IDEA AND INSPIRATION
I decided for my audio story project to tell a story of the scariest and most dangerous moment I’ve experienced while driving. I thought this would be the perfect story to tell because it gave me a chance to use a lot of creative sound effects that could enhance my narrative of the story. The story also relates to my topic of driving stick, since this happened to me in my truck that I’ve used for inspiration for every project so far.
The first thing I did was write out exactly what I remembered of my story as if I were telling it to someone. If I had something to read, then I wouldn’t use pointless filler words like “uh” that I would have to edit out. Also, because it’s a story I’ve previously told to people, I knew where to naturally pause and when to pick up the pacing or slow it down. Using this particular story made it very natural for me to narrate because I remember every detail.
After that, I already had a vision of my head of adding ambient background noise and sound effects to my narrative. My goal was to try to immerse a listener in the environment that I experienced. So I went on to freesound.org and gathered all the sound effects I wanted to use.
It was pretty simple after that. My narrative didn’t really needed to be edited that much because I had already took steps of getting good pacing and ensuring there would be no filler words. Then I just added all the sound effects to the narrative where I wanted them to be.
After my rough draft, I knew instantly I was going to have to redo my narration. In the first version, I could hear music my neighbors were playing in their room and I didn’t want any of that. This wasn’t a bad thing having to redo the narration though. My peers had told me that my ending to the story originally was abrupt and weird. Re-recording the narrative gave me a chance to smooth the ending out as far as dialogue goes.
Another suggestion that was given to me from my peers was to soften the ambient noises and sound effects. They were a bit overbearing in the first draft. So I edited down their volumes and added some fade out effects to soften those noises so that they were not overpowering or competing with my voice.
I also added some more sound effects that I thought would enhance the change of tone in the beginning of my story and add to the immersion effect I was trying to create. The thunderclap, tire skid, and crash were added during the revision process.
The razor tool was my best friend. This allowed me to cut up the intentional pauses in my narration so I could make the pauses just a little longer. This was necessary because I wanted some of the sound effects like the lightning clap and the start of the rainfall to be acknowledged before I started talking. It was awkward having my voice start at the same time as the background noise.
This also allowed me to take parts of each sound effect I wanted to use. The clips I downloaded were much longer than what is played in my story and the razor tool allowed me to get exactly what I wanted and scrap the rest.
Other than that, I only changed the volumes on the effects and added some fade ins and fade outs to help soften some of the effects.
The biggest challenge I had at first was figuring out how to play the sound effects so that they’d be recognized, but they wouldn’t interfere with my narration. I was easily able to solve this by creating my intentional pauses in my second recording of my narration in the places I wanted the effects to go. This allowed me to play the effect so the audience would realize what it is and imagine the scene. It only would take a second for this to happen, which is then when my narration would take over and the effects would soften.
This created that immersive and suspenseful feeling that I wanted; as the audience is aware of the background noise, but still focused on what I’m saying.
All of the following sources were gathered from Freesound,org an gathered with a Creative Commons 0 license.
Rain ambient noise
Traffic ambient noise
Thunder Clap noise
Skid and Crash noise