The thought of producing a piece of audio as a commissioned project was initially quite daunting for me as I had no idea where to start. However, securing said commission has so far taken little effort other than a quick phone call and a gentle bit of persuasion.
When looking at the module brief and when noticing this audio piece could be anything I realised I had to do something a little bit different and make something both creative and challenging. I flirted with several ideas on where to offer my services. At first I considered doing a piece for a small charity based in London which offers financial and overall help to ex British Forces and Military personnel. This was an idea that I believed I could have made into a moving feature/doc. Having several ex forces members within my family is what tempted me with this project; I have seen first hand what side effects serving in the forces can cause later on in civilian life.
Despite clear interest for this subject I decided to direct my attention away from an informative feature/doc and rather towards something a bit more artistic. I recalled hearing quite some time ago that my friends former partner was in fact publishing a poetry book. As audio books were a genre we were aloud to pursue I thought this could be a good avenue to explore. Going back as far to the Sound Cultures module we did in first year we learnt how sound can be manipulated and utilised as a powerful emotive. Poetry I feel has a deeply similar effect, it sparks the imagination. That’s why I was truly surprised that whats out there in terms of poetic audio pieces tends to be really dry.
Having looked at BBC Radio 3’s Between The Ears I gathered some valuable tips on producing long form dialogue. But still I didn’t want my piece to sound dry. I then looked at The Poetry Foundation Podcast which can be found here – https://soundcloud.com/poetryfoundation
As with Radio 3’s Between The Ears I found The Poetry Foundation Podcast weren’t fully taking advantage of the format.
Without sounding pretentious it is hard to fully list titles that I aspire my intended project to be like, as quite frankly I can’t seem to find any that are trying to do what I want to do. My piece, (and this is how I persuaded my commissioner) will bridge the gap between Poetry and music and intend to create a fully immersive audiobook that evokes a tonne of emotion. This compared to the industry standard, which tends to consist of little sound effects, actuality and music and instead harbors the voice over of a retired baritone singer. I drew inspiration from a sound piece I made for an installation in second year which you can see below.
In this piece I slapped together a few bad poems of my own on one sunny afternoon in order to tell a futuristic story. I then spent a couple of hours producing what you’re now listening too In hindsight it all seems a bit silly now however I am showing this as reason to argue that more can be done when poetry and audio are conjoined. I want to create something for my commission that builds upon this style further.
Moving on, here is a little bit more back story on the book I have chosen to pursue. The book is called “Flowers I should Have Thrown Away Yesterday” written by Elisa Matvejeva. Elisa is credited as a “contemporary poet and filmmaker currently residing in London. From her travels around the world she has gained a unique voice and uses it to write her poems”
Her book was published earlier this year by Eyewear publishing which are a small independent publishers based in London. As for her work itself the book covers various themes including love, hate, sex, abuse and passion. These various themes inspired me to take the project into more of an episodic route. Maybe having three chapters if you will which would link several poems across the specific theme of the episode. For example Episode one could cover Love. Two, Hate and so on. Elisa is very keen on the ideas I have brought forward to her thus far and we are meeting towards the end of the week to further hash out our ideas as well as get the official go ahead by her publisher to start working on the project.
I am really looking forward to making this piece and I believe I have great source material to experiment with.