Breakout Session Pitch Guidelines


Third Coast Conference Breakout Session pitches (500 words max) are due via email by 11:59 PM CST on Friday, May 10, 2019.

What is a Third Coast Breakout Session?

A Breakout Session is a 75-minute sound-rich(!) session during the TC Conference, typically led by one (1) or two (2) presenters. These sessions make up the bulk of our Conference programming, and are curated by the Third Coast staff for a wide audience of audio storytellers, podcast producers & public radio journalists of all stripes.

Breakout Sessions are an opportunity to pull audio storytelling apart through sharing a variety of approaches, strategies, skills & examples. Third Coast sessions seek to push the boundaries of audio storytelling, cover the most urgent issues in our field, inspire & ignite makers of all experience levels, and open space for critical dialogue. Get inspired by listening to 18 years of Breakout Sessions on the Third Coast Pocket Conference podcast.

Each Breakout Session takes place twice over the course of the Third Coast Conference: once on Friday, and once on Saturday, in one of the 5 Breakout rooms, which each sit ~120 people.

Breakout Sessions are:

  • Sound-rich. Weaving in audio to each Breakout Session is one of the most powerful ways to push the boundaries of art & craft in the medium.
  • Typically an hour of presentation & 15 minutes of Q&A, but format is flexible! (check out: “Let the Work Be What It Wants To Be,” for example.)
  • Recorded for the Third Coast Pocket Conference, our podcast capturing Third Coast Conference programming, released as a free resource for producers all over the world.
  • Curated & supported editorially by Third Coast staff, to help you in making the best session possible. This includes: further resources to flush out the session once your pitch has been accepted + editorial check-ins (as many or few as you’d like).
  • Humbly compensated: Breakout Session presenters receive one gratis Conference registration, coverage of travel to/from the Conference & lodging, and an honorarium of $300 (split two-ways between 2 presenters). These numbers may vary slightly if a session involves more than two presenters.

Breakout Sessions are not:

  • Panels. Typically. We believe that the most valuable sessions for Conference attendees are presented by one or two people, not a panel.
  • A show & tell (or advertisement) about the radio show or podcast you make. We are looking for Conference sessions that meaningfully pull apart the process of audio storytelling & make connections between concepts, across the field of audio (and beyond!). While your own project(s) can be a focus, they should not be your only point of reference!

How can you pitch a Third Coast Breakout Session?

Email us (info@thirdcoastfestival.org) with a Breakout Session pitch (500 words max) and a Producer Bio (80 words max). Use the subject line: 2019 BreakoutSession_(lastname).

The deadline to pitch a Breakout Session is Friday, May 10, 2019. We will read every single pitch and let you know whether we’d like to explore a session with you by May 31.

Your pitch should answer the following questions:

  • What is the subject of your session? Why is it important, and why now?
  • Why should you be the person (or people) to lead it?
  • How does your session speak to a wide audience of audio producers? What will attendees take away from it?
  • What ideas do you have in mind for how you’ll present on this topic?

.... And two more tips!

  • Your session pitch does not need to be a fully hammered out vision of your session. We can (and want to!) work on that with you, and you will have the summer to prepare.
  • Make sure you’ve listened to the Third Coast Pocket Conference podcast before pitching us. We’ve been doing this for 19 years, presenters have already covered a lot! We should know how your session is vital to the field now, especially if that means re-visiting topics, issues & ideas from older sessions.