Weekly Summary Numero Tres

This week’s assignments were tougher than I thought they would be, but I had a lot of fun using the applications and creating the audio. Audacity was a fairly simple and straight forward application I had to use, and the only problems I had this week were uploaded the final products for my audio assignments. The thing I enjoyed doing the most had to be making a song so much slower than what it had to because it felt like I was creating a new song all together, and listening to the radio show stories because I think without that I wouldn’t enjoy audio storytelling as much as I do now. As far as what I learned, I learned there is a lot more to audio than what people think they know. So much goes into making the final product. The thing I would do most differently this week, is the assignment where I had to make my theme song, I felt like I needed to learn more about how to make a song with a beat that has a flow because in the end I felt like my product was just mashed up together and I was not really satisfied with the final product.  As far as any cultural or societal impacts, I definitely did notice when I was listening to other people’s versions of making a a song 800% slower, it really goes to show with enough work any song whether it’s a pop anthem, fantasy theme show, or country song could be turned into an epic or “ethereal” piece.

1.) Reflection on Ira Glass and Jad Abumrad videos

2.) Summary/ Commentary of Radio stories

3.) Assignments

Making a theme slower (3 stars)

Make your own theme song (4 stars)

4.) Daily Creates

6/1/15: Art Generator

6/3/15: Wordplay

6/4/15:Make Art out of a circle

6/6/15: Brides throwing cats

5.) Summary about comments and other people’s blog

6.) Paragraph on what I learned this week, questions, and final assignment ideas/ tutorials submission

You Learn best from others

When I observed other people’s blogs and their assignments, I appreciate how unique each one is. Even though, we don’t know each other or “go back to the good ol’ days”, I am able to tell a little about the kind of person they are. Mainly due to their interests, how they word their posts, even down to what kind of assignments they do. Another interesting thing I learn from looking at people’s blogs is how they approach and complete their assignments. Sometimes I find myself doing the same assignment as someone else and I wonder how they accomplished it. It’s a good reference because if I am having trouble with an assignment I can always look back to see if they had the same problems I did and how they overcame it. As far as the comments, I give and receive, it’s been nothing but positive feedback and tips on how to improve my assignment which I find useful and try to utilize.

Learning is a Continuous Process

I’ve said a numerous amount of times in my posts how much I was not thrilled in approaching this week’s work. I am not an “auditory” person. But, quite a few things over the week has shifted my opinion on audio storytelling quite a bit. First, by listening to Ira Glass and Jad Abumrad, two professionals in the field talk about how much work they put into storytelling and their love for what they do made me gain so much respect for what they do. Then, actually listening to the stories they create and how real it sounded, it made me feel like I was there and it was easy to imagine the scenarios. Finally, when I actually was put in the position on being a person to create auditory stories, I got somewhat and understanding how hard it is to produce sad product with an application.

Assignment Ideas:

These are possible assignment ideas, are they too simple?

Design: Design your own Pokemon

Design: Create your own cereal box cover

As far as writing a tutorial for assignments, I plan on doing:

Design: Typography

Audio: Make a song 800 times slower

“Movies for your Ears”

Can I just say, originally I thought I would not like this unit at all… but now I’m kind of in love with audio storytelling. For this reflection, we had to listen to a radio story and comment on the audio elements in the story. In my case, the series I chose was The Truth (“Movies for your ears”). With a name and slogan like that, it seemed like an entertaining listen.  The series of stories I listened to were Falling, Fine Dining, and It’s Going to Change Your Life .

Falling:

Falling was a “not your typical” love story between a woman and a man, and how the woman met the man by saving his life. Of course any story needs a great intro- the radio bumper had played, and the radio host began his commentary but soon afterwards music and background noise connects the show to the story plot. Briefly two men are talking in the opening scene and in the background, faint hustling and bustling of the people in the rain station. The voices of people get louder and the listener hears there’s a man on the track with a woman.  Then, a loud sound effect of a speeding train is heard followed by silence.

Progression occurs within the silence, a radio show bumper is heard and the couple appears on the fictional radio show signaling the listener they are in a new setting. The story shifts to the middle of the story, where the couple seems to be in a stable relationship. Scenes such as a romantic dinner date and dinner at the woman’s apartment use background music, and sounds of clanking glasses, shutting doors, and a sizzling stove top creates an atmosphere for the listener to imagine.

The last part, tells of when the couple goes through a rough patch. During this part many sounds were drowned out to create drama between the two. The woman tries to jump out the window and an echo of when she did that is heard. Dead silence is heard and followed by a beep from an EKG machine, which is telling others that the couple is in the hospital. The couple reconciles, and a sweet, melodic song is heard bringing the story to an end as the music fades away.

It’s going to Change your Life:

This is a semi-uplifting story on how a young career woman is in a comfortable job and her boss who is being promoted “voluntold” her that she will take her place, and the woman has to go to a seminar to improve her skills. Action starts almost immediately in the story which captures the listener’s attention. Karen the young career woman is called into her superior’s office. Actions are reflected with sounds (slamming of doors, papers shuffling, and turning of doorknobs) giving people a chance to imagine what environment Karen works in. After the first scene, when Karen’s boss tells her to go to a seminar a transition occurs as the landing of an airplane is heard.

At the seminar, Karen is talking with others and background talking can be heard to signal to the listener a new setting has emerged. Karen struggles during her seminar and the leader has a stern talk with Karen. When the seminar leader and Karen are talking all music, voices, and sounds are cut- this shows a tense moment between the two characters. The airplane sound is heard again, and a transition occurs yet again in the story.

Karen’s boss is at a swanky establishment waiting for Karen to arrive, the place Karen’s boss is at is not seen for obvious reasons but the listener can imagine it must be at an upscale place because fancy jazz music blares to establish some sort of setting. The music cut off and Karen is heard talking to a taxi driver, she orders him to go a different way. Karen’s boss calls her, and the fuzziness over the phone captures how realistic and a bit muffled people sound over the phone. Karen sticks it to her boss by saying her boss essentially pushed her into something she didn’t want nor asked Karen if she wanted to do and said that shows the she is a horrible boss. Of course, Karen gets fired but has a new sense of pride in herself. Loud party music is heard in the background and progressively gets louder- revealing Karen’s location. Karen is happy and accepts her unknown fate in the job market and celebrates accompanied by upbeat music which fades away to end the story.

 

Fine Dining:

This quirky story details a fall, then deep fall, then rise of a pragmatic chef who has an underrated appreciation for his passion. The story begins with the opening to the radio show followed by the host making a small commentary- the host does do a good job by incorporating his thoughts and ideas to the story. Swanky music is followed by the commentary and this signals the start of the story. The swanky music fades away and a muted, almost ethereal tune starts playing in the background while the main characters thoughts are being said. The main character revealed to be a chef is snapped out of his daze by his wife and the listener is revealed that he is a chef because minor noises such as pots and pans crashing, waiters coming in and out, and the boiling of liquid is heard in the background. The chef goes into another thought daze yet again and the same melodic tune begins to play as he thinks about his love for making and preparing food, this tune is heard throughout the story to emphasize his thoughts.

Layering occurs with a mixture of loud music and yelling shows a scene change has occurred. The loudness is soon drowned out by his episode of dramatic thoughts yet again. Dead silence occurs, and swanky music is heard signaling that they are back at the chef’s restaurant. A customer enters the restaurant but as he enters a squeaky wheel is faintly heard to tell the listener the customer is wheel chair bound. The handicap man sues the chef because it was not handicapped accessible and this leads the chef out of a job, his restaurant gone, and his marriage on the rocks. The chef’s thoughts happen more frequently but the music isn’t light hearted anymore- it has a more grim tone to it to show the change into the store. The chef’s wife leaves him alone to wallow and dead silence occurs.

In the last part, A TV show’s blaring is heard and the sound gets louder- the chef decides to get a job at a chain restaurant as a line cool and mend his relationship with his wife. Transition occurs as loud music is heard and the chef is working unhappily at a chain restaurant. The same handicapped guy comes in, and the chef goes into “thought mode” the grim tune is heard again and the chef plans to food poison the man who ruined his marriage, and job. The handicapped man gets sick and proceeds to go to the bathroom, the chef follows him into the bathroom trying to ridicule him for being so mean to him. A crackling is heard, along with being layered by dramatic music to show an intense scene where a fire starts in the restaurant. Eventually both the chef and the handicapped man were saved. Sounds of sirens are heard at the end, the chef’s wife finds him and reconciles with him and the music starts to play in the background to show that things have come full circle for him.

The wise words of Ira Glass and Jad Abumrad

Over the past fifty years, Americans have gained a growing dependence on visual aides to tell a story (such as television shows, Netflix, and video games). But one source of media that has been neglected over the years are those of the radio/audio format. I will be the first to admit, I never really saw the point nor thought it was at all interesting to actually listen to some story over the radio because in my mind I figured “Well why not see it all act in front of me rather than waste my time with hearing a story?”. But, listening to well-known professionals in the field does make a so called “visual lover” like me gain a new outlook on storytelling through audio.

Ira Glass, host of a renowned radio show called- This American Life explains in a video interview the overall underrated importance of audio storytelling and creativity.  The first part of the video, Glass explains just like regular storytelling you need to understand the building blocks of telling a story. He later elaborates upon the point by saying when it comes to audio storytelling the best way to tell it is combined through different parts. One, being the anecdote or the actually sequence of events in the story. This anecdote needs to have a “flow” meaning which connects all plot points together. Glass says that if the flow has a good momentum then the listener will not be bored. The other component he then states, is raising questions to those listening and proceed to answer those questions. Not only does this peak the listeners interest but it keeps them wanting more of the story. Finally, Ira Glass says what I took to be the most important part was to reflect on the story. Tell your listeners “Here’s why this is important and how it may or may not affect you”.

Ira Glass also dabbled in talking about creativity and honing it in when it comes to creating a story. He says it’s difficult to find a story rather than creating one, and it’s okay to kill the ideas or as he puts it ever so lightly “kill the crap”, this will enable you to execute a great story to your audience. One of the last points he makes which I thought was good to take note of is sometimes (he stresses especially at the beginning), you will make mistakes and your work won’t be that good, but you need to keep working at it because eventually things will come together for you.

Radiolab’s host Jad Abumrad recycled the ideas that Ira Glass had said but did emphasize the importance of details in audio storytelling. Abumrad says by describing the details of things- no matter how simple they may be this puts no distance between the host and the listeners. The lack of details as Abumrad states actually to be the greatest advantage to audio storytelling because this allows a “co-authorship” to form between the listeners and the host as I they were working on it together and we can imagine our own image of what is happening as it is being described.  Abumrad than closes saying while no one is perfect, there is always room for improvement, something I can attest to, that I need to work on.

I can’t say I will ever have a beautiful relationship with radio shows or an other forms of audio storytelling like I do with my television shows and video games but I can say that listening to both Glass and Abumrad I do gain massive respect and understanding for what they do. If I ever come across a radio talk show, I will take the time to listen because a lot more goes into it than what people think. Another key point I got from listening to these two was how to approach the way I create and do my assignments. I think from now on, more attention will be focused on all the details and flow of how I put my assignments together. One last thing, hearing both Glass and Abumrad reflect on their experiences with work one can tell they had a passion for what they do despite the many mistakes they encounter and no matter how bad things can backfire putting you effort into something can make a worthwhile story.

Vignelli Reflection

Being someone who is interested in Graphic Design, Vignelli’s Canon was an eye-opener and a great source for those who have a penchant for Graphic Design (Like myself) to read. Vignelli starts off by laying down three key aspects of design, those being Semantic, Syntactic, and Pragmatic. Like our previous unit of visual storytelling, the meaning (or “Semantic”) part of a project is probably the most important as Vignelli states that finding the “root” and the understanding of the product will ultimately put forth the best result. Another aspect the Vignelli touches upon, is the “details” or in other words the Syntactics of design. No matter how big or little the details that are in the design are, Vignelli stresses the importance of how consistency with these details can thread the whole design together. This point really got to me, because I know sometimes I take even the smallest of details for granted and the fact of the matter is when it comes to design you need to pay attention to everything. The final key aspect of design is Pragmatics. The design needs to be able to be clear and to show a message to others. If the design is too complex or too abstract it can often confuse people and the overall meaning or Semantic part of it will not be conveyed.

Other abstract ideas also contribute to the success of designing images. Vignelli points to many components such as discipline (having a clean look), the power (no, not that cheesy song by the group SNAP!) but the visual strength and how much attention it can pull. One other important components I saw mentioned was timelessness. Many of the world’s iconic logos or symbols for things like companies, TV shows, or magazines have a sense of timelessness to them. You don’t even have to be familiar with the company, show, etc. to recognize the logo. But, Vignelli said that to capture the essence of timelessness one should try to reflect values of its background.
The most helpful part to me was the tangible side of design. Vignelli was a pioneer in which he had no computer programs or nifty phone apps to create. It was kind of refreshing a reminder of yes you can create something iconic just with a pen and piece of paper. Also, while creativity and originality are what drives the making of a design, the technical aspect is as equally important. The design can be affected just by the scale of things, the size and type of font you use, color, texture, and even something as simple as the placement can affect the overall outcome of the final designed product.

I’ll admit I was not sure if I would gain any information out the text. But to my surprise, I did, I definitely learned to appreciate the technical aspect more (especially during his time). For those who have a love for graphic design, I would recommend to take a look at this, it has some valuable points that can be utilized in the future of graphic design.