Radiolab and Such
Jad highlighted what makes audio stories special: their lack of images. In place of these images, we have imagery that the listeners paint inside their own head. At this point, Jad says this is where the story becomes co-authored between the speaker and the listener to create a unique story in the head of the listener.
This is a great point, and carries over into other mediums of storytelling as well. With text novels, you are guided only with words, and you have perhaps even more authorship over the story and its interpretation. Also, I immediately thought of Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, where all the participants create a collective story that is always being built as gameplay moves forward.
I find that I enjoy narrative experiences the most when I have some sort of authorship over the story. If I get a hand in imagining the world, or imagining the emotions between characters, then I empathize with the story and am drawn in much more. It’s fun to consume sometimes, but it feels better to create.
Having globalized mediums like YouTube, Netflix, Twitter, SoundCloud, the radio, or the internet itself gives almost everybody everywhere the ability to create and share those stories to a very large audience; Having easy-to-use software for image, video, and audio editing lets the typical storyteller abstract (remove details) from the technical process of editing, and focus on the delivery of the story itself. Having user-friendly editing software means I don’t have to learn how to code, animate, or physically work with images and audio on paper or tapes.
My Experience with Audio
This process of abstraction has been a big part of my life recently as a DKC tutor and hobbyist content creator. In terms of audio, I would say I have a good amount of experience. I’ve worked with Audacity, FL Studio, Logic Pro X, and several types of audio hardware.
My Music Hobby
My work with audio started in late high school when I got really into electronic music. I asked myself “how do people make stuff like this?” and from there, I read through several articles on getting started with electronic music production, and installed a couple of DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations). I never get much time to work on my music, but I’ve grown a lot in my knowledge of audio manipulation and storytelling with some of the music I’ve created.
In my Intro to Digital Studies course, we learned about digital communication through several modes, including audio. I produced this “academic minute” podcast for our audio unit:
I’ve learned a lot since then, and would now reduce the volume of the background music – or change the song itself. I also should’ve picked a topic I had more interest in.
Tech for Musicians
I also learned a lot about audio from my Technology for Musicians course Fall 2017 semester. We learned about how hearing is a physical process, what range humans hear in (20Hz to 20,000Hz), how to navigate a typical DAW, how to collect audio samples, what different effects are and how they work (reverb, delay, chorus, flanger, compression, normalization, etc.), about MIDI composition, and much more.
Here are some project highlights from that course:
All that being said, I’ve had experience in creating audio projects with the intent to tell a story. I expect our upcoming project will really give me and my teammates an opportunity to hone in on the narrative process and learn even more.