Creative family fun:

Creating your own sound effects for an audio drama

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Sound effects

Here are some simple tips for making sound effects.

1. Start with household objects. According to Jonathan Crowe, sound designer, "the house is a gold mind" for interesting sound effects. Doors, chairs, a gravel walk, tools, kitchen utensils -- so many things within your reach can make sounds you can use.

2. Experiment. Often the effect you're after will be made by something you find just by messing around with sounds. It would a great creative hunt to find what sounds things make around you and figure out what it could represent in your audio play. You can also find a CD with some limited sounds, but it would be more fun to create your own.

Some ways to cook up your own sounds:

Sound effects being created for old-time radio

Fire: Crumpling cellophane or wax paper gets close to the sound of a crackling fire.

Footsteps: Hold two shoes and tap the heels together, then tap the toes. Try using different kinds of shoes on different surfaces. For instance, walking in cat litter sounds like walking on gravel or snow.

Another snow sound: corn starch in a leather pouch to give a sound of snow crunching.

Horse hooves: just like you've seen in the movies, try two halves of a coconut shell.

Kiss: smooch your arm. (But honestly... why would you need a kiss in your story, kids?)

Buzzing insect: Just like we used to do to make home-made kazoos -- wrap wax paper around a comb tightly then hom with your lips just barely on the wax paper. Great buzz!

Thunder: Shake a large piece of sheet metal to simulate a thunderstorm.

Town bell: tapping large metal pot lids while holding them by the handle gives good bell sounds.

Whooshing: a thin stick swooped through the air. 

Creaking: old chairs work well. Sitting on them or pushing them gives you a creak you can control.

Metal fence: a metal rake

Bird's wings flapping: a pair of gloves being waved up and down

Have any others you'd like to add? Email me and I'll put them on the list.


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