Audio Under the Stars

a summer-long audio festival

Category: 2022 Season

2022 Call for Stories

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Audio Under the Stars, North Carolina’s summer-long outdoor audio festival, is looking for pitches and stories for our 2022 season. Launched in 2014, Audio Under the Stars returns for its eighth season in 2022.

The deadline for submissions is midnight (EST) on Monday, February 21, 2022.

What kind of stories are you looking for?

We are looking for true stories that focus on human relationships, with strong characters, a narrative arc, and a clear sense of what’s at stake. We do not accept recordings of live storytelling, interviews or chat-casts, or audio fiction. You can listen to a selection of stories from past shows here.

We are happy to consider story pitches, works in progress, and already produced pieces. You can submit a story based on our 2022 themes or submit to our miscellanea category.

How long?

Stories can run between 4-15 minutes. If you are submitting anything longer than 15 minutes, please tell us how you would edit your piece to fit the time constraints.

Who should submit stories?

Producers should have prior experience with field recording, interviewing, script writing, and audio editing. We are especially interested in working with producers of color and people whose voices are not usually represented in public media.

Is there compensation for producing a story?

All story pitches and stories submitted by producers will be considered for a modest honorarium. In past seasons, the amount we’ve been able to offer producers has ranged from $100-$300, depending on the length of work and availability of grant funding and donations.

What is the timeline for producing a story?

The deadline for submissions is midnight (EST) on Monday, February 21.

If your pitch/work in progress is selected, we will work with you to develop and produce your story during March and April. Your final deadline for completing your story will be at the end of May. If you are submitting a finished story, we may ask for changes in order for your story to be included in the 2022 season. Due to grant reporting and season planning requirements, the production timeline and final deadline are not negotiable. Your story will air in our summer 2022 season, and then you are welcome to pitch it elsewhere.

What’s in it for me?

In addition to a modest honorarium, producers will get one-on-one consulting throughout the editing process this spring. Your story will be shared with our enthusiastic audience (events in the pre-pandemic era drew 400-500 people) and showcased on our Soundcloud page. You’ll also have a completed piece you are welcome to pitch elsewhere once our season ends.

Themes for the 2022 Season of Audio Under the Stars

Hope this Finds You Well

Health, wealth, prosperity: hallmarks of a good life, some would say. But so many of us struggle to chase down even one, let alone all three. What are your favorite stories about the quest for what makes life worthwhile? What it’s like to strive, what it’s like to fail, what it’s like to fight for what you need or even to get what you think you want? What are the stumbling blocks, big or small, that get in the way? We’re looking for thoughtful narrative stories about people’s livelihoods, their wellbeing, and what it means to prosper -or even meander- in these troubled times (along with, y’know, any other era in which humanity has struggled to come to terms with the forces of an indifferent universe.)

Come Together: Stories of Community and Kinship

From the nuclear household to the tales of your ancestors, we’re looking for family stories of all kinds. We want to hear about found families, cherished bonds, dysfunctional dynamics, the moments you treasure and the ones you can’t wait to leave behind. What does it mean to form a family? Or leave one? Beyond the family unit, what brings us and binds us together? How do we make connections, build movements, and sustain communities? How do we bridge the gaps that keep us apart, whether it’s on an individual level or much larger? We’d love to hear pieces that are (pick one or more) funny, poignant, emotional, surprising, character-driven, and prompt us to reflect on who we want to connect with and why.

Miscellanea

If you think you have a great story that doesn’t quite  fit, that’s OK! Send it in and tell us why you like it.

Ready to pitch?

Share your story idea, work in progress, or completed piece by answering a few simple questions here: https://bit.ly/AUTS2022 Pitch as many stories as you’d like, no later than midnight (EST) on Monday, February 21.

Questions? 

We’d love to help! Email us at audiounderthestars@gmail.com.

Hope for the year ahead

Looking ahead to the 2022 season, it’s nearly impossible to know what to expect, but we are choosing to embrace optimism. We’re hoping to be able to offer some kind of outdoor, in-person listening experience in the summer, knowing full well that plans may have to change, adapt, or be abandoned between now and then. Like everything else touched by the pandemic, our future events will not be quite the same as before, but we’ll do our best to let you know what to expect (once we figure it out). 

Early in 2021 we began some initial planning for events, but the twists and turns of the year were just too much to contend with. It’s been two years since our last live event and more than a year since our online show. Now that we are tentatively restarting our planning process, it’s clear we need help to make things happen in the coming months.

Can you help us revive Audio Under the Stars in 2022? Your contribution will support independent audio producers and make it possible to bring new stories to new audiences next year. We can’t do it without you. 

You can make a tax-deductible donation here.  We are grateful for your support.