Putting together the final draft of this audio story was both challenging and incredibly exciting. Disability employment has been an interest (and concern) of mine for the past few years. I saw this project as an opportunity to amplify the voices of disabled people in the workforce, and their participation was vital to the success of this story.
It is not easy to represent diverse perspectives with a 3-minute time limit, so even though I interviewed six people total, I have only used actualities from the same three people from my rough draft. I plan to release a longer-length podcast about 20-30 minutes long will all six of the actualities. The purpose of this longer podcast will be to go into more detail about Disability Employment and the Pros and Cons of Public Accounting told from the perspective of disabled and neurodiverse individuals.
In the interest of being transparent, I would like to make the following statement: I have done significant editing while putting together this audio story, as seen from the screenshot of my Adobe Audition multitrack session. It features 10-25 second sound bites from 30-minute interviews with multiple people. I have done my best to keep the spirit of these interviews intact.
I’ve learned quite a bit about audio story-telling from this assignment:
- My “artistic vision” does not always line up with how my work is perceived. For example, I liked the song that I chose for the first draft of my story for its chaotic, frenzied tone. However, no one else did, so I had to hunt for something more appropriate that would not distract from the actualities.
- Editing is impressive, but it can’t solve everything. The limitations of editing manifested themselves in a few different ways. For example, if I asked an unclear question, the person I interviewed would not give the best response, and I would have to edit it out. I have also lost audio footage due to a bad internet connection and poor sound quality on either end of the zoom recording. Once, I had to discard 10 minutes of audio because my dad was loudly baby-talking to my dog in the background (I have since forgiven him for this because it was very cute, and my dog was happy).
- Stories of triumph are equally important as stories of continued hardship. As much as I want to raise awareness regarding inequality, it would be unfair and dishonest not to acknowledge all of the positive experiences my interviewees mentioned. Most of my interviewees have worked with compassionate, helpful employees who are solution-driven. They have also worked with well-meaning but insensitive employers. One of my interviewees also made an excellent point about the importance of self-advocacy, which is a theme I hope to spend more time developing in the more extended project I produce.
The structure of my audio project did not change too much between the rough and final drafts. I utilized most of the same audio from my interviews, although I did make a few cuts and add in dialogue. The purpose of the additional discussion was to provide context regarding who I was interviewing and remind listeners of the “stakes.” Although their identities will remain anonymous, I believe having context about these people and their needs will resonate with listeners.
I chose to re-record my narration to fit the different tone of this draft, which focuses more on needs. Unfortunately, I had a hard time doing this because I contracted horrible allergies on Monday, which ruined my voice. However, thanks to Allegra and Flonase, I felt a little better by Friday and quickly recorded the new audio. Regarding sound quality, I listened to this audio on my laptop speakers, through my headphones, and on my phone. I did my best to adjust the volume as necessary.
I also selected new music. After I discarded “Etude Op. 25 no. 2 in F minor – ‘The Bees'”, I spent hours pouring through free music catalogs before finally locating the song I felt was appropriate. The track in the background of this audio story is “Feather” by Ikson (https://www.iksonmusic.com). Per the artist’s website, the song is free for use with proper credit, but here is the original song below if anyone is interested.
I have several goals for this audio story. First, I would like to present a more accurate version of public accounting, which I feel the media often chooses to misrepresent. Second, I want to share the perspectives of disabled individuals. Last, I hope to inspire empathy and positive change through this continued discussion.
I want to thank the people I interviewed in the past few weeks and my group for their intelligent, constructive criticism and kind compliments.