Fairytale Writing -DS106 All the Way!


village-jim-grooms_John Fairytale Writing – DS106 All the Way – AKA “We can’t all be @JimGroom” Thanks to all who share and contribute for making my DS106 world real. I hope you enjoy the Fairy Tale of the journey so far. I created this while hanging out in my bungalow in the Village for the Bovine FairyTale Festival (hoping it counts for credits in both!)

Well – the week to stretch some skills has come a little heavier than others. Writing. Writing a fairy tale. I am much more verbose online than in person – but it usually is in trying to have an asynchronous discussion or going through steps in training – not stories and not fiction.

I have enjoyed the reading of the resources so abundantly provided by NanaLou. But I tend to enjoy the moment of the story and not diving in and trying to pull  it apart and figure out the meanings and inferences. Hans Christian Anderson – well, I have always loved Danny Kaye and I remember the movie as a kid – but the dark and sad stories do become a little depressing when you don’t have the slapstick and singing to go along with them.

Rocky and Bullwinkle were a childhood favorite – so Fractured FairyTales high on my list. My Dad also had a teasing and dry sense of humor – so it was something we shared and I would listen to his stories. I was a fine arts specialist at the elementary level when is was in the classroom as one of my early career assignments. I would collaborate with classroom generalists as they would teach the writing and I would connect the fine arts in lessons. Students were guided in steps to story writing by taking things they knew or happened in their own lives and changing them up to fit a story. A theme along with a book was often retelling The Three Little Pigs from the wolf’s point of view. So I decided to use things that have happened in the last 6 months and follow the pattern of a fairy tale – so my version of a fractured tale – combining different things that may or may not be considered as being connected.

I was surprised the drafts came quickly. After reviewing – I think the Elves and the Shoemaker may be the format behind the DS106 and the Ed Administrator.

After recent weeks with design, visuals, audio, video – it seemed sort of plain and not too exciting to just have black and white words on a page.

I decided it was time to push my audio -not the editing part – but the part about not using my voice for recording. I have a few different mics – but haven’t been happy with the sound. Plus, I have to find a way that I don’t think anyone is listening when I am doing it – sort of like dancing – I can have lots of fun if I don’t think anyone is looking.

I used iRecorder – an app on my iPad – went down in the basement to my laundry room and closed the door. With the script on my ironing board – so I was standing – I hit record and read. The app then connects over wifi to my computer and transfers the file – pretty slick!

In Audacity I just cleaned up some gaps and breaths – not too much editing or effects. I found some piano music on Jamendo to add to the background and left it at that. No sound effects at this time.

In March of 2015 – Rochelle Lockridge had assembled the work of a radio collaboration on the NOIR theme. She presented it in a FlipBook. I was fascinated by the Flipbook format and have decided it will be a good way to assemble my family stories in a better way by allowing different media and narratives to be included – better than endless slideshows with music or audio. The format will give the chance to weave the stories together as our life actually unfolds. I opted for the buy – Rochelle’s reasoning of pros and cons made sense for what I needed. In order to start making use of my investment I thought the fairytale might be a good learning project.

A PDF is created first (at top of the post) – so that happened. I thought I was going to tackle inDesign – but after an hour gave that up! I will come back to that on another project. I opened iBooks and created there first and exported as the PDF.  This also had me look at font, layout and some graphics – so stayed in line with design week – even though that is in the Village.

This is okay – but the audio and GIF and some other things don’t come through. It is a way to distribute the writing.

I imported into FlipPDF Pro and began exploring. I found how to add the audio and video, get the GIF to be running. Then came exporting. I don’t want the $9.99/month subscription for hosting. @RockyLou22 embeds her flipbooks in her websites and had a way to share it with others. I spent about an hour with the directions – they don’t offer much because they really want you to upload to their pay site. After little success – I put it aside. I will go back and solve it, but wanted to get this post done while it was still a fresh memory. I will connect with @RockyLou22 for some hints when things slow down a little.

For Apple devices – it is in iBook form – even this is not smooth  or clean. It comes in Google and you have to ignore the screen and download – and then open in ibooks


click to download as iBook
click to download as iBook

I need to get the FlipBook version working…..maybe as the night goes on it will come. 🙂




Art is Information: Announcements

village-jim-grooms_John Audio Week!

I have a love hate relationship with audio.

I love the creativity, the possibilities, the small details covered. Good audio is a powerful springboard to visuals and video added.

I hate the unlimited possibilities, the small details  covered and that I forget that I can use my voice no matter how much I don’t like to hear it.

The morning announcement assignment was a good re-entry. With teleporting between villages I have not viewed or caught up with all the episodes. You can’t really write good morning announcements without context.

I decided to use the on hold music that drives Number 6 crazy and makes him bash his phone instead of the marching music. Seems it was repetitive enough and adds the conformity layer. And it did start to drive me crazy too.

I wanted to include my warder role of Designer/Painter into the announcements. I like the accents and my midwest voice didn’t seem right – so I used text to speech and chose Karen from Australia. This doesn’t give the best flow of language – but she seemed to sound pretty good.

I then combed episodes and a review site for audio clips.

Downloaded and gathered the lines I wanted and then started in Audacity. We all know – lots of moving around. Some of the music was too loud in areas and I got into mega envelope tool sets.

After a few hours of tweaking and puttering I still didn’t like it and thought I should record all in one voice. About that time – family intervened so that will have to happen later. I have left it with the multiple voices.

I have included some of the quotable lines I picked up on in listening to episodes and sound clips. New residents have a mandatory painting session in the garden. Hoping the residents can see through it and know it is a way to share information through paintings and choices for bungalow updates. But if they are already on a side or have become a number I am not sure it will help.

The art show is at 4pm and “we don’t know what it means – it means what it is”……

……more later in the week with either an update to this assignment or improving in the next.

Waldorf and Statler Present – Eastside

This is my intro bumper. Since at this time I will not do a radio show as an individual I chose to make an intro to my possible audio session and not a ds106radio bumper. One of my Dad’s favorite shows was the Muppet Show. He loved Waldorf and Statler and Animal.

Searching for clips of animal turned up a lot of screaming and grunts – he was a character of few words and lots of animated action! I still may try a short 15 second bumper with Animal.

Waldorf and Statler  – It took me a while, because I knew who they were – the grumpy old men hecklers, but not their names. Once I uncovered who they were there were piles of clips to go through. And sigh…again I got caught up in watching – but not as long this time!

I found a trailer for a muppet movie that was more a conversation between the two of them and not the one liner zingers. Zingers would work -but there would have been a lot of piecing together. I think John Johnston has some script to apply to clips that I will have to check out on how to use – especially before the remix units! I still had a lot of trimming, matching, juggling and piecing to do with the dialog to get it to say what I wanted it to say.

I found several versions of the theme music for the background and went with a cover of piano only since I wanted it to be background. The music in the end sounded to me like it was part of the original and it wasn’t. This is still several pieces rearranged and tweaked to be one.

I added the text to speech voice of Ryan for the title Eastside to take out references of muppets.

Other than that this one was a little more simple and straight forward without a lot of layers and additions. The original clip had layers of sounds and – hey  – why not use them.

I did keep the ending with a long trailer – that is for the purpose of being easier to add to a longer audio event and blend it in. So the last 3+seconds are really dead air, but since they are at the end a listener will not be affected.

Any other Muppet Show fans out there? I love bringing in things that meant something to my character!

Tools: Audacity, Mac YouTube Downloader

Guys vs Dolls – Commercial Standoff

Audio commercials. How to choose a voice? Male or Female? Who is the target audience? Which fits best? I decided to do both versions and use both within the same audio event – cover all the bases!

Audacity is getting to be more familiar and WOW – there is so much you can do with it that I haven’t even touched yet!

First – shout out to Ronald L – a ds106 4Lifer, who posted in the Google+ Community some work he had done using text to speech voices. This provided a change-up from having to do my voice over or try to find a willing candidate to read and record for me.

From the beginning;

  1. Determine product
  2. Write Script for ear hear
  3. Pre think possible genre for music and possible sound effects
  4. Go to http://www.fromtexttospeech.com/ and create voice overs. – This step required some time to space the text out for some emphasis etc. I also had to try EVERY voice and different speeds.
  5. Download text to speech files as mp3 for importing into Audacity
  6. Search for music background – TIME WARP – I have to get better at choosing and narrowing the scope!
  7. Search and download sound effects – more than needed, but better to have and cut than not enough.
  8. Work with music segment first and make length of desired commercial
  9. Import voices – both into same to keep timing the same for both commercials
  10. Split voices into segments
  11. Change speed of voices on certain phrases to smooth out computer generated sounds and to stress statements. (this didn’t work for all -still a little rough on some statements that I can’t seem to smooth) My script had pilates instead of Zumba – but pilates would not generate into anything close to understanding. Rocks glasses turned into on the rocks for the same reason.
  12. Go back and use envelope on music to raise sounds between phrases, soften background in certain phrases. The music track ended up looking like a wicked roller coaster ride!
  13. Add sound effects
  14. Use amplify, envelope and fades to place and emphasize.
  15. Save original
  16. Save copy as male voice – delete female tracks
  17. Save copy as female voice – delete male tracks
  18. Export each out as mp3.

One hiccup was in the male voice. Every time I exported as an mp3 I got no voiceover. I ended up importing into a new audacity file and then exporting again – this time all tracks came thru. It seems because the voices were mono and in the original they somehow became joined, when I deleted the  female track it auto muted the male voice in export because it was the second track. Not sure if that makes sense – but 20 minutes of tense moments and trying different saves, save as, and exports, I finally came up with a complete mp3.

Still not sure how this all fits into an audio event – but I am building the pieces!

Love to hear any suggestions for improvements! thanks!


Oriental Drugs – OK – NOT THAT KIND!

Oriental Drugs is a pharmacy and store on Milwaukee’s Eastside and has been there for ages. It is one of the landmarks for my character Jerry.

I began by looking up old radio commercials, jingles, scripts, and advertising online. I spent way more time on listening and going off on tangents from links, one after another. Discipline in staying on track needs to improve.

I found some old scripts which were helpful in determining tempo, style, and other things. I also remembered writing for the ear and looked up those tips as well. I can’t say I follow them all – but it allowed me to remember not to be an English teacher tyrant and to write more for listening than report writing or policy and contract documents.

I broke down my script into “ear hear” lines and double spaced for adding in sounds etc. Once I placed all the possible sounds and transitions I went to the next time sucker and visited freesound.org for downloads that might work saving them all to one folder and making sure they had titles that would allow me to read and not have to listen to everyone trying to find what I needed when I needed it.

Once complete it was background music. This is the biggest time warp! So many songs and music and yet going the CC or free copyright path doesn’t always bring about the best choices. They are most certainly there  – but finding them among all the other stuff  – wow! – Who would think listening to 30 second clips could take hours! I narrowed it down to 3 songs.

In Audacity, I recorded my script and divided the ear hear lines into separate sections. I would have preferred someone else reading but really don’t have any willing subjects handy now.  I learned how to finally split a track and to use the time shift tool. I also managed to use the envelope tool, and several effects. I am getting more proficient at keyboard commands that increases efficiency as well.

I had 14 tracks going in this project and found using labeling was helpful as well as shrinking the track sizes, and collapsing once something is in place. Even dawned on me to move tracks up and down when I was working on placements so that other tracks weren’t in between. DUH! It’s those simple things!

While I still hear some things I’d like to work on, I will wait for feedback. Plus I still have another commercial to do and can apply new-found knowledge there. Just trying to keep in mind this is learning and not project outcome for now.

The sounds I used were:

freesound.org Dogs 20130101_131356_vaermland_sledge_dogs_before_start_put_to_sledge.wav
sausages frying.wav
Smoke Detector Alarm

Music from Jamendo.com
Shuffle U by Cambo