Journey Out West

So, I tried, unsuccessfully, to get this map to embed. I eventually gave up and decided the best way to go about it was to just share via twitter and embed that. Even the tweet, sadly, does not display a thumbnail or anything. So, for this assignment, I made a story map with a twist. I was looking for ways to incorporate other characters and this seems like a pretty good idea. I created a journey out west where I encounter several ds106 characters along the way. To create the assignment, I just opened several tabs with characters and organized them in a way that made some geographical sense. That I have been all over the country certainly helped there… After that, I just made a story out of simple interactions with the characters. The upshot of it all is that I am not more familiar with ds106 characters. I may have to use that familiarity to create a far more extensive “which character are you” buzzfeed quiz in the future.

Buzzfeed character quiz.

So, for this assignment, I reviewed a plethora of the characters from fellow ds106ers and pulled out a couple that I thought I could get into their mind the best. I typified their personas a bit, but isn’t that the point of a buzzfeed quiz? I created 4 questions to try and prevent ties, but in retrospect, 5 would have been best.  The hardest part of the assignment was trying to find out how to embed a buzzfeed post, but I never did figure it out. In the process, I found a few ways to just make the quizzes though word press, so if I develop the quiz more, I might try that instead. All I could do is post it to twitter and then embed it. That is probably better anyway because more people might see it now and actually be able to take it.

 

Week 9: Sounds of the West and some Character fun.

So, this week, I listened to the various radio programs and tweeted along when I was available to do so. I am still bummed that I was on my way home from class when my program played. It would have been fun to listen to my work shared in such a way. I did read a blog post or two about it though, so that sorta made up for it. I reflected on a show of my own here.
As usual, my daily creates can be found here. Nothing particularly noteworthy this week except puns, ok, well, nothing noteworthy.
After that, it was all about character assignments. For my first 4.5 stars, I created a buzzfeed quiz. It was a pretty interesting assignment getting a bit into the heads of other characters. Hopefully the character creators like my portrayals, I sent them links to check out the quiz. I may add more characters to it later, I just started with three for now.
For my next 4.5 stars, I read about even more characters to create a story map where I encountered several ds106 characters. If I had done this one first, maybe the buzzfeed quiz would have been more inclusive. I somehow feel bad for all the characters that did not make that quiz. Maybe I will do a 2.0.

 

 

Tuned in for Tumbleweeds

So, of the radio programs I listened to this week, Tumbleweeds was the one that I was interested enough to reflect on. I like the approach that they took using the different perspectives to tell the story. Better than that, however, was the production value of their program. The music, the sound effects, the sudden changes in pitch, and so on all created a very immersive atmosphere while listening to the show.  The commercial were entertaining as well, and the transitions were all smooth. The whole production sounded like something one might actually here on the radio. That the authors continued the story afterward tells me something of their interesting and passion in telling it as well.
The final consideration for the program was that while listening, I was really honed in on the audio elements of the show. In a way that I would have never been before making my own program, I listened for the subtle things that made the whole thing sound complete. And, as a sign of the quality workmanship, I could not tell what was recorded where and when. It did not sound like patchwork, but rather like a smooth, complete, cohesive radio program.

Week 8: Something to (radio) show for it.

My DS106 experience this week consisted mostly of creating the radio show. It was in some way a welcome reprieve from creating assignment after assignment on my own and fun to work with a group, which is odd because I usually dislike doing so. Maybe it was because this was a creative process more than a purely academic one. Anyhow, most of the details about that can be found in the post dedicated to it.
I did a couple daily creates this week as well. They were both pretty cut and dry. For the tongue twister I just looked down the twitter feed and grabbed a few names that started with the same letter, s. Then, I made a pun or two to fit them all together in a tongue twister. The other daily create was just to think about the song that the wood nymph might be dancing to. That though process was interesting because I though first that such a creature seem Tolkienesque, and that I need a song to go along with that so I chose Led Zeppelin. Then, however, I thought about the line about a flower in her hair in going to California and it seemed like a perfect fit.

Western News Broadcast

So, this week was a far more exciting week for our radio show. I spent most of the week thinking about different stories and approaches to telling Western news. I settled on a few ideas, and then changed them, and then changed them again. I originally planned to do a piece on a gambling tournament that my character was winning, but I used him in my commercial for playing cards, and I have given him so much attention as far as playing cards in saloons that I decided to give it rest for my news segment of the show. That, in turn, freed me up to kinda go with the flow and watch as my group created their pieces.
The one thing I planned from the outset was to do a breaking news bulletin on a train robbery. I found some alerting sounding music and a telegraph sound, to indicate that the news was fresh, to use as an intro and outro for the bulletin. The other segment I ended up adding was a piece about a woman whose husband had died on their foolish journey to California because he swore they would find gold. After being alone with her children for a few years, though, her and her son actually did miraculously find some gold in a cavern after feeling the presence of the deceased husband and father. After listening to the basis for the other news pieces from my groupmates, I decided that it would be nice to end more upbeat. We already had a tornado, a shootout, a robbery, and an interview with a dislocated native American. Additionally, I liked that the gold find story had all the traditional story elements, and even some of those characteristic of westerns. It has a conflict, a climax, a rise and fall of action, and a climactic ending. It also contained some tough steadfast characters whose triumph over the odds gave them potential to become successful pioneers. I originally planned the story as an interview, but since two of my other group mates were using that technique, I opted for a more traditional story with a couple of supporting soundbites… or maybe it was just my history with print journalism rearing its head that made me chose that format.  The only downside to that was that the story did not get as much detail as I could have added using a traditional interview. It did have the basic cut and dry just the facts, get to the heart of the matter, effect that characterized journalism, however, so it was appropriate for the context.
Another interesting part of the experience was that I put the whole segment together. I tried where I could to make it sound like a uniform news broadcast. In addition to my segment, I also recorded an overview intro to outline the stories we would cover like many news programs do. I tried to arrange the elements in a way that made sense, an exciting breaking story about a tornado, then the top story of the shootout, bringing it down with the interview with an Apache woman, then an alerting news bulletin about fugitives to stir it up again. Finally, a story with a happy ending to end on a final note and then a hand off to Julianna who had created a closing for us.
Another thing I considered when arranging the elements was how to put in the bumpers and commercials. I used all of our bumpers and it just so happened that a few sounded like they were breaking for a moment and a few just sounded like station id’s. I put the ones that indicated an upcoming break before the commercials and put the others after, and then Liam’s bumper, which used the same some as I had in the intro, came after the bulletin to indicate a return to the same programming as before. The commercials I just moved away from each of our segments so that they would be mixed up and not just sound like each of us had a few minutes of programming and stuck our work all together. In fact, I did not put any two pieces of work from a single person side by side.
After I was done, I used my new audacity editing techniques to make it all more uniform. I used bass and treble boosts to make the sound more full. I used fade in and outs between segments where necessary, but used a full blast lead in for the news bulletin. I used amplifier for the quiet sections, then compressed it all to make it more full. I threw on a hard limiter to get rid of some of the peaks that might pop, then I normalized the whole track to fill up the quieter sections.  Overall, I am pretty pleased with the turnout and was pretty happy about working with the people in my group.

World Wide Western News Logo

I designed this logo for our radio program group using gimp. I had a rough plan at the outset, a circle with w’s twisted to different angles, but I did not like the outcome. So, I just experimented keeping things I liked any moving on until it looked complete. I used one of the western fonts I had downloaded for other projects to make the w’s. I created a slogan of sorts and stuck it on the design. I was satisfied with it all, but since .jpg cannot handle transparencies, I had to add a background circle to the whole thing to make it complete. Here is the result,

Quality Cards

For this assignment, I decided to make use of the fact that since I need a commercial for the radio show, I might as well get some stars for the week making one. I have mixed feelings about the final product. Probably some of that is due to the lack of copyright free music that I can use. Maybe I need to acquire some musical talent and make my own…  Also, I tried to make it sound like the spoke person and the commercial announcer were different people, but I don’t know that I modified my own voice to really sell that. It was difficult to do without making my voice sound unnatural. To create the project, I found a song on freesound.org, looped it in audacity, they set about recording a few takes of the script I had written. I used a tutorial on youtube about how to improve the quality of my recording, the success of which I am still up in the air about. Then I cut, edited, refined, and re positioned tracks until it was all in order, and I uploaded it to soundcloud.

Merrell’s original adventure.

So, for this assignment, I am supposed to tell ann important life story in under two minutes. I decided to put a little twist on it, however, and do it from the perspective of my character, Merrell Shale. This story is his account of the story I included in his background that accounts for how he got to the life he is leading now. Completing the assignment was rather easy now that I am becoming proficient with audacity. I recorded the track, leaving useful spaces between sections to make edits easier. Any time I made a mistake, I just paused, they read that section of script over so I could edit out the bad section.  I used some effects, normalizer, noise reduction, compressor and equalizer, to improve the overall quality of the recording.

Week 7: Radio report and assorted assignments.

So, this week was a bit slower than weeks previous. We made in some headway in at least laying a bit of a road map for creating our radio show, more details about which are here.
I also put my design skills to use, limited though they are, and designed a logo for our radio show group.
My daily creates for the week were pretty interesting. The video to record myself making a Foley sound effect pushed me to try some rudimentary video editing techniques using windows movie maker and audacity to handle and fine tune the audio. My western triple troll meme got a couple likes and a share. Not that that is significant, but it is nice to see when people enjoy my work.
For assignments this week, I earned my first 3.5 stars completing an audio assignment that, while it did not either apply to my character or create anything useful for the radio program, was just a lot of fun to do.
For my next assignment worth 4 stars, I decided to get a bit of a head start on my radio show work and create a commercial for my made up brand of playing cards.
For my final 3 stars to put me at 10.5 for the week and 7 involving my character, I decided to do a life story bit from his perspective based on a portion of the background I have him earlier.