Over the past semester, I’ve learned a lot about recording and editing audio in my Sound & Story class in the A&D program. I didn’t have much experience in the medium before this class, and I somewhat doubted it’s usefulness. However after taking the course, I’ve found sound to be a very vivid, effective way to communicate stories and writing. It has a way of connecting with the listener – it allows them to close their eyes and picture the story, leaving it up to their imagination.
When our Gateway class was given the assignment “Remediation”–an assignment where we were to take our Repurposed essay and transform it into a new media–I knew I wanted to use audio. My Repurposed essay is a personal narrative and reflection on a time in my life where I was addicted to shoplifting, and the desires behind the addiction. Since I had been working in my Sound & Story class with recording story, I thought this method would be an effective and powerful way to share my story in a short audio piece.
At first I didn’t know how I wanted to record myself talking about the addiction. I thought maybe I should write something to then read aloud, maybe write a poem channeling the “snake” that I refer to myself as in the essay. After a while I began to realize that “hiding myself” behind a metaphor was not what the original essay was about. In the essay I’m honest, blunt, and willing to share every detail of the experience. So instead I sat down with my recorder on the table, and just spoke. I recalled everything from memory, and just said it aloud as I remembered it. I thought it worked well with the Repurposed essay, since the recording has a raw quality to it – as if I was just telling the story to someone.
After I got all the spoken word recording done, I had to figure out what to do with the background noise. Was there going to be music? Different chapters to the story? My first draft has “dark-cinematic” background music, and after hearing some feedback I found it to be a little too forceful. It tried to push the listener into thinking it was extremely intense. For my next draft, I changed it up: I inserted some recordings of newscasters talking about shoplifting, and an interview between Terrence Shulman (author of Something for Nothing, a book about shoplifting and recovery) and Oprah. I thought that these breaks gave the listener time to think and reflect on the story I was telling, and left them curious about the rest. I also changed the background music so it became less distracting, and more of an ambient noise.
Overall, I think it turned out to be a successful representation of my Repurposed piece – it accurately conveys this moment in my life and the struggles I faced.