And That’s a Wrap, Folks!

Radio is a medium that I never thought I would enjoy as much as I did. Not only did I love listening to our group’s final project on the radio, the process of making it was so satisfying. There is nothing that gives me more pride now, than lining up sound effects in the correct order to make it sound like a real-life scene. (Okay, maybe there are some things that go above that, but it really is fun and rewarding.) As a listener of the show, I was so nervous leading up to its premier, because I just wanted everyone else to love the outcome as much as we do. There was so much work that went into every aspect of the show, as I’m sure  it did with everyone’s, that I honestly think I would have been heart-broken if people hated it! Haha! When the show started playing, there were several technical difficulties, as other parts of the radio were playing over top of it, so of course I was freaking out a little bit. However, they finally got it working right, and it was smooth sailing from there. The viewers that I interact with on Twitter all had positive feedback for the show, which was great to see. The most exciting tweets were the ones from the professors, because they know how to use the technical jargon to make us feel like we really accomplished something great! Although I was nervous, at first, I truly enjoyed listening to the show on DS106 Radio and interacting with other listeners during the show.

If there was one thing that I wish could have been done differently, it would have been to start the audio editing earlier. However, this was not possible because three of the four people in our group, myself included, were all playing in the CAC Women’s Basketball Championship and took an unplanned overnight trip to Salisbury, Maryland, during the weekend the radio show was due. However, we are  big advocates for “no excuses”, so we worked on it as much as we could at the hotel and on the bus and pulled an all day, into the night, work session on Sunday. The intricacies of audio editing are time-consuming but extremely rewarding when everything comes together.  The finished product is something of which we are extremely proud!

As I have stated previously, I received a lot of satisfaction in lining up the sound effects in Audacity to have them flow together like one big, happy radio show. That was absolutely my favorite part. It was my job to put all of the sound clips together after everyone sent me their dialogue parts, so it was just me and my computer against the world! I spent about eight hours straight just putting the show together, and it was worth every second. I also really enjoyed the brainstorming process, as bouncing ideas off of everyone was very beneficial in the storyline development. All of my group members had awesome ideas, and we were unstoppable when we put them all together. Although it was rewarding, audio editing was probably the hardest part of the project, as well. There were many frustrating moments, because of how intricate sounds are and how even the tiniest movement of a clip can make a scene sound completely disconnected. It was also difficult to schedule meeting times with the four of us having different schedules, so we did most of the voice recording separately. However, I think we made it work very well!

For future DS106 students, I suggest an early start, group recording, and having fun with it! Definitely start the brainstorming process earlier on in the week! It takes more time than one would think to consider each character’s back story and fabricate a way for them to interact in a way that maintains consistency. Also, since audio editing is also time-consuming, it won’t seem so bad if it is done a little at a time. Since we did most of our recording separately, we had to edit the clips and and put them together along with the sound effects. This is exactly why I suggest recording as a group on one computer, so that you will not have to add this step to the process. My final tip is to have fun! It is important to be proud of your final product, so put a lot of work into it, and you will get a lot out of it!

I Didn’t Just Get A Clue, I Got A Lot of Clues!

Tuning in to “Get a Clue” this week was definitely an experience! The Twitter buzz about Lawrence Spitler surely did not disappoint! In order to describe my personal experience while listening to this show, I would have to say that one of my favorite parts was trying to figure out who killed him and another was feeling like I was interacting with the show in a way. It kept me on my toes for sure!

Speaking from a technical standpoint, my absolute favorite part of the show is the dialogue. The use of so much slang and curse words gives it a realistic and raw feeling that just screams “noir”. One can tell that the creators put a lot of effort into script writing, as each word and line are well thought out. The sound elements flow well, as they propel the dialogue and vice versa. From the very beginning, the suspenseful music captures the listener’s attention and never lets it go, as the music strategically transitions when the character monologues change. I think this adds organization to the show, because each character’s monologue has its own background music to associate with it. The written dialogue is brought to life by the voice actors. At times, it seems like some of the voices are a little drowned out by the music and effects, but their voice inflections truly convey the emotions and seriousness of the plot. The sound effects truly stand out, from the angelic sound introducing one of the women, to the loud police sirens.

The only note that I would make about this otherwise great show is that I found myself wanting a little more interaction between the characters. Don’t get me wrong, I love the monologues, because they provide a solid background for the women’s relationships with Lawrence and establish the premise of the plot. However, I think some direct dialogue between the characters would add even more depth to “Get a Clue”. That being said, I absolutely love the show and think that everyone did a superb job in writing and producing it.

You Inspire Me, Kathy!

Kathy Onarheim is an active tweeter, so I frequently view her pieces and get inspired by her detailed posts and creative work. To choose just one of her masterpieces is difficult, but I really enjoyed her “Sketchy Dr. Groom on Assignment” design project. It is definitely worthy of being submitted on the IN[SPIRE] website:

Kathy’s creation inspires me because I have never seen anything like her digitization of a drawing before. She took a normal sketch that visually portrayed Professor Groom’s check-in video, and broke it up into steps, as he talked on a YouTube video. It was truly compelling to watch. The narration of the process for this work really inspired me because she included every detail of her work, step-by-step, to the point where I could follow the steps and recreate a similar project. Kathy put a lot of effort into this assignment, and it definitely shows.

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Kathy, you inspire me to remain DS106 4Life! Keep up the great work!

You Inspire Me, Brian!

I always enjoy when my peers add comedy to their assignments, since the theme of noir can be so dark and serious! While searching for IN[SPIRE] works, I remembered one of Brian Christiansen’s that literally made me laugh out loud. It is the photo with Professor Groom as the Godfather. “THE GROOMFATHER” is definitely well done and deserves a shout-out on the website:

Brian’s Photoshop design inspires me because the insertion of Professor Groom’s face into a picture of “The Godfather” flows perfectly. For someone who has not seen the movie, they could easily believe that Professor Groom did belong in that photo. It is clear that Brian took extra time to perfect his Photoshopped image, and he added a sense of comicality to the assignment by inserting our Professor. He motivates me to do the same!

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Brian, your creation makes me want to experiment with Photoshop, so that I can achieve something as epic as this!

You Inspire Me, July!

I found July’s website using Twitter and began browsing through her work because of her interesting tweets. I felt confident that at least one of the completed assignments would fittingly belong on the IN[SPIRE] website. The catchy jazz track of her Radio Bumper promptly caught my attention. Not only is the music perfect for a noir-themed bumper, the message is conveyed in a unique way that I have never come across before. She inspires me with her “DS106 Radio Bumper”:

July’s bumper inspires me because she went the extra mile by creating the message about “DS106″ through sound bites and not just doing a typical voice over. This has also motivated me to experiment more with Audacity to be able to achieve this effect, and my experiments are coming along nicely. I also like the jazz track that she used, as it creates the image of a classic “noir” jazz club or bar scene.

Great work, July! You inspire me to continue using Audacity to reach my audio editing potential! :)

You Inspire Me, Emily!

When searching for pieces to submit on the IN[SPIRE] website, I utilized Twitter to find people who have shared their work and have utterly amazed me with the quality. This is where I found Emily Bostaph’s “What is black and white and red all over?”. First, I want to start by saying that all of Emily’s pieces capture my attention immediately with their catchy, and sometimes provocative, titles. They are awesome! I chose her newspaper design assignment because, as I said on the the website:

Emily’s newspaper design inspires me because she made the extra effort to choose a design assignment that incorporated a lot of writing, as well. The design is very well put together and looks exactly like a real newspaper. Emily’s writing is compelling and truly conveys a background for her character, Cecilia Alva. This design motivates me to continue to put extra effort into my pieces!

Emily's Newspaper

The details of the story and the spacing of the design are top-notch. Great work, Emily!

Dead Silence: A Twisted Plot with Twisted Characters

At first listen, the radio show, “Dead Silence”, captured my attention immediately with the prominence of the sound effects. They are clean and crisp, and the combination of the voice-overs flows nicely. As for my experience as a listener, I enjoyed the show mostly for the intricacies of the plot, as it evolves from a typical heist, to a love triangle, to murder, of course! As a fellow DS106’er, I have immense appreciation for the effort that was put into the script writing. It takes a long time to work out all of the details of a plot, especially if it includes twists, such as a double-cross and murder for revenge. I can relate so well because our script took just as many turns, and we had to double and triple check for inconsistencies and mistakes. These plot twists relate directly to noir-styled composition, as noir is never just black and white (at least not in script writing). The show includes a lot of other classic noir tropes like whiskey, gun shots, a small-town Sheriff character, and darkness.

The voice acting in this show is expressive when it comes to the intense scenes The infliction of the voices maintains your attention. I wish that this expressiveness continued through the normal conversations, as there are times when the voices have a monotone sound. However, it is completely understandable, as none of us are professional radio personalities! On the other hand, the acting during the times of intensity really creates the sense of urgency, lust, and panic resonating with the characters. In addition, the use of small response phrases, such as “be there in five” and “fine, I’ll see you there”, absolutely scream noir with their brevity and sense of coldness.

My favorite part of the show is the use of the existing noir character, Shadow. It really works to convey the darkness of the show because Shadow’s voice literally sends chills down my spine, in the best way possible. Overall, I believe that the creators of “Dead Silence” did a great job in the thorough writing of their script and compilation of sound effects.

Imagination and MaNOIRpulation

This second week of working on our radio show definitely proved challenging and a lot more rigorous than week one. Since our group, consisting of Aubrey Howland, Amanda Layton, Brianne Comden, and myself,  used week one to create the commercials, radio bumpers, and basic idea/storyline for our show, week two consisted of all of the physical work. This included the script writing, line recording, and audio editing. After coming up with a brief storyline, I started a Google Document and shared it with my group members to start writing the dialogue and link to different sound effects that individual persons thought would be crucial to add into the final product. We met this past Wednesday to develop the entire storyline from start to finish. It was great to bounce ideas off of each other. At several points in the meeting, I was pacing around the room with ideas just flowing out of my mouth. :) After writing the storyline in bullet points, we started on the dialogue together. Later that night, I wrote a lot more because ideas just kept flowing. Luckily, all of my group members liked it and added to it. We finished up the final script by Friday afternoon and started recording Friday night. With all of our hectic schedules and the weather, we decided it would be just as easy to record separately, and then everyone sent me their lines to edit and compile into Audacity.

We also met on Sunday morning to finish up the show, as audio editing is very tedious. I downloaded all of the sound effects and placed them in their appropriate spots based on what we wrote in the Google Document. The most difficult part was putting the lines together in a way that they flowed from one to the next. As good as I got with Audacity, audio editing is still no joke. I cannot tell you how many times I had to zoom into certain clips to cut out maybe two-tenths of a sound that did not belong. After several hours of editing and a few additions to spice up the ending, we finished our show at 20 minutes and 2 seconds. Whew! Every second of that show brought blood, sweat, and tears. Okay, maybe no blood. Usually, I am very critical of working in a group, but I truly enjoyed it this time. It was great to share ideas and come together for the final product, one of which I am very proud. I think the term, “maNOIRpulated” will definitely catch on!

Below are the commercial and the radio bumper that I created for the show, as well as the final product! I hope you enjoy!

 

May I get a drumroll please?….

Pros of Progress

Week one of Radio Days…check! I started this week’s work early, by searching for a group on Monday. Luckily, I have a couple teammates in this class, and we knew that it would be ideal to work together because we have the same schedule. We joined up with another student, as well, and together we are…”the maNOIRpulators”. Our group consists of myself, Aubrey Howland, Brianne Comden, and Amanda Layton. We developed our group name after reading each other’s character dossiers and seeing how our characters could interact. Since all of them are somewhat mysterious women, with a few Femme Fatales thrown into the mix, we knew exactly what we should be called. Upon reading each dossier thoroughly, I came up with a quick synopsis of how our characters could interact in a radio show. I sent it to all of the members in our group text message (our primary form of communication) and we went from there. Our idea is that my character will meet with her friend, Amanda’s character, at her cousin’s (Aubrey’s character) bar. My character will be there to meet with one of her client’s husbands to seduce him and eventually remove him from her client’s life. Unbeknownst to her, Amanda’s character is there to seduce the same wealthy man to ruin his life. While this interaction is going on, there will be flashbacks to the two cousins’ grandmother (Brianne’s character). She will be giving the women advice on how to be independent and not take being degraded by men. With this sketch for a storyline, our next step is writing dialogue and developing our characters, which we will begin soon. This may seem like a daunting task, but I know we are up for it. It will be interesting to write an all-female-led story, because I have yet to view or read one that does not have a male lead in the noir world.

In addition to the individual work that I contributed to the storyline, I have also created one commercial, one radio bumper, and one promotional logo for our show. Check out the logo below:

 

DS106 Radio Show logo

Copyrights and Copy-wrongs!

Copyright is a very complex subject. We touched on it a little bit in my Freshman Seminar class last semester, and I came to one conclusion then: copyright is restrictive and does not even get fully enforced. After reading and watching the materials for this post, I came to a similar conclusion. However, these resources give me a better understanding of the history of copyright, why it is somewhat needed, and how Creative Commons provides a much more advantageous solution. When the nation’s first copyright law went into effect in 1783, it was meant to protect revenues from original pieces (specifically Noah Webster’s), and give authors and artists control over the distribution of their work, according to “A Brief History of Copyright”. Back in that time period, I can understand the need for such strict laws. And even back then, the copyright only lasted for fourteen years with the option for renewal until it was offered to the public domain. Larry Lessig, as a part of his TED Talk,  “Laws that Choke Creativity”, epitomizes my opinion on the subject. He believes that laws, like copyright, are silencing the vocal cords of the people. In addition, they are turning a former read-write culture into a read-only culture, and the Internet is the only way to relive the read-write culture. He argues for a balance between the two extremes of auto-takedown regardless of fair use and rejection of copyright all together. The only way to do this is for the creators to demand availability of their work and for businesses to enable this. Lessig, like myself, realizes that copyright laws are really only forcing access to the material underground and call those who access it, pirates; they cannot stop it.

The next two resources focus on the “fair use” doctrine associated with copyright laws. It allows citizens to reproduce, distribute, or exhibit parts of copyrighted material under certain circumstances without authorization. However, the purpose of using this material must fall under four options: criticism, news reporting, teaching, or parody. These ideas are presented in an extremely creative way in the short film, “A Fair(y) Use Tale”. The funny thing about this video is that the “fair use” doctrine is the sole reason as to why it can take clips from so many Disney movies and put them into something totally different. The material that falls under the “fair use” doctrine must abide by the rules of nature, amount, and commercial impact (it cannot change the material’s value in the marketplace). Most of the same coverage of this aspect of copyright is covered in “Fair Use Frequently Asked Questions”. The “fair use” doctrine is a start in allowing more access to copyright material but fails to succeed completely, due to limitations in the rules.

A better alternative to copyright altogether is the Creative Commons initiative (explained in “7 Things You Should Know about Creative Commons”)  Created by a nonprofit organization, this movement allows copyright owners to release some of the rights to their work while retaining others. Overall, it increases access to and sharing of intellectual property. Whereas copyright is essentially all or nothing (either in the public domain or completely restricted from access), Creative Commons offers a number of different types of licenses that allow the creator to pick and choose what aspects are protected or not. This article states that higher education is using Creative Commons more and more, and I can attest to that fact, because I used its search website several times last semester to find images to post on my original website. It allows one to avoid any nagging copyright notifications, and in more extreme cases, lawsuits.

When considering my own sense of “ownership” in relation to original work, I would definitely apply for a Creative Commons license of some sort if I was to publish it. I believe that sharing intellectual property is key to expanding knowledge. Copyright laws are too strict for my own personal taste. That being said, I still believe that it is important to give credit where credit is due. I would not appreciate it if someone else was to use my work, without citing me as the author or creator. Ownership is important, but so is creative sharing and expansion.