Formative Blog Post
In deciding what kind of piece to create for the Individual Audio Project, I weighed up the areas I have experience in already and those that I wanted to explore a little more. I’m well-versed in presenting, interviewing, and scriptwriting for podcasts, so this would be a comfortable option for me; audiobooks and building soundscapes are two things I wanted to get some more practice in.
In tandem with drafting some ideas, I did a little research on the podcast and audiobook industries to learn about how popular, beneficial, or lucrative each is.
Rising in popularity
- The BBC appointed its first ever Commissioning Editor for Podcasts this year, after reaching around 240 million podcast downloads in 2017 (https://podnews.net/update/bbc-podcast-commissioner)
- An estimated 24% of adults in the UK are podcast listeners, up 5% from 2013. (Ofcom report)
- 42% of respondents to the Ofcom survey were listening to podcasts more often now than they were last year. (Ofcom report)
- 8% of respondents said they listened to podcasts weekly, which equates to around 5 million regular listeners in the UK. (https://backyardmedia.us/blog/2018/4/9/the-podcast-boom-in-the-uk)
- Regular listeners consume over 6 hours of podcasts a week, with the overwhelming majority being speech-based. (RAJAR report https://www.rajar.co.uk/docs/news/Audio_Time%20_FINAL_pages.pdf)
Accessibility and learning
- Audiobook listeners can comprehend vocabulary above their standard reading level. (https://www.westerndownslibraries.com/the-benefits-of-listening-to-audiobooks-are-extensive/)
- Information retention increases with audiobooks vs print format. (https://www.weareteachers.com/audiobooks-benefit-students/)
- Audiobooks can be played at 1.5x or 2x speed on standard players (e.g. Audible or Youtube) without comprehension being hindered which helps slow readers.
- Audiobooks allow for more intimacy with the author, and allow for greater storytelling with the use of SFX.
- Listeners can do other things at the same time, such as driving or just closing their eyes.
I came up with three concepts I felt were feasible in terms of gaining a commission and making something impactful and of a high standard.
- Eat Up! by Ruby Tandoh – audiobook excerpts
My plan for this project would be to create three five-minute audiobook excerpts from this book about enjoying and making food. The excerpts would feature layers of sonic illustration with cooking sounds and atmospheric sounds of places linked to the dishes e.g. Ghana and Norway. These pieces would be pitched to the publisher, Serpent’s Tail.
As Ruby has just recently recorded the full audiobook of this for Audible, it would have to be pitched on the premise of being more interesting and engaging in this episodic, sound-designed form.References
Ruby Tandoh’s recipe for cranberry, orange & dark chocolate florentines (video animation)
Pleasing food sounds
Radio Cherry Bombe episode 172 – Eat Happy!
Women talking to women about delicious, ethical, and sustainable food and cookbooks.
- What A Time To Be Alone by Chidera Eggerue – audiobook excerpts
Released just this summer, this book quickly became an Amazon bestseller hailed for its accessibility, illustration, and powerful message. I want to create immersive and uplifting audiobook excerpts with Chidera taking the listener through essential passages and Igbo proverbs from each chapter (You, Them, and Us). As the book features so much bright and textured illustration page to page, I plan on mimicking this with layers of sound. I would have this project commissioned by Chidera’s publisher, Quadrille.Chidera Eggerue TEDx Talk – Releasing the fear of being alone
Chidera expanding on the message of her book; her voice is enjoyable and easy to listen to.
BBC Radio 3 Between The Ears – The Mind’s Eye
Layered sonic illustration, faint and atmospheric music. Multiple layers of voices at the same time that I’d like to do with the Igbo proverbs in the book.
- Existing In [working title] – podcast series
This podcast series would comprise of three five-minute episodes featuring women talking about their experience breaking into and working in jobs typically viewed as ‘manly’. The podcasts would feature sounds of the different workplaces (e.g. a car mechanic garage, a black cab, or a club as a bouncer) and some use of music to convey the mood of particular anecdotes and scenes. For this piece I would gain a commission from a women’s charity like Smart Works, who assist unemployed women in rejoining the workforce, or a more general employment charity like Shaw Trust.Gravy episode 51 – The Southern Story of Coca Cola
Strong intro, high quality concise editing, good levels/beds. Interesting anecdotes about people’s experiences with a specific thing.
I’ve emailed Ruby’s publishing agent and am awaiting a response on whether they would be interested.
What A Time To Be Alone
Thus far I have had some back and forth email conversation with Chidera Eggerue’s publishing agent. We agreed that Chidera would have all control over the rights to this project, and I sent over some examples of my own work and of work similar to what I hope to create. I’m just awaiting the green light from her to begin production.
Existing In podcast
I’ve emailed both Smart Works (female employment charity) and Shaw Trust (nationwide employment charity) regarding a podcast series for their websites and am awaiting a response from both.