WRITING FOR THE EAR: CREATING SCRIPTS FOR CONTEMPORARY AUDIO DRAMA, an online workshop with writer-producer Rick Toscan, February 20, 12:30PM – 2:00PM Pacific Time.









Audio drama – fiction podcasts in the current lingo – only needs our ears, but it can be a highly visual form of dramatic writing, drawing techniques from playwriting and screenwriting. The workshop will use pilot scripts of successful fiction podcasts to explore what works best for audiences in contemporary audio storytelling: What’s essential to decide about structure before you start? Will a story work best for audiences with traditional linear structure or does it need a more complex nonlinear form with flashbacks? Or will it be more effective as a fictionalized docudrama? How do you find a story-based balance among the competing influences of screenwriting and playwriting in plot structure, locations/settings, characters, dialogue, and subtext? Is the story more suitable to being written as an audio-only screenplay or will it be best expressed through the verbal storytelling more typical of stage plays? Since listeners visualize the action of audio drama through sound effects and environmental ambience, how do you keep your focus on both story and sound in scripts? The goal of the workshop is to lay out best practices that can be easily applied to making your audio scripts stand out to producers, directors, sound designers, and performers. And we’ll review what’s helpful to know about audio drama production in creating compelling scripts. Workshop participants will receive Rick’s updated Guide to Fiction Podcast Writing & Production with its annotated excerpts of recent fiction and docudrama scripts.



Rick’s audio dramas have been broadcast by the BBC (Radio 1 & World Service), ABC (Australia), CBC (Canada), and in the US by Pacifica and NPR. He was executive producer and story editor of the original 13-episode Star Wars radio series for Lucasfilm, the BBC, and NPR, the first contemporary audio drama to attract a mass audience in the US. Other audio adaptations include work by Raymond Chandler, Damon Knight, and Ed Bullins. He was an Armstrong Award nominee for Creative Use of the Radio Medium and a founding member of First Stage, the Los Angeles new play development program. For many years he served as Dean of USC’s School of Theatre at a time when the school was routinely cited with Yale and Juilliard as the nation’s leading theatre training programs. His handbook, Playwriting Seminars 2.0 is a widely used resource in the field.  richard.toscan@gmail.com


REGISTRATION: Suggested donation of $15-$25. 


Registrants will be sent an email with Zoom instructions. Closer to the date workshop res will receive Rick’s updated Guide to Fiction Podcast Writing & Production with its annotated excerpts of recent fiction and docudrama scripts.


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