Audio Essay Assignment Sheet

This I Believe Audio Essay

You will write and record a three-minute audio essay appropriate for the This I Believe audio essay series. You will need to do the following:

1. Decide what your audio essay will be about. Be sure to observe the following guidelines for This I Believe audio essays (these are copied verbatim from the This I Believe Website at

Tell a story: Be specific. Take your belief out of the ether and ground it in the events of your life. Consider moments when belief was formed or tested or changed. Think of your own experience, work, and family, and tell of the things you know that no one else does. Your story need not be heart-warming or gut-wrenching—it can even be funny—but it should be real. Make sure your story ties to the essence of your daily life philosophy and the shaping of your beliefs.
Be brief: Your statement should be between 350 and 500 words. That's about three minutes when read aloud at your natural pace.
Name your belief: If you can't name it in a sentence or two, your essay might not be about belief. Also, rather than writing a list, consider focusing on one core belief, because three minutes is a very short time.
Be positive: Please avoid preaching or editorializing. Tell us what you do believe, not what you don't believe. Avoid speaking in the editorial "we." Make your essay about you; speak in the first person.
Be personal: Write in words and phrases that are comfortable for you to speak. We recommend you read your essay aloud to yourself several times, and each time edit it and simplify it until you find the words, tone, and story that truly echo your belief and the way you speak.

2. Write a draft of a script for your audio essay. Since This I Believe audio essays are very simple (only one voice, no background music or sound), the script will look a lot like an essay draft. It will have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. It should be geared toward an audience of Denver metro area listeners. Bring copies of your draft for your group members to class on February 27.

3. Workshop your draft. You will have most of the class on February 27 to get response to your draft. As always, you should consider also getting response from me, a Writing Center tutor, or another qualified reader from outside class.

4. Revise your draft. Continue revising until the script says what you want to say, follows
all of the guidelines from step 1, and is 350-500 words. Bring copies of your revised script to class on March 1.

5. Add cues to your script. Now that the words of your script are nailed down, start thinking about how you will use your voice to create intimacy and immediacy and to convey your point. Write cues in your script indicating where you will slow down, speed up, speak quietly, etc. You will have time in class on March 1 to work on writing the cues.

6. Record your audio essay. You can do this by making an appointment with Liz, using your own or a friend's equipment, or using gabcast ( Most people will want to record their essay more than once, so allow yourself plenty of time for this step.

7. Submit your audio essay. Your audio essay must be recorded, saved in MP3 format, burned to a CD, and submitted as part of Portfolio 2, which is due March 22. If you record your essay with me, you do not need to submit it on a CD.

8. Complete the Audio Essay Analysis Worksheet for your final portfolio.

Note: All "final" audio essays will be available for anyone in the world to download from [link no longer available]. Anyone may log in by using "guest" as their username and leaving the password field blank.


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