By Jeffrey Hedquist
How do you become a better radio writer or audio producer? Become a better listener. Each time you enter a new environment, do some “targeted” listening. Listen to the sound of the room. How dead or live is it?
What do the voices sound like? What other sounds do you hear? Air-conditioning, dishes, people milling about, machinery, or music? What is the audio texture of the environment? Close your eyes and imagine how you would describe the feel and the sound of this room without using words—just sound effects.
“Targeted” listening rather than passive listening will register those sound cues for each environment more solidly in your memory. When it’s time to create a commercial, whether the scene takes place in a theater lobby, inside a car, a gymnasium, a locker room, a stadium, a tunnel, a cave, outdoors by a stream, in an empty house, a factory, an intimate restaurant, a fast-food place, at a farm, an auction, in a traffic jam, a video arcade, or under a tin roof during a rainstorm, you'll be able to draw upon those cues as a way to break writer's block and make the sound design of the commercial much more accurate.
To carry this to an (effective) extreme carry a small tape recorder around with you and record these environments. You'll become a more effective audio creator. Your “targeted” listening will produce “targeted” radio commercials.
© 1999 Hedquist Productions, Inc.