By Sam Zachar, The Longform Lab

Hi, I’m Sam Zachar (she/her), and I’m a podcast producer, journalist, and social media manager based in Brooklyn, NY! I’m also a former student of the Longform Lab, and will be working with Nora on social media and marketing for the course.

Trust me, I’m a former student!

I’m really excited to help spread the word about the Longform Lab because I was able to finish my own project during the six week course. The first season of my podcast Shattered Glass is out now! The series is a collection of stories about my family’s experiences before, during, and after the Holocaust. The first five episodes are about my grandparents, Bela Lasocka and Leon Zachariasz, and are narrated by myself and their two sons (my dad and my uncle). Check it out wherever you get your podcasts!

Before starting the course, all I had were many, many hours of unedited interview audio and transcripts, along with a feeling of dread about all the work I had ahead of me. The Longform Lab provided me with the materials, guidance, and structure I needed to complete my first season.

A dark blue and white background with images of course materials and text saying "Introducing... the Longform Lab with Nora Neus. A six week program for longform writers who want a skills refresher, accountability, and mentorship."

How the Longform Lab works

At the beginning of each week of the Longform Lab, I received a pre-recorded video lesson along with accompanying workbook exercises, and a set of action items to complete. Nora is really responsive over email, and I reached out to her throughout the week with questions that came up and at the end of the week to submit my work. Her answers to my questions were timely, and her feedback to my work was a great balance of constructive, thoughtful criticism, and encouragement.

Starting off

Each week, we covered a different topic. During week one, we worked on exercises to reveal the main message we wanted to communicate through our projects, and set specific goals for the subsequent weeks of the course. The first week helped me focus on why I was doing this project, which really motivated me to put in the work for the rest of the course.

In week two, we dove into the differences between a topic and a story, and our project’s characters and general story arc. Week three was all about structure, and by the end of the week, I felt much better equipped to approach the outlining of the whole season as well as each episode.

The final push

Week four was when I really got into the swing of drafting my script, and Nora’s tips on overcoming writer’s block helped me push through. During week five, we went over big-picture, structural editing techniques, and line editing tips and tricks. And in week six we worked on a pitch document, and created an action plan for our next steps.

And for six weeks after the end of the course, I had access to the videos and worksheets, along with unlimited email support from Nora. I was able to keep working on my podcast while knowing I had help when I needed it!

Sound like the course for you?

I highly recommend doing the Longform Lab! If you want to sign up click here. Applications are processed on a rolling basis, and you’ll hear back within two business days. And you can always email Nora with any questions before signing up.

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