The Full Spectrum Storytelling Intensive


DECEMBER 11-15, 2017

At UnionDocs, Brooklyn, NY



AIR’s Full Spectrum Storytelling Intensives started with Localore and Makers Quest 2.0, two experiments in public media that challenged a handful of talented, creative producers to come up with new ways of finding and telling stories.

The Full Spectrum curriculum emerged from our findings. The result: An audio-forward week of intense training with workshops covering experiments in writing and interviewing, sound in space, community stories,  and the future of audio.

Where: UnionDocs in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York
When: December 11-15, 2017

The Full Spectrum Storytelling Intensive is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.



Winter 2017 Preview

From broadcast journalism to branded podcasts to live radio events, audio is pushing the boundaries. Now, more than ever before, independent producers are in demand. But in order to succeed in a quickly evolving and growing audio space, you need to master more than just audio recording and editing techniques. Yesterday’s radio producer is today’s multimedia producer.

Today, independent radio producers need to do everything from audio editing and scoring to branding and design, live event planning to contract management, fact-checking to sound design, in order to produce something new. Over the course of this week, you’ll learn skills from an interdisciplinary group of specialists that will help to position you for the bright and exciting future of radio.

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 audio producers with the desire to expand their skills and their minds.

Leaders Isaac Kestenbaum and Josie Holtzman will draw from lessons learned through their recent multiproject public media project, “Frontier of Change,” which was part of AIR’s Localore: Finding America. “Frontier of Change” required them to wear many hats, sometimes all at once: oral historians, radio producers, event planners, designers, composers, audio tour producers — and more. Alongside Allison Herrera of “Invisible Nations,” Isaac and Josie were one of two teams selected to receive pilot funding from NPR’s StoryLab.


All classes take place at UnionDocs in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. There will be an evening excursion (date TBD) and a happy hour (TBD). Participation is encouraged, but optional.


December 11-15, 2017

Full attendance is mandatory. If you are unable to attend each day of the intensive, please do not apply. Class meets from 10 am – 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Lunch will be provided on Monday as well as snacks will be provided.


Who is eligible?

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.

New This Winter: Full Tuition Scholarship

AIR and UnionDocs are proud to offer a scholarship to one Full Spectrum attendee who can demonstrate financial need. Please submit your request for the scholarship, which waives the full tuition for the Intensive, on the Full Spectrum application form.


Application Period: September 25 – October 9, 2017
Tuition: $850

Apply here!

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.

Additional Travel Reimbursement for AIRsters

AIR members living outside of NYC are also eligible to receive a stipend ($100) to help underwrite fees and travel. If you’ve received a stipend or mentorship opportunity in the past two years from AIR, you may not be eligible.

If you’d like to join AIR to become eligible for the travel stipend, visit here. Participants coming from outside NYC are responsible for their own transportation and room and board during the intensive. UnionDocs can provide assistance in locating housing and guidance for getting around town for those not native to New York.

Refund Policy

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

To learn more:

Questions? Contact Program Director Tran Vu at

Winter 2017 Curriculum Overview

Isaac Kestenbaum and Josephine Holtzman, “Frontier of Change,” Localore: Finding America
“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.

Alex Overington, “Radiolab”
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.

Sean Cole, “This American Life”
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.”

Nadia Reiman, Senior Editor, “Latino USA”
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.”

Mona Chalabi, Data Editor, Guardian US
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.

Pejk Malinoviski, Indie/WNYC
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.

Jenna Weiss-Berman, Co-founder, Pineapple Street Media
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.

Christopher Allen, Founder, UnionDocs
Alison Kobayashi, Multimedia Artist
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.

Winter 2017 Instructors and Guest Speakers

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Josephine Holtzman, lead instructor

Josephine Holtzman 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.”

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Isaac Kestenbaum, lead instructor

Isaac Kestenbaum is the co-creator of Localore: Finding America’s “Frontier of Change,” a multimedia project about the changing climate and culture in Alaska. 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.

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Christopher Allen

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.

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Mona Chalabi

Mona Chalabi is Data Editor at Guardian US. She’s written and presented TV shows for the BBC, National Geographic, Channel 4 and VICE and co-created the Emmy-nominated video series Vagina Dispatches. Prior to joining Guardian US, Mona moved to New York from London to write for Nate Silver’s site FiveThirtyEight. She had a regular segment on NPR called “The Number Of The Week”. She also illustrates data—her sketches were commended by the Royal Statistical Society and Information is Beautiful in 2016.

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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.

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Alison S. M. Kobayashi

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.
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Pejk Malinovski

Pejk 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.”

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Alex Overington

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 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.

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Nadia Reiman

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, edited, and mixed stories of queer Africans for “None on Record,” 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.

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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.

UnionDocs (UnDo) is a Center for Documentary Art that generates and shares big ideas. We bring together a diverse community of experimental media-makers, dedicated journalists, critical thinkers, and local partners on a search for urgent expressions of the human experience, practical perspectives on the world today, and compelling visions for the future.

AIR is a vibrant talent network of more than 1,200 makers powering public media, audio, and podcasting. Founded in 1988, AIR identifies, cultivates and deploys storymakers who create innovative work, challenge and inspire other media makers, and find resources in digital, broadcasting, and podcasting. AIR’s programs activate talent to accelerate public media innovation and expand service to more citizens across the U.S.

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Major funding for Full Spectrum is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.