12:30 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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