Matt Sumell’s short stories have appeared in the Paris Review, McSweeney’s, One Story, Esquire, Electric Literature, Noon, and elsewhere. He is the author of MAKING NICE (2015) which received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist, was praised as “Sharp and funny…offers up unexpected scenes of deep and sorrowful humanity,” by the NY Times Sunday Book Review, and was chosen by Buzzfeed as one of the Best Literary Debut of 2015, Bustle as 2015’s Debut Books Too Good To Miss, and Fiction Advocate as one of The 10 Best Books Of 2015. MAKING NICE has been optioned by WB for a TV Series. Matt was also picked as a 35 OVER 35 (Thirty-Five Debut Authors Over Thirty-Five). He is a graduate of UC Irvine’s MFA Program in Writing.

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You don’t just want to write a post, you want to kick your blog into overdrive and garner legions of followers. Let Jessie Rosen (Time & Forbes Top Blogger, xoJANE) show you how. In this five-week Los Angeles Blogging Workshop, she’ll take you through the ABC’s of blogging. Through fun writing exercises and targeted feedback, Natasha will help you write stellar personal essays, interviews, reviews, and listicles to make your blog stand out in the blogosphere. Through informative craft talks, you learn how to hone your SEO, and use analytics to understand your audience and their interests, and use trending topics to boost the reach of your posts. By the end of the class you’ll have new set of pro-blogger tools to take your work to the next level and you will have generated a huge amount of killer content to bring in droves of viewers. Seven-figure book deal not included.


Instructor: Jessie Rosen
Feb. 18, 25, Mar. 4, 11 (4 Sat. afternoons)
2:30-5:30 p.m.
Cost: $295
Note: Class will be limited to 10 students



Jessie Rosen is a writer/producer. Jessie works as a freelance fashion and entertainment writer for E! Online. Jessie’s blog, 20-Nothings.com, was named a Top 25 Blog by TIME magazine and among the Top 100 Websites for Women as well as Top 10 Websites for Millennials by Forbes in 2013....Read More »


PAYMENT PLANS: A payment plan for this class is 4 weekly payments of $90.00. All payment plans include an additional $50 admin fee and a small credit card processing fee which is built into each weekly payment. Your card will automatically be charged once per week for 4 weeks until your class is paid off. At minimum, you must pay for each class meeting before it meets. Once you sign up for a payment plan, you are responsible for paying in full regardless of your class attendance. Rejected payment transactions are subject to an additional $25 fee. FOR A PAYMENT PLAN CLICK HERE.
CANCELLATION POLICY: All sales are final and there are no refunds. Credit may be offered based on class availability. If you can’t come to class, call or email us as far in advance as possible. We will do everything we can to fill your spot, but we can’t make any guarantees. Credit eligibility is not based upon your reason for being unable to attend a class; it is based upon the timing of your credit request and our ability to fill your spot. If we find someone to take your place, you will receive class credit minus a $25 processing fee for 1 day classes and $50 processing fee for long classes. Otherwise, your payment will be forfeit. To use class credits, you need to sign up for class in advance by emailing info@writingpad.com or calling 323.333.2954. If the class is being paid for as part of a payment plan, regardless of whether the student stops attending class, the payment plan must be paid in full by the end of the class. Failure to do so will result in the student’s account being turned over to collections.

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Smith Henderson’s fiction has been anthologized and published in Best American Short Stories, Tin House, American Short Fiction, One Story, New Orleans Review, Makeout Creek, and Witness. He was awarded a 2011 PEN Emerging Writers Award in fiction, and a 2011 Philip Roth Residency in Creative Writing at Bucknell University. His short story, “Number Stations” won a Pushcart Prize and a finalist honors for the University of Texas Keene Prize, where he was a Michener Center for Writing Fellow. Smith is also the author of the debut novel Fourth of July Creek (Ecco), a 2014 New York Times Notable Book. It was the winner of the 2015 John Creasy (New Blood) Dagger Award and the 2014 Montana Book Award. It was also a finalist for the 2015 PEN Center USA Award for Fiction, the James Tait Black Prize, the Center for Fiction’s Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, the Ken Kesey Award for the Novel, and the Texas Institute of Letters Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Work of Fiction. The novel also made the longlists for the 2016 International DUBLIN Literary Award, the Folio Prize, and the VCU Cabel First Novelist Award. The book appeared on the Best Books of 2014 lists for The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, Kansas City Star, and Book Riot and Powell’s Book Store. An accomplished screenwriter, he is a staff writer on the “The Son” for AMC and co-wrote “Dance With The One”, a 2010 South By Southwest Narrative Prize Finalist.

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Dara Resnik graduated the Peter Stark Producing Program at USC in 2003, and attached Amanda Bynes to her Peter Stark thesis script, Sydney White, which sold to Universal and Morgan Creek, who released the movie in 2007. Her feature writing credits include 2008’s Legally Blondes, a made-for-DVD spin-off of the MGM Legally Blonde franchise, as well as several projects still in development. She has spent a decade writing and producing television on Aaron Sorkin’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Pushing Daisies, Mistresses, Castle, Jane the Virgin, Shooter, and Amazon’s upcoming I Love Dick from Jill Soloway. Her pilot, Lethal, is in development at Universal Cable Productions (UCP).

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DaveyKimMicrophoneBy Laura Van Slyke


Making a name for yourself at one of the country’s top on-air storytelling shows can be almost impossible! But Davey Kim went from college DJ to Snap Judgment producer/sound designer with his tenacity, love of great tales, and ability to hunt down tense, breath-taking tales. Davey’s work has aired on NPR, Marketplace, The World, The Dinner Party Download, Weekend Edition, Re:Sound, KCRW’s Unfictional and KPCC. Atlantic named one of Davey’s stories one of the 50 best podcast episodes of 2015. Even with success, Davey still searches for honest, incredible stories. In this interview, we discussed his journey to the airwaves.


Davey will be teaching a class on Radio Storytelling (4 Wk) at Writing Pad San Francisco starting Wednesday, 11/30, where you’ll learn everything you need to know about creating great stories for radio or podcasts. Until then, let’s get a little personal with Davey.


1) Let’s start off by talking about how you got into radio. Would you mind telling us a bit about your background and how you navigated the soundwaves to get places like APM’s Marketplace, NPR’s Weekend Edition, and Snap Judgment?


My first radio gig was with UCLA Radio. I was a music DJ then and wasn’t actually interested in radio professionally. I was just a musician who simply liked the idea of sharing cool (but not so cool anymore…) music to anyone who would listen. Plus, I got to sneak in some love song messages to my then partner…


davey_kim_conferenceAnyhow, from there I met the business reporter for my local NPR member station (KPCC) at a bar and asked if I could volunteer at the station. During that stint I was able to work with an editor to produce my first freelance piece. I remember taking an extended bathroom break during a midterm to listen to the piece live. From there I was hooked. I got another internship with The Dinner Party Download, which happened to share the same building with Marketplace, which ended up being my third internship (I was not their first choice btw, their original pick had forgone the position and I was the quick fill-in).


When that was over, I was very lucky to land an internship with NPR’s Weekend Edition in DC. Three months in, I was hired by Snap Judgment. I honestly don’t know why I was hired by Snap. I’ve been here close to three years now and everyday I still walk into the office open-mouthed and wide-eyed because Snap Judgment was my dream job. It was actually one of the first NPR shows I ever listened to. You could say that I hustled and networked like hell along the way, but I think it ultimately comes down to preparation meets luck and opportunity. Mostly luck.


2) What are your top three favorite podcasts right now (other than Snap Judgment)?


Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of 2 Dope Queens, If I Were You and I Brew My Own Coffee. But I am also a big fan of Limetown, Slate’s Political Gabfest, the NPR staples and seven dozen other shows…


3) Your episode “Unforgiven” was listed on the Atlantic’s top 50 podcast episodes of the year. They said that your portrayal of an unlikely relationship between a widow and the wife of her husband’s killer “pushes [Snap Judgment] to new heights.” It’s true. It’s the sort of episode that makes you audibly gasp in public. How do you find such intense narratives, and what is the process of designing a piece which does them justice?


screenshot-2016-11-17-12-57-21This story started off with a stray thought in my head…I wanted to explore what it was like like to confront, and in my story’s case, befriend, your lover’s murderer. So I spent two weeks researching every kind of story on this tragic and twisted scenario possible. I ultimately came across Kathleen Murray Moran’s story on her website. I won’t give the story away, but it is unlike any other befriend-the-enemy story you’ve ever heard. The interview was the shortest and longest three hours of my life. I spoke to her remotely while I was in my kitchen and I don’t think I flinched an inch. It took about a half hour for Kathleen to warm up to me, but once she got going, the story told itself. Required minimal editing and scoring.

4) Ok, Davey. We *have* to bring up the time that you got an entire shoulder (was it shoulder?) tattoo and then proceeded to go directly into teaching a class. It’s the stuff of Writing Pad legend. How do you manage to go from long hours in the studio, to tattoo salons, to competitive bike polo, to teaching amazing classes at Writing Pad?


screenshot-2016-11-17-13-01-25It was a full half sleeve that took about 15 hours over the course of two days…I think I have a high pain tolerance? I’ll credit my many years of competitive running, unicycling and biking. Ohhh who am I kidding…that killer red bell pepper hummus kept me going strong. And I guess you can say working with a fabulous class motivated me as well.


5) We know that you’ll cover this more fully in your class, but would you let us in on one thing that Snap Judgment looks for in a story to air on the show?


Tension. If there wasn’t any palpable tension or rising stakes, why should I care about this story?


6) What advice would you give to DJs, hosts, and everyday avid podcast lovers who are hoping to break into the field of radio production?


Make sure you listen to every single podcast and radio show related to what you are interested in producing. There are so many shows out there now that your content must be one-of-a-kind in order to be heard. And make sure to always take extra batteries for your recorder!


7) What is the most memorable piece you or a member of your team as worked on?


screenshot-2016-11-17-13-03-24I worked on a story called Chin-Kyll and Bo-Ok: Across the DMZ. It’s about the story of what happens when you are reunited with your North Korean sister for the first time in over five decades (via webcam). This story was personally relatable because my grandmother was separated from her brothers during the Korean War and has not heard from or seen them since. I also enjoyed this story because it’s not a typical happy reunion story that you see on TV. It has dark unexpected twists and turns that catch you off guard. I also used my parents as voice actors…which was a very novel experience because before then, I had never heard my parents speak to me in English.


8) Would you walk us through the process of a radio piece from story scouting to final touches? How many interviews do you conduct with a subject? How long is the original tape? How much time do you spend on editing/sound design?


screenshot-2016-11-17-13-49-381. Research and Pitch.
2. Interview (2-3 hours). Some stories don’t make it past this step, for various reason. Sometimes the story doesn’t turn out the way you expected or the ending is not satisfying or the the interviewee is not a good talker.
3. Produce a very rough version of the story and get edits from one colleague.
4. Incorporate Edits.
5. Play it for the group and receive more edits. I would say roughly a quarter of our stories do not make it past this round…many tears are shed.
6. Pickup Interview (2 hours)
7. Produce a more complete version of this story
8. Few more rounds of edits
9. Story gets handed off to a sound designer
10. Story gets aired! Pat yourself on the back. Repeat.


9) I know you will cover this in class, but could you give us a sneak peek into some techniques which make stories successful on air?


screenshot-2016-11-17-13-09-33Radio stories must have a conversational feel! The easiest way to check for this is to read the story aloud while writing it and ask yourself, do I talk like this in real life? For example, no one uses the word iridescent in day to day speech. So please do not use it. I am tired of NPR reporters using that word…rawr.


Thank you so much, Davey! We’ve got A LOT of podcasts to listen to now! We can’t wait for your Radio Storytelling class. Sign up before it’s sold out!

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