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Making Movies for the Ear with Sophie Townsend

There’s no escaping the highly filmic and visual nature of audio storytelling. No other medium allows its audience to see as imaginatively, privately, and sensitively.

But how do we go about accessing this visual capacity of audio? How do we find those ways of describing a scene, object, or person in a way that brings our audience the full Technicolor experience? What are we showing our listeners? Is it a detailed catalogue of the way people look and how they’re dressed? Are we telling our audience just how long the grass is, how black the clouds are? Or is it the catches of light, and small smiles, the tear running down a face?

This workshop focuses on script and structure to develop our visual language. In the crispest, most economical ways, how do we use narration to allow our audience to see what they’re hearing? The decisions that we make about what we describe, and how we describe, affects what our audience sees. And just like in film, those visual cues force listeners to make decisions about character, situation and action.


The cost of this workshop is $75 for non-members and $65 for members of the Podcast Garage or members of the Harvard Ed Portal (i.e. any Allston-Brighton resident). Sign up below!

We're offering scholarships for this workshop. Learn more here.



Sophie Townsend is a senior producer and editor at the ABC’s Radio National, and her feature-making work is internationally recognised. In 2015 she won the HearSay International Audio competition with her piece ‘Mr Fix-it‘. Her works ‘Stories and Driving‘ and ‘The Updates‘ were featured at Third Coast in 2015, and she was a Australian Walkley Award nominee for her documentary ‘Cancer as a Battleground’. She regularly makes work for the BBC’s Short Cuts podcast, and were work has also featured in CBC’s Love Me.

Making Movies for the Ear with Sophie Townsend
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Our programming is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit

Earlier Event: September 24
Sound Science Symposium