Freelance Essentials: Gonzo, Stunt and Immersion Writing Boot Camp
Attention all writer-adventurers! Hankering to try out something you've never done before and write about your experiences in a gripping, entertaining, moving, and funny narrative? This is the class for you. Whether you want rock climb or pole dance, embark on a quest for the perfect falafel or hike across Boston, investigate steampunk role-players or your local synagogue, this class will give you a taste of the form of narrative journalism known as immersion writing, aka "gonzo" or "stunt" journalism.
First, we'll read, and be inspired by masters such as Hunter S. Thompson, Barbara Ehrenreich, A. J. Jacobs and others. Then, we'll teach you the basics of personal field reporting and interviewing and you'll go on an actual field reporting exercise. Next, in class, students will design their own "stunt"—some trip/quest/experiment/investigation—and do some pre-writing about the project you're hankering to explore, be it an experiment to try, an investigation to conduct, a trip to take, a group or subculture to infiltrate, or some other idea you are passionate and curious about.
By the end of the class, you'll have begun to master the techniques needed to tell your own personal "gonzo" narrative. Come to class with a potential idea for a writing project, as well as a reporter's notebook and a camera or picture-taking device (smart phone), and all-weather apparel (in case of rain). This is ideal for adventurous souls who want to write about travel, food, sports, self-improvement, pop culture, religion, nature, (and more), by interweaving their own perspectives with fresh experiences.
Part of The Freelance Essentials Series, which teaches students the skills and craft to become working freelance journalists:
- Freelance Essentials: Freelance Writing 101
- Freelance Essentials: Workshop that Pitch Letter!
- Freelance Essentials: Gonzo, Stunt and Immersion Writing Boot Camp
To learn more about instructor Ethan Gilsdorf and his teaching style, check out the short podcast with him in our GrubStreet Instructor Interview series:
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