“Don’t Tell Me. Show Me.” & Violent Pandas

Reading Response #4 – J. Carl Ganter & Eileen E. Ganter – “Sound in the Story

When interviewing or making audio, there are several ideas and tactics that are important to know beforehand. You must plan ahead and know how to properly format your audio in order to interest your reader.

The attention span of the average person has greatly decreased over the past couple of years. This is partially in fact due the increased use in technology. You could argue that this is shown in the popularity of the app, Vine. Vine is a social media platform that allows users to posts videos that can only be up to 7 seconds. You could argue that people’s attention span can no longer handle movies so they switched to TV shows and then to Youtube videos. Now our attention can only be held for 7 seconds, not even a full 30 minutes for a TV show. Therefore, keep your audio short enough to keep it interesting, but long enough to cover the basics.

“Audio is an intimate medium.” So keep it personal. Play on emotions and make people care. “Be interested, be organized, be authentic.” Be yourself. Make people like you for you. Care about what you are doing. Know what you are doing. Plan ahead, but not too much in order to allow for some fluidity and flexibility.

Logistical components of an audio project:

  • The interview
  • Ambience
  • Natural sounds
  • The voice-over
  • Supplemental music

There are three stages to an interview:

  1. Development
    1. Think about what you are going to do and plan ahead. Make questions, make plans to interview a certain person, set up the recording equipment, research background information to make the audio more topical, do whatever you have to do to set up for the audio.
  2. Pursuit
    1. Pursue the audio and record it
  3. Mop-up
    1. After you finish the audio, go back through it and edit it. Make sure you have everything you need. Call or schedule another interview to gain more information if necessary.

There are multiple bad habits to avoid in interviews, especially podcasts. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Silence = reflection
    • Try not to immediately fill the void of silence because silence means that they other person is contemplating and thinking which can be helpful
  • Multi-barreled questions
  • Leading questions
  • Editorializing
    • Keep it objective
  • Putting an assumption on a question
    • Allow the interviewee to make their own ideas and assumptions
  • Trigger word questions
  • Biased words
  • Questions that go on too long
  • Either-or questions

Friendly advice: Repeat names, not pronouns. It allows for the listeners to constantly be reminded of who they are listening to and keep them interested.


Professional recording equipment in a studio. Click picture for original source

Make sure you have the appropriate recording tools: