I’ve just finished up work on a series of podcasts about Australians and their relationship with swimming pools. The final series is featured on RN’s Pocketdocs website.
This project was produced with Aileen Sage Architects as part of their exhibition The Pool which they curated for the Australian Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture. Being a bit of water lover myself, this was such a fantastic project to work on. The team did a series of interviews with prominent Australians including Paul Kelly, Ian Thorpe, Shane Gould, Hetti Perkins, Anna Funder, Tim Flannery, Romance was Born, and Christos Tsiolkas. Each explored the personal stories, memories, and ideas that swimming pools hold. Everyone has a pool story, they are places filled with nostalgia and charged with the different experiences of bodies in water and space.
This job was produced in two parts. Firstly I edited snippets of the interview material for the exhibition audio/sound loop. This was mixed with music from Australian composer and percussionist Bree van Reyk. It was designed to travel around the exhibition space, with voices coming in and out of small speakers positioned around an indoor pool installation.
Producers from all over Australia descended on 107 projects for our first Audiocraft conference on March 5th 2016 and it was an incredible! I knew that audio folk were great, but seriously- I don’t think I appreciated just how amazing it would feel to have so many of these awesome individuals in the one place at the one time. Our community of Aussie makers is thriving and it was so great to hear about all the podcast and radio projects people are working on. The room was buzzing with creative energy and good vibes. So good.
Our stellar line up of presenters got the conversations going and my head is still buzzing with all the ideas. Bec Fary and Jon Thjia had us independent podcast dreaming, and Timothy Nicastri and Miyuki Jokiranta took us deep into the wonders of sound design with new skills to boot. Joel Werner and Tiger Webb had everyone talking about sound stories with decomposing pigs, and Sophie Townsend and Jaye Kranz cracked open the mystical box of narrative radio. Our kicker panel on collaborative storytelling with Maddy Macfarlane, Kween G, Gavin Ivey and Giordana Caputo covered all the things we need to think about when working with other peoples stories and how to keep our radio making integrity in check. Then Sherre Delys wrapped the day up with her lyrical wonders reflecting back all the positivity and good times of the day. Stay tuned for the podcast of all the sessions.
It’s going to take a while to come down from this one. And we’re already plotting ideas for 2017….! In the mean time, we can’t wait to hear the entries for our first Audiocraft’s Short Feature Making Challenge
I’m super excited to be working on a new project Audiocraft, a conference for Australian radiomakers and podcasters that’s happening on March 5th.
Audiocraft will be a day for producers to come together and talk, listen and learn about making great stories with sound. We have a stellar line up of presenters who’ll be leading workshops and panel discussions on narrative techniques, podcasting, sound design and collaborative storytelling.
It’s about building a stronger community of content makers and talking about all the nerdy stuff, and I can’t wait!
Audiocraft is an idea that’s been brewing for a while. When I went to the Third Coast International Audio Festival in 2014 I was blown away by being in a room of 500 radio folk who shared the same passion for telling stories with sound. I also realised that we don’t have anything like it in Australia, so something had to be done.
Over the last months I’ve been working with a group of absolute legends to make it happen. Here’s a few us being geeks and paying tribute to our trail blazing heroes at Third Coast.
The response to Audiocraft so far has been amazing. We sold out of our tickets 2 months before the conference date and so many people have come forward to offer their support. I think there’s a real desire for people to come together in this way. It’s an exciting time to be making audio, but it can also be a lonely gig, and there are a lot of big questions about the future of podcasting and radio broadcast that haven’t really been answered. So hopefully we can talk through some of these issues, build some great networks, and inspire creative collaborations!
I had heaps of fun chatting with fellow audio nerds Jaye Kranz,Tiger Webb and Heidi Pett on the Radio Gaga panel at Melbourne’s Emerging Writers Festival. We shared ideas about radio’s ‘New Journalism’ phase and how the role of the narrator might be shifting from a traditionally objective standpoint to a more subjective voice.
There are mixed feelings about this trend which is often seen as a shift to a more American style of radio. But I think it’s a great opportunity for producers to be a little less stodgy, or authoritative, and perhaps be more transparent about their role as storytellers within their work. We often make radio about things we genuinely care about, and as long as we don’t start stepping all over the story unnecessarily, an active voice might inject an authenticity into the work that we want to share. It might also help develop different creative audio styles and more distinct producer voices. You can really hear this in independent podcasts like Love and Radio and Strangers.
So if a subjective voice serves the story and moves the narrative forward in an interesting way, then why not utilise it? Perhaps the dilemma is how to not to let a ‘trend’ overtake the question of purpose, and consider what works best for each individual story.
I listened to this fantastic panel discussion on the recent “explosion” in the popularity of podcasts. Moderated by The New York Times’David Carr, it’s a pretty impressive line up with Sarah Koenig from Serial, Alex Blumberg from Start-Up, Alix Speigel from Invisibilia, and Benjamin Walker from Benjamin Walker’s Theory of Everything. They chat about the recent wave of podcast fever that peaked with Serial’s huge success in late 2014.
It’s widely known now that Serial is pretty much the single most popular podcast EVER. And it’s success has created a lot of excitement about the potential of making and distributing audio stories outside traditional radio broadcast. A lot of interesting ideas come up in this conversation, but what I loved most was the sense that podcasting offers a space to try new things and tell great stories with fewer rules and restrictions.
You can watch the full video of the discussion here…