We want to hear your work! So we've put together a bunch of notes to help you if you're interested in submitting something for consideration.

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Big Shed is an audio playground. If you’re a new producer, this is a place where you can explore the creative impulses that pulled you into working in sound. And if you’re a veteran producers, this is a place where you can step outside the usual shape of your work.

We're looking for audio that has some of the following elements:

We love interview-driven narratives (narration lite ... or not at all). we like storytelling where the voices of the people in your stories are the voices that carry us through the piece (think ... the opposite of a typical reporter "Ax and Trax" piece on npr).
Example: Crystal Dixon
Crystal Dixon

Ambient sound and non-pre-recorded sound FX are always a good thing. They make the pieces more visual and more interesting. Particularly since we frequently don't have music in our pieces because of licensing issues, they really add the spice that makes many of them work.
Example: A Cup of Tea with Annie Melvin (http://radiopie.org/BigShed/Guest/BlogRebuild/test/2006/06/29/a-cup-of-tea-with-annie-melvin/)

Back to
narration ... it's sort of all or nothing with us. We like narrators when they're central to the story. Whether it's an audio essay or you're our personal guide. We just ran a piece that's a good example of this.
Example: The Dead Can't Do You Nothin' (http://radiopie.org/BigShed/Guest/BlogRebuild/test/2007/02/24/the-dead-cant-do-you-nothin/)

Audio Art ... we love it. It's hard to describe, but we know it when we hear it. Bring it on! Actually, we like creative producing in all of the pieces at Big Shed. We just have a special commitment to making sure we make a home for it.
Example: More Human, Somehow (http://radiopie.org/BigShed/Guest/BlogRebuild/test/2006/10/09/more-human-somehow/)

Fiction, the new documentary frontier. Let's face it. Sometimes the truth isn't as real or as much fun as make believe. We don't know why this fits with us, but sometimes it does. We're actually thinking about running a fiction series this year. Weird.
Example: Les Petits Tristes: A Tragedy in Three Acts (http://radiopie.org/BigShed/Guest/BlogRebuild/test/2007/01/22/les-petits-tristes-a-tragedy-in-three-acts/)

We like (reasonably)
smooth edits. Fades and cross-fades are your friend. Take the time to make your piece sound good. If you need help understanding with these, check out the tutorials at www.Transom.org. We'll make suggestions if we hear problems.

Length. Shorter is often better, but whatever it takes. Most of our pieces are 5-10 minutes, though we've run 20+ minute pieces and pieces that are a minute long (i think).

Music ... A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. This may be the harshest thing I say here. Music can be great ... but it can be a lazy substitute for a good story, good pacing, and good conveyance of mood. We've all used it. It's fun. But think of it as the tool of last resort. Then again, what do we know.

If my chastising wasn't effective, here's another reason to avoid music in Big Shed land. Music is one of our biggest toughies. You've heard a song by John Lurie or Yo La Tengo that's just perfect for your story, and even Ira Glass would praise your audiophiliac tendencies. The bad news is that Public Radio pays licensing fees so producers can incorporate as much commercial music as they can stomach over those airwaves, but podcasting is a-whole-nother universe in terms of music licensing. It's a long and ugly story. don't ask, or you'll get a verbose, technical, boring and frustrating explanation. the short of it is this.

  • if you make the music yourself = you're a rockstar and/or a diva and feel free to shower us with your melodic and rhythmic genius.
  • if you can get permission from the artist to use their song for this podcast = you're a badass muthaf@#$*& and we worship your tenacity and problem solving abilities. (note: it's pretty cool when you actually track an artist down and they say "sure. what the hell."
  • if there's music in the background of a recording, that's cool (unless you just recorded your radio to get around this issue ... then that's not cool).
  • if you like someone else's song but don't have permission ... we just can't use it.

When you're ready to submit to Big Shed ("Kneel before Zod!" ... sorry for the Superman reference. I'm laughing that I've written this much. I thought this would be about three sentences long). Sorry, back to the instructions ...

Our submission process is simply this. send us your work. let us know it's coming, but send away. we prefer electronic transfers. how you choose to do that is up to you and your level of technological comfort. WAVs are preferable, but mp3s of 128 mbps or higher are acceptable.

Option a) use a free filesharing site, like http://www.sendthisfile.com, where you can upload a file for free and they send us an email letting us know where to download it.

Option b) if you prefer, we have an FTP site, and we’re happy to send you the login info when you’re ready to upload your work.

Once we get your audio, we’ll listen to your piece and then we decide if it fits our broad mold or not. Sometimes we run audio "as is" though we're likely to make some minor editing suggestions. If the piece either isn't the right fit or doesn't work for us for one reason or another, we'll fret a while about how to break the bad news then try to send an email with an explanation about what worked and what didn't for us in the form of questions and suggestions. We're so thrilled when folks send us work we hate to not use it, but we also want to help out as much as we can (when we have the time).