‘Hello Grandma’ – Reflection


For this piece, I came to realise that I have had some sort of connection to Caulfield Park since I was born, and I think it is a sound rich location.

I was inspired by Joe Richman’s ‘Radio Diaries’  which tells the stories of ordinary people with extraordinary lives. This type of radio really appeals to me, as at times, I am put off intrusive sound effects and over edited pieces. Richman has transformed the ordinary, by asking people to go about their daily lives, with a tape recorder in hand. Casual conversations and thoughts are totally transformed, and a powerful image is formed. ‘Emily’s diary’ looks at the every day struggles of being a teenager. This diary captured my attention due to the real rawness of the subject.

‘Dear Birth Mother’ by Elizabeth Meister and Dan Collison really inspired me through her use of both in studio recording and non-scripted location recordings.

Tackling being a producer/narrator was not an easy feat for me, as I had no real direction or no real clue as to what exactly about the park it was that I wanted to present. I began by recording multiple memories I had at the park over the years. I wanted to note as many things as I could and compile a sort of over lapping sequence of memories, however something Kyla said in class really struck me. Rather than trying to incorporate as many different ‘stories’ as I could, I should focus on one, and stretch it further. And so the beginning anecdote of my grandmother was the focus point I chose to emotionally draw the listener in, underlapped by ambient music.

When it came time record on location, I had to get over my biggest hurdle. Judgement from others. I am very self-conscious and my biggest weakness is caring about the thoughts of others, so walking around with a big headset and zoom H4n recorder made me really uncomfortable, mentioned in my piece. I powered through but I think this held me back and I could have recorded much stronger material had this not have intervened. For the purpose of this sketch task, focusing on voice, I learnt a lot about what it takes to record in various locations and have the natural forces play against you, how much the zoom H4n picks up minor background noise and handling noises.

There is such an array of people and a multi-facet of sounds and textures that can be heard on any given day. One side of the park, where I did the majority of my on location recording is nestled away from the traffic noise, however 3/4 of the park is surrounded by busy roads, that have cars, public transport and other urban sounds. Weather also hindered much of my material, as the days I recorded, there was strong winds that would interrupt midway through a recording.

Having so many ideas can be the most beneficial yet the most intrusive aspects to making a piece. My biggest downfall for this assignment was time constraints and time management, and it seems to be the one that is always the cause for appraisal.

Overall, I am reasonably content with the final product, however I also know there are certain aspects that need improvement. Going in blind with no clear plan isn’t always a viable option and I’m worried that I haven’t made my location clear enough. I wanted to keep it somewhat, open to interpretation, however I feel as though it was too vague.

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