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June 14, 2019
Dialogue
Writing dialogue can be daunting because you can’t rely own your own narrative voice— the characters have to speak for themselves. Joseph and Jeffrey deconstruct the popular advice that every line of dialogue has to move the plot forward, to talk instead about how the best dialogue is the kind that serves your story. Consume: Listen to Episode 1 of Steal The Stars, a podcast by Mac Rogers. Pay close attention to each line of dialogue and what it does for the story. Create: Write a 200-word, two-character dialogue. If you’re writing for audio, the recorded piece should come out to about 2 minutes. The first line of your piece must be, “Put the milk on the table” and the last line must be,  “We are really only at the beginning.” Keep the purpose of the dialogue in mind as you write. If you’re feeling ambitious, try it again with a different reason for the dialogue. Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
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33 min
May 31, 2019
Playing Games
At its core, a game is a set of fun rules. From acrostic poems to following mathematical progressions, games can take the pressure off of creating and let you have fun making your art. Jeffrey and Joseph talk about the idea of games in creative work, how playing them can provide instant structure, and how watching someone attempt to succeed is instantly captivating. Consume: Episode 49 “Re: The Moon” of the podcast, Imaginary Advice Create: Play the game that Ross Sutherland sets up in this episode of Imaginary Advice, “Re: The Moon.” Create three different statements about the moon following the convention, “The moon is a [adjective] [noun].” The adjectives and nouns can’t come from you. Flip through a book, use a random word generator, or use some other source. Then use those statements as the first sentence of three different paragraphs that tell a story. Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
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51 min
May 17, 2019
Towards a Poor Podcast
How can you create something with only the most bare elements? There’s a lot you can do with just a story, a microphone, and a voice. Jeffrey and Joseph talk about the virtues of single-voice narrators, budgeting, and how to make a podcast or any kind of art in its most direct and affordable form. Consume: Listen to the fiction podcast “Gone,” about a person who finds themself alone in the world after everyone else has vanished. It’s entirely written, narrated, and produced by Sunny Moraine. Create: Find two items in your kitchen and figure out what noises you can make with them. Let that sound inspire you. Now write and record a 2 minute audio story (200-250 words) incorporating this sound. Or if you’re not a podcaster, use those items to inspire your written story (or visual art piece) Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
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29 min
May 3, 2019
Collaboration
Jeffrey and Joseph talk the history of their collaboration, and how working together made them better writers in their own right. Then they discuss the qualities they’re attracted to in potential collaborators, and the value they’ve found in working together. Consume: Listen to the podcast, Our Debut Album hosted by Dave Shumka and Graham Clark of Stop Podcasting Yourself. (Start with at least the first 2 episodes) Create: Play “Handsome Cadaver” with a co-writer to generate a 500-word audio story. Alternate sentences. Be honest with your story. Then find a performer and record them reading the script without giving any direction. Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
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33 min
April 26, 2019
BONUS: Q&A Preview
Jeffrey and Joseph answer listener questions for Episode 1 (Idea to Execution) and Episode 2 (Know Your Limitations). Join the SWT Membership community to gain access to this full episode, to ask your own questions, and see what other listeners are making. https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
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11 min
April 19, 2019
Feedback
Our art is personal so sometimes receiving feedback can feel overwhelming. In this episode, Jeffrey and Joseph talk about how to give and receive comments beyond “it was good,” or “it was bad.” They outline four steps to help get and give useful responses: give permission, set specific parameters, have a limit, and evaluate what was helpful. Consume: Read up on Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process Create: Write (and record if you’re a podcaster) a 2-minute piece (that’s about 200-250 words) about a fight between two people. Don’t work it too much. When you post it: 1. Ask for feedback 2. Set parameters for what feedback you want 3. Limit the feedback to an exact number of responses 4. Thank your responders once you’ve reached that number Then go and give feedback to someone else who’s given permission for responses. Be respectful of your own and other people’s limits. Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
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32 min
April 5, 2019
Know Your Limitations
How do you deal with the limitation of an inherently audio-only medium? Jeffrey and Joseph discuss how artistic restrictions and resource limitations can become advantages that help you jumpstart a new creative path. Consume: The graphic novel, Here by Richard McGuire. If you don’t have immediate access to this book, do a quick google search to get the idea and check out this Guardian review: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/dec/17/chris-ware-here-richard-mcguire-review-graphic-novel Create: Use a random number generator to select one thing from each list. Then write and record a 2-minute monologue incorporating each of the 3 random elements. (If you can, try setting the bluegrass song behind your piece and see what it does to the piece.) 100 Greatest Bluegrass Songs (incorporate the song title in your piece): https://digitaldreamdoor.com/pages/best_country/best_bluegrass_songs.html Most Populated US Cities List (incorporate the city): http://worldpopulationreview.com/world-cities/ World’s 50 Best Foods List (incorporate at least one sentence or phrase from your food item description): http://www.cnn.com/travel/article/world-best-food-dishes/index.html Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
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32 min
March 22, 2019
Idea to Execution
There’s natural talent, and then there’s practice. You can only control that last bit. Joseph and Jeffrey talk building habits of creation so that starting projects gets into your muscle memory. Consume: Check out Jonathan Mann’s Song A Day Youtube channel. Jonathan’s been writing and recording a song a day for over 3,000 days— it’s the ultimate example of flexing the habit of creation. Create: Pick an idea that you’ve had for a while. Take exactly 1 hour to work on it exclusively. This can be one continuous hour, or 30 minutes for two days, or 10 minutes for six days. Then put it out there (written or recorded) on our Membership Community, your website, or shout it to a bird from your porch. Consider this your first try of many at this idea. Join the SWT Membership community to see what other listeners are making: https://www.patreon.com/startwiththis Credits: Jeffrey Cranor (host) & Joseph Fink (host), Julia Melfi (producer), Grant Stewart (editor), Vincent Cacchione (mixer). Rob Wilson (logo). Produced by Night Vale Presents. http://www.startwiththispodcast.com http://www.nightvalepresents.com
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34 min
March 8, 2019
Start With This: Trailer
The creators of Welcome to Night Vale Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink believe the only bad writing is not writing. Start With This is a podcast gone creativity playground designed to put your ideas in motion. Each episode centers around a topic from world building, to opening lines, and even failure. Then they give listeners two short assignments: something to consume and something to create. Join the Start With This membership forum to share your work with other listeners. You might just find a creative partner in the process. Jeffrey and Joseph want you to start creating, one assignment at a time because the best way to start writing, is to start writing. Not sure where to begin? Start With This. Episodes air every other Friday. The first episode airs Friday, March 22nd. Subscribe for free at startwiththispodcast.com.
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2 min
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