Audio Documentaries on “Hidden” Topics #filmpast

Due February 17th by 4pm

(After you complete your audio documentary, upload it to YouTube. Put the link to it in a comment on this post, along with a short description of your topic, why you chose it, and your argument.)

Assignment: Create a short audio documentary on the theme of “hidden.” (Hidden history or otherwise.) It must include at least one interview with a person you DON’T know well (i.e. not just a friend of yours) and one example of NON-DIEGETIC sound. It must also draw on news sources from contemporary or historical newspapers. It should also address, if possible, a non-trivial issue. Use insights from the readings so far, as well as the CDS documentary resource guide, to help construct your audio documentary. Upload the final product to Youtube, and tweet it to me and anyone else you think should know about this “hidden” insight or issue you have uncovered.

Final length of the audio piece must be no more than 8 minutes. Edit it well—what you leave out will be just as important as what you leave in, and you will need to leave out a lot to cut it down to the required length. Audacity is a good free audio editing program. Hindenburg is better and easier to use, but costs a bit of money.

Things to think about: How do you find out about something that’s hidden? Why might you know about something that others don’t know about? (Perhaps your line of work, your major, the place you live, or other aspects of your identity. Mine these for topics: it’s easier to tell the truth about things with which you have firsthand experience.) How will you interact with the audience’s emotions, as well as their intellects? (People learn better, and remember things longer, when they have an emotional reaction to something.) How will you ensure you are telling the truth? How far can you get away from the literal truth without creating something false?

Upload your audio to Youtube, with full sources given for all media referenced and songs used. Cite these in a text overlay “video” or in the notes section. Do NOT use music that you do not own the rights to. If you cannot find rights free music, rely on Youtube’s rights-free music library for now:

Once you have uploaded your audio to Youtube, post a link and brief description (150 words or less) in a comment on this post.


  1. Chicago’s Literal Hidden History : A story on the Underground Freight Tunnels

    Youtube link:

    Louder version:

    This podcast goes into details about the history of the Underground Chicago Freight Tunnels. It discusses their creation, their purpose, and how they became a literal hidden piece of Chicago’s history. It also goes into details about the breach of the tunnels in 1992, which lead to the flooding of several buildings downtown. It has an interview of the man who found the breach, prior to the flood. It gives insight into how there is always more to discover in life. Total time of the podcast is about 8 minutes, with an extra 38 seconds for ending remarks (thank yous, the title of the piece, etc.).

  2. Information is the easiest to get now than it has ever been. Entire college degrees can be learned through Youtube, events a crossed the world can be watched live, and news articles can be found from decades ago. It is also a dangerous time, for we can easily misinterpret what we hear of and shotgun it through our social media affecting lives everywhere. There is a hidden in plain sight problem, of people going on auto pilot too much, also known as passively thinking.


    My topic was on the hidden troubles of non-academic organizations in IIT. I interviewed Ana Orozco who was part of the executive board of numerous clubs and obviously has a great amount of stories to tell about her troubles while she was at IIT. It’s something students continue to suffer with today.


    This podcast gives a short excerpt of Jay Williams. Jay Williams was a NBA player who played for only one season on the Chicago Bulls during the 2002-2003 season. The reason he only played one season was due to the horrific injuries he sustained when he crashed his motorcycle head on to a streetlight. This injury was essentially career ending because his legs would never be the same. If you would like to know more about his story I would encourage you to buy his book titled, “Life Is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention”. Like I’ve stated already in the podcast he also discusses life after the injury and how he’s moved on.


    I have always been interested in Indian History and my heritage. In a casual conversation with my friend Ajay Dave from Dallas, he told me something interesting he came across very recently. He said, ” I just found out my grandfather secretly carried bombs as a freedom-fighter against the British. He was found out and beaten severely. His dad (my great-grandfather) refused him treatment to teach him a lesson. And he ended up a tax-collector for he British government, ironically.”

    This was definetly something I had not heard of before, even though we have heard of the Peaceful side of the Indian Independence as we know it. This was a new perspective, and upon our conversation, Ajay thought it would be a great opportunity to tell his hidden story -with an even larger picture.

    Audio (from youtube free rights): “The_Story_Unfolds”

  6. This audio documentary is focused on uncovering a “hidden” story about a nurse who is greatly dissatisfied with her current working conditions and environment at a nursing facility up in Chicago Albany park. This was inspired by a research study by the nursing facility at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing in 2015, which revealed that 27 percent of nurses working at nursing home facilities are unhappy and dissatisfied with their work.

    Link to the study ->

    Link to the audio documentary ->

  7. Hey everyone,

    Here is my audio documentary. The topic at hand is communications here at IIT and the truths behind it. All too often, I hear people saying that they had no idea communications is a major or that they don’t understand why I am pursuing it here at IIT. In the documentary, through fellow students and professors, I hope to convey why I am here and show some hidden truths about my major.

    The youtube link is below

  8. I have worked for a wine and cheese shop for the last 5 years and I’ve learned so much. I found the phylloxera plague history to be very interesting. I called up the wine buyer at the shop and requested to interview him, unfortunately he was in California visiting some vineyards so he recorded a brief history (sort of rushed) because I couldn’t get the phone interview to happen and record at the same time! But as a result I got some nice natural vineyard diegetic sound. Hope you like it!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *