Ira Glass & Jae Abumrad Video Reflections: I watched the first two parts of Ira Glass’s segment on storytelling. I took away several nuggets from both of his videos. In the first part , there are two main building blocks of storytelling. One is an anecdote and the other is a moment of reflection. He discusses what he believes are and should be the central parts of audio stories. An audio story generally should start with an action and must have a story. The other central theme of audio stories is to raise questions and then answer those questions. He explains a moment of reflection as the purpose of the story. However Ira complains that many video pods usually have only one of the two building blocks. Either it has a great anecdote but means nothing or does have a moment of reflection but no action.
In Ira’s second part , he talks about the difficulty of finding a decent story. The key takeaway I got from this specific video is to kill the crap and enjoy the killing. You have to be tough to create anything good. Failing is okay, because it creates a situation to become lucky. A lot of broadcasting in its purest way is about luck. He goes on to say that broadcasters should only want to make something memorable or special, not mediocre.
I then watched Jad Abumrad’s “How Radio Creates Empathy” video segment. Radio is a deep act of coauthorship. He uses an example of describing the sun, he paints a picture but the listener is holding the paintbrush and has the ability to draw it as he or she imagines it. There is an immediacy with others through radio because of coauthorship. He says that radio should be dead, but because there is an intimacy that exists it inoculates this source of technology from ever dying. With radio there exists freedom of imagination and creativity. People can perceive what they hear in their own images. One person can imagine something completely different than other person despite them hearing the same words. I hope radio does not die, because if it does then so does our creativity and imagination.
Radio Story Reflection: I chose to listen to “How I got Into College”. It is a podcast by Ira Glass of the College application process. The beginning of the podcasts begins with Ira asking Columbia University students how they were accepted. Most of the students answer something along the lines of “I have no idea”. The podcast uses the real interview responses, which switches up the audio. It then transitions to a dialogue between Ira and an admissions officer at Georgia Tech. The admissions officers brings up emails he receives from parents impersonating their child. Parents use words such as “cool and awesome” because they think that is what kids say. However those are very inappropriate words in regards to an application and professional email. The majority of the podcast revolves around applications and comments from both Ira and the admissions officer.
I instantly noticed the background music in this segment. When the video segment changed, there is a fast-tempo, upbeat instrumental to go along with the transition. In Part 2 he tells a story with Michael Lewis. As they speak, music will play at specific points. Elevator music plays as Michael Lewis describes his situation of when he got into trouble. An upbeat piano composition starts as Michael explains why he likes the story. Both speakers elaborate on the meaning of the story to him. The music appears to direct our attention to the moment of reflection.
A guitar or mariachi beat plays as Michael speaks of the positive perspective that Amir has on all this misfortune that surrounds him. The musics ceases and what seems like polka music replaces the guitar, while Michael talks about his family struggles. Then, very loud music plays as Amir speaks of reading, which could be hinting at his learning since it is of applying to college. Upbeat and fast pace music plays when Amir goes with his teacher to apply to a new school, this section of music makes sense and correlates to what is happening. This music then plays on and off again while Amir asks to attend a private school.
I do not think the music matches the story that well, because the emotions of the story did not match the type of music at the particular times. For example, Amir is talking about a bunny being abused, and in the background there is upbeat music playing, which traditionally implies joy and happiness. The majority of the music throughout this podcast is to highlight transitions and possibly lapses in the story. Such as Amir’s story is not completely revealed, whereas instead music is played.
Audio Assignments: These assignments were my favorite part of this week. My first audio assignment was a “radio bumper” For this project I used Garageband. I recorded my speech of the dialogue using the “vocals” instrument. The voice over music is an instrumental bass which I copied and pasted from YouTube.
My favorite is the sound effect story. I am so conditioned to dialogue within stories so it was strange, but using only sounds made it much more interesting and it enhanced the story. My sound effect story is of a convenience store robbery and murder. A man parks his car, opens the door, walks to the cash register, pumps his shotgun, the cash register opens, he then shoots the cash clerk, walks out the door, and drives away.
The “familiar sounds” assignment was fun because as I was doing it, I thought of my home and how much I love my home. I chose one that was always created. This assignment called to create sounds that are familiar to us, but may be strange to others. I included crickets chirping, frogs croaking, an airplane, and a ceiling fan. These sounds exists at my house. The crickets and frogs are pretty noisy every night especially in the warmer months. I live in the woods and in front of our house we have a small pond where the crickets and frogs live. I live close to an airport so every few nights I will hear an airplane taking off or landing. Finally, I like to sleep with my ceiling fan running faintly, so that is why I chose the sound of a fan.
For all three assignments I used Garageband to paste my audio from YouTube and then once I finished my project on Garageband I saved it as an MP3 file and uploaded each project to SoundCloud and Twitter separately.
Daily Creates: The first daily create of this week was to create a motivational book cover. I went to makeameme and picked the image of Maximus from the movie “Gladiator” that was already uploaded. I then added text to the top and bottom of the image.
The second daily create was to elicit an emotional response with a picture. I chose grief. Grief is a multifaceted response to loss. A powerful emotion that people too often experience. I grieved when our family dog and cat died.
The third daily create was to make a photo “aged”. This was my favorite assignment of the week. I created an account on Pixlr.com and selected Pixlr Express as the web application I would use to import an image I found online of buffalo grazing. Once in PixlrExpress (https://pixlr.com/express/) I used a Too Old effect labeled “Gordon”. Next, I used a Vignette Overlay. Finally, I choose a border to place around the image to give it a old, distressed, and worn look. It was the first time using Pixlr to edit the photo.
My fourth daily create was to create a concrete poem. Before, I had never heard of such a poem, but now it is my favorite type of poem. A concrete poem is written in the shape of the object of which you are describing. Mine is about a Christmas tree and the Christmas spirit, so it was arranged in the shape of a Christmas tree
It is always fun to see other people’s work, especially for the same assignments because each person answers a question in a unique way. I learn almost as much from reading other blog posts than from the video’s themselves. I love seeing other people’s daily creates. I realize humans are very creative, and it is a shame that our society/culture does not show off our creativity nearly enough.
This week was a lot of audio, whether it be listening and reflecting on audio stories or creating my own audio assignments. All this being said it went well for the most part. I enjoyed watching Ira Glass’s videos on storytelling. It taught me a lot and I believe his content and advice will help me improve in the class. I enjoyed all three audio assignments as well as the daily creates. My least enjoyable assignment was the radio story reflection. As of now I have no questions from this week and none heading into next week.