Unit 4 Summary

Audio Storytelling

This unit was the first one that made me feel like a learner because it was an area that I didn’t know a lot about going in to it. The examples of audio storytelling that we were encouraged to study use a very heavily produced approach to factual storytelling. They combine a number of layers of audio such as voice, music and effects to convey the story and engage the audience. This can sometimes feel a little ‘tricksy’, but when it works the techniques are effective in bringing the story to life for the listener. I have written about the examples I looked at it in more detail here. Since I was interested in learning more about this area, I did more than the minimum listening and also tried to put a lot of effort into the assignments to practice my audio production skills.

Ira Glass on storytelling uses the term ‘anecdote’ to refer to a series of actions that make the basic unit of a story and the ‘beat’ of the story – the question behind the story . But storytelling also need s a moment of reflection to establish the point of telling. Thus, the basic elements of storytelling from Glass’ perspective are anecdote and reflection. Glass gives advice about doing lots of work to close the gap between your ambitions and what is good. From his own experience, even after 8 years of working, he didn’t think the work was good. He also suggests that that you should ‘just be yourself’ and that a story has a subject such as a person talking, but that the interaction with others is the site of drama.

Thus, Ira Glass gives us both advice about the process of storytelling, how to work, and also a lttle bit about the form and style of storytelling. In How Radio Creates Empathy, Jad Abumrad suggests that the musicality of the human voice and its capacity for expression is key in addressing the listener as a co-author in the imaginative interpretation of what is being presented. Like Ira Glass, he advocates the importance of experimentation until ‘pointing arrows’ become apparent. This refers to a form of serendipity in which creativity happens when you are under pressure or alert to things that just happen or happen by chance. The skill is recognising the step-change from something that might be ordinary or ‘not good enough’. I am a great believer in harnessing serendipity as a creative thinking technique.

Listening to ds106 Radio

I didn’t manage to listen to a live show on ds106 Radio, but I did listen to a re-broadcast by Rochelle Lockridge of Rockylou Productions. The content of the show is summarised helpfully here on Storify. Rochelle was promoting the broadcast on Twitter and so I let her know that I was listening and gave her some feedback. As something that is done in her spare time, the podcast stories that she produces with her daughter Amber manage to achieve very good production values – a real labour of love and dedication. The details are in this post.

Audio Assignments

My radio bumper assignment was fun to do. I took a creative decision to use sound effects in a musical way using Creative Commons file from Freesound and online dictionary sound files for the speech. I also used files from Freesound – 10 in all, to tell the story of a fly who goes in to a bar, gets hit by a flying bottle top and turns back into a dragon, wreaking angry havoc in return. I put quite a lot of time into the production and thought that the play on words ‘dragonfly’, ‘flydragon’ and the basic story was a good one and was conveyed through the sounds as a narrative with some aural complexity. Basic, but OK.

Daily Creates

I did my minimum three Daily Creates. I could have perhaps done more as I didn’t find it too onerous.

TDC1093 – Favorite Christmas Gift… (Photography)

TDC1087 – An ‘expanded moment’ video (Video)

TDC1089 – A digital message in a bottle (Writing)

Now to start blogging like a blogging champ

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