Weekly Summary: Week Three

Done with my first week working with audio. I do listen to podcasts and other radio stuff occasionally but I have never actually worked with it myself. Although I did not find it to be too daunting and enjoyed some of the stuff. I liked creating the Sounds Of My Day assignment, I guess to me I think creating audio stories allows for more creativity since you do not have to worry about finding a nice location. There is also the co-authorship that Jab Abumrad spoke about that I realized as well. The sounds that I created do not paint a consistent picture or invoke the same feelings in everyone’s mind since it is all relative. Although I still think there is a lot for me to learn with audio storytelling and it is still something that I am not sure if I could do very well.

Daily Creates

Audio Assignments

Reflections

My Comments

I always like looking at other peoples stuff mostly because it can help me get some inspiration from them. Also, it felt comforting to see that other people were also novices at doing some of the assignments as well and I was not the only one. Looking at people’s tutorials also helped me a bit which gave me some good hints on how to do certain things when editing my assignments.

This American Life: I Was Just Trying To Help

I listened to the I Was Just Trying To Help segment from This American Life. The segment starts with Ira Glass interviewing a circuit court judge, Sharon, who was fired from her job after what the court presumed to be giving legal advice to someone for a case. The person was convicted of rape many years earlier, before DNA tests were used in investigations. After DNA tests became a basis for prosecution, the man decided to file a motion for a DNA test to finally prove his innocence which was denied twice. Sharon provided her with some the paper work of another person who had successfully gotten a motion for a DNA test to the man which helped him get his motion approved. Though the court saw this as giving legal advice and fired Sharon.

The next part was about a charity called GiveDirectly who literally just give poor people money with no strings attached. Two reporters went to a village in Kenya to see this in action and see if simply giving people money will actually help them or make no change. They wanted to see if given money, would the people spend it responsibly to actually better themselves and their lives. They got some mixed responses. People they interviewed who received the money said they actually used the money to better themselves though when they asked what your neighbor did with the money, they got different responses. The people from the village claimed some of their neighbors who received the money spent it irresponsibly on alcohol and just buying food for themselves. The money even cause tensions between people who did and did not receive it.

The last part was about a program in Mendocino county California. The program was called 9.31 and was proposed by a sheriff in the country who stated in his plan to allow small farmers to grow up to 99 marijuana plants as long as they registered with the sheriff’s office and payed a fee to buy zip ties to put around their marijuana plants so cops would know not to mess with them. There would also be a lot of oversight from the local department which would give farmers a sense of protection. The plan worked very well and caused interest from other areas in California who considered trying the same plan. One of the first farmers to enroll in the plan became the poster boy for it. He ran a legit operation and was not breaking any laws as stated for California. Although since in Federal law, Marijuana is illegal his farm was raided. After the raid, the country was pressured by the Federal government into disbanding the 9.31 ordinance only allowing farmers to grow 25 plants with a letter from a doctor. Although, the transparencies between the farmers and the local sheriffs were gone. The marijuana farmers could not be sure anymore if they could be protected from the DEA.

This show seems to take a documentary style approach in reporting the stories. I felt like I was basically just watching a documentary minus the video. There was also audio stacking with the sounds of the environment and adding some light music. It makes the audio more interesting than just listening to some people just talk about a story for an hour. Also since this was essentially a documentary, this technique was the best way to help the story be interesting. Though I have listened to other podcast where it is literally just a few people having a conversation for an hour which I find enjoyable as well since it feels more loose and personal. I enjoyed listening to the stories since I generally enjoy documentaries. Though being that this was just audio, I felt as if I needed to pay attention to the dialogue more and other sounds since I had no visual cues to help me as well.

My Version of Jesse Pinkman’s Answering Machine

For the Movie Voice Machines assignment, I did something a bit different instead. I basically just made my own version of Jesse Pinkman’s answering machine in Breaking Bad. Here is the real one from the show:

Behind the Creation

If it is not obvious already, I am a huge Breaking Bad fan. The show has been over for a couple of years now but they created a spin-off show, Better Call Saul, which is the closest thing to being able to watch the show again. Anyway, the clip above was from either Season 1 or 2 (I can’t remember exactly and I am too lazy to look it up right now). Before the scene, Walt was on the phone with some one and his wife Skyler was suspicious to who he was talking to. After Walt left she hits redial on the phone and gets Jesse Pinkman’s answering machine. It was pretty fun making my own little version of this, and who knows…maybe I will make it my actual voice message.

The Process

To record the audio, I used the Voice Memos app on my iPhone 6. The process of recording the audio was very simple and you can refer to my Sounds Of My Day assignment for the part where I explain the specifics of how to record audio on the Voice Memos app if you would like to know.

 

Sounds Of My Day

For the Sounds Of Your Day assignment I decided to record some audio of my typical workday. Hopefully the sounds make it clear about what I was doing in the clip.

Behind the Creation

I am currently a intern at Dahlgren Naval Surface Warfare Center. I commute from my home in Fredericksburg to King George and work a typical 40 hours a week. So I decided that for this assignment I would record some audio of me driving to work, walking to my office, doing work, etc. I guess it gives you guys some idea of how a typical work day sounds for me. I enjoyed making this assignment since I feel like telling a story through sound it more straight forward since you do not have to worry about making it look nice. It is like what Jad Abumrad said about you provide the listener the means of creating the image of the scenario for you.

The Process

To create this little audio story I used my iPhone 6 to record the audio clips using the Voice Memo’s

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I pressed the record button whenever I wanted to record some sounds, and as you can see the area above the time is showing me the sound and volume of the sound being picked up. I can press the red pause button to pause the recording.

 

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After pausing the recording, the button turns back to a red circle. I can tap it to continue recording audio if I would like. I decided to tap “Done” to complete and save my recording.

 

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After tapping “Done”, a pop-up menu appears asking to name the recording. I can either tap “Save” to save the recording with the name I chose or “Delete” to delete the recording and start over. I chose to tap “Save” in this case.

 

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I entered in the name I desired for this recording and then I tapped “Save” to save the recording.

 

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After I recorded all the audio clips I needed, I transferred all the audio clips to my computer. I opened Audacity and opened one of my audio files.

 

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After opening the audio file, the file shows up in the editor. Now I went on to import the other audio files into the project as well.

 

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I went to “File” and selected “Input” which opened a menu from which I selected “Audio” since I am importing an audio file.

 

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The audio file now appears underneath the main one.

 

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I then selected the audio clip by highlighting the entire sound time line. I then clicked the “Cut” button circled in red on the picture. This cuts the audio from its original place and copies it to my clipboard.

 

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I then clicked at the end of the main sound timeline since that was where I wanted to insert it. Then I clicked on the “Paste” button circled in red on the picture to paste the audio clip I just cut from below.

 

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After clicking “Paste” the audio piece shows up at the place where I had selected for it to appear. I did this same process with all the other audio clips, opening them, cutting, and then pasting them to the end of the main audio clip.

 

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After I had clipped and pasted all the audio I wanted to, I went to “File” and selected “Export Audio” to save the .wav file of the new audio clip I pieced together to my local computer.

 

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A pop-up menu appeared which prompted me for a input to name the file. After giving it the desired name I clicked “Save”

 

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I could also give the file some other attributes if I wanted to though I did not need to for this audio clip so I left it blank and clicked “Ok” which then created and saved the file for me.

Gaining Insight From Ira Glass and Jad Abumrad

Ira Glass’s talk was actually very interesting to me. I watched part 1 and 2 and it made me realize certain things about audio storytelling that I did not really give much thought about. He talks about in part 1 about anecdotes and gave a great example of a random story about a man waking up to un-earthly quietness and he goes on with that fact as he describes him walking down stairs and it quietness continues. He is essentially just repeating the same fact over and over again but you still are interested for some reason. Building off of that, I felt as if when he just tells a story like that there is much less information since he doesn’t describe anything else other than the action taking place. There are no visual cues like in a film. For me at least, I would put myself in the story and create a scenery in my head trying to relate it to my own life and perceptions which makes me more engaged in the story.

Glass continues in part 2 talking about the work ethic that goes behind finding stories and radio. His advice was mostly about being persistent in your search for that one piece, that one story that will make everything worth it. He also puts a lot of emphasis on that fact that most of the work is mostly looking for stories and trying stuff out. Glass claims that if your are not constantly failing, then you are doing something wrong because you are not putting yourself into situations where you can fail. He is basically urging people to always try to get out of your comfort zone and try to go above and beyond, regardless of whether you succeed or not. This advice by him I believe is very true and applies to pretty much any kind of discipline that requires you to create something.

I also watched Jad Abumrad’s video on Big Think where he talks about how radio can create empathy between the speaker and listener. He said something that intrigued me and I had not thought about before. He talked about how describing a story or an image through radio forces the listener to paint the picture that the speaker is describing to essentially complete the story. To me this is what makes storytelling through audio very interesting since everyone will have a slighly different variation of this image or story and it all depends on their life perceptions. As I was stating before with the interview of Ira Glass, when you listen to a story you paint the picture of the story in your head which are images that you relate to. If someone were to say “imagine a extremely scary creature appearing into your bedroom”, you will most likely conjure up an image of some very scary thing that would especially scare you. Someone else might think of a different creature that would especially scare them. We create these images in our head to fit our perceptions which is what engages people into storytelling through audio.