Sound Writing: Reflections on my first podcast (ci.5410.8b)
As I look back on my experience composing a podcast for the first time, (check out my podcast interview with Larissa Anderson) there are few observations I have to share.
My focus kept changing. Pre-interview, I started with three questions that contrasted print writing with radio writing. Yet as we got into the interview this whole idea of storytelling emerged and the aspects of sound that play into that storytelling process. So I ended up adding more and more questions about this storytelling process. Then, as I was editing the tape, yet another focus emerged, which was "treatment" of stories. While I had enough tape to have a forty minute podcast, I decided to focus specifically on the writing process in terms of treating the story.
Editing is a long and involved process. Just as Larissa described in my interview with her, listening and logging the tape is a long monotonous process. Our original interview produced 31 minutes of tape, which I didn't think was very much. Yet it took me just under eight hours to edit that half hour down to 5 and a half minutes.
Pacing and Tone:
During my eight hours of editing, I encountered some problems with pacing and tone. As I whittled away at quotes to include, I noticed that the pacing was choppy. In some pieces, Larissa was talking very fast and with an animated voice, while in others her voice is more relaxed and reflective. When these pieces are put so closely together they sound a bit shifty. I tried to break up this pacing and tone contrasts by inserting my own voice connection pieces.
"Talking into the Tape"
Larissa talked about the process of talking into the tape, or having a conversation with the tape. I found myself doing the same, especially towards the end of my editing when I had to re-record my questions to better connect the voice pieces. I had to really listen to the words Larissa was using in her responses so that I could then use some of her concepts, her visuals, to bridge the pieces together.
How does this relate to video editing?
Overall, I've found this process to be very helpful in thinking about the process of visual composition. Much like a specific image my drive my video drafting, a sound or a phrase drove my editing of this interview. This sound and image driven process is a bit unwieldy for me. I'm so use to harnessing my ideas down onto the page in the form of an outline. Yet, an outline doesn't work with words and sounds. So then how do we organize our ideas that come to us outside of language? Maybe I need to start using other scaffolding techniques such as storyboard, etc. to organize all of these layers. Whatever it may be that I need--I still have yet to figure it out--as teachers we need to discuss these differences in process. The writing process as we know it doesn't fully capture all the layers involved in these multimodal compositions. It will be interesting to see how the writing process is reconceptualized to better incorporate these modes.