Story Design /// 6 Audio Tips for More Powerful Stories

Rob Rosenthal, of Transom Story Workshop, Erika Lantz, of PRX Remix, and Rebecca Sheir, host of Metro Connection, offered some great audio advice for filmmakers in the Radio Matters session at the 2014 Media that Matters conference at the Center for Media and Social Impact at American University.

Here’s our round up of the top six tips and reminders we took away from the session:

6 Audio Tips for More Powerful Stories

1) Get close. Close sound creates intimacy between the subject and the audience.

2) If you’re struggling with story structure, say it out loud. Tell the story to a friend and the way you tell it will likely be the most logical structure.

3) Record sound the same way you shoot scenes – tight, medium, wide. These different distances create unique environments and feelings that be layered to set a well-rounded scene.

4) When you’re conducting an interview, imagine you won’t have any visuals to go with the story. When you do this, you’ll focus more on asking about the details and getting the person to paint you a picture with their response.

5) Always strive to ask questions that get the person to stray from their mental script (or the way they’ve told the story over and over to others). The most magical moment in an interview is when the person you’re interviewing says, “You know, I’ve never thought about it this way, but…”

6) Music can be a powerful storytelling tool. But, Rob Rosenthal throws up a red flair of caution for how you use it, “Music can be like emotional fascism. It tells you how to feel.”