Episode 4: Using Sound to Enhance Storytelling

Episode 4 March 28, 2022 00:45:35
Episode 4: Using Sound to Enhance Storytelling
Episode 4: Using Sound to Enhance Storytelling

Mar 28 2022 | 00:45:35


Show Notes

What can you do to help make your story come alive in the minds of your listeners? One element that can help listeners immerse themselves in your podcast stories is the effective use of sound.

Much of what we here as sound effects used in podcasts dates back to the tradition of old time radio. Predating television shows, old time radio was a “theater of the mind,” allowing viewers to imagine the comedic antics, dramas, and romances portrayed by popular performers of the day. With only dialogue, music, and clever use of live sound effects, many audio-only stories became vividly-imagined scenarios in the minds of viewers.

In this episode, we talk with Foley Artist Ele Matelan and Artistic Director and Cast Member Andy Huttel from the Chicago based Locked Into Vacancy Entertainment (LIVE). Ele and Andy will share tips, such as using a hot water bottle to make the sound of a car slamming on the breaks, and the difference between the use of a sound effect and what is called Foley Art for making stories come alive for the listeners.

The transcript for this episode can be found at the MakeYourStory website.

Music "Lessons" and "Bless-UPs" by Ketsa @ https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Ketsa 

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 I have to say too, like as an actor, one of the biggest transitions into doing radio work, like this is honoring the Foley truth be told because in our scripts, we have fully cues that are treated just like any line of dialogue. But one thing that I know I've had trouble with, and I know a number of our actress have trouble with is allowing the Foley to happen. And so a lot of times in rehearsals, we have to kind of tell people, Hey, you jumped on the Foley, you've got to let the sound effect happen. Because when you listen to say like the shadow, or if you listened to any of those classic old time radio, they'll talk, they'll say a line of dialogue. There'll be like a moment of silence. And then you'll hear the footsteps and then there'll be a moment of silence. And then the dialogue comes back in and it's like that for almost any sound effect in those old time shows. So creating space for the Foley to do its thing and to really get a chance to hit so that the audience can hear it. Speaker 2 00:01:14 Hello and welcome to make your story. Episode four, using sound to enhance storytelling. At this point, we've discussed researching podcasts, interviewing people and how to market a podcast, but what is yet another way to make your style of storytelling, extra special. One element that can really help listeners immerse themselves into your story is the effective use of sound sound has always been used to enhance storytelling, even dating back to the tradition of old time radio. In the case of broadcasting, audio stories, predating television shows, old time radio was a theater of the mind, allowing the viewers to imagine the different comedic antics dramas and romances portrayed by popular performers of the day with only dialogue music and clever use of live sound effects. Many audio only stories became vividly imagined scenarios in the minds of viewers. This series is a collaboration between the Purdue libraries and school of information studies and the college of liberal arts communication program. My name is Dr. Annette <inaudible> assistant professor of library science Speaker 3 00:02:23 And I'm Sarah Huber assistant professor of library science. Speaker 2 00:02:26 Today. We have two guests from locked into vacancy entertainment or live who will be sharing their expertise with us in incorporating sound. As a storytelling tool live is a Chicago comedy group performing original radio plays and songs before a live audience. Each show is a mix of recurring segments, musical numbers and commercials from fictional sponsors. Some of the featured segments include Chi beta justice, the Roger sisters, Joe Jupiter space, private eye, generic hospital, and, and Belmont joining us today. Our lives fully artist, Ellie Maitland, as well as lives, artistic director and cast member, Andy huddle, Elliot. Andy, thank you so much for joining us. So can you tell us a bit about your backgrounds and working with live? Speaker 0 00:03:18 So live was a predictor of love that a friend Shane hill and I came up with about, oh my gosh, is it it's 10 plus years ago at this point? And, uh, it was really, Shane grew up listening to all of these old time radio podcasts, you know, such as the Saint or Prairie home companion, you know, uh, all those th th uh, the shadow is my personal favorite. He grew up listening to those and he absolutely started getting back into him. And he's like, we could do this. We can very easily do this. And so we, uh, we got a couple of our friends together. We got a couple of scripts and, uh, one December we performed the radio play version of it's a wonderful life. And then we also did. It's very bizarre poem, I guess, about, uh, Christmas and hell it had calendula. I don't know. It was a strange, it was a strange, Speaker 2 00:04:12 Interesting. Speaker 0 00:04:13 Yeah, so we recorded both of those, and that was in December. And then in about August, we had gotten a bunch of other people together and we created a couple scripts, a couple of characters, like you said, Kibana justice, Joe Jupiter. You know, when we recorded the show in front of a live audience in a church before a pretty pretty sizable crowd. And unfortunately the generator popped. So we didn't get the full recording of that. The joys of live theater, you know, from there, we, uh, we kind of bounced around to a couple of different theaters where we would perform every other month or once a month performing to our main place, as well as a couple songs and, uh, the fake commercials. And then we started podcasting them and putting them out onto the internet. Eventually the queen of noise, Ellie joined us, just, it just got better and better and better from there. She, uh, I, I, she, she was able to make a car squeal sound using a hot water bottle. And to this day, I just, uh, the fact that she got that too. It just, you listened to it in the playback. I wish I could remember the episode off the top of my head, but like she was saying Speaker 4 00:05:23 The one where a Jonathan Kohler was playing the joker analog in a Chi beta justice. Speaker 0 00:05:31 Right. The Kidder. Okay. Yeah. That was the one with a billionaire man and right, right, right. And he was the killer. Yeah. And I, to this day, that still is one of the most mind blowing sound effects I think we've ever done because it just, the, the verisimilitude, it was just precedented. It just, it just sounded like cars squealing. Speaker 4 00:05:57 How Speaker 3 00:05:57 Much did you use to make that sound? Now, Speaker 4 00:05:59 Actually, this is going to get a little bit down the rabbit hole earlier than I was thinking we would, uh, I can get very red thready and granular about fully work, uh, fast. So stop me if I make no sense. But one of the interesting things is how our idea of sound really has been influenced by pop culture and narrative fiction over the past century, especially the past century, simply because everything has gotten codafide recorded archive because of recorded media, which was never a thing before the past like century or so. And so our idea of what a car tire squeal sounds like unless we've been unfortunate enough to actually be in the receiving end of a car accident is pretty much dictated by what we've seen in movies and TV and cartoons. And that is actually created the same way I created it for the show, which is using a rubber water bottle. Like the old timey folks would use, uh, to keep warm in the winter and just dragging it across a surface like this. Speaker 3 00:07:07 That's awesome. Speaker 4 00:07:08 And I got that from came Doyle. Um, I'm probably butchering the pronunciation. She is the fully artist on game of Thrones, and she was doing a featurette for the series and just puttering around her studio. And then what, oh, this is a fun thing to show off. I mean, not that there were many tires, sprigs wheels and car chases and game of Thrones, but she still had it handy. Speaker 0 00:07:27 Yeah. That was the, those finals season car chases and game of Thrones were just, Speaker 4 00:07:33 Yeah. Once the dragon got the Mach eight, it was pretty fast Speaker 3 00:07:38 Curious, Andy, like, did you guys have backgrounds in sound? You know, what led you to say, we can do this and just jump in, Speaker 0 00:07:47 Uh, hubris is the short answer. We said, we don't want, we're going to do this. And we're going to figure it out. The shame has a super power and that is surrounding himself by absolutely incredibly talented people. We had a stage manager, who's boyfriend, you know, we handed him a script and he just said, okay. And he just kind of rolled with it. And, uh, you know, the, the first image of him showing up at rehearsal with pool noodles and just light up guns and do hickeys and thingamabobs, and just, I, since then, I'm no longer really surprised what Foley artists come up with. But that first rehearsal, we were all just, we all our jaws just sorta dropped. And we're like, how is that gonna make that sound like, that does not what that, of course like during the actual production, it just sort of happened as to how we thought, you know, we could do it. I don't know. Uh, we were looking for new theatrical opportunities for ourselves. Truth, be told, we were just like, know, I'm not doing anything. What do you want to do? I don't know. Speaker 4 00:08:58 I've been an actor since I was in my tween. That's when I started studying theater and comedy. And I have an acting degree from Southern Methodist university in Dallas, Texas. And one of the first things they tell you when you are in your freshman year in SMU, in acting is be ready to move somewhere else when you graduate, because there's not enough theater to sustain a career here. And I was really intrigued by the Chicago scene, starting in Harley my sophomore year when, uh, some of the graduating class did a production of too much light, makes the baby go blind. What is now done by the internet wrench? I was really impressed with the speed at which they created all of these stories that were supposed to be on a weekly basis to reflect where we were as a society and as individuals. So I was really impressed with how quickly they were creating all of these things and the very fly-by-night nature of what they were doing. Speaker 4 00:09:47 And so I started stockpiling sweaters when I was in my junior year of college, where they had winter, and I had never been through one of those before. So I started working also with people that I went to college with at a company called the house Cedar, Chicago, which is pretty much defined by a high fantasy and that pickle aesthetic, but they also do things in a very, what they consider a Brechtian way where the audience is complicit in what's going on on stage. They can see how everything fits together, which even though like the spectacle is not being hidden from them, like if they had flying samurai onstage, he would see the people that were pulling the ropes to help them fly across the stage back and forth. And that gives the audience another level of investment in this story, because you're watching everything come together to make that story work, which means you care more about it working. And I think that's another thing that's really interesting about where we are in history right now, again, because everything is so recorded and so accessible. That means that we have like narrative conventions that become canonized and that cliche faster than we ever have before. And that means that we're all so familiar with the what of stories. And so we get to be more adventurous with how those stories are told. Speaker 3 00:11:03 Wow, that's fascinating. I haven't heard that description before. Thank you. That's really interesting. Can you explain what fully art is? Speaker 4 00:11:11 Absolutely. Um, this will be the Nickelodeon version. So I'll be doing a little bit of history as well as the definition now fully is originally a film term and the best way to describe it, or try to define it. The way it is used nowadays is that, uh, it is sound effects that are custom, which means they are for a specific piece, uh, created for that piece. Like you can then bank those sounds and add them to a sound library, but it's only fully the first time. If you're reusing something later than it's become a sound cue, the Wilhelm scream would be a very good example of that. Although that's voiceover rather than fully we'll get to that later, the next thing would be that they are practical. They are sound effects that are manipulated by an artist. You could do a field recording of a waterfall, but that's, that's not fully that that is a sound effect. Speaker 4 00:12:01 That is a field recording. And also the last thing would be, it is synced with the action of the story. And there are different ways that that is relevant to radio theater or to theater than it is to film and TV, but it is still able to be applied to radio and stagecraft at this point. And we get so many of the disciplines or techniques from millennia of theater that have been incorporated into film at this point that while it started with, when one film you hear it used a lot more nowadays, because the ways that we are creating this media has been much more accessible and democratized because everyone has a camera phone. So everyone has the capability to create this kind of storytelling, which is also really, really cool. Um, so when it, why do we call it fully? Uh, we call it fully because in the 1920s, when film houses or production companies like universal power, paramount and Warner brothers were in their heyday, they were just created silent films, which doesn't mean that they were watched silently. Speaker 4 00:13:08 It just means they didn't have an audio track on them. Now in 1928, think Warner brothers released the jazz singer complete with actual jazz singing. And so that was such a hit that the other production houses knew they were going to have to also incorporate sound into their stories, to stay competitive. And the same summer that the jazz singer came out, universal pictures was planning on releasing a silent film adaptation of the same story as the musical showboat. But if they were doing a silent showboat alongside the jazz singer, they knew that wasn't going to fly. And so I imagine that Carl landlady, the CFO of universal pictures at the time Cubs bursting and Jack Foley's office chomping on a cigar, it says fully, you gotta make this bird sing. Now, the reason why he came to Jack Foley in this instance is that before he worked as an interstitials director at universal Jack Foley was a radio man, or at least there there's enough argue, uh, arguments and evidence online to suggest that, which I think makes a lot more sense than the American ideal of no, no. He sprung from Zeus's head fully formed with a bag of corn starch with one hand and an egg beater and the other, no, the truth of it is we are all magpies. We're all stealing the shiniest things we see from other artists that we admire and doing what we can to make it our own. And that's where a lot of the magic happens. And that's another one of the reasons why we continue to make these pieces of story and pieces of artwork even to this day. Speaker 0 00:14:33 One of the things that I, that I really truly love about it is that, uh, when done well, the fully is another character within the radio play. I mean, if you'll see like a movie like lost in translation, for example, like Japan in and of itself is a character within the movie. Um, midnight in Paris, Paris is like its own character and, uh, you know, very much so the fully and the music, uh, they're, they're alternate, you know, they're just extra characters within. And once, once I started writing scripts with that in mind, I really feel like things, uh, things really started jelling so much so that we actually eventually created a character in a generic hospital named Dr. Foley who would only respond and only communicate through sound effects. Speaker 3 00:15:21 No, this is really helpful because when you said Allie sound effects is different than Foley arts, this, I think this is helping me understand it, to think of it as a character in itself has a life in itself as, as opposed to a compliment to inaction, is that Speaker 4 00:15:37 It really depends on what the fully is meant to augment. That's a really good question, Sarah. Um, when I'm doing stuff on stage too, like we are working under a different standards typically than we are, uh, in a Phil or studio context, like in a studio presentation or production, like a film or like a traditionally created podcast. You're probably going to be using elements, both of sound design and a Foley. And I do want to make sure that I point out that all fully artists are sound designers, not all sound designers are fully artists simply because it is a niche within a niche, in a discipline. And when I am fully seeing the sounds of a character on stage, then I am acting as an extension of that character. And so there are elements of clown and there are elements of puppetry in the way that I'm performing those sound effects as well. Speaker 4 00:16:32 I want to make sure that I am creating something that is consistent with the actors idea of that characterization. If they're supposed to be shutting a door, there's a big tension between whether or not their character thinks they would slam it or shut it gently. And so we want to make sure that we're reflecting that sort of thing. Whereas if I am creating the world affecting that character, that means a different type of focus and does mean that I am now a separate character inhabiting that world with them. So I will say that, um, I didn't grow up listening to OTR old timey radio. Like a lot of my colleagues did. I had mostly seen the discipline lamps shaded or parodied on sitcoms, like at the risk of dating myself. I remember that episode of punky Brewster, where she did a radio play and that episode of Frasier, where he did a radio play and the Simpsons as well. Speaker 4 00:17:19 But I was seeing a show at the American theater company in 2006 called the kids simple that had a sound practitioner on stage creating all the sound effects that went along with the story and helps move the story and build the world for these characters to inhabit. And I was fascinated because unlike with these sitcoms where they would say set up a laugh line and then jump cut to the fully practitioner, doing something ridiculous for that to be a shtick more than a discipline. This artist, Scotty Hazara is working without the luxury of a jump cut, which also meant that he was being very mindful how he was or his props, uh, and revealing them to the audience. So he wouldn't be spoiling story points moving forward. In case anyone was watching him instead of the actors that were doing the rest of the scene work. Speaker 4 00:18:09 And I was so fascinated by what he was doing, that that was basically my gateway into falling in love with this discipline. And I just started Googling any time something was going to be on the Chicago stage involved, uh, the words, radio theater, or audio drama, or live Foley and watching them whatever I could. And then I fell in with a theater company that had a live horror audio drama show. That was an <inaudible> that they took open submissions for every year. And that was when I finally got my opportunity at the table. And I just hung on for dear life since then. Totally. And it's also important to know that, um, while Foley's name was the one that stuck, there were other really important people doing that kind of work around the same time. Uh, Jimmy MacDonald was basically Walt Disney studios version of Jack Foley, and he was a musician. Speaker 4 00:19:03 He he's a drummer and he was also an engineer. So that meant that he had a lot of musicality and the ways that he was creating these sounds for the cartoons. And he was also an inventor. He was creating lots of these crazy contractions that were also going to be incorporated. Like there's a great photo of him tuning brake drums from different sized vehicles that are ultimately going to become the chimes and big Ben and Peter pan. Another thing, if you remember Alison Wonderland, when they smashed the white rabbits watch and it kind of winds down in it until it dies the way he created that sound was by putting a metal nuts inside it, inflated balloon, and just like whipping it around. So it got us all momentum and was creating that screening whining kind of sound on itself. I also love aura Nichols, who was a member of the trap drumming circuit on vaudeville with this and with the silent films before she went into radio. Speaker 4 00:19:56 And she was a member of the mercury theater on the air with Orson Welles. And she created sounds of the original war of the worlds broadcast. Um, and one of the things that, uh, we most associate with her creativity, she was also very into the idea of the sound rather than the actual thing creatives and the sound, which was something that really made her an Orson Welles butt heads. But a great time when she got her way was when the Marshall crafts lid was unscrewing. Cause we don't have one of those laying around. And so instead she was unscrewing a jelly jar inside an empty toilet tank. So we would reverberate in a way that made it sound much more larger and more imposing. Speaker 3 00:20:32 It sounds like a good student competition. What is, you know, like what is using the simplest items around your house? Can you create such and such sound? Who does it the best, you know, send in, send him the recording and the description of how you did it. Speaker 0 00:20:47 Now, if you're doing that in Ellie's house, you've got a distinct advantage. Speaker 4 00:20:53 Yeah. I do have a different idea of what would constitute a common household objects, but that is one of my favorite things. Also, when we're talking about the types of props that we use for this kind of work, there are things that are custom builds, things that are built for the job. Um, for example, I'm going to pull out washing machine, which is a series of wooden pegs that are lashed together that you roll to be the sound of soldiers, marching, marching in lockstep. Did that come through? Speaker 0 00:21:25 Okay. Now Ellie, when lucked into vacancy happened to produce their own version of war in the world in association with the Chicago public library. And we performed that for the anniversary show on a Halloween a few years back, what did you do to create the unscrewing of the ship? Speaker 4 00:21:46 Oh no, you're putting me on the spot. It's been so many years and so many shows ago, but I'm almost certain I would have done something involving one of those singing prayer bowls for the sound of like something big and other worldliness serial kind of emanating from the craft. And then probably something with crockery, like big metal Cropper, like crockery, like unscrewing itself. And then the reveal of the monster itself with lots of vocal effects and slapping on, on the metal as well to be like the multi tentacle creature slapping around flapping around. Speaker 0 00:22:21 That is exactly what you did that is. So this was a, this was a test and you passed Speaker 4 00:22:28 Great. I also want to say, um, it comes, there are things like custom bills and then there are musical instruments that show up very prominently in this kind of work as well. There are wonderful resources on YouTube of people just clowning around and creating like all these different kinds of effects with their violin or with their tuba or with any other kind of instrument or my favorite thing, which I think you'd also appreciate Sarah are found objects because that for me is the most satisfying thing to present to an audience because when they have a previous relationship to one of these objects and then they're seeing it, recontextualized like this, I think it's goes the same part of your brain that enjoys puns or plays on words by forcing something conventional or cliche into a new context. And it's a nice way of bringing that theatrical magic home with you as well. Speaker 3 00:23:22 It surprises you to see something in a different perspective. Speaker 4 00:23:26 Exactly. I spent most of my time in the before times when I wasn't at working on a specific project, you know, just living my life squeezing stuff that I would find in grocery stores or hardware stores or toy stores. And one of my favorite examples of that would be for the audience at home, a couple of plastic unicorn toys. And I just happened to grab one at party city and do the squeeze. And I was so impressed because I was looking for seagulls for a beach scape. So then I could go Speaker 4 00:23:58 And partner that with one of those musical instruments I was talking about, this is an ocean drum. This is the version that I found is most applicable to stage work because larger than this, this is probably 12 inches across. I've got one that's 16 inches across and I always try to bring into theaters and they say, no, it's too loud. It's a cylinder that is closed on both sides and filled with ball bearings. And you can find them in a lot of world instrument stores as well. I think Remo makes them Speaker 4 00:24:35 So if you play that like ocean waves and overlay those seagulls, that can be really satisfying for each. And then vironment with your voice actors Speaker 2 00:24:57 Do you have a favorite sound? Do you like to create Speaker 4 00:25:00 Don't make me choose. Yeah. I love the challenge of coming up with new sounds, which more often than not end up being combinations of different sounds that I've created in the past as well. I really like, um, doing sustained rainfall, which I like to start that with a rain stick, which is another traditional world instrument. It's very similar in theory to an ocean drum, but instead of being a cylinder, it's a long tube that you're listening to seeds ping off each other as they cascade down to the bottom. And so the size of that will that dictate how long your rainfall can be. But if I start with that and then layer it in with Alka seltzer, after vesting in soda water, then that gives me a similar enough soundscape. That one sounds like the start of a rainstorm. And the other sounds like a sustain that I can then fade out as I see fit. I also, like I said, I really liked doing things with found objects that the audience will recognize. I also really love playing with goblets of water. Let's see if I can get this to cooperate. Speaker 5 00:26:03 Uh, Speaker 4 00:26:18 And if you have one that's irregularly shaped, I'm kind of moving it back and forth to shape, change the configuration of the water at the top. So it's giving you those different, those changes in, in pitch. So that can be a really fun thing to do if you're playing with something other worldly, something magical, or maybe a transition from the past. One of the reasons why I love doing Clark and Belmont and also Phil tack wandering barbarian is because they usually have lots of fun science fiction-y or fantastical sounds that don't exist in real life with contemporary or modern, modern counterparts. One of my favorite things ever that Andy is actually let me do was, and this is one of the reasons why I love doing original works as well. Um, I've fancied myself a playwright as well. And so I like to have a relationship with the playwright where I can be suggesting things for the sake of making it more relevant to the medium of audio drama and one of the park. Speaker 4 00:27:12 And Belmonts that we did was an homage to around the world in 80 days. So we had this big glorious steam, punky, um, Airship that had been alluded to a couple of times, it's like, oh no, please. We need to hear it start these, these give we have to take off and start. And so for that, I incorporated a big old metal hinge and really big metal light bolt, and then manual eggbeater and also the sound of compressed air and also the sound of a thunder tube, which is a stringed drum that reverberates to give you kind of a low rumble, like the engine is continuing to go and also the sound of wings. Cause of course it's a big ridiculous Airship from the Victorian era. So you have wings and that was just how the two dish towels being flapped as it was continuing on its way. Speaker 0 00:28:03 We, we had a UN, a small army helping to do this one particular moment. And it was one of those, uh, you know, it just shows like how collaborative are, what we do is in that, that scene wasn't written. And then it ended up being one of my favorite parts of that entire episode is, uh, you know, after Ellie bats, her eyes and begs and pleads, you know, we end up, uh, we end up, we ended up creating it. What I think is just a really cool moment because, you know, obviously this is all audio drama, but we do perform these live and getting to see all of this, getting to see the actual, like optics of this being created is really neat too, because you had people flapping, dish towels, you had somebody with the egg beater you had sex with, you know, and then you have Ellie doing about like three things at once. Speaker 0 00:28:56 Like she's the one man band pretty much. And then getting to hear it back later, you know, it's like, you can't help, but like, but visualize, you know, in the theater of the mind, like what does this steamship look like? Cause you hear, even though we don't say, well, you know, there's the steam ship, it has 38 wings that has a gyroscope outside. It's got this, it's got this, it's got this. But just by the sound effects, influence the listener's mental image of whatever it is that we're showing them, which I think is, uh, one of the coolest, one of the coolest things. And I think that's where like Clark and Belmont and Thumbtack really lends itself to just the, some of the coolest moments and some of the most unique audio experiences that we've produced Speaker 4 00:29:44 And to piggyback also on the stage craft of it, a good question to field or to consider is that the resources you have for the complexity in your soundscape often involve how much, uh, how many pairs of pants you have at your disposal. And so I'm not shy about drafting, different members of the cast if they're not in the middle of a dialogue heavy scene and helping me every once in a while with more elaborative fact. But one of the things I really liked about the Airship in particular was two of the characters that Andy had added into the mix for this story were the Wright brothers. And so we had them on the flapping of the wings, which felt like a fun little dramaturgical, Easter egg as well. Speaker 2 00:30:29 So what was one of your most challenging moments in creating or using sound effects? Speaker 4 00:30:34 Well, definitely the Airship would fall in that category cause I knew I was excited about it and I wasn't sure I was going to have all the personnel I needed to pull it off. And so I was really lucky with that. The writer that does most of the full tag, wandering barbarians scripts without fail, likes to try to put at least one or two impossible things in all of his scripts. I have full spreadsheets that I break down. Speaker 0 00:30:57 Let me categorize that a little bit in the stage directions we have for Foley, Rob Macklemore is the writer's name. And he will very specifically say, I don't know, some sort of big, loud hippo crashing through a glass chandelier or something. I don't know, sorry, Ellie. Speaker 4 00:31:15 And so in response to the spreadsheets that I use to do all of my creative breakdowns for the sound effects, we'll probably have something in there like Rob's trying to kill me, but he also, one of these commercial parodies was somebody's house of Foley. And that was probably the one that had the sound effect of a cat falling down the stairs while screaming French. And so it's always just about breaking down the individual sounds. And sometimes you need multiple prompts to create the sound of something that would, uh, be a single object in real life. So that's also going to be something that requires a fair amount of forward thought and also as much rehearsal as you can trick your colleagues into giving you in the space and in the same time as the voice actors are going to be having their own relationship to these sounds so you can do some intense queuing. Speaker 4 00:32:11 Actually I would say, um, doing fight scene breakdowns is one of the most challenging things because you also need to really carefully choreograph with your voice actors, where their exertion sounds and where they're reaction sounds are going to be folded into whatever it is you're doing at the table. You're going to have like your body blow sounds, which would probably be something like depending on the resources you have and whether or not it's studio or stage and how you have time clean up or things like that. You might have just a boxing glove and maybe a pair of shoes is smack a pair of blue jeans or something big and durable and sturdy with, or you might be breaking some bones which are going to be celery and carrots, or you might be tearing someone's throat out, which would be a head of lettuce or maybe bashing someone's head in, which would be ahead of cabbage. Speaker 4 00:32:58 And there are a lot of little things that you can be doing to protect yourself when you're in the heat of the moment and dealing with show adrenaline. So you're not grabbing the wrong thing at the wrong time. One of the reasons why you may notice that with all the produce, I just mentioned it was all vegetables that's because I always avoid fruit when I can on bully live shows because fruit has sugar and it'll make everything around it sticky once it starts getting its juices everywhere. Another thing is if I've got a big violent show that involves both that throw takeout and a at bashing, I'm going to always make sure that anytime I use cabbage in a play or production, it's going to be red cabbage because that way I always know which one is the cabbage. So little things that you can do to help yourself in the, in the past for the moment are always really, really good. Speaker 0 00:33:46 I have to say too, like as an actor, one of the biggest transitions into doing radio work, like this is honoring the Foley truth be told because in our scripts we have fully cues that are treated just like any line of dialogue. But one thing that I know I've had trouble with, and I know a number of our actors have trouble with is allowing the Foley to happen. And so a lot of times in rehearsals, we have to kind of tell people, Hey, you jumped on the Foley, you've got to let the sound effect happen because when you listen to say like the shadow, or if you listen to any of those classic old time radio, they'll talk, they'll say a line of dialogue. There'll be like a moment of silence and then you'll hear the footsteps and then there'll be a moment of silence. Speaker 0 00:34:37 And then the dialogue comes back in and it's like that for almost any sound effect in those old time shows. So creating space for the Foley to do its thing and to really get a chance to hit so that the audience can hear it because the audio balance is one thing that was also, we had to, we had to kind of learn how to balance the Foley and the music and the microphones, because sometimes the piano would get way too loud, you know, in the, um, we've had a very, very talented sound technician. Uh, Jesse Schroeder, we've had a number of them over the years who we've worked with. We have dedicated, Mike's set up just for Foley, so that in the theater, we can bump it up where we need to, but then we can also adjust it after the fact for the podcast. So what you hear in the podcast isn't necessarily what you heard and then you have the horrible, horrible laughter of an audience, which can sometimes just completely take over and cause you to miss all sorts of things. So always the balance of all of those audio elements. It's very, very tricky when you're not used to that fully being another character. Like I was saying before, Speaker 4 00:35:49 Someone that I learned some of my craft from early on, I still quote, every time I'm working with, with actors on a new project, or if I'm running a workshop at a university, I always say the trick for voice actors is to make room for the sound, but not to wait for the sound. So if you've got two of the big ways to think about sound effects would be plot sounds versus story sounds. So story sounds are just building the world of the story, their background, things that aren't necessarily moving the plot of the story forward. Whereas plot sounds would be, oh no, look out, he's got a gun bang. He shot someone. So if you don't hear a bang, but you still said Chuck, so it doesn't have the same kind of punch unless you're like he had a silencer. That's one of the other reasons why I'm super grateful that locked into vacancy is a comedy outfits. That also has a bunch of people that have cut their teeth in improv and in Renaissance fairs where they're doing all these really crazy things and taking risks and helping the story still move forward when things don't work out internally, the way we want them to Speaker 0 00:36:57 Which which happens less often than always. Speaker 3 00:37:01 Well, that's what I've been thinking is this sounds like improv is in there for sure. We're needed at times Speaker 4 00:37:07 Very, very much that. Well it's about active listening more than it is anything else, which is great for any actor or a stage performer to have in their back pocket. They want to make sure that they're being true to the story as it's going right now, even if it's not a hundred percent of the way that, that it was rehearsed. And that's another one of the reasons why live sound is great to incorporate into the show as early as possible. A lot of actors are used to just getting the sound effects in to the story at tack, which I also think is kind of a lost opportunity because there are so many different ways that the way things sounds, really inform your character and the sense of the world that you're inhabiting in really, really cool ways. Speaker 3 00:37:51 Are there some activities, are there resources, you mentioned YouTube videos, maybe there's websites, books, anything to help students moving towards lists and to their podcasts. Speaker 4 00:38:03 Yeah. When, uh, when I said YouTube, um, specifically like lots of scifi and fantasy films and stories will have making a featurettes and sound work is usually some of the most exciting stuff that you're going to get to see and all of those featurettes as well, since we seem to have gone past the days of the DVD, if any of your students are old enough to remember what those were, a lot of the stuff can be found on YouTube or on streaming services. And so even if it's just a matter of films that they like and would be curious about, it never hurts to just be well it's available on this. Um, let's see, David venture as a director is always really, really diligent with his sound work. And so you find some really school is cool stuff out there about fight club and about panic room and a bunch of other films, the Cohen brothers as well. Speaker 4 00:38:52 Like if you just think about the painstaking effect that on the narrative, the air compressor sound has in no country for old men. That's another thing just to revisit and think about from the perspective of the sound artist in a full way that really augments your appreciation of the storytelling. Another thing, uh, let's see, two major sources as far as books are concerned. I love the writings of Robert L Mott. He was a radio man who was active in the twenties through sixties. I want to say, uh, until he passed away. And he was great about like his own anecdotes. And he also interviewed a lot of his peers. So he's got great experiences that are going to be really resonant to artists working today, still as well about the trial and error that goes into this creative kind of work and also some practical advice for all of those students as well. Speaker 4 00:39:44 Another thing about how fully has been, uh, kind of taken back into its statical roots, even though it started as a stage term as a film term, is that Robert Lawton ever uses the word foliage in any of his writings. He considered himself a sound effects, man, or radio man, or a sound artist, but fully wasn't really considered, uh, even a film term until after Jack fully passed away in the sixties. There's also the definitive book on fully work is the fully grail by Vanessa theme. I meant who was a professor at ball state university. We just got the third edition of the holy grail is now available as of November. And I might be in there as well in the section on radio theater. I would also recommend checking out on Facebook. There's a group for fully artists that now has over 6,000 members in it. And not only is it a great place for people to commune and to share very cool videos and effects and ask questions. But John Rush, who is the fully artists for Pixar and Skywalker sound has pretty regular interviews with big figures in the field as well. We got to interview the folks that did the Oscar winning sound for sound of metal last year. And so you get to learn really, really cool things from people working in this media. Speaker 0 00:41:05 Uh, I would also recommend just so you can kind of see how all the pieces kind of come together. There's a 2012 film called what about Dick? And it is a live performance of a radio play and it features Eddie Izzard, Tim Curry, Billy Connolly, Russell brand, Tracy omen, Jane, uh, Daphne from Frazier. Um, thank you. And they, they perform everything, um, over a series of a couple of nights. So they were kind of able to splice it together, but you've got live music, you've got left Foley and you've got all the actors in front of the mics performing, and it shows you really, really well at how a radio show like that all kind of comes together in a performance like that since we used to be used to be able to go downtown, to see a radio show get performed, but nowadays there aren't as many of those as there used to be, but it's so funny to, uh, highly, highly, highly recommend. What about Speaker 4 00:42:08 Netflix? Speaker 0 00:42:10 Netflix? You are correct. It is currently on Netflix. Speaker 4 00:42:13 Uh, and as exercise is a concern, if your students are interested in writing radio plays, start out with things like, what are their favorite sounds? What would they be interested in hearing as a prompt for a story or thinking about, uh, what stories they're already excited by and how sounds can inform those, or if they are already in the practice of listening to podcasts or, uh, radio theater, I find it really helpful to itemize the sounds that you're hearing listened to and think about what sort of emotional reaction you're having to them and then brainstorm how you would create those sounds on your own or listen, and think about what sounds they sound like, because the context of the sound sometimes influences what it actually is or vice versa. There are a lot of things that we reuse prop wise in sound that just depending on how we're manipulating the sound or what we expected to be in the story itself will tell us what that sound is or go back to something that, uh, Andy was saying earlier, there's this great possibly apocryphal story about when televisions were coming into everyone's homes for the first time. Speaker 4 00:43:22 And that was taking over as the go-to family entertainment instead of the radio and this little boy was being interviewed and the interviewer said, which do you prefer radio or television? And the little boy said, I like radio the pictures of that. So it's all about building those ideas. The story in theater of the mind, Speaker 0 00:43:42 Uh, radio days, radio days is another good film that features some really great moments of radio drama and, uh, some really fun, uh, characters and different different takes of how radio really, uh, was a member of the family kind of back in the, uh, the thirties and forties. It's second. Speaker 2 00:44:05 So, uh, where can we access live episodes and hear more of your work? Speaker 0 00:44:10 Yeah, we are on Spotify iTunes pretty much anywhere where you get your podcasts, you can look up a locked into vacancy or L dot I dot V dot E dot a radio show. Uh, that'll also come up. Those are pretty much like the main, the main ways right now you can also access our Facebook page, which does have links as well. Uh, but pretty much I think Spotify is going to be the best place for all of you're locked into vacancy needs. Speaker 2 00:44:41 Awesome. Well, Len, Andy, thank you so much for joining us today to share your experiences Speaker 3 00:44:49 And thank you to our listeners for tuning into this episode of make your story, listen to our past episodes and be on the lookout for new ones on the, make your story [email protected] forward slash maker podcast. And last but not least, we'll be doing another call out in early April for student episodes on, on your stories of making, there'll be a a hundred dollars gift card awarded to the three students who best meet the criteria that will be posted with the call-out. So start preparing your episodes and be looking for that call out.

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