Simplify Your Sound Design, Without Sacrificing on Quality

Simplify Your Sound Design, Without Sacrificing on Quality
Simplify Your Sound Design, Without Sacrificing on Quality
Episode December 09, 2021 00:16:02

Hosted By

Matt Medeiros Stuart Barefoot

Show Notes

To state the obvious, Podcasting is an audio medium so how it sounds is crucial. But sometimes sound design can be a lengthy and expensive process, which is fine when you have the budget and personnel to create custom music and score each episode. But for independent creators and small organizations who might not have the time or budget to do that, there’s a way to spruce up your podcast without sacrificing on quality.



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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:06 Imagine that you're on a beach somewhere, soaking up the sun, watching waves crash as seagulls, chirp blissful. Huh? Now you're in a crowded bar catching up with friends sipping on your beverage of choice. There's a band playing as groups of well-dressed people talk amongst themselves. Hey, it's fun being social again. And now you're with storm chasers driving at breakneck speeds, tracking a tornado. And wait, why are you doing this? This seems dangerous. Ah, now you're sitting down by a warm campfire roasting marshmallows and cracking open a beer. Now this is my kind of adventure. Of course, none of those things actually happened as you probably guessed. It was just a fun way of demonstrating what a little bit of sound design could do for a podcast. Plus I've always kind of wanted to do that. So thanks for indulging me theater of the mind right now. Speaker 0 00:01:10 Even if you aren't trying to tell some big epic story, simple background music can really help spruce up an episode. Basic sound effects can help add structure to your show. And if nothing else settling on a consistent track for your intro and outro is podcasting 1 0 1, but it's not always quite that simple. I mean, on one hand, it's something you definitely want to get, right? But on the other paralysis by analysis is totally a real thing. And you don't want to overthink it to the point that you don't actually start creating. So for this episode, we'll talk about a way to simplify your sound design will not sacrifice it on quality. Welcome back to the audience, a cast dose original experience broadcasting from the center of your audio universe. We're creative podcasts. There's find their [email protected] press play right here in your podcast player every week. It's like a cheat sheet for marketing monetizing growing and creating your podcast. So good. The one to share Castillo's dot com slash audience with your closest friends. Okay. Audience starts now Speaker 0 00:02:25 Stuart here. So let's talk about sound design now to state the obvious podcast is an audio medium. So how a podcast sounds is crucial, but like I said, in the monologue, it's kind of a tricky balance because for most people making podcasts, creating and sharing good information is the biggest part of an episode. And understandably takes up the most time. The sound design is usually just meant to kind of supplement that even bigger podcasts at places like pineapple street, media PRX, or I don't know, somewhere the New York times where they have huge budgets and can afford to pay musicians, to create custom music and scored entire series. They have a very streamlined process where someone works specifically on sound design. It's a good way to make a show, but for most independent creators or smaller organizations, they don't have budgets to make a podcast and don't have large teams to delegate one person to edit and another to do sound design, I've been there and done that. Speaker 0 00:03:26 I've also been on the other side where we use custom music and that's great too. It just depends on the project, but sometimes simple stock musical. Do the trick. Now I get, sometimes there's a stigma about stock music, but my experiences have all been really good. In fact, at Castro's, we're pretty big on using a service called Storybox. Now I should say, they're not paying us to say this. I promise it's not one of those affiliate link situations or anything like that. In fact, it's pretty much the opposite. I pay them every month to use their services. Story blocks is a subscription-based service that has thousands of songs and sound effects available along with stock images and videos. This art is available for any kind of project and created by real artists. In fact, I was able to catch up with one of these artists. Speaker 3 00:04:19 I think I describe my music as a fusion of a ton of different. It's just a mixture of everything that I liked. Speaker 0 00:04:28 Quinton Johnson or Chiraq is an eclectic musician based in Minneapolis and has been making music professionally for the past 15 years. Speaker 3 00:04:39 The spark came when I saw my older cousin, he goes by the name of Sandman. He's a artist up here and he's pretty well known within the twin cities. I saw a creation from scratch for the first time in person. So, um, before that, I didn't have any idea of how the process worked or that it was even possible by, you know, an average Joe person that can just buy a Casio keyboard and get started. I had no idea that that was even possible. Um, kind of give a little backstory. I grew up in a Christian family that was pretty strict, so we didn't listen to him and he had the hip hop and things like that growing up, but we did have like, feel good music that was played in the house like Krantz and Michael Jackson and dolo, Stevie Dan, Tina Marie, and things like that. But I also gravitated towards orchestra music and classical music. So I think I had a preconceived notion in my mind that I'd have to go to school and, you know, learn music theory or take piano lessons and learn instruments and things like that to be on that type of level or to put music out. So I was really caught off guard when I saw him with a Casio keyboard, just creating everything from scratch. And I think that's what started to spark Speaker 0 00:05:53 From there. Chiraq has collaborated with the best of the best. Speaker 3 00:05:57 I've had some music industry success as well. It's probably back in like 2011 to the 2013. I was with the production team and we worked closely with T pain at the time. Uh, the production team was buying to nappy boy. And so we did a best love song. We produced that first single with him and Chris brown that did really well. We did, uh, some, uh, the single with goodie mob. It was a special education song and it was basically an anti-bullying campaign. I also did some stuff for star and it was a show on Fox and the shy as well, which is a show on Showtime. So yeah, those are things that I have done. I kind of took a different path just because of the politics that's involved with the music industry. Um, it wasn't really a great experience for me, but yeah, I have done those types of things. Speaker 0 00:06:53 So to make things simpler, like a lot of independent creators, Chiraq began creating his own music. And today distributed himself. He distributes his music across many different platforms. One of them being story blocks, Speaker 3 00:07:06 The way that that happened is I was on LinkedIn. Actually first I was on Instagram. I was on their, um, their Instagram page. I was looking for a way to reach out. I didn't know who to contact and I sent a couple of DMS, but I didn't get anything back. And I'm pretty sure it's because Instagram is just filled with people that's constantly reaching out. So I just thought of, well, maybe there's an another approach that I can do. That's maybe less saturated and that would actually get through. So I went to LinkedIn and there's a whole list of people and employees that work at story blocks, but just went and found the person that's over the music side of story blocks and reached out to them. And instantly somebody got back to me, they checked out my music and was like, oh yeah, you're you. I feel like you'd be a great fit. So, um, they sent me over a contract. Um, and then they just let me know that this is how it works. And on the contributors page, they let you know like what people are actually searching for the most or what they're requesting for their content. There's a list of genres and things like that. So you just pick and choose the ones that you can deliver the best and then just upload them and they'll approve them for you. Speaker 5 00:08:16 Very cool. So it sounds like they kind of give you like a, sort of a, maybe like a broad framework with which to work. And then as a creator though, like you don't have, like, you don't have like some producer from story blocks, like sitting in on your sessions or trying to give you notes or anything like that. I mean, you pretty much, it sounds like you have a lot of creative latitude just to make music however you want to, and then share it. Speaker 0 00:08:39 Story blocks pays him. I pay story blocks and people pay me to help them make podcasts. When, when, when it's a quick and efficient way to make a podcast that doesn't sacrifice on quality, I can quickly choose music and sound effects that work for my projects, knowing that a real musician has put time and effort into making something they really care about. Speaker 5 00:09:01 Well, what's that like, like when you, when you make a piece of music like this and you, you sign it, you know, you sign over the rights, the story blocks. And then, you know, people like me who pay for a subscription. I mean, we get to use it. However, however we want to what's what's that like, knowing that like, this is like one of your babies and now like someone else can come and essentially do like, whatever they want with it. Is that challenging at all? Like on a psychological level or Speaker 3 00:09:27 Not to me, because I want my music to really be able to impact the lives of so many people. And, you know, if, if downloaded my music and put it in one of your piece of content will help change your life because you're able to present, present your work and the music just enhances whatever vision that you have. I'm happy with that. Really just pumping to be able to, you know, help out in whatever capacity that it is. Speaker 5 00:09:58 Like, do you ever, like when you're writing something, do you ever just like in the back of your mind be like, oh man, this would be perfect for this type of project. If someone were to, were to take it on, I use Speaker 3 00:10:08 As to where I used to try to keep the best of the best to myself, but I think I've gotten out of bed over the years because to me it's more valuable to present my best to, you know, the world, as opposed to just keeping everything to myself. Because when I was keeping everything to myself, I wasn't putting it anywhere. Nobody was hearing it. Um, but now the stuff that I'm really happy about or the stuff that I think that is just good for me, I'll just put on Spotify or my, on my instrumental page just to promote it in that sense. But, um, I don't think I, I have that thought process anymore to where I want to just, oh, this is my baby. I don't want to keep it to myself. You know, I'm more, I'm more fulfilled with being able to put it out there for anyone to use and to however they see fit to better their, whatever their craft is or their creation. Um, I'm happy with that Speaker 5 00:11:05 When you write music like that and you're writing it, do you know when you're making a piece of music, like, do you know, all right, this is going to be used for story blocks. It's going to ultimately be for another creator to use. And a lot of people aren't even going to hear the name cure rock. Does that change your approach when you're writing or creating a piece of music? Speaker 3 00:11:23 I don't think so. I think that just over the past couple of years, that my approach to music has kind of changed just because I've grown and I've actually added more skill sets to myself as a producer. Like I, uh, I also do like, uh, video and photography on the side. And I think that that, that, that edit skill set kind of helped me and shaped me to where I can understand better how to produce music for production or, uh, produce music for TV and film and things like that, just because I'm kind of in that space now, whereas before I didn't have any knowledge of how that process worked. So I was basically just doing music the traditional way, like chasing the major placements or trying to get with a big artist and, you know, produce music that way. But now I just said, days decide to where I make music for artists still, but I also have days to where I just make music specifically for concentration and our podcasts and for like relaxing music or background music for TV and film production slate. Speaker 0 00:12:33 So for creators like Chiraq, a platform like story blocks is a good way to make art and create income while still focusing on his own projects. Speaker 3 00:12:41 I'm still building different avenues to kind of create passive income and things like that, just so that I can veer off and actually jump into some of the other things. Um, I have this idea that I want to do for short films though. And I want to produce everything, all of the music and all of the sound design and the Foley and everything that goes into the short films. Um, and I want to call it film instrumentals, but I wanted to do it in a way that I want to tell the story from the musician's perspective, without telling the story from the musician's perspective, but more visual, not so much as far as dialogue is concerned, which is why it would be called FilmStruck channels. It's more so music based, but there will be a story behind it visually maybe with her, without dialogue Speaker 0 00:13:29 From the production side of things. It's really easy to get on story blocks and search their platform for sound effects and music to spruce up. My podcasts. Every bit of sound we've used for this episode has been from story blocks. Of course, there are other similar subscription services out there too, which when you use is of course up to you, but you should take comfort in the fact that when you're using one, you're using music and sounds created by real artists. And I think that's pretty cool. Like I mentioned, at the top of the episode, there's more than one approach to sound design, but for small independent creators, especially if you're just starting out, this is an approach that works well for us here at Castillo's perhaps in the future, we'll explore some other methods in more detail, but for now, if you need me, I'll be by the warm campfire, sipping on a cold beer, Speaker 0 00:14:27 A special thanks to Quinton Johnson or Chiraq and incredibly talented person who was kind enough to join me for this episode. The music you've been hearing during our conversation, that's all cure rock, including the one you're hearing right now titled it's going to be a ride to learn more about his work, check them out on social media. I am Chiraq on Twitter and Instagram, and you can browse some of his music on SoundCloud by typing in Chiraq or by clicking on the link in the show notes while you're at it, be sure to visit to learn more about all that we're doing an offering. And of course, if you need help with your podcast, Speaker 0 00:15:11 Hey, Stuart here. If you've made it this far into the episode, you probably want to learn more about making podcasts. Well, you're in luck because another series we produce here at Casto is called three clips hosted by Evo Tara. We aim to demystify the art of making podcasts by chatting with some of the best podcasters in the biz each week, we'll be breaking apart. The mechanics of making an episode by analyzing three clips from each show we feature, hence the title three clips, three clips is available at three clips, or your podcast app of choice.

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