- That time of the year is upon us again(play christmas music in background and then scratch it out)
- No, not that time of the year, but Halloween (que spooky music).
- Everyone loves to tell their favorite spooky story, most often unreal, some very innocent in nature. Some might just scare your pants off though…
- Today we are going to look into a spooky stories that are said to have happed in real life to real people…(fade into spooky music)
- Today we are going to hear the story of my good friend — about his experience that occurred at his old house several years ago..
- I: It was around Christmas time and my sister had gotten really sick. When she got up one morning, she told me she had an aweful headache and was reaching for some Advil when she saw someone. Now we had just moved into out house and she was not quite used to how everything was set up quite yet
- N: So how long would you say exactly that you live in the house?
- I: Oh maybe a month or so?
- N: And you never noticed anything going on strange in the house before this?
- I: Not that I had noticed, my sister always said she got a strange feeling from the house though…
- Now I will be the first to say that a “Strange feeling” is typically something we put into our own heads and we subconsciously make ourselves believe. None the less, I think many of us have fallen victim to this strange feeling that simply cannot be described.
- I: Well anyways, we claimed my sister’s seeing someone to her being unfamiliar with the house and having been very sick at the time. Well a few days pass and my sister healed, but again she awoke early in the morning claiming to have seen someone. We all ignored her antics until things started to go array in other parts of the house.
- N: What sort of things are we talking about? Like you heard “oohs and ahhs and the occasional “BOO!”.
- I: Nothing of that sort, but when we would eat dinner as a family, you could hear the sound of footsteps coming from up stairs. My mother had an office in the house in the third floor. She would close her door so us kids wouldn’t distract her. She says multiple times she would here a knock on the door to find no one there. It was just all sort of stuff like this.
- N: So no guts and gore like the movies?
- I: No nothing like the movies. I think we all would have been out of that house in minutes if any sort of “Paranormal Activity” really started to happen
- N: So you would say you would say you had a friendly ghost on you hands? (laughter)
- I would not say he was exactly friendly. He never did any harm to us but he did some inconvient things. We had a great big fire place in the living room of the house that we would want to light during the winter. Anytime we went to light the fire though, the chimey flew would always be stuck closed. Any other time it would open without a problem. One day my dad played a little experiment and left the chimney flew open a day before he wanted to build a fire. The next day when he went to build it, he found it stuck closed again.
- N: That is quite odd, wouldn’t you say?
- I: Yeah it was, until we found out a story behind the house. When the house was originally built, it had contained fire places in each room to use for heating in the winter. Now we knew the house had been renovated since then so that only the master bedroom also contained a fireplace. Apparently, several years after the house was built one of the fires got out of control in the middle of the night and damaged many parts of the house. The original owner of the house unfortunately could not escape.
- N: So your family believes it was this man haunting your house.
- I: You know many people say that ghosts are just all in our heads, but yeah we truly think he was there…. (transition back into spooky music).
- Well maybe ghost are truly haunting among us, or maybe not…. I guess we just have to have our own experiences to truly know. That’s wraps up the show for today. Whether scary or not, everyone have a very Happy Halloween! (fade music back up so it closes out episode)
In opening up my podcast, I wanted to use something that was fun and light to hook listeners into continuing to listen to the piece. In doing so, I chose to use humor in confusing the listeners into thinking I was going to have a Christmas theme but use of the sleigh bell sound effect. The scratch out sound effect was further used to add humor to the piece. One of the reasons humor was chosen was to off set the more serious scary story that is told later in the piece. Likewise, in this opening, I made a conscious effort to have a clear voice that had a welcoming express to it.
The sound effects throughout the piece were used more than to just lighten up the mood. These sound effects provided a familiarity to the reader without having to state what was going on, efficiently using sound to convey a message without words. More importantly, these sound effects help listeners to create nostalgia and make them relate to the piece more. For example, the screaming Halloween effect reminded me of a particular house that I would refuse to trick-or-treat at. Also as mentioned by McKee, the sound effects provide good transitions in the piece without having to use silence. In terms of the sound quality of the piece, I also found them helpful to cover out mistakes in the sound recording.
As the piece continues, I use the popular song “Superstitious” in the background to foreshadow what the body of my piece. I chose to use an interview in the body of my podcast to tell the spooky story. This gave the piece some variety instead of becoming monotonous and boring to listeners, which could occur if only one voice was present. During this portion of the podcast I change my voice rhetoric to be more conversational, such as was exemplified on the “This American Life” podcasts. As McKee discussed, the tone of voice makes a large difference in how the listener perceives the piece.
This story was scripted out so that there would be minimal amounts of mistakes in the spoken parts of the story. However, this caused the voice of the person I interviewed to sound a bit scripted in nature due to the speed and lack of pitch variety in his voice. In attempts to correct this, I would slow down the conversation while asking questions, use inflection at the ends of questions, and incorporated laughter into my voice. The largest variable in making this portion of the text sound conversational is the ability to hear breaths. Before the interviewee or I speak, the sound of our breaths can be heard, as would occur in an ordinary conversation. In the narration, these breaths were edited out.
Also on the topic of narration, I interrupted the interview in one section to add in commentary. To separate this part, I used silence between the sections of voice and then changed my tone of voice to mimic that which was used in the beginning of the piece. While McKee may think differently, I did not find this silence to make a huge impact on the piece or really to be that purposeful in nature. On that note, I could have chosen to use another sound effect here as a transition. Instead, I used the silence to not break the piece up too much with different types of sound.
In closing out the piece, I again chose to use a narration voice, such as would be done on “This American Life”. Unlike the introduction to the piece, I used Halloween themed music to play in the background. I did this to change the dynamics of the piece from the scary story that was just told and used it as a way to transition from the body to conclusion. This music was also used to indicate that the piece was coming to end and to put less of a focus on the vocal portion of the piece. By having this music, I was also able to slowly transition out of the sound instead of abruptly stopping the piece.
Podcast Review Response:
After presenting my podcast in class, I got several positive feedbacks on how my peers likes the story, the interview, the music and the sound effects that I incorporated in my work. One constructive criticism was that my sound mixing could be improved so that the piece as a whole flowed together better. It was suggested that this was due to being played on speakers versus headphones. Another suggestion was to try to hide the few bits of background noise that occurred in the piece. The final suggestion was to have my interviewees voice sound less scripted.
To improve my podcast, I first played around with the sound editing functions of Garage Band more. In doing so I changed the type of voice being used so all sounds were uniform in quality. I also edited the sound to have better fade in’s and fade out’s. I also listened to the podcast through speakers to get a different perspective of the sound. To hide the background noises that occurred in the piece I used short sound effects to mask the unwanted sound. In terms of the interviewee’s voice, it could not be changed much in its quality, but instead I tried to use subtle volume differences to not highlight the tone of his voice.
For this assignment, I choose to listen to Episode 457: What I Did For Love.
The episode opens and you can tell from the sounds that this is clearly a narration of a story. The narrators voice is clear and non-bias in that it does not show emotion. This is in contrast to the interviewees who clearly have more passion within their voice. For instance, the first woman interviewed was attempting to get her ex-boyfriend back. When she speaks, you can tell the passion within her tone and the longing for her old boyfriend. The song that ends this section was a good choice of music, as it is a love song to introduce this episode about love. The narrator also ends introducing the show and the station name.
To break up the introduction from Act I there was a purposeful silence. Listeners can here more of this interaction between the narrator and the interviewee. When the man is talking about his long term relationship, he also uses purposeful pauses when he is trying to describe the more challenging parts of his relationship. To break up the sections of the narratives, they use a very generic background music. The man starts talking about a “race” and they add an upbeat music to the background. When talking about a more inquisitive moment, they add in other sort of spaceless background music. Additionally, they include laughter between the narrator and the interviewee during appropriate moments.
The new act includes a lyrical song that matches the theme of “21 Chump St.” In this segment, we have a police officer who uses his voice to be a sound of authority and then we have the young boy who speaks in a very different manner. Again, there is music to complement the conversation.
In the third act, we have a man narrating a story of sorts. His voice is mellow and he uses very purposeful pauses. The music here is playful such as the story.
In the final act, we have a women narrating her own story. The background music is very dreamy romantic in the beginning such as the story. When things got a little fishy in the story, so did the music. The best is the purposeful pause before her comments about his journal. She quickly changes her tone to be sort of defensive. When the girls sister is talking, she has a very fast voice.
The podcast finishes up with a song about heartbreak, summing up the theme of the episode.