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911 emergency! I don’t have shorts.

I find picking the assignments from the bank can be fun and interesting if you go a few pages into the list. This time I found one for doing a mock 911 call and recording it.

But in the spirit of the layering ideas the professor wants us to do. I decided to add in sound effects to make it more polished.

The story is me in Chicago with only pants and the weather decides to get up to 75 degrees. So this 911 call is me wanting someone to fix this problem and get me some shorts, Stat! The EMS voice is showing how they find me when they finally arrive and I am getting angry.

The image file is my photo of downtown Chicago showing clear skies with the temperature only starting to rise as I realize I only have pants.

Voices: I do both speaking parts using my iphone to record the voice files. I created two to help me layer. Those file types were not supported so I just recorded directly into the audacity software.
Telephone call file:
EMS voice:
Software used to compile: Audacity
Overall I really liked this assignment and found it fun to come up with a story and piece it together. I hope you enjoy!


Making sounds is hard!

Write a blog post that includes an embedded version of your foley recording. Include your list of brainstormed sounds and the objects or methods used to create the sounds. What was the experience like?

So this assignment really sounds fun to create the sound effects for a film. I have actually done this one other time but with music at the Museum of Moving Image in NYC where you got to dub over a movie with a different soundtrack to show the difference music makes in movies. If you have never been it is amazing and one of my favorite museums in the world.

Back to this assignment, I got a lot of good insights from the clips the professor provided and realized with the objects I had in my hotel room this was going to be a little harder than if I was back in my house. Not only that but doing it all in one take was crazy sounding. Since my birthday is in July I got the first 30 seconds of the movie. I copied down the following list of actions that would need sounds and the ideas I thought of to create them:


Actions/Objects needing sound Used to generate sound
Charlie running Me running in place with shoes on.
Charlie and horse running Me running in place and also hitting a wood door at same time with both hands alternating to make it sound like a horse
Charlie running up wooden stairs and horse running past Used door wood again.
Opening door and closing Opened and closed closet door
Steps in cage Walked on floor with shoes
Sleeping lion sound Breathed like I was asleep
Charlie Tip-toeing away Tip-toed on floor with shoes
Charlie touching door and pushing Touched the wood door to bathroom
Wooden latch falling Dropped an object on counter top
Sleeping lion Breathed like I was asleep


Here is my final clip:

As you can see it wasn’t exactly spot on but I feel this is the best I can do with the limits of a hotel room and only one take where you can’t mix different sounds later. It is a lot harder than I thought, even when practicing. Overall, it all worked minus the door slamming didn’t get picked up by my microphone but that is as best I could do since all the rest of the objects were around my bathroom. After all that work I want to say I now think the folks that do Foley should get a lot of credit. It is exhausting to think what is next and how to do it and well be creative. They are great at what they do and should get lots of love.

The lake is calling me

Create a story made only of sound effects, the Sound Effects Story assignment — a story told in five or more different sounds.

This assignment will be interesting to think through a story without dialogue but the other examples worked well so I think I can do it. I like the alien one for sure but it did have a little bit of voices. So keeping with my theme of escaping, visiting Chicago, and excited about the weather I came up with my idea pretty fast. It helped the window was open in my friend’s apartment and he lives by the huge lake! So here is my story of hearing the sounds of spring calling you outside and the lake tempting you to come out and play. The story spine would go something like this:

Once upon a time there was a city that had long been frozen in a back winter. Every day, they saw nothing but white snow and wanted to spring to arrive! Until one day, spring finally arrived and everything thawed! Because of that, the birds came out and he was able to go on the lake and enjoy the nice weather. All is good with the world when he gets away and sits on the end of pier.

Here is my final file on leaving the house and going to the lake dock.

The files I used to construct it are below:
Birds chirping sound file:
Door closing sound file:
Lake waves:
Footsteps on a dock:

The image is my own that I took of the lake in Chicago outside my friends house that inspired my idea.

I thought the tool was a little confusing at first but it worked well once I figured out you had to shift the sound files around and the layering. Here is my image of me having the files ready and starting to edit in Audacity. Not bad software and free!

Editing Sounds

Editing Sounds

No clouds here just nice sound weather to report

Create your own account on, write a blog post that embeds your audio directly into the post.

I was glad to see this week we could use for our assignments. I have known about this site for years and used it to hear my favorite dj remixes or other random songs. However, I was always a consumer and never a creator on this site so looked forward to flipping my role. I do have to say that I never did provide someone a comment but have seen others do it. So I will be interested to see how that works out.
Okay I went ahead and created a username that would go with my other items of Claytondc because I like to have my name and city front and center. DC represent! The setup was straight forward and I was ready for my first sound file. After thinking a while I decided to do a weather report since I am in Chicago for work (escaping a little with friends for fun) and it is nice out. So here is my weather report and first sound file I uploaded to soundcloud. The image I got from facebook that someone posted with text on top of a scene from the movie “Office Space”. So here it is below:

Hope you enjoyed it and glad I figured out all the little items to make it work.

Look Ma! I am listening to NPR. No really…

Pick examples from the episodes below to use as a basis for a blog post with your observations of the audio methods, techniques you can identify.

After listening to the sound techniques and layering that can happen in production, I was ready to test how well I was going to catch everything. As part of our assignment this week we had to listen to an audio program and practice. Now to be fair I actually do listen to NPR but not since I gave up my car about six years ago and left NC. So my mom would be proud to see me listening to NPR. Anyways, I listened to This American Life and specifically their episode 477 titled “Getting Away With It

In the Prologue Ira is on a flight with a travel writer named Ken Hegan who happens to be over 6 foot tall. The story revolves around him trying out a new gadget called the Knee defender.

Knee Defender Site

Knee Defender Site

I liked how they used the sound of the plane to give you a sense of placement and the act of this happening live. Instead of it being a post discussion the sounds clue you it is real time. They use the use of music as well to clue you into a new part of the story which helps you to know the next part is a new paragraph. Additionally they use layers of sound by having their voices happen over the plane sounds but also total quiet background while Ira is talking. It helps to keep the listening interesting and when there would be talking with no sound my ears would perk up. I really found myself wanting to listen to the story because I felt like I was in the seat next to them and getting to ease drop. That’s how I felt listening and I could sense his desire to not be a dick using the device that prevents people from reclining. However, the woman could not recline but he also did not want his knees to suffer so You feel bad for both parties.

Act One “Take Your Kid to Work Day” has me very interested in what I have gotten myself into with this episode. Here I thought I would be listening to vacation or travel blogs but instead it really is about people getting away with it. Guess I should have read closely that the title had “with it” and not “away from it”. Guess that shows my mind wants a vacation. Okay back to the story about a family that had to turn trucking illegal drugs from Mexico to USA. The theme of music to note paragraphs is used again to help booked thoughts as we move through this segment. As he tells the story of his parents at the witch doctor the music slowly turns to give a sense of almost magical but a little happier. I noticed with this piece the music choice fits the more country rural landscape you can imagine them driving through. Additionally, it even makes me think of a simple life outside of the city. So the use of the music genre is also setting the tone for me and helping me imagine them. As the story starts to climax the music changes to match but in a much calmer sense as if to draw you into the impending danger that the father can now not avoid since they are next at the check point. I find myself reacting with fear for them and wondering how this will turn out. Then the music stops as the main point of the story comes through on how risky this all was and how they almost have no hope of getting through the checkpoint. The clarity of the moment in time is laid bare by the silence of music and raw voice as he speaks. A small piece of my childhood just popped into this story because they ate at Whataburger which I was obsessed with as a child visiting family in Texas and Oklahoma. Sorry, I couldn’t let that moment pass without mentioning.
Whataburger Logo
So I find myself relieved that it all worked out and also still coming down from the anxious feeling you have as you watch a thriller on the TV.

Act Two let’s listeners call and tell stories of how they got away with things. The fact they play the voicemail messages kind of surprises me since you would expect them to give a general list of what people said. But now that I am thinking the entire idea of this show is to give folks the opportunity to speak about it with their own voice. The music is very hip and airy as we listen to the voicemails layered of it. Odd choice but does keep it light and moving through them all. I liked how Ira introduces the last and final story to alert us this will be long but the last. So it is a good set up for the ending coming and they even stopped the music to focus us.

Act Three tells us about Molly Shannon and a friend that take a trip half-way across the country but only twelve years old. And as if that isn’t enough to get your attention they do this while wearing tutus. The feeling of this segment is a lot more cheerful and fun. They mix in a laugh track (or live audience laughing) to the story as it is told. You find yourself smiling or laughing as you imagine these kids sneaking onto a plane. The banter back and forth between Marc (host) and Molly as the story carries forward just adds to how funny it is and shocking. He plays the conscious we all are thinking inside on the wild story.

Act Four has us listening to Producer Alex Blumberg tell a story of how education in Oklahoma made a huge turn around. The use of different voices to tell the story, the absence of music when they want you to pay attention, and the music being used to bookend the paragraph kept this segment going. You felt like you were getting a big secret and you needed to pay attention.
Oklahoma Flag from Wiki

I am sure I missed some of the key elements that they used in the production of these segments but I can tell you that I was picking up more. They use a mix of music, interviews, paragraphs, and layers to tell the story. I found I was drawn into the stories and excited to hear the outcomes. The music would break up the voices and then the voices would break up the background noise. It was well done.