Jun 3, 2022 at 10:00 am – Jun 5, 2022 at 4:00 pm
Riding the Wave(forms): Process-Oriented Audio Creation
With Olivia Bradley-Skill, Adriene Lilly, & Melissa Pons
To celebrate the onset of summer, UnionDocs, Adriene Lilly, and Olivia Bradley-Skill (WFMU) warmly invite you to spend three days indoors, creating audio pieces about the beach! This process-oriented workshop will focus on the artistry and craft of creative audio storytelling, as inspired by and in conversation with a favorite summer locale- the beach. Through guided technical presentations, active listening sessions, class discussions, and an immersive group project, participants will experiment with new conceptual frameworks for audio storytelling; deepen their technical abilities and learn new editing techniques; and ultimately interrogate their relationship to listening and working with sound files. Visit the beach from Williamsburg!
Over the course of 3 days, participants will make audio pieces using a shared library of materials that have been curated by Adriene and Olivia and recordings that they will be asked to make themselves prior to the workshop’s start. Using REAPER, participants will receive guided technical presentations and build their own audio sessions from scratch. The group will listen to these pieces as they progress over the course of the workshop, working separately and in tandem, in order to further inspire and challenge each other.
The sessions are oriented around different types of listening, with the idea of having participants engage creatively with all types in the creation of their own pieces. On Day 1, participants will be given an introduction to process-oriented production by Adriene and Olivia, who will share examples of works made by sound artists who work primarily through material processes and whose pieces dovetail thematically with the workshop’s environmental focus. They will also provide an introduction to basic file management and editing in REAPER for continued reference over the three days. That afternoon, there will be an “Active Listening” session where each participant listens to the same raw tape, making notes and markers and discussing in a group. Participants are meant to continue working on their own, beach-inspired pieces that evening to return on Day 2 for a “Passive Listening” session where they share their latest iterations. That afternoon, they will have a “Selective Listening” activity wherein they will be given 30 minutes to put together a one-minute piece using material from two hours of raw tape. Day 3 will function as a sendoff of sorts- Melissa Pons will visit with participants that morning to discuss mic techniques and field recording tips, and then Olivia will close the workshop out with a session on live mixing and using your computer as a mixer, all of which can be put to use (or not) on the in-progress pieces being crafted by participants.
The overall goal of the workshop is to explore the depth of possibilities and choices available when crafting stories from raw tape and to develop the participants’ own editing/storytelling voices. This workshop endeavors to be an intensive, highly creative, thoughtful, and immersive workshop where participants will learn more about audio as a technical craft and craft as a way of stimulating creativity. It’s about re-orienting to a process- and material-centered approach that prioritizes intuition and creativity above all. Come craft an audio ode to the beauty of the beach with Adriene, Olivia, and UnionDocs!
NOTE: This workshop will require in-person participation from all participants. Each participant must present proof of vaccination . Any and all questions, please reach out to [email protected].
Open to everyone, though the workshop setting is best suited for documentary filmmakers, aspiring podcasters, journalists, and media artists. This workshop is in person and will be conducted in compliance with CDC protocols.
$350 early bird registration by May 27th, 2022 at 11:59PM.
$400 regular registration.
The deposit is non-refundable. Should you need to cancel, you’ll receive half of your registration fee back until May 27th. After May 27th, the fee is non-refundable.
In order to keep costs down, this workshop is a BYOL, i.e. bring your own laptop. Students must be fully proficient using and operating their computers.
NOTE: To register for a workshop, students must pay in full via card, check, or cash . After the early bird registration deadline of April 29th, course fees are not refundable or transferable and any withdrawals or deadlines will result in the full cost of the class being forfeit. There will be no exceptions. To withdraw from a course please email info-at-uniondocs.org.
In the event that a workshop does not receive sufficient enrollment, it may be canceled. Students will be notified at least 48 hours prior to the start of a cancelled workshop and will be refunded within 5 business days. If we reschedule a workshop to another date, students are also entitled to a full refund. UnionDocs reserves the right to change instructors without prior notification, and to change class location and meeting times by up to an hour with 48 hours prior notice.
Friday, June 3, – 10:00am - 4:30pm
10:30a -12:30p – Intro session: What does it mean to work from process to idea (instead of idea to process)? Participants will get an overview of what process-oriented or craft-oriented production can look like by hearing examples of artists who work primarily through material processes. They will also receive an introduction to file management and editing in REAPER.
12:30p – 2:00p – LUNCH
2:00p – 4:00p – Sound in the world, conceptual field recording with Melissa Pons
Saturday, June 4, – 10:00am - 4:30pm
10:30a – 12:30p – Listening as craft: Listening in order to manipulate
The day will include three intensive activities to stimulate creative listening. Participants will take part in focused work and collaborative efforts to organize and manipulate different audio material. Activities include manipulating audio in REAPER and in the spatial environment, listening for emotion and tone, tools for notating and collaborating, and speed editing. Participants should leave with new perspectives on how different listening forms can alter the creative process.
12:30p – 2:00p – LUNCH
2:00p -4:00p – Listening as craft: Listening inorder to manipulate (con’t)
We’ll continue with the activities in the first part of the day and finish the day with a demonstration by Olivia Bradley-Skill on how to use the computer as a mixer. We’ll end the day by reflecting on how the day’s activities can be incorporated into an audio practice.
Participants are invited to share and use all the day’s material to work on individual projects.
Sunday, June 5, – 10:00am - 4:30pm
10:30a – 12:30p – Group Work
The morning is for focused work. Participants are able to work on their individual pieces, ask questions and collaborate. Everyone will have access to a folder of shared audio material as well as whatever they choose to bring in.
12:30p – 2:00p – LUNCH
2:00p – 4:00p – Group Listening: Listening for themes
Participants listen as a group to everyone’s work and discuss themes and threads. Afterwards, participants are able to go back and rework elements of their own pieces based on the discussion.
Each day follows this general structure, with some minor variations and substitutions:
Olivia Bradley-Skill is the music director at WFMU and the host of its weekly, genre-bending show, Radio Ravioli. Her immersive three-hour program combines carefully curated new releases and vintage music with improvised sound collage, live performance and thoughtful conversation.
Adriene Lilly is a sound designer and audio engineer whose work appears on WNYC, Vox, ABC Podcasts, Audible, and on many smaller independent outlets. She has taught sound design at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in addition to UnionDocs. Her longest-running creative project is the on again off again series The Blind Tourist on WFMU. Some of her other work has aired on Constellations, WBEZ’s Re:Sound, Radiophrenia, Lucia Festival, Earlid and is available on bandcamp.
Melissa Pons is a field recordist and award-winning sound designer who focuses on bringing found beauty of natural soundscapes to your headphones. Her main interests revolve around anthropology, forests, culture and social justice. In 2021, Melissa was short-listed as Best Field Recordist in the first edition of the Sound of the Year Awards, after four releases of field recording albums recorded in Brazil, Sweden and Portugal. She’s also a composer and her piece Three is her first commissioned work. In addition to her audio works, Melissa maintains a fascinating and well-written blog of her own where she generously shares insights about her creative process as well as offering industry tips and support to fellow artists.