March 7 : Audio Stories

To Do This Week:

DUE Visual Narrative

Watch: Below is an experimental film from 1971 by Polish filmmaker Ryszard Waśko. It uses off-screen sound rather than image to tell its sound “story.”

Blog: After watching “Okno/Window”, make your own version of  “Window” with off-screen sound. Try to tell a mini-story in sound about what might be happening off screen.

Take about a 30-second shot of a window looking outside.  Then start recording audio segments. You can record video, then in Premiere un-sync audio and delete the video track). Or you can go to to find audio files to download (mp3 or wav). Or sample audio from other videos. Then build an audio track for your off-screen “window story.” 

  • the video should be no more than 30 seconds.
  • you may use only “diegetic” music – that is only music that is coming from the world depicted on screen, like a radio/tv played in the room. Not a soundtrack.


Visual Narratives Due

Passionate Journey, or My Book of Hours (French: Mon livre d’heures), is a wordless novel of 1919 by Flemish artist Frans Masereel. The story is told in 167 captionless prints, and is the longest and best-selling of the wordless novels Masereel made. It tells of the experiences of an early 20th-century everyman in a modern city.
wordless stories

Review of Storytelling Structure / Construction

  1. life is change!
  2. simple/complex plot – inner and outer change
  3. dramatic, episodic & lyrical (a subjective transformation, kishotenketsu)
  4. plotless or anti-plot stories (that still changes!)

Audio stories

Watch some Window stories…

“Sound montage” – the film-maker and media artist Walter Ruttmann’s innovative radio piece: an acoustic picture of a Berlin weekend urban landscape.

Insider’s view of the 1930s radio studio showing the production of dramatic sound effects.


The Revenge is a radio play by Andrew Sachs, 1978. – entirely of sound effects with no spoken dialogue




Squirrel Cop:

  • anecdote/reflection
  • setting details
  • character details
  • pacing


Adobe Premiere Orientation…


Video/Audio Narrative (10%)
DUE March 21st

For this project, you are to make a 30-60 second video using continuity and/or montage techniques. Edit together video clips, animation and/or still images, recorded audio, voice over and/ or sound effects to tell the story. It is up to you how you “narrate” the story – through just images with sound effects, your own voice-over, text on the screen or an interview with the subject. The images do not have to illustrate the spoken narration, but should relate and help reinforce the story. This project is about using multiple types of media to tell a time-based story.


  • A one-minute short fictional story:  Keep it simple. One location, 1-2 characters…
  • a personal story or an anecdote: You probably will need to use voice-over (or text-over image) and either images from your archive or shoot video that stands in for the past events. How might you add sound effects?
  • a story about an object: Similar to the above, but the story or anecdote is about an object. Show the object in various angles/framings. 
  • a sound-driven story:  Create a story with sound effects over video or still images. No language. Scary stories are good with this form. 
  • an episodic video essay: tell a series of mini-stories organized alphabetically.

Final Project:  30%

The final project is to be a digital story that incorporates at least two of the modules covered in this class: diagrammatic, visual, cinematic, hyperlinked/interactive, game-like storytelling. The work may be a significant reworking of a previous project or a new idea and direction.

The final project will have required stages and deadlines and each of these will be graded separately for a certain percentage of the final grade. It is important that you do not leave everything to the last minute. There should be progress each week until it is due. Our class time will be focused on building these stories so that you can help from me and your classmates. You are not to use this time for other class projects.

Project Summary 5% -DUE April 11 After our in-class brainstorming sessions and a required Zoom meeting with me to work out your story idea and approach, you are to write a summary in a blog post. What is the story in 3-5 lines? What form will it take – Twine, HTML, video, comic slides? What are your inspirations – what are the works in this class or elsewhere that are models for what you want to do? 

Project Critique 10% – DUE April 25: We will have an in-class critique of your digital stories. The grading will be based on how much of the work you have completed. I will also be giving you my feedback.

Final Project 85% – DUE May 2: Based on the critiques, you are to address the issues raised and complete the final version of your work for grading. Make a post with a link to the work and give a brief summary or artist statement about what you set out to do and describe the process of how you made it.

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