Arts & Entertainment

Case Study: Podcasting

LeVar Burton

Lesson time 15:46 min

Similar to the radio plays of old, podcasting has reignited an interest in audio storytelling. LeVar performs a narrative reading and offers some technical pointers on how to start a podcast.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Democratizing Storytelling · Offer Something of Value · Reading Excerpt: Cuisine des Mémoires · Connect to the Material · Recording Best Practices


[MUSIC PLAYING] LEVAR BURTON (VOICEOVER): Hi. I'm LeVar Burton. And this is "LeVar Burton Reads." In every episode, I handpick a different piece of short fiction, and I read it to you. Only thing these stories have in common is that I love them. And I hope you will, too. [MUSIC PLAYING] As an artist these days, there are so many outlets for expression that simply didn't exist when I got into the business in the late '70s. And the change that has most recently sort of infiltrated entertainment and storytelling is our ability to create content on our own and find a way to share it with people. And that's really important. I call it the democratization of content creation. The barrier to entry is so low. We all have the tools or can, with a very small investment, have the tools that give us the opportunity to produce a quality, professional grade product that we can then share with an audience. It's permission to read a story, the text, a microphone, just a quiet environment, and a bottle of water, and I'm good. My entry into podcasting came about because I had my eye on the space, and I was really impressed with the quality of work that was being done. And at the time, I was really looking for an artistic expression where I really didn't need anyone's permission. For a lot of the work that I do, there's a network or a studio involved, and to get the green light, to get the permission, to get the opportunity to do that which it is I love to do, there's a chain of yeses that have to take place. I was able to pitch this idea, "LeVar Burton Reads," where I read a short story in every episode. So it was an opportunity for me with very little barrier to entry, do something that I love that was creative and that I could share with other people. I tend to lean heavily in the area of speculative fiction, because it's my favorite genre of literature to read, especially for enjoyment. But I'm doing this for myself knowing that it provides a great benefit for others, as well. At the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, I made a decision to read live on the internet via Twitter. "Cece was mad. Who were those boys to say she couldn't be a pirate? They had probably never even been on a boat." And there's just something really comforting for folks, especially in uncertain times to be able to engage in an activity that is familiar and soothing. And for the audience of adults now that grew up on "Reading Rainbow," for some reason hearing the sound of my voice is a balm for them. And I love that. And so I lean into it. [MUSIC PLAYING] I think the best thing that a person at home could do for themselves if they were interested in starting a podcast is know what it is you want your podcast to be about and offer something of value to your audience. Right? Don't think that just because you have a microphone you have something interesting to say, unless it is on a subject or a subject matter that you know well. It's hard to b...

About the Instructor

With his iconic roles in Roots and Star Trek: The Next Generation and 23 years as the host of Reading Rainbow, LeVar Burton has left an indelible mark on our culture. Now the Emmy, Grammy, and Peabody winner is sharing his approach to storytelling so you can connect authentically with any audience. Learn how to find intention, use your voice, and mine your experiences to be a more effective and dynamic storyteller.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

LeVar Burton

Emmy winner and Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton teaches you his techniques for more dynamic, authentic storytelling.

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