Producing a one-person show

What is it?

Just one voice--your voice--can be all it takes to make a podcast. With your voice, you can tell a story, make an argument, follow a line of reasoning, or crack everyone up.


Welcome to Night Vale


You Must Remember This

Hardcore History

Where do I begin?

Come up with an idea and make a plan.

  • What story do you want to tell?
  • Who could you tell a story about?
  • What places could you tell a story about?
  • Which questions haunt you, plague you, enchant you?
  • Which arguments could you sustain for an audience?
  • What weird ideas do you have?
  • Have you found yourself in funny situations?
  • What do you imagine that’s funny?
  • What’s the punchline? What’s the set up? How long is the set up?
  • What is a story, anyway? What does it mean to make an argument? Does comedy always have to sound the same?
Session 2, Tier 1 Assignment Write your plan.

Do some research about your story, commentary, or comedy. Brainstorm ideas by way of listing, freewriting, and bubble mapping.

Write your script. In the biz, this is called your “Acts.” In general, a 5-7 minute podcast will call for a 500-700 word script.

Session 2, Tier 2 Assignment Write your plan, and start working on your Tracks and Acts.

Record yourself reading your Acts. The unedited recording you make is called your “Tape.”

Session 2, Tier 3 Assignment Write your plan, record some Tape, and start working on your Tracks and Acts.

Determine if you need music and sound design.

Session 3, Tier 1 Assignment Have all of your Tape, including Acts and Tracks.

Create, license, or find Creative Commons music and sounds.

Session 3, Tier 2 Assignment Your podcast is about 75% complete.

Put everything together with Audacity--your Acts, Tracks, music, and sounds.

Session 3, Tier 3 Assignment Your podcast draft is complete.

Share the draft of your podcast and get feedback. Share it with your interview subject--or not.

End of workshop, Tier 1 Assignment You have a complete podcast episode.

Consider, reject, or incorporate feedback. Reflect on your process and the meaning of your podcast. Repeat previous steps.

In a spreadsheet, enter the metadata for all the files you created or used.

End of workshop, Tier 2 Assignment You have a complete podcast episode and metadata.

Finish your complete transcript. Your complete transcript is the one you will provide for you audience. It will be a combination of your Acts and descriptions of any of the music and sounds you used.

End of workshop, Tier 3 Assignment You have a complete podcast episode, metadata, and a complete transcript.

Decide, as a whole, whether or not your podcast should have a Creative Commons designation.

If you are going to put your podcasts online, do an audit of your online safety and security. Do you have safe passwords? Consider making passwords using the “diceware” method and using LastPass. If you Google yourself, what information do data brokers have about you? Consider contacting data brokers and requesting they remove your information.

But is this the only way to make a solo podcast?

No! You might find that by making musical compositions first, a story will come to you. Or perhaps you’ll come across some Creative Commons sounds online that jumpstart your creativity. You might think that something seems funny on the page--in your script--but once you start recording, maybe you’ll improvise and say something hilarious.

Have you thought about...?
  • Accessibility: Did you provide a complete transcript? Think about how users who may be unfamiliar with your voice or language may consume your content in a written form.
  • Preservation:Did you save multiple copies? Think about how to remain accountable for preserving your work even though you are producing this by yourself.
  • Open: Have you reached out to others for original work? Think about how you can incorporate materials specifically developed for your production.
  • Digital Identity, Safety & Privacy: Have you thought about how you might be exposing others? Think about personal identifiers for yourself and in your commentary. Beware of doxing.