Author’s Note: The story/narration I created is heavy and can be upsetting to some. Please listen/read at your own discretion.
It was March 17th 2019; a Sunday. The sun was shining bright and pierced through the shades hung from the window. He did not know what was coming. He woke up, got dressed in casual clothes, and looked ever so deeply into the mirror. He could see his reflection but didn’t really know what or who he was looking at. He could not see his true self, instead, all he saw was the deeply rooted depression that had been taunting and controlling him for all too long. He could see the black dust slowly starting to swirl and move through every single vein in his body before he gazed up again and saw the demon that controlled him in his eyes. He watched helplessly as the demon made his eyes widen like deers in headlights and crack a smirk. He then knew at that moment that this would be his last hour…
The man went to a friend and tried knocking for help…but was denied when the person saw who he was. Confused, and in a manic state he ran downstairs, out of breath, and got into his car. He started up his car, took out the pill bottle he stashed under his seat, and gulped every single one down with water…not too long after someone saw him in his car unconscious and called for help. The ambulance came and took him to the hospital where he was on life support until the top of the hour came and his life was no more.
The last hour is a piece that I created that is partially based on real-life events that happened to me. Everything leading up to the silence in the audio before the person finds the man unconscious in the car happened to me on March 17th, 2019. Thankfully, I ended up being able to get to the hospital myself and was helped by medical professionals. All too often though, the latter happens and people suffering from depression don’t make it. The last hour is what I think would have happened to me if I didn’t do everything in my power to get to the hospital and get the help I needed. I decided to create this piece because I believe there is a huge stigma associated with mental health and people get very uncomfortable when they listen to stories of people who try to kill themselves. Since my overdose, I have learned a lot and am continuing to grow and part of my journey I think is to help break down the stigma that people like me have had to face. Not every person makes it through their darkest hour which they don’t realize will be their last and I think that this topic is something that again needs to be talked about more.
The assignment was called “Sound Effects Story” and the goal was to tell a story using nothing but sound effects. There can be no verbal communication, only sound effects. We had to use at least five different sounds that you find online and the story can be no longer than 90 seconds. (I went a second over on accident when adding in the silence at the end) and didn’t realize till it was already published. This assignment was worth 4 out of 5 stars and was the assignment that we were required to do for this week.
Creating My Sound Effects Story:
This assignment wasn’t too hard to do. I again used FreeSound and Audacity to create this assignment before uploading it to my SoundCloud. (A lot of the steps tend to be repetitive so I did not include screenshots of every thing that would be a repeat.)
Step 1: Think of the story you want to tell and jot out the sequence of events you want your audio to be. (It does not have to be the exact thing you do).
-knock on door → door open → door close → run downstairs → go out the door → running w/ panting → car engine start → open pill bottle → swallow → silence → ambulance → beep monitor –> silence
Step 2: Go to freesound.org and search up the first sound you want. (You should make an account if you do not already have one)
Step 3: Find the sound you want and click on the yellow “Download” button.
- Repeat steps 2-3 for as many sounds as you need.
Step 4: Once you have all of your files downloaded, go rename them so it is easier for you when inputting them into Audacity.
I went to “Files” on my computer–> “Desktop” –> right-click –> and hit “rename“. I renamed my files as numbers in the order that they are going to be sequenced in my story (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4…)
Step 5: Open up Audacity. Have your screen so that you can see the sounds you downloaded on your screen while also displaying Audacity. Click and drag on one sound and place it in one of the “gray bar-sections“.
Repeat this step by dragging each new sound into a new “section”.
Step 6: Once all of them are in you can start editing. To edit a specific clip click on the clip and click “solo“. *Below are the editing techniques I used*
- To delete a portion of a sound bite click the “I” selection tool. Click in the section you want to delete –> select and drag till where you want the deletion to end, and then hit the “delete” button on your computer.
- To move a sound bite so it plays after the previous sound bite click on the bite then hit the “time shift” tool (the arrow pointing in both directions) and drag to where you want it to go then click back on the “I” selection tool
- To have a sound fade in (i.e. the ambulance) click and drag on the portion of the file you want to have fade in then click “effects” –> “fade in“
- Continue to do this step of editing your work as many times as needed and make sure to click “solo” for each audio file so you are only changing that specific audio file and not the entire piece.
Step 7: Once you are done editing scroll up to the first sound bite file you inserted and select “solo” then click “solo” again to un-solo it and then click the green play button. Make adjustments as needed.
Step 8: To save your work click “file” –> “export” –> “export as MP3“