G W Zimmerman Week 3 Audio Story Telling

This was the week that was!!!!

In the midst of everything else the wifi on my computer crashed. I’m now hooked up to an ether net connection that is less than optimal. Talk about old school…at least it isn’t a dial-up connection…that would be rich.

What I learned from Ira Glass:

1)  That in good anecdotes the storyteller uses bait to constantly raise questions that the storyteller answers, which raises more questions that lead to answers, that lead to additional actions etc.

2) A good moment of reflection tells us something new.

3) A good story moves back and forth between anecdote and moments of reflection.

4) It takes time to find a good story. It takes time.

5) When you are telling a story try not to be someone you are not, be yourself.

What Jad Abumrad taught me was that one of the beauties of radio is its absence of pictures.  This absence affords the narrator and the listener the opportunity to share co-authorship of a story.

About Audio Story Telling

Ted Radio Hour and Scottlo:

ScottLo’s LowDowns were the perfect follow on to the Ted Talk.  Scott took the listener thru the process of creating sound recordings. When I finished listening, even though he never kept it to 7 minutes, I felt like I had learned a significant amount from a true practitioner of the art. Anyone who did not invest the time listening to all of the posted LoDowns started this week severely disadvantaged.

Ted and ScottLo

Moon Graffiti:

Wow, what a powerful story. Shutting my eyes and allowing my sense of hearing to take over, I was transported back to that event in July 1969. For me this event was real. In my innocence I never would have thought that an alternate reality might have occurred, other than a successful landing.

Listening to this audio story I was drawn in. I found that the sound effects in the story served as cues and clues that helps me to anticipate what was about to transpire. This story reminded me of how much we give up by restricting ourselves to watching only movies and television.

Sound stimulates the mind without visual distraction. It is an extremely powerful medium that needs to be rediscovered. Listeneing to the audio files in parts one, two, and three of this week’s assignment have rekindled a forgotten fascination with audio that I had in my youth.

Thoughts on Audio Storytelling

Audio Assignments:

  1. Trip to the Grocery

This assignment provided me with the opportunity to take an imaginary round trip excursion to the grocery store in my 1987 Land Rover Defender. In preparation for the trip I spent a few hours getting familiar with Audacity. One of the hints given in the DS106 handbook was a reference to YouTube videos and tutorials. After trying unsuccessfully to decipher the online Audacity manual, I decided to give YouTube a try…a smart move that saved me hours of frustration.

I  availed myself of the sound effects available at FreeSound.org. By planning out my story I was able to find five soundtracks for my project. By using the various techniques taught in the YouTube video I was able to select, cut, duplicate, move, and manipulate all the soundtracks to create my 90 second trip from home, to the local grocery store, and back.

Sound Effects Story: Trip to the Grocery

2. Do You Hear What I Hear

To make this sound bite I use my iPhone’s voice memo application. I played the various recordings into the microphone I have attached my computer and then manipulated each of the recordings using Audacity.

This recording starts with my daily 6 AM dog walk.  Nelly, my youngest saluki, likes to go out on the lead.  Because we live out in the country there are always lots of critters around. In the fall we have deer on our property that make for some very lively and exciting walks. After their morning breakfast the pups, as you can hear in the Sound Cloud recording, take great joy in letting me know when there are squirrels and other intruders in the front yard.

The recording ends with me filling the gas tank on my lawn mower and then mowing my lawn. By the time I got to mowing the lawn this week the grass had grown to almost 6 inches in length. I will not let that happen again.

Do You Hear What I Hear – A Day in My Life

3. May I take your Order?

This 1 1/2 star assignment was fun as well as eye opening. My two resources were the online McDonald’s menu and Audacity.

After going to the McDonald’s website and picking out three items I would never order, I decided to change the order around.

After writing out my script I recorded my spiel directly into Audacity thru my microphone. I changed the speech pitch of the counter person using the effect menu, change pitch option, with a 20% frequency change. I played around with changing the speed but that made the entire conversation unintelligible so I stayed with just the frequency change.

Welcome to McDonald’s – May I take your Order

4. Having a Phone Conversation with Myself

This 4 1/2 star assignment was actually relatively straight forward and fun. The most difficult part was writing out a quick script and then recording it using Audacity. I decided that there was no point in doing two separate tracks since the natural flow of my script more than adequately provided ebb and flow to the conversation.

Once I recorded the conversation I saved the the project and then exported it into an MP3 file. Following that I converted it into a Sound Cloud file and embedded the URL.

Good Fun!!!

Talking to Myself – Having a Phone Conversation with Myself

Daily Create:

I LOVE the daily creates assignments! They provide me with a break from my normal routine and force me to put on my creative thinking cap. Below are embedded four of the assignments.

I borrowed idea for this manipulation of “talkobamatome” from a quote in a book by C.S. Jarvis called “Three Deserts”. In it he talks about how headquarters has forgotten about the “men in the desert” and considers them a nuisance…always asking for things that GHQ is not willing to cede …i.e., bullets.


I made five comments to class mates. I found the tutorials that they produced to be brilliantly done. I think that for future classes these tutorials should become must read items. I especially liked the tutorials that Jenna made on the use of GarageBand. For Apple users this may significantly simplify their lives. As for commenting on five different people…are there five different people taking the class?

The comments that were made on my various blog postings were fun to read and more importantly they made me feel like I had done something worthwhile. There were no earth shattering comments made, so there really is not much to say other than it is nice to be appreciated. Go DS 106!!!


























Weekly Summary:

On the whole, I think I did a passable job completing the requirements of this week’s assignments.

The bottom line, is that I learned a tremendous amount. One week ago I would never have been able to use or even spell Audacity. One week ago I would never have used a YouTube tutorial. This week took me to a new experiential plane that I would never have conceived of. So when asked, how do I feel about my completion of the requirements of this week’s assignments, I would have to say “Pretty Darn Good!”

What gave me trouble? Once again, I was plagued by procrastination. I am taking two 5 week courses that require 100% commitment. Each one takes a minimum of four hours a night of concentration. If you have not figured out, DS106, is one of the courses. If I were to do this again, I would only take one 5 five week course at a time. This is very stressful.

What I enjoyed this week, was learning something totally new. I had no idea how much fun it is to play with sound. When I go outside now or walk around my house I listen to the world with a new appreciation for how precious sound is.

What I learned this week was that I can do it. I may end up being one of those folks, described by ScottLo, is taking years to learn to make real sound recordings that are appreciated by others. But that is okay. My horizon has been expanded.

I do not know that I would do anything differently with this course. It might be useful to have one day a week where students are required to either meet with the professor or with a student assistant to go over the weeks requirements and some of the finer points in using that week’s technology.

Once again the larger issue that surrounds my work is the issue of privacy and the concern that my digital footprint on the World Wide Web is growing, and I have no control over it.





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