2006 ShortDocs Challenge: 99 Ways to Tell a Radio Story


Starting in 2006, the ShortDocs Challenge took a new direction. We teamed up with cartoonist Matt Madden, author of the book 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style .


Together with Matt Madden, we built a challenge inspired by the idea of "creativity through constraint" - a notion much loved and exercised by an experimental French literary group called Oulipo.


Each ShortDoc had to:

  • start with some manifestation of: "To begin with, they never got along"
  • include a pre-recorded voice, rhythmic noise, and exclamation
  • last exactly 2:30 minutes


Dozens of stories came in from around the world - in fact we surpassed 99 and ended up with 101 submissions. Four were chosen as the 2006 ShortDocs, and were presented, with producers on-hand, at the opening session of the 2006 Third Coast Conference.

Listen to the winners below, and hear all of the submissions in our audio library.

Au Debut

2006 ShortDocs Winner! Translation -- Sylvain, Bruno, Zoe, and Youssef at the PRIM Centre in Montreal, summer 2006.

'Til Death Do Us Part

2006 ShortDocs Winner! Producer Sasha Aslanian's divorced parents listen to audio of their 1963 wedding vows, remember what went wrong, but still can't get over each other.