Audio Narrative: Entering the Scream Zone

I was inspired to learn how to construct a narrative through sound. The examples we studied this week demonstrated the complexity of editing and audio manipulation that is possible, and while I may not have been moved by them all, I developed a respect for the artist who is deeply invested in narrative through sound, and wanted to give my best attempt to do the same.

I was intrigued by the Geekspeak by Pamela Z. I liked how she created loops and phrases as though were musical sounds, and focused on phrases that evoked a kind of hyper-geekiness. Using the techniques in Geekspeak as my inspiration, I aimed to focus on phrases that I heard during my walk and wanted to learn how to layer sounds together. To do so, I needed to capture a myriad of sounds, emotions and unexpected elements. Rather than worrying about what I would say and when, I chose a location that would do all the prompting for me—a haunted house of horror.

I should mention that I am easily scared. I don’t do well with scary movies, especially the type with people jumping out at you.  This would be the perfect setting to get me out of my comfort zone.

Once inside San Diego’s largest haunted attraction (the Scream Zone) three gory attractions awaited me: the House of Horror, the Haunted Hayride, and the Chamber of Chills. I recorded several 2-minute clips in the Chamber of Chills before moving on to the House of Horror where I managed to capture 6 straight minutes. Cell phones were off limits once inside, adding an unexpected level of complexity to my project.

My finished product is the combination of my experience in both the House of Horror and the Chamber of Chills.  I took bits and pieces from my experience of being trapped in a maze, wandering through a blood-soaked autopsy room full of dissected corpses and long pointy tools, and coming face to face with a Texas-style chainsaw-wielding maniac, complete with skin mask.

I had 4 friends accompany me, one of which was just as scared as I was (pictured left waiting in line) and a few who just laughed at us and tried to add to our levels of fear.

In the end, I hope I created what Schaub coined a “new art form.” I rearranged phrases and tried to take my listeners on a  journey that allowed them to fill in the blanks using the the rich elements of sound.

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About charlottecosgrove

Disclaimer:this blog has been created as an educational exercise for my graduate coursework at John's Hopkins University
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