The End of Radio Sleuths

It felt weird to hear my voice being broadcast on ds106 radio, but also pretty exciting! I’m really happy with how the Steadfast Sleuths ended up sounding on the radio and thought it was funny when our night of radio shows became known as the ‘noir cat night’ because of cats being present in all three of the shows that Wednesday night. The tweets on Twitter quoting lines from the show, remarking on the cereal-based plot, and the Skype conversation afterwards about how well-produced the shows of that night were made me proud of the content our group produced and hopeful concerning our current group project of creating a video story with these noir characters.

If I had the choice to do anything differently, it would only be to flesh out the characters more, but I feel that we did the best we could in 20 minutes.What I enjoyed the most about our radio show process was the voice recordings for the dialogue because it was a fun project to bring in friends for to work with and we somehow managed to record all of the scenes in one or two attempts, which was great! My favorite assignment I did for the show was definitely my Itty Bitty Kitty Shampoo commercial because of the concept and because I kept laughing when I was making it. The hardest part of the radio show process was creating a cohesive script, after we had made that, the other parts of the project came together without a problem.

For future ds106 students, I suggest trying to form your group before the radio show project officially starts because then you can start working on the show on the first Monday of the two-week assignment. I also suggest that your group should create a Google doc or something similar for group members to post parts of the script and radio show ideas so the entire group can interact with each other outside of physically meeting up. Creating the radio show has without a doubt been my favorite assignment for the class so far and I hope that this project will continue to be used in future ds106 courses.

A Random Sleuth Story

I decided to complete the Short Story With Random Words and Animal(s) writing assignment because it seemed like an assignment that is well suited to this week’s requirement of using multiple characters in my assignments. I was able to create a story in a word document using the first ten words I was given. Based on these words, I was inspired to create a new case for the Steadfast Sleuths following their radio show adventure and I wanted to involve the entire group so I used more dialogue than I usually do. Creating a follow up adventure for the Steadfast Sleuths was a great way for me to figure out how Shelley would interact with people close to her and gave me a chance to enhance her character as a whole.

The ten random words that I used in this story are bolded, as well as the animal:


After closing the door to their car, Sasha, Sarah, and Shelley walked over to the crime scene to put together what had happened earlier that night. There was a man in the alleyway, probably in his late twenties, lying face down on the pavement with a bloodied head and disheveled clothes. Sarah noticed the object lying alongside the man’s head and said, “It looks like a loose brick fell from one of these buildings, bounced off of his head, and killed him”. “Perhaps,” commented Shelley, “but let’s look more closely at what the man has on his person before jumping to conclusions”.

Not content with their first assumption the three women carefully examined the contents of the man’s adjustable knapsack and pants pockets. “I’ve found something you might want to look at,” exclaimed Sasha. In her hand, she held a small business card designed with a raster graphic designed black cat and the text Cosmic Cats, a local crime gang that had been growing in notoriety within the last few months. “So they’re involved with this,” Shelley remarked while slowly walking away and starting to brood. The Steadfast Sleuths had taken smaller cases concerning the Cosmic Cats before, and knew that if they accepted one involving murder, there was no telling what the gang could do in retaliation to their snooping around. Shelley turned to her friends, “Well, are you up to the challenge?” she said while wearing a small, sly grin. “Of course,” responded Sasha, “We haven’t run away from a case yet and we won’t start now, right Sarah?” Sarah sighed and proclaimed, “I swear, we all must have some unhealthy addiction to danger”, and a small smile crept onto her face, “and we’ll just keep on feeding it. Let’s get started.”

Assignment Value: 3 stars

Mills’ Business Card

When I saw this assignment for creating a business card for a bad guy, I knew that I had to create a business card for Shannon Mills, the villain of the Steadfast Sleuths and more specifically, Sasha Kellogg. The inspiration for this card came from our group’s radio show, because Sarah and Shelley are given a business card for Shannon Mills during the show and I used that as a template for the design, including name, occupation, and phone number. I found the perfect background image for the card off of a Google image search and created the rest of the card in Photoshop. I used this image because of the dark mood set by the text with words such as crime, horror, etc. I created the card using Photoshop and then uploaded it to Flickr. I found that white text on a black background popped out more than the opposite, since the background image is all newspaper, and I really like how the text and colors work well with one another in creating the card.

Shannon Mills Business Card

Assignment Value: 2 stars

Listening to Noir

Besides listening in to my group’s radio show, The Steadfast Sleuths, I also listened in on Monday to the radio shows of House of Noir and Noir We There Yet? for this assignment. Both of these stories have a lot of strong points and both stand alone as strong radio shows.

House of Noir’s radio show was set up as an actual radio show where people can call in to the radio station to have their questions answered or to comment on questions posed by the radio hosts. I thought that it was funny that Sebastian Crane was in their radio show as well as our and the obsessed fan girl added a light-hearted break from the overall seriousness of the radio show. Most of the hosts had to sign off partway through their broadcast because of provocation from callers or similar situations of distress. The editing on a few of the transitions could have been a little clearer, but each phone call felt distinctly different due to the use of static or background sound or just the emotions displayed by the participants of the conversation, which was great! My favorite commercial of their show was the one for Stardust Airlines because the combination of dialogue, mood, and sound effects created a very convincing advertisement which was very easy to believe as being real.

I really enjoyed the characters and plot development in the Noir We There Yet? radio show with a cast of interesting characters attempting to figure out the unexplained phenomena going on in their town while providing plenty of witty banter, especially from the character Wendy. The sound effects used in the 1950s commercials for McDonalds and Nehi were spot on with the static sound of the voices and the over-excited style of dialogue used during that time. I just wish the show had been longer so I could find out more about these characters and their town. My favorite part of the show was when the librarian went to talk to the suspected murderers on her own and managed to obtain crucial information for the investigators. This is partly do to they way the scene was laid out and that I am studying to be a librarian so I appreciated that the group created the librarian to be an important character when solving the crimes in their city.

Both groups did a fantastic job creating and presenting their noir radio shows!

An End to Noir Cats

To recap, during the first week as a radio show group, we created the plot for the show, wrote the script, and almost finished recording the dialogue. On Monday, I recorded my last scene with Lauren and our group completed the dialogue for the radio show scenes on Monday. We then split the scenes evenly among the three of us, three scenes each, and we gave ourselves until Wednesday evening to edit these scenes by adding sound effects, background music, and clearing up the audio.

When we met on Wednesday, Kim and I uploaded our scenes to Soundcloud, Lauren downloaded them, and we decided on what music we should for transitions between scenes on Lauren’s computer and Kim recorded the introduction to the radio show. We completed most of the radio show that night, and Lauren worked on making everything sound well together into Thursday. The Steadfast Sleuths was complete on Thursday and this was a really fun project to work on. Take a listen below:

Our Completed Radio Show:

Did You Get My Message?

This Audio Assignment is “Movie Voice Machines” and the guidelines for it are to create a voicemail for a character in a film or TV show. I altered this assignment for our group radio show and had my character, Shelley Layton, leave a message for someone in the radio show instead. Also, instead of hearing the voicemail played back, I made it so the listener can hear Shelley dial the phone and leave the message. I’m glad I included more in the assignment than just the message, like the dialing, background noise, and hanging up, because it makes the audio feel more like an ongoing event, instead of a static moment. From freesound, I used audio tracks from the users crosbychris, crz1990, and walter-odington as well as my own audio recorded in Audacity. Creating the dialogue for this voicemail was the hardest part, but since this fits into a scene in the radio show, I had some material to work with.

Assignment Value: 2 1/2 stars

Itty Bitty Kitty

I had a lot of fun coming up with this assignment. I wanted to connect it with our upcoming radio show, so I based it around cats because two of the main characters of the show own cats. This Audio Assignment is the“ds106 Radio Commercial” where you have to create an item that would be useful for my favorite TV show or movie character, but I adapted it to fit my noir character.

This commercial will most likely appear in our group radio show and I feel that it fits into the context of the story. My favorite audio I found was the happy piano music made by setuniman on freesound because I could just imagine cute animals being in a commercial with that music in the background. I also used cat audio clips from steffcaffrey and dobroide and my own voice clip made on Audacity. I’m really happy with how the cat sounds at the beginning lined up with notes from the piano audio and that the piano audio doesn’t cover up my voice because I lowered the volume of the audio track. The hardest part of this assignment was just figuring out how to get the message of the product across in a small amount of time. The cat background I found also matches up with the product pretty well. Now everyone will know of the joy that is IttyBittyKitty Shampoo!

Assignment Value: 3 stars

The Beginning of The Steadfast Sleuths

Our group, titled Josie and the Noir Cats, is made up of myself (Kayleigh), Lauren, and Kim. We already knew each other outside of class so we formed our group fairly quickly. Our group met for our first long session on Wednesday of this week. During this time, we created the characters, plot, and name for our radio show, The Steadfast Sleuths. Then, we created different scenes for the characters to interact in within the radio show. We were then each assigned to write the dialogue and background audio for three scenes by this past Friday. We then met up again on Friday afternoon to edit our separate scripts together into one and began recording dialogue in the scenes. We finished recording the dialogue for about 85% of our show and next week we will be focusing on editing the audio and adding in sound effects and music. We also split up the audio assignments so that each of us can create at least one commercial and one radio bumper for the show. So far, we are on the right track and I feel that we can complete this radio show with no foreseeable problems. My other assignments that contributed to the radio show are my commercial , a voicemail left by Shelley, and a ds106 radio bumper.

Shelley’s Theme

Shelley Layton now has a theme song as a result of the “Your Theme Song” Audio Assignment. I altered this assignment a bit because instead of creating a theme song for myself, I created one for my original character. The music and sound effects I used came from the freesound users soulman-90, yuval, cgeffex, qubodup, and bulbastre. The audio clips were spliced together in Audacity and the background image is a free wallpaper. The ticking watch gives the theme an even pace, the piano music steadily rises the tension, and the theme comes to a its highest tension when you hear the gun being cocked and a door being broken in. I’m really glad that I decided to have the piano fade out as the gun was fired, because it makes the shots ring out louder. I wanted to only have the watch’s audio at the beginning and ending of the theme because it is a constant throughout the whole song and the watch is one of the items most closely connected with Shelley, so hearing it in her daily life would be natural. In this scenario, she would be on a case and hiding from someone who has been tailing her for a while, which then leads to her confronting this individual at the end of the theme. This is probably my favorite Audio Assignment of the week so far.

Assignment Value: 4 stars

Sleuth Sticker

I decided to create a promo bumper sticker for our group radio show that had something that was related to each group member’s original character. Shelley is represented by the black cat, Sarah by the mustard, and Sasha by the cereal. I wanted to design the promo in this way in order to make people guess what the show is about instead of filling them in with all of the information through just seeing the promo. I created this bumper sticker in Photoshop and used images from users on the freesound website. The border was put in because having the images on a blank background didn’t draw in the viewer, but the bright violet border catches your eye. I really like how the edited colors on the free images ended up, but will probably create a more detailed background in the future.

Radio Show Bumper Sticker colored