Between February 22nd and March 8, The Hive and DisCo put on a series of podcasting workshops, where participants got to make their own collaborative podcast over the course of just three workshops. They did the interviews, created the storyboard, and two brave first-timers even produced episodes all by themselves. The topic: Transition.

Reflection

I, along with D.d. Maoz, a Pomona senior and staff member of The Hive, put on a series of three podcasting workshops where participants got to make a collaborative podcast – from interviewing to storyboarding to editing.

We both love podcasts, but beyond that, we wanted to convey why the process of making them yourself can be so valuable. We wanted to show how the different aspects of making podcasts can urge us all to be better listeners, intentional conversationalists, and mindful storytellers. We wanted to re-value the creative process itself. We wanted to create a low-stakes environment for people to actually make a podcast without grandiose expectations or the fear of failure. We wanted people to learn by doing. We hoped to provide participants with the technical confidence that will allow them to see this medium as their own. We wanted to make room for stories – for people to tell them, to realize the importance of seeking them out, and to grasp the power of handling them with care.

The basic premise was this: We would create three workshops that would walk participants through three stages of the podcast-making process: interviewing, storyboarding, and editing. Through these different stages, we would focus on different interpersonal skills: empathetic and active listening, communicating, and storytelling.

Workshop #1 – The Interview

In the first workshop, we emphasized empathetic listening and recording confidence. We opened with two audio excerpts from Chimamanda Adichie’s TED Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story” and an interview with David Issay in the TED Radio Hour’s “The Act of Listening.” They taught us about the responsibility entailed in choosing which stories are told, the presence listening commands, and the power of being heard.

We outlined five active listening principles, which we compiled from the Human-Centered Design course tips for empathetic interviewing, and Celeste Headlee’s 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation. They were: be present, do away with assumptions, enable meaningful conversations, go slow, care for the process.

Then we reviewed the technical details of the recorders, considering basic tips for making a good recording. The topic we chose for the interviews was “Transition,” and we urged people to recall specific stories and emotions from different periods of transition in their own lives. Then, for the rest of the session, in groups of three, we interviewed each other and made space for each other’s stories. We came out with eighteen recorded ten-minute interviews, and the affirmation that giving people the time and excuse to talk and ask questions was one of the most powerful things we could have done.

Workshop #2 – Storyboarding

In the second workshop, we tackled the challenge of walking people through the whole storyboarding process in 1.5 hours. We brought on Isaac Watts (PZ ‘18) and Jeremy Snyder (PO ‘19) to help facilitate the session. In small groups, we started by taking time to listen to the 4-5 interview clips each group was assigned. Then, we took 10 minutes to share out our impressions with the group. From there, we took 5 minutes to construct a narrative arc, thinking about the common themes, and the surprises that came up from the clips.

For the final stretch of the session, using post-it notes, we constructed a storyboard that detailed what should happen at every moment of the podcast by creating mock tracks that resembled the audio editing software – one for interview clips, one for narration, and one for accompanying sound. We concluded the session with participants recording a live narration of the podcast, following the storyboard to tie clips together and communicate the narrative and themes to the listener.

We came out with a very rough draft of three podcast episodes, one by each of our three groups. We also realized that, while confusion is an essential part of the creative process, making a clear structure to guide the process along was essential to eliminating overwhelming, paralyzing confusion.

Workshop #3 – Audio Editing

In the third workshop, Ximena Lane (PO ‘19) joined the team and walked people through the fundamentals of audio editing together with Eli. We decided to step back from the project at hand and instead work with isolated examples of basic audio design. In the end, we highlighted four concepts: vocal clarity, quality over quantity, layering with care, transition is everything.

We also introduced the participants to the basics of audio editing software, such as how to navigate the timeline, work with multiple tracks simultaneously, and utilize basic audio effects. We created a one-pager describing each of the four overarching concepts and gave a few tangible techniques – altering amplitude with compressors or normalizers and changing the tenor of one’s voice with equalization – to help achieve them. We left a small amount of time at the end to practice these techniques on the project itself.

Final Thoughts

Each workshop required a different structure and varying amounts of guidance, and all of them required that we admit one simple thing: we were not experts. In planning and facilitating these workshops, we were simply creating the space for everyone – ourselves included – to experiment and learn by doing. We were often pushed to seriously think about group process more than the podcast-making process, and about how to enable a comfortable and intuitive sort of creation and interaction with the group. We realized that there’s something freeing about just jumping in, with no time to fear mistakes. We realized how important our roles as facilitators were in planning sessions that gave participants room to engage with the creative process in ways that allowed for a healthy – but not overwhelming – amount of confusion.

Ultimately, we couldn’t prepare in advance for every possible scenario, and so the process was largely about being present with the rest of the participants and going where the process invited. We started these workshops knowing that the podcast-making process mandates the sort of intentionality that should be lived out in everyday life. We ended with the added realization that the same holds true for the process of planning these sessions, which demanded we be present, open, and intentional. Most importantly, the creative process demands time. Time to be confused; to ruminate; to revisit and rework; to adjust; to bring oneself to the table fully in order to enable a true collaboration. While our workshop provided opportunities for participants to tap into many aspects of the creative process, time was not one of them.

Instead, we got to engage with each other, to tell stories, to create, to construct, to edit, and to collaborate. Overall we got to see how these tools are something that anyone can use. When we compromised time to give room for other aspects of the creative process, we accepted the fact that the final product will not be polished and that it might not make sense.

Since we stepped back from the project for our final workshop, some participants took on the responsibility of editing the episodes beyond the workshops, relying on the original storyboard that was made in under 1.5 hours. The episodes came out to be exciting rough drafts, which give you all a glimpse into what a narrative that was created so quickly sounds like.

Transcript

Eli Cohen: [00:00] Three workshops podcasts.

D.d. Maoz: [00:09] This is not keywords, no. We need connecting sentences

Eli Cohen: [00:03] Three.

D.d. Maoz: [00:04] Podcast.

Eli Cohen: [00:05] Workshop.

D.d. Maoz: [00:05] Interview

Eli Cohen: [00:07] Story.

D.d. Maoz: [00:07] Board.

Eli Cohen: [00:08] Empathy.

D.d. Maoz: [00:10] Love in the world.

Eli Cohen: [00:13] World peace.

D.d. Maoz: [00:14] I'm D.d., I'm a senior at Pomona majoring in media studies and I really like podcasts and the process that goes into making them.

Eli Cohen: [00:40] My name is Eli. I'm a junior at Pomona. I study politics and a little bit of computer science and I love Pusheen, the little gray fluffy cat who lives on Facebook Messenger.

D.d. Maoz: [00:53] So we basically did three workshops that walk people through the podcast making process. So for the first stage, we showed people how to interview and to listen to each other and the second stage we engage with the storyboarding process and in the third, we did some sound editing with Audacity. There's still some work to be done. But no, we did a thing.

Eli Cohen: [01:14] That's absolutely true though, I guess right for the first episode we gave them the prompt of transition, which was I think it was good that it was so vague because that allowed people to really take it in their own direction and make it their own. And then in the second workshop, we forced them to find the themes and the stories and what people had said and try to bring it together into one cohesive narrative, and I guess we broke into three groups to make that happen. So three. Very different podcasts will come out of it. But that's good. And then yeah last night we--I guess we kind of step back a little bit last night and just focus more on the techniques themselves.

D.d. Maoz: [02:04] And basically the final product is what you are about to hear.

Eli Cohen: [02:07] So this is a down-and-dirty process. I think in total they had about four and a half hours to put together what you're hearing now. Honestly, though most of that, they were just learning how to do it. Some of the folks who join these workshops had no previous experience, but this is what they put together and honestly it's pretty amazing.

D.d. Maoz: [02:28] It's pretty good. This also is part of the process itself because it's not a finished product, but it's sort of a chance for people to listen get a snippet of what it looks like to make a thing and four and a half hours.

Eli Cohen: [02:38] That's right. We hope you enjoy. And if you don't just stay quiet.

D.d. Maoz: [02:42] Yeah, don't tell us just give us a five

Eli Cohen: [02:46] Gold stars are appreciative.

D.d. Maoz: [02:47] Yes. Hey, I'm D.d.

Eli Cohen: [02:49] And I'm Eli

D.d. Maoz: [02:50] What you're about to hear is the result of three workshops where students got to engage in the podcast making process for the first time from interviewing to storyboarding to editing the final product. These mini episodes were created in under four and a half hours.

Eli Cohen: [03:02] The workshops were process-oriented with a bias towards just going for it with no fear of messing up or getting it wrong. The first of Three episodes features the voices of Priya, Sam, Emmequet, and Tanya. The narratives of this episode were created by Emily, Kira, Su Yun, and with final production credits going to a Ahana. We hope you enjoy.

Workshop Participant: [03:29] Oh, um, well me and my friends do like a family breakfast on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So I had some scrambled eggs some vegetarian sausage granola and Greek yogurt. That's some solid. Thanks.

Ahana Ganguly: [03:49] This is Disco and I'm Ahana, your host for this mini episode about transition. You just heard Priya a student at the Claremont colleges talking at the Hive's podcasting workshop. We interviewed each other about transition. And since it's such a broad theme people talked about all kinds of things.

You'll be hearing from Priya first. Here She is again.

Workshop Participant: [04:13] Yeah can't go wrong with pancakes ever exactly. This you said this is your family. It's like we call it the family breakfast.

Workshop Participant: [04:22] How does the idea of family change being at home versus in Clermont?

Workshop Participant: [04:29] Well, I'm much more distant with my actual family now. I don't call them as much as I should my friends are like a very good support group I have and I would consider them like a little family. They know pretty much everything about me, which is really nice.

Ahana Ganguly: [04:45] When we go through these transitions in our relationships, it sets of even more transition in the ways. We think in the ways, we feel and form our opinions

Workshop Participant: [04:52] some of my friends they, since I came from such a conservative town, I was like also some is like the conservative beliefs resonated with me a bit more than I do right now just because I don't think I fully understood what I actually thought but I just like bounced off of what other people were telling me. So. In that way like having more conversations with my friends about things like any social justice issues, really.

I've like talked a lot about them and I've expect I like told them. Well, I never liked quite understood this aspect of feminism and they've just like taught me much more about it and I really like that. And I don't know if they really challenge my beliefs too much which is nice. They just like built up built on them.

Ahana Ganguly: [05:46] Sam another Claremont student experienced a similar kind of expansion but in a very different piece of his life

Workshop Participant: [05:52] I'm supposed to be narrowing down because I figure out a major and it's just getting broader. So I guess like the specifically like the transition is kind of this transition away from science as the answer to my problems and like the world's problems and realizing the value in a lot of the things that like I used to completely dismiss.

Ahana Ganguly: [06:21] So for a lot of people our age transitions fuel additive, but transition can also involve emptiness and law. Here's Tanya founder of a children's nonprofit called project CHELA talking about that.

Workshop Participant: [06:32] I think as we get older every year, we're at the point where we're moving into the empty nest phase of life. So the transition is now from being a mother of four to having a lot of time to do the things that I want to do. From previously, my whole life is dedicated to my kids. So for all the women out there is a take care of yourself. Always. I think the old rule of thumb was at we give everything like The Giving Tree book. Would you give your whole self? And then at the end there's very little left. We have to continue to work on us whole Mind Body Spirit.

Ahana Ganguly: [07:15] It's difficult for us to find our footing when we're faced with emptiness. Tanya was firm and defiant as she talked about this her determination to care for herself, but she couldn't help talking about her children's needs too.

Workshop Participant: [07:27] We need someone to says you were born. Where are you? I want to see you. There's something really special about you. There's something you're going to give to the world and I want to be a part of giving you all.

Ahana Ganguly: [07:41] Tanya was talking about children, but we all need what she's given her kids to the confusion of transition with their lives getting fuller or emptier, we all need to be seen to be taught and talk to and to support ourselves. Thanks for listening and thanks to everyone who participated in the Hive's podcasting Workshop. They music used in this episode was Dialysis Wayne's. Oh My Life. This has been DisCo follow us on Soundcloud to hear more.

D.d. Maoz: [08:13] Hey again, there are two more mini episodes they came about from these workshops. You can find them on the Hive's online blog.

You'll also find D.d.'s and I's extended conversation on the process of making these workshops as well.

D.d. Maoz: [08:24] If you want to learn more about the workshops themselves, check are written follow-up on the hive blog

Eli Cohen: [08:29] Until next time.

D.d. Maoz: [08:30] Hey, I'm D.d.

Eli Cohen: [08:31] And I'm Eli.

D.d. Maoz: [08:32] What you're about to hear is the result of three workshops for students got to engage in the podcast making process for the first time from interviewing to storyboarding to editing the final. These mini episodes were created in under four and a half hours.

Eli Cohen: [08:45] The workshops were process-oriented with a bias towards just going for it with no fear of messing up or getting it wrong. The second mini episode features the voices of Ahana, Jamie, Isaac, Katie, and Julia. The narratives of this episode were created by Tanya, Anam. Olivia, Priya with final production credits going to Sam. Happy listening.

Workshop Participant: [09:04] I found myself asking a lot more frequently frequently. Like am I satisfied. Am I fulfilled? Am I happy.

Workshop Participant: [09:11] I felt really lucky that I got to go. Like I don't know what else is gonna do with my life if I didn't get into Pomona.

Workshop Participant: [09:17] I've heard all of these sort of horror stories about people like just being like what the fuck am I doing?

Sam Sjoberg: [09:28] This is Sam Sjoberg, and you're listening to Disco. Welcome to the Discussion Collective, where we talk about and examine all aspects of life at the Claremont Colleges. Today. We are hearing stories of transition: transition from high school to college, transitions within families, transitions to the real world. These stories depict the crazy and complex life students are just thrown into in their four years in college. People coming from all over the US and the world with vastly different backgrounds and experiences yet somehow, it seems to all come together one way or another. We're going to take a look at just a few examples of this difficult and wild shared experience from people going through transitions at all different stages of the process first we're going to hear from Katie who is just starting her journey as a first year at Pomona.

Workshop Participant: [10:25] It was definitely like a really sudden like very opposite kind of transition. I'm from a small town in Southeast, Texas. So it's a very different political climate, and also just like culturally like I live in a rural rural area with you know, everyone has a farm and my neighbors are cows. So we coming to Claremont, like I know people complain about how small Claremont is but it's like there are store's here, you know, so it's very different

Sam Sjoberg: [11:02] But it wasn't only the physical transition. That was so weird for Katie. There were some ideological shifts as well.

Workshop Participant: [11:09] But also coming from a place where most people are conservative and Republican and I was always like I stuck out like a sore thumb to kind of people like the opposite of that. Which has been weird and cool but also kind of made me realize how valuable it is to have the experience of being around people who disagree with me.

Sam Sjoberg: [11:33] Now, let's take a look at another transition, Isaac's transition from college to adult life.

Workshop Participant: [11:41] For the for like a year before now, I was kind of like wow, like I need to figure it all out. Like what am I do like, I almost had that anxiety a while ago and now there are opportunities appearing and things I'm working towards and it's like actually planning things out.

It doesn't feel like this hugely, that I'm going to be totally lost in really it's more feeling like time. You know, I feel like I'm processing it and that it's sad. I'm like, wow, I could just like walk over to my friends house like constantly be around all these people that I built these relationships with that's not going to be not going to see these people. I'm not going to have. As many kind of like. day-to-day mind-blowing changes experiences, whatever I won't be learning in this way.

Sam Sjoberg: [12:51] Clearly. These shifts aren't always easy and there are so many different aspects of transitions. Sometimes just getting there can be the hardest part. Here's Jamie story of getting into college.

Workshop Participant: [13:03] I guess I'll go back to my senior in high school. I applied to ten colleges. I got rejected by 9. But when I was my second choice in like that and I got I didn't end up applying to McGill in Canada. I'm Canadian, or I was in Canada. And I would get rejected by nine, waitlisted by Pomona and then I got the extended waitlist for Pomona. And then I ended up end up being the final person to get in, which was like really intense really intense because it was after the extended waitlist. It was July 18th. It's kind of eerie because I've met people who like recruits who are ya I met recruits who were accepted it like the same time for next year's class, which was like was interesting.

Sam Sjoberg: [13:53] So we've heard a few stories about transitions as they relate to college as we all know, there's so much more to the experience. Ahana talks to us a little bit about some of the emotional struggles of living in a new place.

Workshop Participant: [14:06] I find myself asking a lot more frequently frequently. Like am I satisfied and fulfilled in my happy and it's a good thing. But also if it's too constant it can get to like asking that question can just be kind of it can get you frustrated and you can't like it's impossible to be fulfilled all the time or like satisfied all the time. So asking that question constantly can kind of highlight the lows and make you appreciate like the highs less. But I think the conclusion from all of that, It's just sitting to think. Is that it's a really privileged question to be asking like, you know, what's your favorite school? Like what's your dream school? Where did you like the vibe the best because that implies certain factors don't have to be as important for you.

Sam Sjoberg: [15:24] I think Ahana's voiced some of the thoughts that a lot of students have on a day-to-day basis. How we decide to act or communicate these types of thoughts or what shape our journey through college. Isaac and Julie are closing in on their last few weeks as Claremont students and as they see the finish line, they reflect on the impact of their time is spent at the Consortium.

Workshop Participant: [16:03] Yeah, man. I've really started to appreciate. like the guidance that that people tend to have given me here like. Especially as I'm like really trying to plan things out like I've been much more engaged with like meeting with different teachers and being like, oh, wow, it's not just about being in these classes, but it's really about connecting with who I'm learning from and like understanding how they've approached their life.

One of my favorite books is Reading Lolita in Tehran and have you read it? Okay. Wonderful. There's a great there's a quote in it, It's like something along the line. It's like near the end and it's something along the lines of like you'll not only miss the people you love but but you'll miss the person you are right now in this time and place because you know, you'll never be the same.

I think the I'm very much someone who is able to have really good relationships in the present moment with the person there. I'm not very good at keeping in touch with old friends or yeah with I guess with past friends. And so I think for the future I would like what like do it better like calling people on the phone or like doing letters or even doing email chains or something like some fun way or even like what you were saying with your dad is like just have some fun activity. It's a sort of link people like me with with my friends who are like physically far away.

Sam Sjoberg: [17:52] You're navigating transitions through life all the time. And I think it's important for us to take a moment and reflect on what these transitions mean to us and how they shape our lives, especially during our college years. Listening to other people's stories can help guide us through transitions on our own life. So I appreciate you taking the time to listen and I hope you come away with a little bit more insight than you did when we started. I'm Sam Sjoberg. Thank you so much for tuning into DisCo.

Special thanks to Eli Cohen D.d. Moaz, Ximena Lane, and The Hive. Will see you next time.

D.d. Maoz: [18:49] Hey again, there are two more mini episodes they came about from these workshops. You can find them on the Hive's online blog.

Eli Cohen: [18:56] You'll also find D.d. And I's extended conversation on the process of making these workshops as well.

D.d. Maoz: [19:01] If you want to learn more about the workshops themselves, check are written follow-up on the hive blog until next time.

D.d. Maoz: [19:07] Hey, I'm D.d.

Eli Cohen: [19:08] And I'm Eli.

D.d. Maoz: [19:09] What you're about to hear is the result of three workshops for students got to engage in the podcast making process for the first time from interviewing to storyboarding to editing the final. These mini episodes were created in under four and a half hours.

Eli Cohen: [19:21] The workshops were process-oriented with a bias towards just going for it. With no fear of messing up or getting it wrong.

D.d. Maoz: [19:28] The narratives of this episode were created by a Emmequet, Jamie, Caroline and Ivan and final production by Eli.

Eli Cohen: [19:33] Happy listening.

Workshop Participant: [19:38] Hi everyone, Welcome to our podcast phases of the moon the college journey. So today, so we're going to be talking about transition. Ends in and out of college and the exciting but overwhelming time that college can be for a lot of students both coming from high school and entering into the real world.

Workshop Participant: [20:08] Yeah. It's really different. I'm an only child. So my life was incredibly structured when I was living at home with my parents. I was at school from 7:30. In the morning to about 6:00 at night and then I just go home and get all my homework done sleep and go to school the next day. I didn't make a ton of decisions because all of my time is just spent doing things that were planned out for me.

Workshop Participant: [20:32] Now, I feel. a little bit different from probably when I was doing my college apps and over the summer trying to kind of get in those last bits of high school life before moving to California and just being with friends who I've known since.

Workshop Participant: [20:53] So Claire told us a little bit about her life before college, which was extremely structured where she didn't have to make many decisions about what she would do every day. And Anam told us of his journey from New York to California how excited that that transition made him. The excitement of experiencing the unknown and this this huge move at a lot of high school students are really looking forward to.

Workshop Participant: [21:48] So in our podcast today, we're going to be talking about people's experiences of college, which can be exciting. But at times also overwhelming.

Workshop Participant: [22:07] I was just so busy. I wasn't even thinking about it just busy getting through orientation busy going to all these events busy like getting classes and going to them and I almost didn't, I wasn't thinking about the transition because I was just so like one track minded and just trying to get everything done and it almost happened without me noticing the transition for me.

Workshop Participant: [22:35] It felt very much like not a transition because I think that I was very much in the moment. And so I couldn't feel the different forces shifting around me and from where I had come to where I am now, I couldn't really feel, I didn't really stop to think and reflect on the difference and how it felt really coming to school here, and I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but I just kind of lived.

Workshop Participant: [23:08] I guess my parents were like a constant for me. They went to work and came home at the same time everyday. I could kind of predict what they were doing. Whereas here, nothing is really set in stone. People are coming and going going about their own lives that are more disconnected from mine. So, I think it's hard to, like established like very reliable things that I can always count on. Its just seemed really be more plausible ways to adapt to like whatever comes at me.

Workshop Participant: [23:43] But at the same time feel the connection and to them and then motivated to change and grow. One of the statements being overwhelmed, not noticing the transition didn't feel like a transition. Didn't stop to think, adaptation is necessary, college is always fast-paced and changing.

Workshop Participant: [24:25] If I think my sister was a bigger influence, I have an older sister like she's in grad school and just like I basically just follow everything that she does, and I think she's helped me like understand scientific research. Like I understand like enjoying the environment. And she helps me a lot with showing me like what's out there in the world and she'll just like send me things which thinks I'm interested in and I'm like, I don't know if I'm interested in this just because you say I am like I am like I don't really care if. I think my sister was a bigger influence.

Workshop Participant: [25:11] And the students were interviewed told us about how they eventually learned to slow down and listen to themselves to see what their bodies were asking for, more rest or more emotional connection. And these students that before were too caught up and "hecticness" of college then learned.

Workshop Participant: [26:02] The students we interviewed learned that discomfort is a part of growth and transitioning out of college into the and into the real world.

Workshop Participant: [26:20] It's clear that college is a confusing time and it's easy to get overwhelmed. But we also see that. That can be an important part of personal growth and change.

Workshop Participant: [26:39] For after college, well, I got a job this summer building trails in the Rocky Mountains, so I'll be living in a tent and hopefully in the backcountry station like 8,000 feet on a mountain. We were like eight days on and six days off and I'm super excited about that.

Workshop Participant: [27:02] I've also gotten used to doing phone calls with people which is something I never really used to do at all. I thought phone calls were kind of awkward and you calling you like Hi, how are you? I can't see you. But but they become like very comfortable now and I was talking to one of my friends from a while ago, and I was on the phone and we talked for so long. It was nighttime and I just like watch the moon like kind of go across the whole sky because I was sitting in the same place for such a long time talking on the phone which is which is really cool to be able to do.

D.d. Maoz: [27:45] Hey again, there are two more mini episodes they came about from these workshops. You can find them on the Hive's online blog.

Eli Cohen: [27:54] You'll also find D.d. and I's extended conversation on the process of making these workshops as well. If you want to learn more about the workshops themselves, check are written follow-up on the hive blog

Eli Cohen: [28:04] Until next time.