I got my inspiration for this week’s DS106 audio assignment by reading a follow classmate’s blog on Craig’s List’s Missed Connections. Truth be told…I’ve never been on Craig’s List. But, I read her “Missed Connections” interpretation and got inspired. Since this week is all about audio and using sounds and audio to tell a story, I decided to take the same words she recorded and interpret them myself. I wanted to see if we could create different stories based on tone, cadence, volumn and background noise. The Craigslist Missed Connection is:
I saw you this morning on the orange line metro (towards largo/new carrollton), you were beautiful. I got on at Dunn Loring and you were already on. You had red tinted hair and a tealish bag. You were short and fit.
I never do this and I’m sure you’ll never see this but I wish I had said something.
Tell me what stop you got off at if you see this.
The words are not particularly eloquent and I initially read them as if they were posted from a male. So, I decided to slow down the pace and add more angst into the delivery. I also added in female crying from Freesound.org. This gave the post a distinctive female feel. Then, to comply withe request from the activity, I dropped in a rap beat. It actually fit well into the recording and almost made the crying sound musical.
My sister is getting married in about 6 weeks. So, wedding bells and relationships are hot topics within my family. One of the comments that everyone keeps telling my sister is how fast the wedding day actually will go. They then usually proceed to ask my sister when she’s planning on having kids! Talk about rushing things! I used this topic as a base for my sound story. I tried to create the boy meets girl story using sounds from Free Sound. I editted the story together using Audacity, a tool I have never used before.
The story starts off as most…in a bar with lots of noise. This is where the boy meets the girl…although that has to be inferred. The next sound is of a couple laughing…presumably in a date setting. The track then skips to a proposal, wedding bells, clinking glasses and then…a baby crying.
The story is a tribute to my sister and her fiance! The original Audacity files had romantic music in the background. I’m not sure what happened when I outputed it to an MP3 file. I left the file “as is” so the listening can use their imagination with what happens in the blank spot. 🙂 I will admit that I cheated a bit with one of my sound bites with the proposal but since it was just one piece of the story and came from an open source file, I took my chance.
Recording my own voice…the thought terrifies me! So, when I saw the assignment to record myself pretending to be a newscaster, I got a little freaked out. I also realized that I would have to learn how to use yet another new tool, SoundCloud [since this is audio week, I’ll let you know that I let out a big sigh]. However, I found the activity fairly painless.
I began by setting up my SoundCloud account. I chose a name similar to my Blog to help users make a connection. Based on feedback from another classmate, having pictures helped provide a connection. Therefore, I decided to use a picture of me as my Avatar. However, since the site is a little funky and cool, I decided to use a funnier picture of me from when I completed the Warrior Dash.
Next, I had to find a funny article to record. I tried searching for articles using things like “ridiculous news stories” and “funny news stories” and didn’t really come up with anything appropriate. So, I used inspiration from one of my classmates and her use of an Onion article. I selected an Article on American Idol contestant Bo Bice and recent news that Alabama was going to cancel Bo Bice Day. The article resonated with me because I am currently staffed on a project in Arkansas and have witnessed firsthand how southern states love their local celebrities.
Next, I searched on SoundCloud to find some appropriate news intro music. I was pretty excited with what I found. I then made my recording. It turned out ok…I was just happy that my dog didn’t start barking mid-recording. The intro music didn’t turn out all that well so I’ll learn in the future that I need to record differently. All in all…I was pretty pleased and didn’t totally cringe at my voice.
“Are you listening to me?” It is a question that is frequently asked between conversations with my boyfriend and I. I’d like to think that he’s the guilt one but I have been known to multi-task when I’m on the phone with him. He says he knows he’s lost me when all of my responses become one word answers. That’s when he usually throws me for a loop and asks a question that requires at least a phrase…most likely a sentence!
I thought about these conversations while I watched Evelyn Glennie’s Ted Talk. In it, she shares that listening goes beyond passively sitting and letting sound hit our ears. She talks about listening with her hands, feet and eyes. The conversation is thought-provoking. She mentioned that when you see a try swaying in the wind that it helps you “hear” wind, even if you can’t hear anything at all. I especially liked when she asked the audience to make noise like snow and rain. Although she acknowledged their good participation in the activity, she scolded them for staying “within the box” and only clapping their two hands together to produce the sound…despite her encouragement to think differently.
I then took this “different” way of thinking and listened to two radio shows It’s Going to Change Your Life and Falling. These two stories had relatively simple plots. In It’s Going to Change Your Life, the main character Karen Miller gets a promotion and trip to a leadership seminar…both of which are unwanted. The story unfolds using a 3rd person perspective. As a listener, you don’t really know what Karen is thinking…you can only infer her thoughts based on the intonation of her voice, the cadence of speech and what she actually says. In Falling, a woman says a man’s life. The two start dating but she feels smothered with his affection and is concerned that he’s only interested because she saved him. This story is also told in the 3rd person.
The radio show limits the number of characters involved and different voices to help the listener pay attention. Pauses between speaking parts help illustrate the character’s concern or hesitatation; rapid speech patterns indicate excitement or agitation. Background noise such as a lone train whistle give the illusion that the listener is on a train platform. As a whole, the characters and storylines are well-developed, without ever providing a picture. I think it is because the plotlines and characters resonated with me so I could internalize the content. “Listening” may have been harder to do if I wasn’t invested and could really “listen” with my heart.