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Nov 15, 2019 at 10:00 am – Nov 17, 2019 at 5:30 pm

Writing New Worlds: Radio Fiction in the 21st Century

Led by Ann Heppermann

In this new era of podcast popularity, where interview, true-crime and news formats reign, this three-day workshop will explore one of the medium’s most carefully crafted sub-genres: the fiction podcast.

If you have an audio fiction podcast that needs to get out into the world, a script in need of feedback, and want to learn how to pitch to podcast stakeholders, then this workshop is for you! 

You will hone your audio fiction script and then learn how to sell your creative project to some of the leading podcast companies in the world. This workshop will be taught by Ann Heppermann, founder of The Sarah Awards, along with script editors MR Daniel of Marvel’s podcast production team and Diana McCorry, who has written award winning episodes for The Truth and the Annie nominated series Human Kind Of

We will wrap up the weekend by pitching your audio fiction idea to Christy Gressman, Executive Producer of Night Vale Presents, Ian Stearns, Audible Director of Original Content, Isabella Kulkarni Producer at Audible, and Ben Riskin Business Developer at Endeavor Audio.

Note: Students must come in with an existing script, or at least an idea they want to pitch. 


Open to everyone, though the workshop setting is best suited for audio creators, filmmakers, journalists, curators and media artists.

Give us an idea of who you are and why you are coming. When you register you will be asked for a short statement of interest that should briefly describe your experience in audio. There’s a spot for a link to a work sample (and CV, which would also be nice, but is not required).

$295 early bird registration by November 1, 2019 at 5PM.

$350 regular registration.

The deposit is non-refundable. Should you need to cancel, you’ll receive half of your registration fee back until November 1st. After November 1st, the fee 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 1st 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.


Friday, November 15th – 10:00a - 5:30p

Intro & Welcome

AM: Ann Heppermann (The Sarah Awards)

PM: Diana McCorry (The Truth) 

Saturday, November 16th – 10:00a - 5:30p

AM: MR Daniel (Marvel) & Ann Heppermann (The Sarah Awards)

PM: MR Daniel 

Sunday, November 17th – 10:00a - 5:30p

AM: Isabella Kulkarni (Audible) & Ian Stearns (Audible)

PM: Christy Gressman (The Night Vale Presents)

PM: Ben Riskin (Endeavor Audio)

Each day follows this general structure, with some minor variations and substitutions:


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


Presentation by guest speaker + individual work-in-progress critique




Share / Discussion / Exercise


Lunch (on your own)


Presentation by guest speaker + individual work-in-progress critique




Workshop Exercise + Critique


Wrap Up


Ann Heppermann is the founder of The Sarah Awards which celebrates and rewards radio drama for the 21st century. Likened to the Oscars by The New York Times, the Sarah Awards encourages producers to push the boundaries of audio fiction. She’s worked in audio for nearly 20 years and received numerous awards, including a Peabody. In 2011 she was named a United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow. A dedicated educator, she has been teaching audio fiction at Sarah Lawrence College in its writing program since 2011. She’s also hosted the fiction podcast Serendipity and worked on fiction podcasts for Netflix. Bitch Magazine called her a “sort of Goddess of podcasting,” which pleases her very much.

MR Daniel is an associate producer formerly at Gimlet Media on Scripted Content, who recently joined Marvel Entertainment’s podcast production team. While at Gimlet, MR worked a number of shows, including Sandra, The Horror of Dolores Roach, and The Two Princes. They also worked on development, reading countless scripts, working on pilots, and consulting with other shows such as Science Vs on their fiction productions. Previously, MR worked in educational technology, and taught Film Studies. They hold a PhD in History of Consciousness (film, ethnic, gender, and cultural studies) from UC Santa Cruz, and an MFA in Music Composition from Princeton University.

Christy Gressman is a partner and the executive producer in Night Vale Presents, the premier fiction-focused podcast network, co-founded by the creators of the genre-defining fiction podcast Welcome to Night Vale. Christy oversees network-wide show curation, development, production, and distribution. She is also the producer or executive producer of a number of original podcasts, including The Orbiting Human Circus, Adventures in New America, Dreamboy, and It Makes A Sound, Conversations with People Who Hate Me with Dylan Marron, and I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats. In addition to her work in podcasting, she is, among other things, a former partner in, and current contributor to, an industry-leading software company that develops touring applications for the live entertainment industry; an attorney; and a graduate of Yale School of Management, Harvard Law School, and the University of Pennsylvania.

She is proud of her work over the past several years building Night Vale Presents into what it is today. Called “the most recognizable name in fictional audio content” (Wired), “the most interesting podcast company right now” (Vulture), and “wholly original and transcendent” (A.V. Club), its 14 podcasts are downloaded over 7 million times per month and are listened to in almost every country in the world. They have so far given rise to 7 books, 5 albums, a thriving online merchandise store featuring over 100 items, and many more related projects currently in development. Night Vale Presents is a pioneer of live podcast touring, having produced over 400 live events in over 35 U.S. states and 16 countries.

Isabella Kulkarni is an independent radio producer and reporter – she’s filed for Marketplace, worked on several shows with Gimlet, like Undone, Mogul and The Nod, helped launch the podcast network at The Ringer and is currently teaching grad students at Columbia’s Journalism School. She received her B.A. at Macalester College in International Studies and her M.S. from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Currently she is a producer for Audible. 

Diana McCorry is the creator/ head writer of Facebook Watch’s Annie-nominated original series, Human Kind Of, and co-writer of Tammy’s Tiny Tea Time, which premiered in the Indie Episodic Program at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Her stories for The Truth Podcast have earned her a Sarah Lawrence International Audio Fiction Award and two HearSay Audio Prizes, and have been featured in The New York Times and on NPR’s Snap Judgment. Diana loves space, monsters, and above all, space monsters. She hopes to die having written a piece of speculative fiction for every medium in the known universe.

Ben Riskin’s experience includes Business Development at Panoply and Content Strategy at Acast, as well as freelance production work you can find in the Audio section. He currently leads Business Development at Endeavor Audio and serves on the advisory board to the podcast Making Gay History. Previous legal experience include practices at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft and Caitlin Robin and Associates.

Ian Stearns is a Director of Original Content at Audible, focused on scripted fiction. He previously held positions at Comedy Central and SoundCloud. Most recently, he was an executive producer on Kate McKinnon’s “Heads Will Roll,” which has been described as a mix of “Game of Thrones” and “Veep.”

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Nov 15, 2019 at 10:00 am
Nov 17, 2019 at 5:30 pm
$335.00 – $350.00


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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