Week Three-Audio Storytelling

Reflections

1. Reflecting on Jab Abumrad and Ira Glass

Radio Isn’t Dead

2. Reflecting on Audio Storytelling Guidelines

Create Sound not Noise

3. Reflecting on This American Life: I Was Just Trying to Help

Listen Up

Daily Creates

1.

2.

3.

4.

1. For this assignment, I was able to focus on the natural sound effects of my own world, no foley artist required. These are the kinds of sounds that Ira Glass would want me to capture to contribute to the broken narrative style of audio storytelling. The clip progresses from the sounds of me brushing my teeth, making coffee and eating cereal like any other normal morning routine. Then the audio shifts to the sounds I hear in the mornings at camp, beginning with the sounds of a few kids finding me in a game of “hide the counselor” and then the chatter during our camp greeting. This assignment is worth 3.5 stars.

Putting the Day-to-Day on Shuffle

2. This assignment required me to use only sound effects to make a story. I didn’t include much dialogue because I used only generated sound effects found online. The process of developing this story was far more challenging than I had anticipated and I was eventually inundated with a great number of sound effects and no use for most of them. I finally had to narrow my collection as well as decrease the time frame of the clip as a whole so as not to surpass the 90 second limit. This assignment was worth 3.5 stars.

Move

3. I created this project in an attempt to show the power of unedited audio. While edited and overproduced content is much more my style of audio storytelling and listening, the pure organic sounds of nature are comforting and compelling. There is as much a sense of calmness as there is excitement and possibility. I attempted to make arrange the sound in a way that represented happiness. This assignment was worth 3.5 stars.

Outside

4. For this assignment, I used a few seconds from a couple of my favorite songs to write a poem. The lyrics meld much better than the music does, but this is the only project I completed this week with significant dialogue. This assignment is worth 2.5 stars.

It’s Alright, It’s Alright

Comments

I commented on several of my peers blogs this week:

1. http://littlelamb34.com/audio/moon-graffiti-summary/#comment-38

2. http://ds106jake.jakobwaterman.org/blog/uncategorized/experts-describe-their-craft-storytelling/#comment-9

3. https://jbelodeauds106.wordpress.com/wp-comments-post.php

4. http://bballforever.com/assignments/audio/a-rainy-day/#comment-36

5. http://ds106.viletroop.net/assignments/hack/#comment-7

I also received and responded to a few comments on my own site:

 

What I learned this week

I thought I liked the sound of my own voice (I don’t). And maybe that’s why I chose to carry out my audio storytelling through sound effects alone. Going into this week I thought that I would have thought that I would want to solely tell stories through dialogue because I love podcasts so much. Surprisingly, I was most drawn to the assignments that allowed me to manipulate sound to tell my stories. This was of course, far more challenging than I had initially anticipated, but it was a rewarding and interesting process. Sound effects are becoming more and more interesting to me, whenever I listen to a podcast or watch a movie now I am far more aware of the subtlety of the sound design. I am realizing that everything is deliberate and planned. There is much to be heard.

Audio Storytelling

This week, I think my best work is the project I created for the “Sound Effects Story” assignment. I kind of made the story up as I went along, which was difficult at first but eventually became intuitive. When I had finally completed the audio mixing, I had a scene made up completely in my head. The written story were the words that matched this scene, which existed completely without dialogue beforehand. It was definitely unusual for me to have to write a fictional scene, I rarely ever have to create fictional stories. However, I am pleased with the story I have created and I’m glad I was able to follow up with the goal I set for myself last week to create more fictional stories.
I experienced some minor frustration this week because of how finicky Audacity can be. It took me a while to get comfortable with the program even though I’ve used it many times before. I had to take a brief hiatus from audio editing when the program crashed on my computer which put me slightly behind in my assignments for this week. However, I did find that Audacity was much easier for me to use than GIMP was, and so the creation of content for this week went a little smoother than the past weeks work.
The comments I received this week were all somewhat useful, although the most useful one I received was a constructive criticism on my first project created for the assignment “What’s the Story Morning Glory.” The comment stated that although she liked the way that the sounds progressed somewhat seamlessly in the initial portion of the clip, the switch to children at camp was too sudden and interrupted the flow of the audio clip. I think that I definitely could have created some additional sound to serve as a transition, however I also am rather fond of the abruptness. Although I do think that this is probably because I was expecting the abrupt shift.
The most important thing I have taken from this week is the advice from Ira Glass and Jad Abumrad. These two radio personalities have been role models to me for years, and to finally hear them explicitly outline what makes for good audio storytelling was invaluable. I am excited to move forward in my own experimentation with audio storytelling. I want to really try to harness the broken narrative style of storytelling and work more adamantly to seek out better stories.

Week Two-Design Storytelling

Reflections-

I made two reflections based on the readings, videos and podcasts that I used in my design creation this week:

1. Vignelli’s Cannon Reflection:

Noticing the Unnoticed: Reflecting on Vignelli’s Cannon

2. Reflecting on “We Are All Artists” and several other resources:

Everyone (Even Fred, the YouTuber?) is an Artist

DesignBlitz:

The Good, the Bad and the Accidental

Daily Creates

Design Assignments

1. For this assignment, I had to rely on what I had learned from Vignelli about typography. The text in this movie poster is almost more iconic than the images, and try as I might, the font from the orginal poster could not be recreated. Altjough I followed the example of the original poster in the way that I oriented the text, I did have to rely on my own sense of balance since the proportions of my poster differed slightly from that of the original. I referenced the Everyone video on Symmetry because of the contrast between the living and the dead, the human and the inhuman, that is represented on the poster. This project was worth 4 stars.

Sometimes a Fart Joke Makes You Cry

2. This project was all about minimalism and color for me, I definitely drew some inspiration from the Simply Clever minimalism section of Visual News. This project was worth 3 stars.

L’Air de Panache

3. I found myself referring to Karen Kavett’s introductory video on color theory frequently during this project. Her mention of the unattractive vibrating sensation that results through the use of analogous colors is part of what inspired me to recreate a more attractive, but equally striking project. This project was worth 3 stars.

Beware of the Failed Franchise

4. I may actually order this shirt, I’m glad that I was finally pushed to design what has merely been an idea for so long. The project was worth 2 stars.

Ferrous Wheel

5. I had a lot of fun with this assignment, I could create these images for hours on end. I think in my free time, I’m going to try to apply more concepts of design to projects like this. Once I become more adept in the use of GIMP and programs similar to it, I will be able to put more energy, time and effort into the design of the content than the logistics of its creation. This project was worth 3 stars.

We Were Already There

GIF Projects

1.

Over and Under and Under and Over

2.

Some People are like Bad Sushi

Additional Activity this Week

I made an effort to reach out to my DS106 cohorts with a few end-of-week questions:

1.

Places To Visit

2.

Make Your Own Data


Storytelling Through Design-

3.

Event Advertisement

This week was definitely a greater challenge than the past week. I have always found the concepts of design rather easy to understand when presented in text and with examples, but when I am required to go out in search of those elements in the designs that exist in my world, I am struck by just how ignorant I often am to my surroundings. Design should be so well-thought out that it can go unnoticed, but I should be able to recognize the use of colors and typography and the many other design elements of my world. However, this is no easy task, and this week was particularly challenging because of that. This made the DesignBlitz my most challenging assignment. I took dozens of pictures for each of the design elements I chose to discuss and when I sat down in an attempt to analyze them further, it became apparent to me that I actually really did not know why I had chosen those images as representative of the characteristic. Ultimately, I found that analysis of design was most accessible to me in those contexts which I inherently analyzed designs. This included advertisements and packaging in stores.
I am most excited for what I learned this week in my use of GIMP. I was nervous initially when I saw the “Are We There Yet” assignment because I had absolutely no idea how to cut out a portion of one image and transfer it to another photo. However, by looking at tutorials created by previous students I was able to tease apart the methods. I am still frustrated with the GIMP tools that I don’t yet understand how to use, and I plan to research the application further so that I can make better use of it. I had to accept some of my projects before I felt I had truly created what I had envisioned just because I was unsure of how to manipulate the photos in the ways that I wanted. Even though my projects like “We Were Already There” and “Beware of the Failed Franchise” were slightly different from what I had originally intended, I am still proud of their outcome.
I also suffered a bit this week from my need to achieve the aesthetic that I hold so dear. My initial product for the “Warning” assignment did not at all come out as I had hoped, in fact it was quite ugly. So after having spent a little over an hour planning and creating it, I discarded the whole project and started again. I’m glad that I did this though because my final project is of much higher caliber, I’m not afraid to show it off like I would have been with the original. But, because I believe in learning from mistakes, I did post my original attempt in my Thoughts & Ideas category.
I was excited that I was able to incorporate a little biochemistry into my work this week, although I am sorry to anyone who has to read through it (I know it’s not the most riveting subject to most, but I’m completely captivated by it). Every time I am able to intertwine my passion with the artistic world, I feel like I’m proving to myself that art and science can coexist, so this really is a significant feat for me.
Of all the projects that I worked on this week, the GIF projects were my favorite once again. The “FIG” project was particularly fun because it required me to jump into Lake Tahoe again and again until my feet started to get a little numb. As I discussed in my first reflection, I feel as if we all have some instinctual sense of design. I found myself naturally placing text and arranging colors in ways that fulfilled the advice of the design resources I had consulted. Humans have a natural tendency to create beauty and functionality, however there were many instances in which I felt what I had created was off in some way that I couldn’t quite place. I have hardly any instinct at all when it comes to analyzing designs that I did not create, so this week was extremely educational for me.
I am becoming more comfortable with my online interface and I’m excited to break into a few more digital tools in the coming projects. I was able to improve upon my blog posts by embedding links in text and creating tutorials with screenshots for each project I made. During this upcoming week, I hope that I can use a few new tools and work on fictional storytelling. I’m a very realistic and practical person, so a little fiction would do me some good.

Week One-Visual Storytelling

Setting Up My Domain and Social Media-

Before taking this class, I already had a domain set up for my job as a peer mentor for incoming freshman in fall of 2017. The name “the open reading frame” is a biology reference (an open reading frame is a portion of genetic information with the potential to be converted into a protein), I chose this because I will be the peer mentor to students hoping to major in biology. Setting up my social media accounts was relatively simple, I already had a youtube/google account as well as a twitter account, although I chose to make a second twitter account. To make my Flickr account public, I added a few photos that I took using my 35 mm film camera. The main challenge in the set up of my social media accounts was that I had a lot of trouble using Gravatar. I tried again and again to activate this universal avatar so that it would be applied to all of my social media accounts but the program did not work. Although I do have a Gravatar account with a photo selected as my universal avatar, I had to set most of my profile pictures myself. I was unsuccessful in setting a profile picture for my WordPress account.

Multimodel Introductions

Social Media Scavenger Hunt: Some Multimodel Introductions

For my introduction, I produced content on Soundcloud, Flickr and Vimeo and created a kind of scavenger hunt using a format that was trending on twitter several months ago. In this format the user tweets to call to the attention of their followers a hidden message in a photo. Once the message is discovered, they will be sent on a journey of links to reach a final, digital destination. In this case, my tweet leads my followers to my header image, which tells them where to find a link to my first Soundcloud playlist. Upon reaching the playlist, they will find another link in the description to my first video on Vimeo. At the end of the video, viewers are instructed to locate yet another link that finally leads them to my first album on Flickr, completing the hunt. Feel free to follow the trail, but I will also link the content from each site in this summary:

A Day (Off) In the Life from Sarah Roche on Vimeo.

Now You Know Me (Kind Of.)

Customizing My Blog-

For the most part, this was a really enjoyable process for me. At first, there were many aspects about WordPress that I found frustrating and difficult to maneuver. I was confused about how to assign a specific post to a particular page, and I did not understand the concept of categories. After some research and tutorial videos, I have finally managed to set up a well organized system of categories and I am able to funnel posts directly to the pages that I want them to appear on. I decided to use the 2017 theme mostly because it allows for YouTube videos to serve as the homepage header. The aesthetic of my website is pretty much what I would like it to be, both the video and photo version of my header are beautiful elements, and I included widgets like the audio-player that give my page a little of my own style. I am not particularly fond of the way that posts appear on my pages, they are not easy to differentiate between and I don’t like that they appear in narrow columns. Additionally, for my “About” page, I used a plugin called BeaverBuilder which advertises itself as an easy to use tool that allows you to place content anyway you like. However, this tool is not as useful as it claims to be and I have again been stuck with a very linear page when I would much rather see the content of that page in a more unified layout. I installed plugins like Jetpack and Askimet and watched tutorials on moderation of comments.

Reflections-

1. Photo Reflection and Readings/Video Reflection:

Reflections and Best Photo

My reflection on the two pieces on photography and watched a video on visual literacy was in combination with a reflection of my photography produced so far.

2. Photo Safari and Reflection:

Shutter Speed

My photo safari and reflection were combined into a single post.

Daily Creates-

1. #1996

My First Daily Create #tdc1996

2. #1997

Daily Create #1997

3. #1998

TDC #1998

Assignments-

This week I completed four Visual Assignments from the ds106 Handbook:

1. My Very Own Spubble: “What a Hike”

What a Hike

For this assignment, the student is tasked with captioning a photo of themselves with dialogue that somewhat contradicts the visual representation within the photo. This was a frustrating assignment for me for several reasons. I debated for a long time over what photo to use. I had hoped to think of a pose and a take a brand new picture for the assignment, but I was having trouble coming up with an idea. As I searched through old photos of myself for inspiration, I found the picture of my sister and me on the mountain and immediately had my idea. Another point of frustration in this project was how difficult it was to implement a speech bubble into the picture. I really am new to all things digital and I don’t know of many of the tools that are commonly used for projects like this. However, the ds106 handbook led me to GIMP and that was somewhat useful. However, I was stumped by a lot of the tools and spent a while researching the program. I was fully annoyed by the time I was finally able to complete the task, using the advice from the assignment itself to use a site called Picnik (which apparently no longer exists) and Aviary, which is very basic and did not have the tools I wanted. It’s becoming apparent to me that I don’t really have much of an aptitude for digital studies, and I will need to work my way through a serious learning curve. This project had a star value of 2.

2. GIF Animate Your Day Like Ben: “A Truly Endless Summer”

A Truly Endless Summer

This project requires the student to take footage of moments throughout their day and convert them into animated GIFs. I absolutely loved doing this assignment, it is my favorite of all the work I produced this week. As I mention in the content itself, I am somewhat obsessed with memories. Now that I know how to make GIFs, I think I’ll have a way to satisfy my extreme nostalgia. Not only did I enjoy seeing those moments of my day become infinite loops, I had a lot of fun with writing up the assignment. Writing about these moments was cathartic, and made me realize just how powerful a simple GIF is. Even though creating the GIFs was extremely straightforward, I am unabashedly proud of myself for these little creations. This was a project I was excited to share with people when usually I like to keep anything artistic I create to myself. I think I want to continue creating GIFs like this, perhaps even set up a second blog purely for my own fun. With future GIFs that I make, I want to attempt to take the videos so that they are more ideal for splicing in a way that makes the video really appear succinct and without transition every time the loop starts over. Because I shot all my footage before I had any experience making a GIF, I didn’t record videos in a way that would make the editing process simpler, so this is definitely a point I hope to improve upon. This project had a star value of 4.

3. Not Quite Norma Jeane: “Fear is stupid. So are regrets.”

“Fear is stupid. So are regrets.”

This was a fun and simple project that required the student to recreate a classic Marilyn Monroe poster. The prompt simply requires that the student recreate each picture and then compile them into a collage that mirrors the original. I had intended to complete the assignment in that manner without straying from the assignment, however as mentioned in my blog post, I felt like the unedited photos came out so nicely that wanted to be able to show them off. I converted the post into a sales pitch for several poster varieties, going along with the “not digital truth-telling” concept discussed in the first videos. I’m not hugely interested in fiction as a consumer or as a producer but this was an interesting experience and I’m glad that I gave it a try. I’m also pleased that I managed to do something a little more unique with this project rather than just following the guidelines. I definitely want to work more on my photography skills in the future. While I think the quality of these photos are good, I am not terribly impressed with their likeness to the originals. I had hoped they would be more similar, I could not quite figure out how to manipulate the light in the setting I chose to create more accurate recreations. This project had a star value of 2.

4. Unlikely Intersections: “A Mutually Exclusive Intersection”

A Mutually Exclusive Intersection

As is my style, I took a simple project and over-thought it. I have a tendency to overthink things a lot, which may be obvious from the lengthy blog post for this assignment which required no actual writing. However, I am impressed by just how much the concept behind this tiny task caused me to think. I was completely struck when I recognized the contrast between the two street names and realized that it could be of some use to me. It felt fairly serendipitous to have stumbled upon an intersection that represented a conflict that I spend a lot of time deliberating over. I think what I discussed in my blog post is fairly important and references some very compelling topics. As a scientist, I am thrilled that I was able to pull my passion into one of my projects. It’s always a challenge for me to intertwine science and artwork because I become extremely invested in anything that I work on, and I can really only focus on a discipline at a time. Part of the reason I am taking this class over the summer is because I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to produce quality artwork during a semester when I am trying to simultaneously produce quality lab reports and research papers. But in this project I was able to have a bit of both. This assignment had a star value of 2.

Additional Activity This Week-

This week I was fairly active on twitter. I not only sent out tweets to spread the word about my blog posts but I also interacted with a few of my classmates and received some feedback from the international ds106 community:

As of now, I have not received any comments on my own posts but I look forward to replying to them as they appear! I did, however, comment on the posts of some of the members of our class:

Contradictions

Lessons in Photography


Visual Storytelling-

This week has put me through the ringer. Creating digital content was far more difficult than I had assumed it would be. I’m not tech savvy, I spend very little time on the internet and I don’t follow any blogs so I often felt a little lost. On top of the practical difficulties I faced was the issue of creativity. Recently I haven’t had any prompt to create anything at all, I’ve been completely without assignment for two months and while it felt great to be free from stressful deadlines, I realize now that I’ve been rather lethargic in the past weeks. Without any serious work to complete, I became a little dull which truly made the development of these ideas a challenge. However, after this week of hard, honest work I feel rejuvenated. I’m excited to have share my work and begin receiving feedback.
Visual storytelling in particular has been really exciting for me because I’ve always loved to take photos, but I’ve never received any guidance on how to improve my work. Additionally, I’ve never been prompted to create anything like this before, so it was a brand new experience to be creating images with a specific goal in mind. I think I have learned a thing or two this week that I will hold onto for my future work. I almost wish this week could have lasted a bit longer because I really enjoyed producing this content. I definitely think my best piece is “A Truly Endless Summer,” the visuals can definitely be improved upon but I think I was successful in conveying the mood of the day. The main thing I hope to do differently this upcoming week is to take better notes as I work through my tasks so that I am better prepared to write up a weekly summary. I’m excited to see where my newfound creativity takes my blog in the coming weeks.