80’s Product Radio Commercial

For the 80’s Product Radio Commercial assignment, I decided that I wanted to do it on some sort of cleaning supply. After a bit of research and by research I mean spending way too much time watching random 1980’s radio commercials. Some of these things are absolutely fascinating, they seem like they are made in another dimension. I realized that I would use these as my inspiration to create an 80’s radio commercial for a modern day product like OxiClean. This assignment will how an in-depth guide on how I created this at the bottom.

Here is the general break down of the script:

*Dinner sounds*

Narrator: “Ahh the Steven’s Family, enjoying a nice meal at the dinner table after a long week. Everything is going wonderful for them until…”

*Loud spilling sound*

Narrator: “Oh no, Jimmy has spilled lasagna all over his brand new white shirt!! Well, fear not Jimmy’s mom, I’ve got the product for you!”

Narrator:”OxiClean! OxiClean unleashes the power of oxygen making tough stains disappear like magic, without fading or bleeding the colors! It goes deep down to not only get rid of any stain but the odor as well.”

*Thanks sound*

Narrator: “No need to thank me Jimmy’s mom. Let this be a lesson learned. Don’t let a stain ruin your afternoon, go out and buy some OxiClean!”

Here is the finished product:

How To Guide: Once I had a general idea of what I wanted to do for this assignment, I first wrote out the script. This included all the external sounds that I wanted and my voice lines. Next, I went to freesound.org and downloaded all the sounds I wanted to use. Then in Audacity, I recorded all of my parts by using the red record button up in the top left. I then added in all my external sounds as there own individual tracks so that they wouldn’t interrupt my voice lines. I did this by simply dragging the files and dropping them into Audacity. I now had all the audio I wanted for my commercial inside my Audacity window, all that was left to do was organize and get everything into its place. I did this by simply cutting and pasting the sounds to the correct time I wanted them to play. I also went through to each audio track and adjusted the sound according to the part it plays in the overall commercial. This can be done by simply changing the volume slider on the left side of each audio track. Finally, I exported the file as an MP3 so that I could upload it to Sound Cloud. Let me know if you guys have any questions!

Sound Effects Story

This is my attempt at the Sound Effect Story Assignment. The story that I wanted to tell was extremely simple. A person wakes up in the morning to their alarm clock. They then go take a shower, eat breakfast, and brush their teeth. Afterwards, they go outside and warm their car up. While driving to work they get into an accident and an ambulance is called. I went with a rather simple story as this is my first time editing in Audacity. The story in total is around a minute long. I got the inspiration for this story from something that happened to me in real life a few years ago, don’t worry everyone was okay. So this is sort of a generalized re-telling of a story. Any ordinary day could turn into something like this so please drive safe. I got all my sounds from a single website called freesound.org. I will leave an in-depth guide on how I created this below the audio. Here is my attempt at this assignment:

How To Guide: Once I had the story that I wanted laid out in my head I simply went the website linked above and downloaded all the sounds I wanted to use. I opened Audacity and dragged all of the sounds into the window. So at this point, I had about 6 individual audio tracks that I wanted to all combine into one. Next, I simply copied sound #2 and then pasted it where I wanted it to go after sound #1. I repeated this with all my sounds until they were all on one single audio track. Once I tested it and liked what I made, I exported it as an MP3 and I was all finished. Let me know if you have any questions!!!

Below is a video that I used to help teach me the basics of Audacity. Personally, I would rather watch someone explain the program to me and not just go into it and try to figure things out myself.

Reflection: Moon Graffiti

This will be a reflection from The Truth Podcast’s “Moon Graffiti“. This was an excellent story to listen to the entire way through. You can really tell how much time went into creating this 16 minute master piece. Here are the notes that I was able to take while listening to this audio:

Here is the audio in case you want to follow along with my notes:

(0:38) – Right off the bat they hook the audience in with a sense of suspense for an event we don’t even understand. There are plenty of radio beeps and static added in as well to make the scene feel very realistic. The tone in the voices of the people in the control room even have a sense of unknown in them, like they are scared but don’t want to say anything.

(1:06) – All the suspense seems to come to a climax as the two are rapidly communicating before what sounds like a crash. All that is left after the loud crash are some dense atmospheric noises.

(1:22) – The silence is interrupted by a deep voice that exclaims these astronauts will be staying on the moon. It is revealed to be the start of a speech written for Richard Nixon titled, “In the event of a moon disaster”. The hook is over and the intro music to the podcast starts to play.

(3:12) – We jump right back into the scene of the two that have crashed. As they seem to frantically begin sorting things out, have they lost communications? Are their computers still working? Where do they go from here?

(4:30) – After getting their suits on they open the hatch as some creepy music begins to play. They get their camera ready to document pictures of the crash. They still don’t have any communication with their team. They are surprisingly calm at this point.

(6:07) – Once they have both exited the craft they start to describe everything that is going on around them in great detail. From, what it feels like to walk around to what the surface texture is like.

(7:14) – Buzz’s tone completely changes as the music does as well. He tells neil, “You’ve got to see this…”. We don’t quite know if its a good or bad thing. However, the music would suggest a bad thing. It ends up being that they find out they have no more fuel. They are grounded on the moon.

(11:06) – They begin to share stories as an attempt to distract themselves from the looming eminent death. The sound effects are amazingly immersing, especially the sounds of them planting the flag.

(12:13) – Layering audio starts to pace faster and faster before Neil is able to stop Buzz from what seems like passing out. The sounds increasing in speed and overlapping give the sensation that he is starting to dissociate from reality. He decides to lay down to help himself out.

(13:25) – The same speech that interrupted the two before starts to play again. This time it plays all the way through and is not cut off like earlier.

(15:17) – The ending music starts to play as the credits begin to roll.

Overall, I had a really great time listening to this podcast. The style was really what did it for me. Cutting in and out of their experience with the speech and mission control was brilliant. The music did an amazing job of letting the audience know how they should be feeling at that given time. They were able to make this such a dramatic fifteen minutes, something the audience was forced to stay and listen too. I would definitely recommend this podcast to anyone who is interested in drama or suspenseful stories!

Reflection: Ted Radio Hour and ScottLo

This post will be used as a notes section that I can write down things of importance as I am listening to both stories. The first audio I will be listening to is TED Radio Hour Audio Demo and the second is the LoDown Episode 1, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.

Notes on the TED Radio Hour Audio Demo (with timestamps):

(0:25) – Immediately as the background of the story is starting the narrator uses both himself and the subjects voicelines. It is almost like they are bouncing back-and-forth from one another.

(0:45) – Upbeat background music starts to play as the narrator continues to talk about a sociable robot.

(0:54) – There is a clear exchange in scene here. From the narrator to the subjects point of view. She seems to be describing what it felt like interacting with the robot and why it was so effective for the elderly. It is also worth noting she was very descriptive about the way the robot looked and felt.

(1:42) – The uplifting music continues as the subject goes on and on about how much this brought to this elderly woman. Kind of feels like they are trying to “sell” or “pitch” the audience the robot idea.

(2:16) – A dramatic shift in tone occurs near this point. Music fades, she admits that she feels very depressed.

(2:30) – The audience seems to be kind of left at a cliff hanger along with so many questions. The audio then shifts again into an intro to the radio show, introducing the speakers and subject matter for the episode. It seems that this dramatic build up was used to draw the audience in and get them to want to listen to the rest of the show. This was very well executed.

Notes on the LoDown Episodes:

The first episode was used as a sort of introduction to what the point of these radio shows will be. He will be going over assignments and radio plays that are created by students. He has had a long time interest in radio storytelling and is a valuable resource to gain information on the topic.

The one episode that really stood out to me was episode 12. I feel that I was able to really take a lot of information away from this episode specifically. At one point in the episode, he brings up narrating your process of creating a radio story. Now, he is talking about doing this in a group but I think this can be translated to be applied to solo work as well. By doing something like narrating and taking notes along the way of creating something like this, you are able to go back and see what you were thinking at a particular time. So lets say you do something wrong, instead of thinking, “Oh, Ill just do it right next time”. You are instead able to get back into your brain at the time you made the decision. I think this is actually how people begin to learn. When you can look back and change a point in which you made the wrong decision. You can then have evidence to show yourself why the decision you made at the time was wrong. For me personally, this is how I absorb information from past mistakes that I have made.

In conclusion, both of these audio tapes gave me a lot of valuable information. I think that in my opinion the first audio was easier for me to understand. It was easier for me to listen to a audio story and take notes on the important things that were happening. Things like the change in tone, background music, layered audios, and who was speaking. I was then able to go back and ask myself what each of these devices added to the story. For example, the change in background music came at a scene change once and a tone shift once. I believe that I will be able to walk away from these audio recordings with a whole new understanding about audio storytelling.

What I have learned about Audio Storytelling…

This post will be a combination of all of the key aspects that I have learned about audio storytelling from two sources. The first is an interview of Ira Glass on Storytelling and the second is Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad: How Radio Creates Empathy.

From Ira Glass’s perspective there are two main building blocks for audio storytelling. The first is the anecdote, which is a short amusing story about a real incident or person. This will most likely be used to get the listener more involved with the story very easily. As Ira Glass describes an anecdotes, “is a story in its purest form”. No matter how boring the subject matter is when it is put into a narrative anecdotal format the listener will connect to it. It has momentum when it is told in this format as one event leads to the next and so on and so forth. When stories are told like this it build some inherent suspense that something will eventually happen. It is like you are on a train that has a destination, but no one knows where it is going yet.

Another important part is the bait to the story. You as the director want the audience to constantly be raising questions about the story. For example, a question you might want the audience to come up with is, “Why is it so dark in this room?” “Why is it so quiet in this room?”. This starts to get the audience engaged with the story so that these questions can later be answered within the story.

The second main building block to the story is a moment of reflection. This is summed up as pretty much the reason you’re listening to this story. It is somewhat of a revealing from the director as to where this is going or its purpose. Here is the bigger thing we are going toward. From the train example, it would be a revealing of the destination.

From Jad Abumrad’s perspective, audio storytelling is a cool thing because of the absence of pictures. It enables the simple fact of having to describe things to your audience. You are instructing the audience to paint a picture with their own paintbrush. For example, I woke up this morning and gazed out toward the sun. It was a warm peachy color. From this scenario, you might have pictured something in your mind. It was you who painted that picture in your mind just from my words. Jad Abumrad describes this act as, “co-authorship”, in which the director gives the paint and the listener paints the picture. The director and listener are sort of connected and that is what makes audio storytelling a really beautiful form of storytelling.

In conclusion, I have learned so much from these videos already and the week has only just started. I feel like I have a better understanding of why audio storytelling can be so powerful even without any real images like you would see in visual storytelling. My three main takeaways from these videos are the bait, anecdotes, moment of clarity, and co-authorship.

Design Blitz

For the Design Blitz assignment this week I will be focusing on four main principles that I felt I was able to capture on my own. The four principles are Balance, Rhythm, Color, and Proportion.

This picture is from my backyard patio. I felt that an efficient way to convey a Rhythm in a picture would be to zoom in on some rocks that we have. Although all the rocks are not the same exactly, with their color and position they can be recognized as a pattern.

Design Blitz

This next picture attempts to show balance. It was taken in my backyard flower beds. This was an interesting picture opportunity for me because it is the only flower shown in the portrait. This helps to show that the flower is the main subject of the picture because it is directly in the center of it.

Design Blitz

This next picture was my attempt at highlighting color in a photo. This picture was taken in my backyard and it portrays some of my favorite flowers that we have. The bright pink and purple colors are enough to grab anyone’s attention looking at the photo.

Design Blitz

This final picture that I took was my attempt to show proportion in a photo. This picture is from a small statue that we have in my backyard. The reason the photo shows proportion is because it seems to be symmetrical to me. If you were to split this photo right down the middle you have an equal half on both sides.

Design Blitz

In conclusion, I really enjoyed this assignment in particular. I thought this assignment was going to require so much more work to create these photos. Little did I know, I had most of these principles all around me without me having any clue. This assignment really took me out of my comfort zone and forced me to really engage with the principles of design.

Favorite Movie Quote

For my Favorite Movie Quote assignment, I decided to choose the film Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. In this movie, an iconic quote is said by Han Solo talking to Chewbacca. As Han Solo and Chewbacca meet Rey and Finn in the Millennium Falcon, Han Solo says, “Chewie, we’re home.”. This assignment was very easy to complete using GIMP. I simply found the background image that I wanted to use for my first layer and pasted it into GIMP. Next, I added a layer on top of it with a text box containing the infamous quote I selected. Here is my Favorite Movie Quote:

For those interested, here is the entire scene:

Contradiction Creation

For this Contradiction Creation assignment, I wanted to create an image that portrays the morning time. I wanted the background to also be very warm colors to encourage the viewer to get the feeling to go and tack today and they have to do for that day. Once I had this atmosphere setup, I needed a caption to completely contradict the entire background. So, I decided to go with, “Today Sucks, Just Go Back To Bed”. This was very easy for me to create using GIMP. Which I am really starting to prefer over using Photoshop. First, I pasted in my background and added a 12px white and black border all the way around the image. Next, I found the correct font and size I wanted to use and pasted in my caption. There wasn’t much left to do after that. I made sure my caption was centered and then exported the picture from GIMP. Here is my take on a Contradiction Creation:

Here is a video that I followed to create the border to this picture:

Motivational Poster

This is my take on a motivational poster for a design assignment this week. I wanted to make a poster about achievement. So naturally, I first needed to a picture that shows a great achievement or working toward it. What better than a picture of someone climbing a mountain? That is one of the craziest things we can do as humans on this planet! I can only imagine the feeling they must feel when all of their time and energy pays off as they get to the top of the mountain. This is something that I hope to get into myself one day.

To make this, I used GIMP. I have a decent amount of experience using GIMP, so this wasn’t too hard. I simply pasted my mountain picture as my first layer. Then, added three text boxes over top of it that would have the title, quote, and who said the quote. Here is my take on a motivational poster:

Best Sports Play

Alright, Alright, I get it, This didn’t happen this year but in these corona times we live in, It was great to relive the final seconds before the Capitals beat the Golden Knights to become Stanley Cup Champions. This actually happened on June 7th, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was the end of a near decade long continuous let down where the Capitals would have amazing regular seasons and then fall apart in the post season. Making this even gave me chills at some points. All the Washington fans deserved this so much, what an amazing memory I have from being in Washington this night. Here is my take on the Best Sports Play from this past year, in a gif form. I also uploaded this to Giphy to make it easier to put into a post. I went about this one the same as my last, simply took screenshots and put them on top of each other then exported it as a gif from GIMP.