AUS220 Week 3: The Green Light
A couple of weeks ago I answered the question addressing how I felt about the amount of work we are expected to manage this trimester, and I said overwhelmed. Well, that certainly got put to the test this week, and overwhelming is a dramatic understatement. However, love is in the labour and having achieved the things I did this week, even with the amount of work it took, I am feeling very satisfied and fulfilled. Tuesday saw two presentations made, one being the dialectical inquiry and the other being the pitch for my Music Victoria podcast. Both took a vast amount of time, effort, coordination, teamwork, concentration, sacrifice and little sleep, but I am proud of what I and my groups achieved. I don't mind working hard, so long as I feel it has been to some end. The feedback from my educational captain this trimester (Hi Teebo!) was very positive and made me feel as though we had hit the mark, which is a good feeling after putting in the hours. Of course, this week has been full of many other jobs too, including group discussions about the upcoming interdisciplinary creative project, organising freelance work I am planning, and also further out-of-class recording sessions with my post-production teammates! But certainly, if I am to reflect on anything this week, I must do so by talking about my presentations.
I've spent a lot of time with Mr Darwin over the last couple of weeks. Trent, Elisha and I signed up to research, discuss and critically reflect on the idea of Aesthetics. It was the first week of the dialectical inquiries, which added a little more pressure, not only because we were setting the bar, but also just because there was generally a lot happening at the time. But I'm glad we did it. I personally put my hand up for Aesthetics because I felt like I had either a general idea or a fully formed opinion on all the other topics, yet Aesthetics, I had no idea what so ever. I had, of course, heard the term before, even using it numerous times myself, and yet when I saw the topic was an option I realised I had no real idea about it as a theory of philosophy, science or culture. So, I thought it was a perfect topic to get my head around, and now, it's safe to say I'm truly obsessed, not to mention the fact that I am annoying the hell out of anyone in earshot with all of my facts and theories on the matter. Once the three of us had read the online lecture, we realised just how big a topic we had taken on. We also noticed that there were many conflicting ideas on the matter, from some very smart people. This led us to the idea of presenting a lecture, where we all discussed and dissected a different angle to the argument. We were careful to discuss theories without bias. We wanted it to be factual and educational, not just us shouting about our opinions. We did make a critical argument as required, but we were careful to not muddy the concepts discussed throughout with it. We decided that the best (and most interesting) three angles for us to come at it with were the Darwinist/Humanist theory, the mathematical and naturist theory, and then finally, to show how it relates to us as audio professionals. I, to my glee, got to take on the Humanist/Darwinist theory.
Funnily enough, once I started my research, I realised that I'd already spent some time with Charles Darwin's The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex in the past. In trimester one, I wrote an essay on the evolutionary purposes of musicality, where I addressed the idea of music being innate, and things like our predisposition for rhythm being a result of our mother's heartbeat. So I knew I'd enjoy sinking my teeth back into this text. For this assessment, I was researching the evolutionary explanation for beauty. From animals like the peacock, that evolved to attract a female with their giant, bright coloured plumage, even though it drastically went against the idea of survival and natural selection, to the earliest homo-sapiens making artistic arrowhead tools, purely to impress the opposite sex. I learnt far too much to go into it all here, but needless to say, I am hooked on the theory and cannot stop talking and thinking about. A man who spent much of his career pondering this idea was Denis Dutton. His 2010 Ted Talk, which he made just months before he passed away, was truly informative, intriguing and controversial. Being that the question of aesthetics falls into that sticky, grey place between philosophy and science, there are a lot of people with very persuasive, contradictory and passionate arguments on the matter. I must admit though, as a scientifically minded person, I see a lot of sense in the idea of beauty being innate. When it comes to art, I haven't made my mind up one hundred percent yet, but not knowing is nice too. It means I have to continue thinking about, and how it relates to the work I create. Anyway, I could really talk about it all day, but I did the talking it was meant for on Tuesday, and I feel that all the hard work and preparation that myself, Trent and Elysha put in was well worth it. We learnt a lot, enjoyed our planning sessions, and sweated up until the very last minute. It wasn't an easy task, but we got it done and to a standard that we are all proud of. Tim Dalton's comments back to us were very positive and constructive, and that was definitely the icing on a sleepless, stressful, mind-bending cake.
Then, that same afternoon, myself and my podcast team, consisting of Trent and Elysha again, and also Susan and Tabatha, presented our pitch for our Music Victoria podcast, We Didn't Start The Fire. With our group name, The Pod Squad, and a thoroughly planned out pitch, we hit the floor to present. Somewhere in amongst the endless, sleepless nights of aesthetics and Darwin and birds and apes and homo sapiens, I managed to put together an audio/visual trailer for our idea. This was not only as a way to leave an impression, as any good pitch should, but also to give a flavour of the style and production quality we would be aiming for with our show. As we received a glowing green light, it was clearly worth the time. I'm really proud and excited about our idea, taking a look at the last forty years of the music industry in Melbourne, asking who and what shaped the current international music city I am proud to be a part of. I wasn't too interested in doing something overly contemporary, as I felt like everyone else would probably attack the project from that angle, so when this idea came to mind I was really hyped. I think it's genuinely a great idea for a podcast, and we have all already agreed to take on this job with the goal of making a professional product at the end, one that goes beyond the bounds of a university assessment, and one that can be put out as a real, concrete show that people will listen to. We are not considering this a university assignment at all, but a proper, real-world gig. I think we will have an incredible product at the end of this, and can't wait to see how the process unfolds. We have a great team, a great narrative, and all the knowledge we need to make this thing good enough to compete with the big names. I can't wait to get it done!
Although we aren't quite finished yet, our post-production project is starting to take its final shape. We have done a really great job. We still have to mix it all and record some more little bits of Foley, but it's well on its way. Compared to the original I think it holds up. We have honoured the style of the time and genre of the original, but we have made our own creative decisions on plenty of things also. If there were any changes we could make, I would say maybe we could spend more time creating bigger, bolder sound effects, but given the time and venue restrictions, that's not something I am overly concernced about, as we have manged to get everything we needed regardless.
How are the skills that you are learning in your specific intensive transferable into other areas of audio/music production?
Out of all the skills I am learning in my post-production intensive, the one that is by far the most transferable to other areas of audio is the pre-planning and careful consideration needed to make the job not only quicker, but much easier, and with much better results. I'm always aware that planning ahead is important, but looking back I think there have been many times that I've gone into projects with an 'arty' and 'creative' outlook that I'll 'let it all happen naturally and organically'. Now, due to the immense amount of preparation required to complete a post-production job, I see that it not only makes everything smoother and more precise, but it makes the job easier, more relaxed and therefore more enjoyable and freeing. I will certainly be implementing this more in the future.