Digital and Analog Storytelling

The entire history of human expression, slightly abridged

Welcome to DS Audio

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Welcome to DS Audio

Congratulations, you made it through the Foundations and Video sections of Digital Storytelling! Now, onto DS Audio.

For this section you will be required to complete a minimum of two audio pieces totaling a minimum of four minutes of well-produced audio. These two audio pieces are in addition to whatever audio pieces that are assigned for in-class work or homework. A list of suggested forms for audio pieces follows on the next page.

You will also need to complete 8 daily creates or audio creates—2 for the first week, 3 the next, 3 the next. Daily creates are available at Audio creates will be made available, two at a time, at (there is now a helpful link on the left side of the home page where you can go straight to a list of links to each of the audio creates).

Similar to the collaborative storytelling “Beardfish” project, we will be making a radio show together. Whatever piece(s) that you make for the show will count against your two piece minimum; you must make at least one piece for the radio show, which will be on a theme that the class decides on together. More to come on this.

A draft of the piece for the radio show is due March 13th(you will workshop this piece in class on that day); all of your final audio pieces are due March 20th.

Basic terminology: Acts, tracks, and ambi

Actualities (Acts)—These are your quotes, spoken dialogue as opposed to narration. Examples include dialogue from an interview that you conducted; dialogue from a scene that you recorded (speech from everyone in the scene—including you, if you are in it, asking questions for example—is considered an actuality); a diary entry or document read aloud by another person.

Tracks—Written (and edited and re-written) narration recorded after (or at least outside of) any actuality recordings. This is the reporter describing the scene that you are about to listen to; this is the reporter explaining who the expert is that you are about to hear from;  this is the reporter making any necessary transitions between acts; this is the reporter explaining the significance of a given idea or audio clip; this is the reporter explaining the human impact or moral or background on a given story.

Ambient (Ambi)—Ambi refers to any ambient sounds which help you make your piece more urgent or real (more real-sounding, anyway). The bell over a front door tinkling as a character walks into a store. The hubbub of a classroom before the teacher begins class. The sound of a car engine turning over but not starting. Any ambient used in a pieces must be relevant to the story or to the scene that you are depicting.

Focus statement—A statement that drives the piece. Every piece of tape in your piece must reflect back on that focus statement. Similar in function to a thesis statement in an argumentative paper.

Examples of audio projects:

 Vox Pop (30 seconds-2 minutes)

A feature including multiple, man- or woman-on-the-street responses to the same question or related questions (Why do you like Ann Arbor? What do think of the Lions chances next year? Is global warming real?).

Audio postcard (1-2 minutes)

Diary/portrait (2-4 minutes or longer)

An audio piece produced without any narration, made up only of actualities and ambient sound. This is most often created as a portrait of a person, group of people, or a place.

NPR-style news feature (2-4 miinutes)

A news (or news-syle) story featuring narration, actualities, and ambient sound. Important elements to consider including: a scene (or scenes), expert opinion, first-person description or exposition.

Produced conversation (a la Radiolab) (any length)

A conversation between two (or more) people, featuring the conversation as well as pertinent scenes (including actualities and ambient sound) and expert testimony.

Audio essay (a la This American Life) (any length)

A narrated essay, including musical interludes if appropriate.


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This entry was posted on February 21, 2013 by in audio, deep thoughts, umdst and tagged , , , .
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