Autumn 2023 4 Month Short Feature Course

In The Dark School offers professional training while also nurturing the spirit of creativity and experimentation that’s in all the audio we love.

For 13 years In The Dark has been supporting creative audio makers through events, grants, mentoring, awards and workshops. We always aim to make our activities as affordable as possible and to support new makers.

This third run of our short feature course is a 4 month long weekly course that is suitable for beginners, migrants from other mediums as well as producers from other areas of audio production wanting to make creative work for the first time. Over 16 weeks we will give you the training to feel confident in your audio storytelling skills while working with you to develop your creative voice. By the end of this course you will have made a short feature (5-15 mins).

WHAT: Autumn Short Feature Course (see below for course breakdown)

WHEN:  Sat 26th August – Sunday 17th December  2023 (16 weeks plus one week break 28th October).

Weeks 1-8: Saturdays 2pm-5.30pm (UK time)

Weeks 9-14: Friday, Saturday or Sunday  for a 2 hour slot (your group will be assigned according to your availability).

WHERE: Online (Zoom)


This course is being run by In The Dark’s founder, Nina Garthwaite. Nina started out in documentary film and for the past 12 years she has been making audio both for established organisations such as the BBC and for self-generated projects. In 2010 she set up In The Dark, one of the first listening cinemas of its kind. It quickly gathered an international audience and has now held nearly 200 events worldwide. Nina has spoken at audio festivals around the world, helped to establish the Hearsay Audio Arts Festival and has been a judge on many of the major audio awards including the Third Coast International Audio Festival, the BBC Radio Drama Awards and the Whickers.  She has been an artist collaborator for the Wellcome Collection and more recently was the co-creator of a cinema for listening, Soundhouse, at the Barbican.

She has been teaching and running workshops in creative audio for 8 years, most recently at UCL where she taught BA and MA level students. Her students consistently produce high quality and creative work and have won the Charles Parker Student Prize and Hearsay Audio Festival Rising Award. Other students have had their first work broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Short Cuts. Nina brings close attention to each student’s specific needs and creative process, whilst providing practical narrative and technical skills.

She has developed this course specifically to offer a high level of teaching at a pricing structure that’s affordable for more students interested in creative audio storytelling.

For Reaper training Nina is also joined by tutor Suzie McCarthy.


The course is split between providing you with a creative audio tool-kit and assisting you with the production of an original short audio piece. The class size is capped to ensure each student gets plenty of time on their work, with a maximum of 20 people.

Though this course is suitable for beginners, it will also guide you through more complex production work. The exercises can be approached from different experience levels. As such it is also suitable for those who have some early career audio experience and migrants from other mediums who want support moving into creative audio work.

Weeks 1-9 combine teaching and exercise work. Weeks 10-16 are in the form of smaller group workshops and one to one feedback on your piece.

By the end of this course you will:

  • Have made your own creative audio piece (5- 15 minutes).
  • Be able to use technical audio equipment and software to a professional standard including Reaper for editing, sound design and mixing and handheld Zoom recorder.
  • Be able to deconstruct and analyse short creative/experimental audio works of different styles so that you can learn from the work that excites you.
  • Have created a series of experimental “audio sketches” for potential development into short works.
  • Have a practical knowledge of both linear and non-linear narrative techniques that work well in short creative works and a theoretical understanding about how they can be used to help structure longer form pieces.
  • Have a strong practical understanding of the use of sound, music, interview and voice over scripting in audio storytelling.
  • Have stretched yourself creatively and started to develop your own voice as an audio maker.
  • Know where you can take your finished work (e.g. festivals, podcasts, radio) and have guidance on your next steps.

As this is a practical course you will need to spend additional time outside class on production. During weeks 1-9 you will need an absolute minimum of 3 hours a week for homework exercises. It should be noted, however, that while it is sometimes preferable to approach these excerises in a fast turn-around way, previous course participants have also found great value in being able to spend more time on them, some even commenting that they wished they could have been working on them full time! That said, you know what is realistic for you and the course is designed to accommodate a range of free time outside contact hours.

During weeks 10-16  we recommend a minimum of 8 hours a week. Again, if you can make more time for this project work you may want to consider it.

Click here for info on equipment>>


Full Price: £1500

Concession: £950

Pay in Installments: If you need to pay in installments you can place a deposit of either £500 (Full Price) or £350 (Concession), with the full amount payable by the 1st August 2023.

PWYCA: We also offer a limited number of Pay What You Can Afford places. These places are currently running on a waiting list – you will have heard from us already if you have a PWYCA place on this course. There will be more places available on our Spring 2024 course so if you haven’t already, add your name using the link below.

PWYCA Waiting List  >>

Payment Type

If you book a place and then have to cancel, we will only be able to return your fee/deposit if we can fill your place. This is to ensure that we cover our costs for running the course and that it does not have empty places.

If you have any questions email nina [at] inthedarkradio [dot] org