No Words Just A Story

Take a listen to this assignment. While everyone was probably thinking about doing a typical morning like the example, I decided to do something a little different…

Could you guess it?

This assignment was given at the perfect time. I decided that the audio story was going to be inspired by a day at the clinic. When working in the medical field you have to control your emotions in every situation or you are left vulnerable in a room with an individual looking for many answers. There were very few times this summer when it was hard to keep cool. This visit was one of them but it was extremely necessary. As I said in the end of the week summary  I had to keep my cool when a patient had suffered from a major heart attack. He was in our clinic several days earlier for an acute issue so when I saw his name on the schedule I thought he had a simple question on the new medications we had prescribed. Little did I know, he had a major heart attack followed by a life-changing surgery. Here is his story… but maybe a little more dramatic!

No patient was harmed by the making of this audio story 

#audioreflection

Sound drives stories in fascinating ways and takes them to whole new levels. This particular audio story would not be the same without the radio sounds, the camera clicks, and the intense background music. The Apollo 11, which is what this narrative is based on, was an intense mission by two American astronauts, which ultimately paved the path for space travel, not only as a nation, but rather as a collective world. This event was important and powerful and the sounds that The Truth Podcast selectively chose backs these feelings up. The videos that Jad Abumrad created and his beliefs also go along with this narrative. This audio story induces the listener into a dream state and allows for imagination to take them to the moon.

Audio storytelling has been around for several years and allows listeners to take a more intimate approach to processing a story. An example on a different subject than #moongraffiti would be last week with the TED talks. When the speakers say something funny the video allows the listeners to hear the applause and laughter from this audience. This almost makes the listener laugh along simply because everyone else is laughing. However, when listening to the commentary back and forth between the mission controllers and the astronauts this allows for a different emotion for the listener, one of anxiety and thrill. If these extra sounds played behind or on top of the actual meat of the video make listeners feel this way, I wonder what it was actually like on the day Apollo 11 took off for the moon. Another important aspect of audio storytelling that was explored in Abumard’s short clips is the descriptive words that are chosen. When listening to the #moongraffiti there was one line that stood out to me because of its descriptiveness, “it’s like fine powdery sandy grain that I can pick up with my toes”. This sentence takes the listeners to the moon in 1969 like they are there with Armstrong and Aldrin.

The producers of this short narrative used many audio techniques to convey their story. The first I noticed was how they layered the sound in the first 10 seconds of the story. Starting with “the truth” and then continuing with the controllers signaling to the astronauts. There are constant beeps, clicking of the signalers, and white noise after each radio conversation. The conversations and situation build dramatically and then all communication cuts out. It is interesting because while the noise definitely plays a key role in determining the mood in audio storytelling, I think the lack of sounds does as well. In this specific story the suspense builds only to be cut by silence and creates the thrill and urgency only to be cut to nothing by silence. In a situation like this a lack of sound or a loss of communication to the guys who are flying in outer space is not wanted. Especially in a place that in 1969 the world had very little knowledge of. Another example of how they used sound in this audio story is when the silence did come, the voice of Nixon appeared with the speech that was prepared in the event that these brave men did not return to planet earth. This was interesting because a lot of people do not know this speech was written and prepared, and they have definitely never heard it. This speech saying the astronauts would not be returning was brought in by a cracking noise like the channels of everyone’s television were changing.

Another sound that made this narration even better was when the astronauts were breathing heavily into their microphone. The nerves and fatigue in their breath allows the creation of the illusion the listeners are there with them. Finally, another key moment is when the astronauts are taking pictures of one another on the moon with the American flag. It is a suspenseful moment because they think they are going to die on the moon, but they still take a moment to take a picture with pride for our country. This specific moment shows how they used sound because of the camera clicking noise. This adds to the suspense and gives the listener a clear picture in the mind of what is happening at that moment.

Something I have not noticed before is the quick bantering. When this happens it does process in my mind, but not when thinking about the sounds and the roles they play. The astronauts talking over one another bouncing ideas off each other’s minds goes to show they are in some sort of danger. In this specific case they are trying to figure out what they should do if they die on the moon.

All of the choices they made when recording this narration made for the perfect audio story. Even down to the voice who played Richard Nixon because he had a mystical, slow and steady voice that sounded very presidential and calm in a tricky situation like this. When the voice emphasizes specific words and was placed above serious and stimulating background music it made for the perfect combination to bring the listener to 1969, hook and worry them.

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What are Blogs About? Reflections!

Prior to this class, the only audio experience I have been exposed to is adding music to the videos that I have created of recent vacations and for those for my UMW lacrosse team. I love finding new music and being able to express myself through my videos for visual effect and using my favorite types of music and audio to go along with them. Besides that, I have always opted out of creating my own voice-overs because I am always embarrassed of the way recordings make my voice sound. I am aware everyone’s voices sound different on microphone than they actually do live, but I hate listening to playbacks of my own voice.

In Jad Abumard’s short videos about audio storytelling I have learned a lot. In the first video he talks about how the lack of images on the radio allows for individuals to use audio details and their individual imaginations to paint a story in their minds. This adds a cool component because the listener is allowed to take someone else’s story and modify it however they would like. Jad Abumard said, “I’m painting something but I am not holding the paint brush, you are”. This concept goes along with the one that he believes is the most important part of radio, and that is co-authorship. This is when the speaker and the listener are doing things together to fill the lack of imagination. Co-authorship ultimately leads to co-imagining. To Abumard, this happens only if the radio does its job correctly and can implant specific images and feelings into someone’s head where they will connect. All of these ideas and the whole first video comes down to the conclusion that the power of the media is rooted into someone else’s head.

The other day while I was driving to work with my fellow intern Hannah, the radio was playing. We kept switching back and forth between different radio channels trying to find music. When we couldn’t find any music, we went back to 104.1, a Nashville, TN station and they were talking about whether the radio hosts crave salty or sweet snacks. While this seems minuet, Hannah and I were talking about it three nights later because the hosts made us laugh so hard. When radio gets into an individual’s head it really can create this different state of mind and one is able to remember the simplest and sometimes even stupid conversations.

The second video specifically deals with audio storytelling and the power it has over its listeners. Throughout this short video Abumard mentions the connection between old and new. I did not really understand the similarities between the two when dealing with audio storytelling, except for the fact audio storytelling is old, and they are using technology to make it new. When Abumard kept explaining himself it made a lot more sense. He was talking about how no matter where the story is being listened to, even if it is a thousand years ago by a campfire, it is and always has been the storyteller’s job to create a circle of connection between the listeners. He stated that good stories can allow the mind to enter a collective dream state. Is that why little girls fall asleep so easily to princess stories? After he said this in the video it is true, even though audio storytelling is getting more technologically savvy, it still feels like the teller is doing something ancient. That is why I agree with Jab Abumard that audio storytelling will never die because there will always be little girls wanting princess stories, boys slaying dragons, and individuals driving to work taking them away from their commute and allowing them to enter an adventure.

Be Active!

Round 2: I gave my classmates some words of wisdom… Well I think I did!

We are almost through this course and as we all began building our blogs it is nice to provide and receive some feedback. This is the second time we have been assigned this assignment, however I do find myself scrolling through other’s blog just to see what is happening! Here are some thoughts on some classmate’s work!

I gave my classmates some words of wisdom… Well I think I did!

To me, reading other’s work is a tricky situation. You never want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but you have to be honest. I learned the hard way that if you just listen to other people’s  suggestions instead of being angry they can actually help you out in the long run. It is hard to look at your own work over and over and continue to find things to change. I did struggle a little giving my classmates feedback because I got nervous. It is different being in an online course because you do not really know each other, but luckily for me all of their blogs were awesome!

Design Design Design Design!

# 1 Hero Machine 3 Character 

Today’s design task would be interesting to many people; those who are not only good at computer programs but also the individuals who have an artistic touch and love color and design. While on Instagram, there were many pictures of beaches because numerous people are on vacation.  There were also many pictures of girls in all types of lovely summer dresses. That’s where the inspiration comes from for this particular piece. This lady appears to be at some summer home with welcoming blue shutters. Her hair has streaks of blonde, which shows she has spent numerous hours in the sun. Her skin is is tanned and she appears to be going to an event where she needs to look nice. This design flows together well because of the design elements to include the warm colors. Her striking green eyes go with the plant and the red of her lips and blue of the shutters make the image pop! This photo was made on Hero Machine 3.

# 2 My Name in Cool Letters

Ever since I was a little girl I was a wild child. My hair was never brushed and I never had shoes on, but I was happy as a clam! My hair was blonde and I loved the color pink. This design perfectly represents who I was as a little girl. The craziness and jaggedness of the lettering, represented my personality. The pink represents me still being a little girl and loving my dolls. And the yellow represents the color of my hair. While this might not seem like a current trait of mine, it definitely was true when I was a child. Like My hair was was forever messy and that is how I lived my young and happy life. Try your name and tell your story and leave it in the comments!!

# 3 My Destination Postcard 

On June 28th, 2018 we sent my little brother away for 43 days to the Naval Academy for Plebe Summer. During these long, hard, and hot days they are pushed to their limits, yelled at in their faces and, worst of all, stranded without their phones. We can write letters to each other, but the letter he sent was so heartbreaking it was hard to read without crying. He wrote to us with pure sadness. Saying the hours feel like days and days feel like weeks. It is crazy to consider because he is only 4 miles away from home and some kids are 2,000 miles or more. However, when you are in this type of situation it all feels the same. When I moved on to this design assignment, this postcard was the first thing that came to my mind. It has been several days since we dropped him off early that morning and this was our very last hug. Since he is the baby of the family and is struggling every day I look at this picture and think about what he is doing constantly. That’s why thinking of him makes me smile, but thinking about what he is doing makes me sad for him.

# 4 T-Shirt Story

About a year ago, I was stuck on a small regional Mexican airplane heading on vacation to Puerto Escondido. What was supposed to be a relaxing vacation turned into the scariest flight of my young life. I travel very well and do not get scared of much in the sky, but this flight changed everything. I was in Mexico City waiting for a jumper plane with my family to take us to the west coast of Mexico where we had our own house for the week. There were about 12 of us and the plane kept getting delayed due to severe weather. About 3 hours after our original time of departure our clan boarded. When we got to cruising altitude there was a ton of turbulence. I wasn’t scared until my dad, a pilot, made slight commentary about how he would not fly through a violent storm such as we were experiencing. Within about 10 minutes, the plane dropped and everyone started screaming. I started crying watching my dad look out of the window seeing black because it was night, red from the light on the wing, and white from the lightning. After finally touching down, instead of being able to deplane, they made us sit on the runway until the storm cleared. However, the storm never cleared and we were stuck on the runway for 3 extra hours. When the flight attendant got on the loud speaker and said we could leave at our own risk all 12 of the “stupid Americans” on the flight got right out and ran through the storm. While it ended up being an awesome vacation I swore I would never fly Viva Aerobus again… until the ride home.

What Really Happened on July 4, 1776?

This constitution of The United States of America shows the strong women who set the very foundation for our great nation. With their tireless efforts and ability to show compassion for every type of person, they created a country that has been the very template for the loving, empathetic, and fair world of today. Read the document and understand their vision, but look at the names and appreciate who they were and the strength of their character.

Time to Start Designing!

The Better Book

BACK OF THE BOOK

The novel The Founding Mothers on Leadership: Classic Teamwork in Changing Times teaches individuals valued lessons on professional leadership by providing examples from the lives and experiences of strong women. The Founding Mother’s experienced great struggles to create a new nation, but with their unity, kind hearts, and strength they were able to mold a country that individuals are proud to live in even today. They faced challenges together and disagreement sometimes among each other but together these ladies put the good of the nation and their vision for a better tomorrow above their personal agendas and did not let it get the best of them or damage their relationships. This novel includes checklists of organizational, management, strategic, and leadership lessons learned from the strong female leaders of the American Revolution.

Watch this to learn how I changed history…

Tips and Tricks to Live By

These three resources have influenced my own approach to tackling design work in all different ways.
1.    Society cares about the way things look
2.    Just because something is legible does not mean it is communicable
3.    Colors opposite of the wheel are complimentary
4.    It takes courage to be a graphic designer, but it is not life threatening so have fun with it
5.    You stumble upon designing jobs
6.    Find the stuff where you might fail and in the end you can grow
I took these little lessons from each resource and put them together to realize that design work is all about having fun. To me, even though Scher was a little more serious she still stumbled upon designing and had a very successful, long and fun career. As I watched her video she convinced me that even I could be good at design work. She also taught me not to look for it but that it will come into your life. Carsons lessons included the idea that it takes a little bit of courage and a sense of humor to be good at design work. That you should have fun with it and experiment around a little. I think Carson resonated with me the most because of his personality. His TED talk was mostly past experiences of failed design work that were ridiculous but very comical. Finally, all of the tutorials were a very nice hands-on experience that walked me through many tips and solid reminders when designing. Scher’s work and the tutorials go hand-in-hand because Scher’s work is very funky with crazy colored and different sized fonts all over buildings. The tutorials helps you know how to pick the best ones and roll with them.

Up your Designs!

In the beginning of going through the  8 Basic Principles of Design , I found them to be simple common sense suggestions.  In reality, trying to display them was trickier. What one thing means in one scenario actually means a whole separate thing when speaking about design. This assignment was very interesting. It involved taking a step back and acting as the designer and/or manufacturer all in one. Whether the 5 principle designs shown were types of packaging, a backyard, or sheet, these principles are the key to being able to sell your products. There is a strategic plan  to everything that surrounds us, and these tutorials and tips have clarified that for me.

When trying to decide which pictures to take for this assignment, I really had to look everywhere. I had to convince myself that a single label or pattern coincided with the definition of a principle design. It was made more difficult because often one idea worked for many. Take a second to go over my #designblitz and let me know what you think!

Processed with VSCO with fp8 presetThis #designblitz shows space even though it could also show color. Within the design there are multiple parts that is left clear. Even though the colors do make the water bottle pop, this clear space is  equally important. Especially since the company is trying to sell water.

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Now this #designblitz actually does show color! The manufacturers of this deodorant decided to utilize the complementary color scheme. As we learned from the  8 Basic Principles of Design (Links to an external site.) you should try to match opposite sides of the color wheel if possible.  And since red and green are on opposite sides of the color wheel that has to mean they look great together.

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The 3rd #designblitz shows the design element of hierarchy. You can see the brand of popcorn is shown in larger and bolder font. It is also shown in a brighter color that pops more. This places the most important message physically higher than all the other pieces of information. It is clear the rest of the information decreases in size as well as importance!

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This bed helps get across the idea of repetition. Repetition helps strengthen the overall look of the design. Even though the colors switch off slightly, the repeating pattern ties together the complexity of the bed to organize it and keep it consistent. #designblitz

 

The last #designblitz is balance. The balance of the chairs around the fireplace ties together the yard and gives it a stability appearance. With the bright chairs all angled in the same way toward each other it provides the professional and attractiveness that the  8 Basic Principles of Design  educated us on. This cleans up the yard instead of it being  messy or empty!

It may seem like it, but this post is not an ad for anything!

I Could Look at This All Day

This is one of my all time favorite photos. It was taken in Mauritius, Africa this year when my family spent Christmas on this beautiful island off the eastern coast of Africa. We are all getting older and family vacations are becoming more and more limited. I love this photo because it reminds me of how calm my family was then and it almost seems like there is a storm (of marriages, graduate schools and deployments) on the horizon.