Thursday, September 21, 2017

MY HAND! MY HAND!

A) Adapt a scene from a movie, television show, comic book, or video game into a FIVE page podcast script. If you want to use correct audio script format, feel free (and see #3 on Assignment Page), but proper format is NOT required.

Pick a scene that presents some narrative challenges (after the visual information is eliminated), and/or offers a variety of acoustic opportunities (i.e. don't just pick a scene in which two characters are talking in a empty room). In a fictional podcast, narration is often considered a crutch (though it's much more acceptable here than in film); unless it's something that already contains lots of narration/voice over, shoot for as little narration as possible.

Feel free to massage/revise the dialogue to include/articulate information that is removed with the visuals. For instance, in the light saber fight at the end of NPR's audio version of The Empire Strikes Back, Luke additionally yells, "My hand! My hand!" and Vader responds, "Yes, your sword hand, you can't fight without it!"

Choose something you're semi-obsessed with, as you're next assignment will be to write a fan fic podcast script from your source material.

NOTE: Sometimes something that is indelibly visual, Jaws, for instance, or, as I suggested in class, Empire Strikes Back, will surprise you with it's audial vitality. Jaws is all about sounds. The famous Duh Nuh that signals the shark’s arrival is easily as effective, maybe even more so, than the mechanical maw itself. Williams’ two note signature is, of course, hugely important, but so is the light lapping of water against a clanging buoy.

In the opening scene, ALL the noises—musical and atmospheric—create a sense of isolation well before the low pulse of strings creep in. And even prior to Chrissie Watkins' fateful flailing, she’s sitting around a bonfire with friends, enveloped by the sound of aimless conversation, acoustic guitar, and crackling firewood. Jaws was made to be a radio drama. Empire, too. Empire is highly visual of course, but think of the all the distinct sounds: from the Imperial March and Vader's labored breathing to R2D2's chirping and Chewie's incredible range of grunts and growls, which, at various times, were one of three different bears, a badger, a lion, a seal, and a walrus from Long Beach (or some combination of all five).

Post script below as a google.doc (or e-mail it to me at raconteurbooks@gmail.com)

RADIO FREE DEATH STAR

Students MUST post reactions ( minimum 250 words) to the reading/listening linked below. Students are encouraged (but not required) to additionally respond to other student reactions.

A Brief History of NPR’s Star Wars: In 1981, NPR affiliate station KUSC, based at George Lucas’ alma mater, the University of Southern California, hatched a bold plan to adapt Lucas’ Star Wars for radio.

Easily the most visual film of the past decade, Star Wars as a listening experience seemed like an unlikely idea, but Lucas sold NPR and KUSC the rights to adapt the hit movie for one dollar, and opened the Lucasfilm vaults to the show’s producers: the Star Wars sound effects would be available to them in their raw form, along with every note of John Williams’ music, including selections that had yet to appear on an album.The somewhat unenviable task of translating a visual-effects-heavy blockbuster to the spoken word was given to writer Brian Daley.

Click heading to read the rest of the article.

Click HERE to listen to the first 30 minute episode (featuring the ice planet Hoth and the Wampa attack) or HERE for the final 30 minute episode (featuring the final saber battle between Skywalker & Vader) of The Empire Strikes Back from KUSC's STAR WARS: The Original Radio Drama. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

THEY ROARED THEIR TERRIBLE ROARS

Children's books are full of  sounds. The "terrible" roars in Where the Wild Things Are, the Super-Axe-Hacker thwacking the Truffalu Trees in The Lorax, the mud, the river, the snowstorm in We're Going On a Bear Hunt. Adapt a children's book into a 2 - 3 pg podcast SCRIPT.

Don't worry about correct format.

Include the text (imagine it being read aloud), and the sounds indicated by the text, but also do your best to convey the mood/content of the illustrations with ambient (ex: rain) and musical beds (a loop or track of sound that plays underneath voices during spoken elements) and discrete, discontinous sound effects (ex: a dog bark or a gun shot).

Search the illustrations for sounds NOT announced by the text. Be as specific as possible i.e. don't just say "opening music," name a particular song, and if a "monster" is roaring, as in Sendak's Wild Things, precisely indicate what sound you'd use to evoke it (don't just say "roar.") Be creative. For instance King Kong was famously a mix of a tiger growl played backwards and a lion roar played forward; the Rancor in Empire Strikes Back was a slowed-down chiwawa, and the velociraptors in Jurassic Park were, at various points, a horse breathing, a goose hissing, and a tortoise having sex.

Post below as a comment (if it fits) or as google doc link.

OLD-TIME RADIO

Students MUST post reactions ( minimum 250 words) to the listening linked below. Students are encouraged (but not required) to additionally respond to other student reactions.

The old-time radio era, sometimes referred to as the Golden Age of Radio, refers to a period of radio programming in the United States lasting from the proliferation of radio broadcasting in the early 1920s until the 1950s, when television superseded radio as the medium of choice for scripted programming and radio shifted to news, sports and playing popular music. During this period, when radio was dominant and filled with a variety of formats and genres, people regularly tuned into their favorite radio programs. According to a 1947 C. E. Hooper survey, 82 out of 100 Americans were found to be radio listeners. (Wikipedia)

Click HERE and scroll down to browse the Old Time Radio archive; then select/listen to two eps from two different serials (eps are roughly 20 min). One of my favorites is Inner Sanctum.