Can I Take your Order?

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I selected this week’s assignment because it has to do with food and because it sounded funny. The assignment I selected was pretend i’m ordering food at McDonalds in an accent that is different than mine. I’m not great at accents so I slightly changed the assignment and did not select an accept per say but instead attempted to sound like an airhead sorority girl ordering food. Folks, in case anyone is offended I was once in a sorority and like to poke fun at myself. Thought I try not to speak this way, I’m sure I slipped into “character” a few times in my younger days : ). To listen to my clip, press play or I may break out into one of my sorority’s cheers :).

I wanted to get this in one take so I spent a few minute brainstorming what I should say. It’s a little ironic that I had to brainstorm about what an airhead would say but I did :). I decided I wanted my character to be picky and indecisive. A good sorority girl wants salad and doesn’t want any of the ingredients that come on the salad. Additionally I wanted her to be concerned about her weight and order diet coke, but then go for the fries that she really wants. And of course, no trip to a drive through would be complete without a little giggling in the background from friend in the backseat.

I also liked the idea of having the employee interact with the girl so I spoke in a slightly different voice then my own and muffled my voice.

When I was ready to record I practiced my voice a little to get into character then press record on adobe audition. I got in in one take and the little imperfections where I was thinking about what to say next added to the authenticity.

 

Foley Proof – The Lion Sleeps Tonight

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If you’d like to hear my foley click on the place button. I’ll provide the making of story below.

I had fun doing this assignment. I’m a night owl and planned to work on it last night when my husband was sleeping but thought better or it and decided he wouldn’t appreciated me running around the condo making noises at 4:00 AM.

To come up with my Foley script I followed the recommended instructions and wrote down a description and length of each sound. Next I tried to determine how I could mimic the sound using the tools I had in my condo. I decided to use my bathroom because one of the segments required me to use water.

The first sound I had to mimic was a dog tugging on Mr. Charlin’s leg, I made small down growling sounds for about two seconds. Then a woman walked up and Charlie shushed her so I recorded myself making she shhh sound. The woman realized what was happening (see’s the lion) and fainted onto soft ground so I dropped wrapped roles of toilet paper on the the ground to mimic the sound. Then I clapped my hands twice to make the sound charlie made when he slapped his chest and face. The next sound I had to make was Charlie picking up a trey of water and splashing around for 10 seconds followed by an abruptly dropping the trey. Before my recording I filled up a paint trey will water and placed it in my bathtub. When the time came i picked up the trey so the flimsiness could be heard and splashed water (and spilled some) all over the tub. When this was going on I made a big yawn noise as the lion was yawning. When the yawn ended, I dropped the water trey from about 2 feet above the tub to get a loud boom and water splash sound. Then I dashed towards the door patting my legs to mimic Charlie running and slammed my body into the door to create a thud sound Charlie created when running into the door. Don’t worry folks, I played soccer, I can take a hit. Last, I jiggled the door handle and the door to create the sound of Charlie trying to escape as the lion walked closer.

The Champ

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I developed The Champ, a story of a boxing match as told by sounds and no narration for several reasons.Click the play button to listen to The Champ.

I thought the story would be easy to follow. Boxing does not require much narration to understand and has a very simple story line. I thought the story of a boxer, preparing for a fight, fighting, knocking out his opponent and winning to the delight or fans is a pretty simple but effective story with very distinct sounds. And of course, no story about a hero/athlete is complete without a theme song and uplifting music in the end!

I developed the audio story using Adobe Audition. I have used Audition before but this is the first time i’ve used the mutitrack feature to layer sounds. I had some moments when only one sound of playing at once for example the intro from we will rock you and the end theme song played along. But throughout the fight I had a track of cheering and a track of boxing noises. When the fight got intense I added extra custom punches and the sound of a body falling to intensify the story line.

I own copies of both we will rock you and “gonna” fly now so I don’t have a place to direct everyone back to source files. I downloaded all of the other sounds from Freesound. The list below contains links to the source files:

It’s also important to note that I had to edit the lengths of some of the tracks, for example I only played the first 10 second of we will rock you, and 30 seconds of “gonna” fly now. I also made the loud cheering fade in and out because it was so much louder then the files before and after it. This was a feature I have used an an older audio editing tool but never in audition before.

Partial screen shot of "The Champ" being developed in Audition. There were 9 tracks in total.

Partial screen shot of “The Champ” being developed in Audition. There were 9 tracks in total.

The Big Cheese

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I created a short new story about the Wisconsin Dairy Council’s response to the California happy cows ad campaign called the The Big Cheese. Press the play button to listen to the big cheese.

I wrote it because I thought it was funny and because I remember thinking about the commercial and Wisconsin’s reputation as “cheese heads” when I saw the commercials originally. Hopefully my native Midwestern accent adds to the realism, and yes that is unfortunately my actual accent.

I hope you all enjoy the fake newscast.

I’ll pass on the Calamari

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I started by listening to Doppelgangers because I the title captured my interest. After all, who hasn’t been told they resemble someone else? Most recently I’ve been told I look like Zosia Mamet best known for her role in Girls. Sorry gang, my agent won’t allow me to post my real picture.

Zosia Mamet

The story started off with “Ira Glass” talking about Doppelgangers, then the audience finds out that the person speaking is in fact not Ira Glass but Fred Armisen,  a comedian from Saturday Night Live and Portlandia imitating Ira Glass. I haven’t listened to Ira Glass to know how good the impression was but it lead to an interesting conversation between Ira and Ira’s impersonator.

After the brief conversation they cut to an audio clip from a Saturday Night Live skit where Fred is pretending to be Ira. The skit is abruptly halted and Fred and Ira continue to speak. The show continues with a format where a brief part of the skit is played loudly then shifted to the background at Ira and Fred analyze various aspects of the skit and the current state of NPR’s funding. As she show continues Fred in Character as Ira and Ira continue to alternate speaking so it’s difficult for the listening to distinguish who is who.They decide to host the show together and sound effects like rustling paper are heart in the background.

The first featured story was about pork bung, yes pork bung, being substituted for calamari. The host spoke to a man who worked in a pork plan and the man informed the host (and audience) that pork bung was used as imitation calamari in China. Our host did additional research with the USDA which was inconclusive at best. They key point is that food is often mislabeled (as much at 55% of fish is mislabeled in LA). Initial research showed that China was the most likely place where “bung” could be sold at calamari, thankfully not the US. Fortunately, a rare food expert confirmed that although bung has some of the same consistency properties as calamari it would be difficult to make it taste as delectable, to put it nicely. In conclusion, although the man who worked in a pork plant said it was happening, it doesn’t appear that anyone with discerning taste buds could be fooled. I’m going to consider this Myth Busted! myth busted A few key elements of sound that were included in the story were:

  • Narration over the sound of restaurant “hustle and bustle”
  • Phone dial tone and distortion of person’s voice “on the line” to make it sound like they were on the phone (to make it seem more realistic)
  • Music playing while the narrator explains what “pork bung” looks like and how much “pork bung” we’ve eaten (to lighten the mood perhaps?)
  • Music playing as the narrator read disturbing stats about food being mislabeled and no one catching it/any time something seems “silly”

The Second story has a much different tone, more serious. The story was about two young men who both had PTSD. Both men has very different experiences, one was a soldier in Afghanistan, the other, a drug dealer in the inner city Philadelphia. Despite each having unique experiences they shared several similarities in both story and the way they dealt with their experiences. Key audio elements included:

  • Narrator was the primary storyteller who offered color commentary and teed up the story
  • Music played at transition points below the narrators reading
  • First person storytelling with highly sensitive audio recording so the listener can see the inflection in the storyteller’s voice
  • The main story was told in the voice on young men then we heard the other young man share a similar experience to help the audience see the parallels between the stories
  • Music was played beneath the young men’s voices  to emphasize emotional points/make the listener think