Unit 4: About audio storytelling

Started of the unit by listening to Ira Glass and it’s shocking how much you can actually learn through listening to such YouTube videos. After watching the ‘Ira Glass on storytelling’ part 1 & ‘Ira Glass on storytelling’ part 2, I have come to realisation that it takes more then just having a go at it to keep the listeners entertained.

On the basic of audio storytelling one of the most important things is that you understand the building part of the story. Ira Glass has put them into 2 different building parts

  1. Anecdote –
    What this means is that it needs some sort of sequence of actions. It can be absolutely any type of story as long as its leading from one thing to another. Ira Glass gave us a sequence example as he said, ‘It made me think of this and then I said this.’ As you can see here thoughts and ideas are all part of it but one sequence must lead to another and so on.
  2. Raising questions –
    You want to keep asking questions at your audience to keep them entertained and give them some sort feeling that this story is going somewhere. The question that might pop up here is, how do they do that? Easy, simply by answering them questions along the way, not forgetting to ask another question to grab their attention again.

When it comes to finding decent stories, most of the time finding that decent story takes longer then the actual producing of the story. Most people would agree with this point, it takes more then the first idea to come out with a great story to keep the listeners entertained. Another thing I have learned today is that you need find stories, try them out and have enough confident to hear other peoples opinion so the story can be improved.

Whiles I was listening to Ira Glass I spotted a great sentence he said, ‘… it’s time to enjoy the kill because by killing you will make something even better live.’

He is not talking about killing people, he is talking about killing crap footage that didn’t come out the way you wanted it to come out, or in a worse scenario the whole footage if it’s not good enough to be aired.

Listening to Jad Abumrad made me realise that the things that radio lack is what makes radio so cool and different, as it empowered by the absence of images. The radio can then paint images for their listeners by using audio, however the paint brush is being hold by the listeners.

Jad Abumrad said, ‘…so it’s deep act of co authorship.’ These few words made me think about storytelling deeper. As we all know without the listeners, the storytelling in any type of way would be pointless. Therefore we need to connect somehow for the listeners to stay tuned and entertained. Whether that is connecting through something close to the listeners heart or in a way of creating an image through the audio storytelling.

Introducing to Audio techniques required us listen to elements of an hour long episode of RadioLab,, a 2007 show called Detective Stories,that has been uploaded to soundcloud in a shorter version.

I listened to both of the below and made notes of the audio techniques used:

Detective Stories (Examples cut from Radiolab show)

TED Radio Hour Audio Demo

  • Sound Effects
  • Pauses
  • Fade In
  • Fade Out
  • Narrative Voice
  • Music Bed
  • Background Music


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