Pre-production in 4 easy steps

From writing the script to making a podcast timeline, the more you plan with your students, the more efficient and effective they will be when they finally get down to using the podcasting software.

Step 1: Introducing podcasting as a concept and genre - Go to page

Step 2: Story development - Go to page

Step 3: Writing a script / Composing interview questions - Go to page

Step 4: Deciding on a soundtrack - Go to page

Step 1: Introducing podcast as a concept and genre


Show students animation samples - professional and student-made. We have a selection on our Inspiration page (Go to page), and some avenues for finding your own on our Teacher Planning page (Go to page).

Discussion - to be had after listening to some podcasts

Elementary Students Secondary Students
What is a podcast? What is a podcast?
Do you listen to any podcasts at home? Which ones? What podcasts are on your 'playlist'? What do you listen to? Which is your favourite?
How do you know that something is a podcast?
Be a detective: What are the clues?
What makes podcasting different from other genres and other types of media?
What makes a good podcast, in your opinion? What are the different elements of a podcast? What do you typically find in a podcast?
What are the different parts of a podcast? Why would someone listen to a podcast? Where would they listen to it?
Why would someone listen to a podcast? Where would they listen to it?  


Make a brainstorm poster or grid listing all the podcasts the class listens to during the Inspiration phase. Vote on favourites or create a top ten list.

Step 2: Story Development

A podcasting project begins with an idea. Students decide on an idea in groups. They should all have input into the final podcast idea.

Step 3: Writing a script / Composing interview questions

We cannot repeat this enough - do not skip this part! Your students MUST write a script before beginning their podcast on the computer. This process will ensure that they have thought through their story or message and that they have identified all the things that need to be said in the final podcast.

Your students can use (one of) the following organizers (PDF):

- Three part planning - Beginning, middle, and end - Download

- Script and Soundtrack Planner - Download

- Enhanced Podcast Storyboard - Download

Step 4: Deciding on a soundtrack

Once the script is complete, students can focus on planning out the soundtrack for the various noises that will help tell the story. At this time, the students choose the sounds and music that go best with their script. They make sure they have their music in an easily accessible folder or on a USB key, depending on how your school functions. Garage Band has many sounds and music pieces for your students to use.

Here are some resources to help you find copyright-free music for your podcast:

- Free Music Archive - Go to site

- Incompetech - Go to site

Background Information

In the media and music industries, pre-production is a crucial phase of the overall production process. Pre-production is the preparation of all the elements involved in a film, play, animation or musical recording.  In the music industry, it's the process during which a recording artist spends time creating and refining their music ideas and producing a demo recording or rough-draft of a song in order to establish ahead of time if the ideas are promising. This reduces time and money wasted in expensive studios. (Source: Wikipedia - Go to site)
For more about pre-production:

- Wide Open Space - Go to site