I constantly feel like I’m being overwhelmed by noise that begins with my alarm clock (that goes off way too early in the morning) and ends with email alerts coming from my laptop (as my India team gets working as I’m heading to bed). This week, we learned all about sound and the profound impact it has on stories. It helps set the tone and mood. Given how hectic life is for me right now, I’m not surprised that the “noise” in my life feels overwhelming.

In addition to always feeling like I’m being bombarded with noise, I felt a little overwhelmed using new tools like SoundCloud and Audacity. However, both of the tools were fairly easy to use once I got the hang of things. My first endeavor with the software was with my news broadcast. Recording a ridiculous story…while pretending to be serious…was pretty fun and got me away from worrying about how my voice sounds.

Next, I honed my sound mixing skills to create a tribute to my sister’s upcoming wedding. I took a little creative liberty with one of the sound files to create a story that had a greater emotional impact on me…and something that I can share with her to help explain why I’m busy with school and not doing such a great job with being the maid of honor.

While reading my classmates’ blogs, I got the inspiration for my design assignment. Since we’re paying homage to sound and how it impacts storytelling, I took the same Craig’s List post and reinterpretted it with my recording. It was actually interesting to listen to my post and then relisten to hear’s. While completing this activity, I thought that this may be a good activity for the class to do….to highlight how everyone interprets and uses sound differently.

I learned about the Foley Artist and how awesome their role is! Since I can’t sing, dance or act…I used to always joke with my mom that a behind-the-scenes soundmaker may be my only shot at show business. After raading all the things the do, I think that’s even out now! I still need to create my Foley video.

Finally, I wrapped the week up with updating/enhancing an existing final project idea based on a suggestion by the professional!

All in all, I found a new appreciation for sound….the soundtrack for my life!



Missed the Boat on Graphic Design

Life has been a little crazy! My project is launching at the beginning of June, my sister is getting married, I’m getting a new roommate and I’m finishing up with school…all within the same two week period. So, in reviewing the Design Safari blog posts from fellow DS106 participants, I realized that I had missed the boat this week.


I was really proud of myself for keeping my head up and looking around to recognize and capture pictures of design elements. I had watched this week’s video and look more of the Georgia O’Keeffe landscape photographs rather than signs and designs. Although the exercise really got my creative juices following, I realize that my design safari wasn’t on target. Speaking of Target, I’ll be sure to be on the lookout this week for graphic designs and provide an update NEXT week.

I loved the video on Symmetry. It really made me rethink the definition of symmetry which, prior watching the clip, I would have defined as matching, balanced or proportional. The video made me think more about relational, cause/effect and partnership symmetry. Some of my favorites included the cop/robber, the baby walking/old man walking and the families. It was eye-opening.

Similarly, I loved the video from Kelli Anderson. Her take on the Christmas card and the wedding invitation were amazing. In keeping with the theme of wonderment and looking at the unexpected, I found a really cool article of artwork that is so realistic, it looks like photography.

Reviewing the Finding Design Elements document sparked some inspiration for my final project on how using the wrong font can really send the wrong message.

I also had a lot of fun completing one of the design assignments in creating a four icon storyboard to represent a movie. I was super impressed that someone got it right off the bat! Apparently I need some help in my creativity since I thought the movie was more obscure than I realized. Reviewing the other blogs and seeing how they depicted movies was also great!

All in all, although I missed the design safari assignment and ran out of time to complete a second design assignment, I really feel like I learned a lot this week!

Week 3: Layers

This week, we learned about the importance that visual pictures can make in telling a story. I started by watching a fun video that played off of words and their “definitions” using images. It was interesting how they linked all of the images together but that each definition had its own unique meaning. I think my favorite in the video was the series on falling which ranged from things actually falling to falling in love.

Then, the director of photography of National Geographic shared his viewpoints on photographic imagery. I thought the story he told about his son getting pulled out to sea was interesting. In his mind, he could picture everything…including himself as the hero. His son on the other hand pictures him yelling at him from the shore. I thought was fitting…it reiterates the point that even though photos are 2-dimensional as Jason Eskenazi described, there still is something interesting that one focuses on in the picture.

Next, I moved on to working with photo picture taking and editing. We went on a photo safari in search of unique pictures and thinking about picture taking as a whole. I realized during the activity that even with a suggested list, I’m still really boring in my photography skills. Then, I moved on to play with Pixlar and make my own unique picture updates. While working on this assignment, it was interesting because my boyfriend texted me a picture about 8-hours of LAX plane take-offs layered together in one photograph. The picture is amazing because it shows how photography can be used to layer together activity over an extended period of time for one “moment in time” photo.

LAX planes<

This week really got me thinking about the power of a photo and the cool things you can do with it. However, it also made me think about cyberbullying and how things can go terribly wrong when the power of a photo is used in the wrong, evil kind of way.

Week 2: Can You Hear Me Now?

Growing up, my mom used to always say that we were given two ears and one mouth for a reason. She said that we need to listen more than we talked. I have used that skill while working as a consultant. I try to let my clients talk and share information and then perspective before talking and assuming I know their business problems.

This week, I learned that listening takes more than two ears. It takes hands, feet, heart, soul and an open mind. Evelyn Glennie’s Ted Talk really made me think differently about the definition of listening. In her talk, she challenged the audience to think about what “baggage” they bring into a music hall and how that impacts them watching the show. As someone who loves musical theater, I appreciate the challenge and will do a personal inventory before attending my next performance.

For the first time EVER, I listened to a radio show…a story without pictures! AMAZING! When I first read this assignment, my initial reaction was that it seemed kind of silly. However, after listening to two episodes of The Truth, I was hooked. The two episodes had the elements that we’re learning about – the beginning, middle and end plus the unexpected twist. I found myself engrossed in the stories and using my imagination to paint the pictures of what the characters looked like and what they would do “next” after the story ended.

Then, I took what I learned last week and deconstructed a commercial. As a marketing person, I LOVE commercials. I picked one of my favorites – Hank the Horse who wants to be a Budweiser Clydesdale. The commercial speaks to me because I am someone who doesn’t have a lot of athletic ability. BUT…I’m super determined and work really hard. Although I have seen the commercial a dozen times, the activity really did make me think about all of the components and why I like this commercial so much.

I also thought a little more about my final project. I always joke with my family that they have their way of traveling and I have MY way. In thinking through final project ideas, I thought about potentially writing about that.

Finally, I had an opportunity to review the blogs of my classmates. I was really impressed with the sites that I reviewed. People were really creative in their naming/taglines and open in their thoughts and feelings.  


Week 1: Lauren’s Arc

This first week of readings and activities made me take a step back and rethink my notion of stories and storytelling. The “TouchCast” video about Storytelling and Design took my initial concepts and added details to things I knew but didn’t necessarily articulate in my initial definition of a story.

A good story has a character who is “living” in a contextual environment. The character is faced with a problem that propels the story. A good storyteller takes the initial set-up and brings the reader/listener along on the journey to solve the conflict. The story ultimately ends with a resolution, a sometimes climatic end. The story as a whole follows an arc with a rise and fall of action that propels the story along.

As I think about how to apply this in my own life, I realized that I need to follow this similar arc as I work with my clients and walk them through my deliverables. And in my blog, I need to need to create a character that resonates with readers that gets them to want to read my posts. Prior to this first week, I thought of blogs as separate, disjointed posts by random people. But, as I thought more about bloggers and twitter accounts who have several followers, I realized that they most likely attract people to their posts because of their characters and stories they tell through their posts. I’m excited to explore more!