— fengshui

Wake Up and Dream Article

I found this haunting yet interesting Podcast, which are short live radio stories featuring people all around the world. Featured on Radiolab, “Wake Up and Dream is a telling broadcast in which a city reporter in Philadelphia named Steve Volk was devastated and plagued with a recurring nightmare for over 20 years now. Steve starts narrating the first time he started having the nightmare when he was in his apartment. An eerie sound effect starts playing the same time as Steve is narrating. This sets the tone and results in a reaction from the audience. Although Steve was narrating, you can also hear host Matt Kielty’s voice layering in succession. The sequence of voice layering is unique and effective in that it retains the audience’s interest as well as retaining the flow of adrenaline. The fighting scene between Steve and the man was really frightening, given the sudden foreground “fighting” sound. But with all dreams, he wakes up and realizes it was just a dream. It’s interesting to see the transition from Steve and Matt narrating to just the fighting sound playing. It adds sort of a dramatic tone to the plot. 

Steve states that this particular dream would not go away and that it persisted for “6 times a year for 20 years.” One year Steve began writing a book based on science, and stumbled on lucid dreaming, where one is aware that s/he is dreaming while dreaming. The sound effect during this scene was light and kind of playful. It didn’t make me feel threatened unlike the previous scenes. I also notice the repetition of words both the host and Steve uses. Steve says “lucid dreaming” and Matt would repeat right after him, then Steve would repeat again. I suppose the use of repetition keeps the audience on track and informed of the plot as the scene transitions. On another note, to keep the audience on track, the sound effect would sometimes play accordingly and on beat with the way in which Matt speaks. 07:16 Matt describes a patient’s REM (rapid eye movement) from “left to right, left to right, left to right” and you notice the sound effect reverberates the speed of his speech. 

What I love about this radio podcast is the natural segueing from a fight scene to a light casual documentary scene. The transition of loudness to softness, foreground and background music, and the reechoing tone effect to a word are key components to a successful live radio podcast. That is, a successful radio podcast is being able to illustrate the scenes and actions of the story line. I really enjoyed listening to this story although at times I felt terrified to the effects of music. Hopefully some day I will attain the skills of a radio broadcaster.

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