Audio, audio, audio, audio, audio, audio, and more… AUDIO.
This week if you couldn’t tell was all about audio and the way it tells stories. Often times we combine audio and visual work to create the ultimate story. Having said that we frequently forget that audio and visual work can tell stories apart from one another. This week further proved that point. There were many tasks delegated to us this week and I think my biggest thing was prioritizing everything I needed to do. I was a tad all over the place so bare with me.
Since this week was centralized around audio one of the first things that needed to be done was to download Audacity. This is a application that allows for individuals to create various works of audio. Due to being a communications and digital studies major I have had multiple encounters with audacity in the past, so therefore there wasn’t any need for me to download the application because I already had it. From there however, I did download and install the Lame mp3 encoder which allows you to save your audio files on audacity as mp3’s. This was a super easy process in which I just followed the instructions provided for me.
Following those few maintenance tasks I decided to dive right in to completing my audio assignments for the week. This week we had to complete 12 stars of these particular assignments. With that, I began with a three star activity called sick beat. This assignment asked that individuals create a beat out of sounds they have found on freesounds.org or that they may have recorded. Having read that I believed this would be a fun as well as fairly manageable assignment, so I took to audacity to begin my work. In my blog post I talk about how I had a drum audio file with various sounds of differing drums saved from a previous class I took here at UMW. I decided to use that to create my sick beat. From there I just imported the files I wanted onto audacity and built what I call a sick beat. I continue in my post to talk about how I wanted my beat to essentially sound like one big sick drum solo, however I felt I ended up putting together various mini drum solos that aren’t as effective. That being said I am proud of my work and felt I portrayed a story of some sort to my listeners. I strove to create immediacy and make the listeners feel as if they were at a concert listening to a live drum solo.
Following this assignment I decided to complete another audio assignment. This three star assignment was called make noise from a normal sample. This project asked that individuals take essentially a recognizable sound and make it unrecognizable. I was excited to participate in this assignment because I like the idea of taking something ordinary and making it unordinary. Furthermore I decided instead of just using one normal sample, that I’d use multiple normal samples and mash them all into one track, making them all unrecognizable. In my blog post I talk about how I created an audio track out of various house hold appliances. I emphasize how I put my own spin on the assignment and used a different program called Foundations of Music Technology (FMT) for this activity. I reiterate how audio storytelling is important and that within this particular assignment I tell the story of my house. If you listen ever so closely you may find that you can hear a garbage disposal wailing in the background.
Moving right along on this ensemble of audio assignments. I began to work on my third audio assignment, a three star assignment called speech and audio distortion. Individuals were asked to take some kind of audio such as a speech and distort it in some way. This could be having the speaker say horrible things that they didn’t necessarily mean to say. And that is exactly what I did. I decided to take the full presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton and distort it in some way. Ultimately I ended up creating a one minute clip that has Donald Trump saying things in his speech he wouldn’t necessarily say. This assignment was actually really difficult and I touch on how I struggled some in my blog post. Looking back I think I may have made an error in creating my audio. Having said that I used audacity again to create a story of a botched presidential speech. Regardless of party affiliations I believe it ultimately ended up being silly, having the power to make anyone laugh. I certainly want to go back and try to fix the errors that my have occurred in my work and possibly make it stronger. But I thought this was a fun way to tell a different story than just using sounds effects which is essentially what I used in my previous two assignments.
Finally my journey with audio assignments, for now, has come to a close with this last assignment. This week while we got to choose which audio assignments we participate in, there was one however that was asked of us to specifically complete. For my final audio assignment bringing me to a total of 13 stars, I completed the sound effects story assignment. This four star activity asked individuals to compile together only sound effects to complete a full story that doesn’t exceed 90 seconds. With that I felt this would be the best opportunity for me to connect my character to an assignment. That being said I put together a story using audacity which I utilized 7 sounds from freesounds.org. In a previous visual assignment I used a collage of my dog Lucy to tell the story of princess/secret agent Juliet Stones’ sidekick and best friend. In that post I go into detail about how she was given Lucy on her 21st birthday. So I used that for the inspiration for this audio assignment. I compiled together audio clips to create a sound effects story that portrays the similar story I mentioned above, but ultimately more intriguing. Through the use of audio this story became more alive than that of the visual assignment. It created a more immediate experience and the use of vibrations and sounds from these clips pulled it together nicely. I liked how I used this assignment in a way to compare and contrast the use of visual work to that of audio work. Read more in my blog post “Only Effects”.
Once I had completed all of my audio assignments for the week I participated in a live tweet-along on Tuesday night from 8:15 pm to 9:15 pm. This tweet along asked that students tune into ds106 radio and tweet along their thoughts during the show. In my blog post I discuss how I have never participated in a tweet along before and emphasize how I thoroughly enjoyed it. I share how we listened to an Ian Fleming novel “Moonraker” which stars the one and only James Bond. While I didn’t get to hear the whole story it was intriguing to sit and listen to an hour of it. While I only listened to this I felt as if I could see the story playing out in front of me. It was exciting to see how the mind uses audio to create a picture which can develop into a story. In my post I continue to gush about how I loved the sounds effects and music utilized throughout the story, it certainly enhanced it. With that I also attached most of my tweets that I sent out during the show. Overall it was exciting to participate in something along side some of my classmates.
Check out the rest of my tweets from the tweet along on my twitter!
Following the tweet along I felt like brainstorming some ideas for our upcoming radio show project. I wrote these all down in a blog post and ultimately just threw around some options that could use some fine tuning. I mentioned how I am huge fan of Saturday Night Lives: Weekend Update. This is a super funny skit that I feel we could in some way tie back to our secret agents, possibly do a secret agent update? Another idea I came up with which I actually really like the more I think about it creating some type of game show on the radio featuring our secret agents. It would be something similar to the hunger games, obviously without the killing part. But I think if we were competing in a game or something on air that would be fun, certainly difficult though.
From there I went into listening to “Moon Graffiti” on Soundcloud. This was a 16 minute podcast that portrayed the story of what would have happened if Neil Armstrong and Buzz Alden never survived landing on the moon. In my blog post I discuss my skepticism in the beginning, but then quickly gush about how the audio and sound effects were so crisp I felt as if I was personally on the moon. The eerie feeling established throughout the audio certainly made this story come to life. Further in my post I compare this podcast to that of the videos we watched of Abumrad discussing audio. He really emphasized how radio can create this immediacy and connection through the vibration and tone of the sounds coming through the speaker. I felt he was spot on with this argument because I have never felt more connected to anything than I was when listening to “Moon Graffiti”.
In my final blog post this week I share one last activity I participated in, which was the creation of my first ever radio bumper. Going into this week I never knew what a bumper was. Now going out of the week I can tell everyone that a bumper is a 10 to 30 second clip that introduces or plays in breaks during a radio show. I used audacity to create my clip where I simply recorded an intro song, my introduction of the show, and then an exit song. This was roughly 29 seconds. I ultimately had a lot fun creating this track, I was inspired by our secret agent theme and used secret agent music in my bumper. Hopefully it finds itself on ds106 radio.
Like every week I participated in three daily creates. This week my favorite was the create asking our favorite childhood book. I read so many books when I was younger that I had no idea what to choose. I ultimately narrowed it down to a series of picture books. I still love how these little creates get you thinking outside of the box!
Similarly I continued to comment on my fellow classmates post this week. Surprisingly this week I received a decent amount of comments on my own posts. I was excited to have people interested in my work and ultimately wanted to return the favor so I reached out and commented on a couple other individuals post. Riley did an assignment that I thought was really cool, it involved saying a tongue twister numerous times over a song in the background. Likewise Caty created sound effects story that was out of this world I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it and further wanted to praise her of her work.
Finally the question of the week. This week we were asked “how do sounds tell story” and “how do they convey a sense of time and space”. These are really important questions to ask. I often have overlooked the importance of audio in the world of storytelling. From partaking in the numerous activities this week I am convinced that audio tells the most compelling stories. Sound tells stories by creating an immediacy and connection with it’s listeners. The vibrations we feel while listening create a sense of time and space. While listening to various tracks I picked up on little background noises such as glasses clinking, waves, beeping, wind, etc. Similarly music used adds to the mood and setting creating a tone that listeners are suppose to feel. Through the reliance on smaller details in audio it ultimately puts the whole track together and conveys a sense of time and space.
To finally end things I contributed in the post of the week forum. This was where I chose my top three blog posts of the week. This was something super simple, but exciting to do in which I was able to express my like of my classmates work and blog posts this week. I look forward to keep partaking in this.
Well that’s a wrap for the week! Mission… complete.