Innovation Profile: SoundWalk offers site-specific augmented audio
| Business Weekly
October 12th, 2018
Please share a little about the business behind your SoundWalk project – the Space Owl Productions company you founded for your freelance production work.
I run a small visual and audio freelance business called Space Owl Productions. Under the name, I compose and record music and sound for video games, animations, short films, performance arts, and dance collaborations.
I also have been contracted to record several audio books. I also perform in and help manage several bands, two of which often travel on the road for weeks at a time.
I do all of this while working three part time jobs. With all of this I have not only learned how to organize my projects, but I’ve also learned how to organize people in order to get projects done.
How would you describe SoundWalk and how far along is the project?
SoundWalk is a mobile app that allows artists to compose immersive audio experiences and map them to GPS locations around the globe, allowing the public to interact with these compositions by walking through the public spaces for which they are composed.
The app will be downloadable through both the Android and Apple marketplaces, and will provide the user with a selection of experiences that have been developed for the app.
Because these experiences are mapped to specific physical geographic locations, they can be experienced by traveling to those prepared spaces with the app. Once they’re at the specified location, they open the app, put their headphones on, and start their SoundWalk.
I will work with musicians, writers, and game developers to create SoundWalks for the app. The Walk to Walk content will vary from place to place, but its focus will always be to enhance the user’s appreciation or understanding of the places that they visit.
One may be an abstract audio environment that enhances a public space’s features, while another might put you in the center of a narrative story with dialogue and action that exists completely in the audible realm.
I have been working on the project for seven months and have a business process for it as well as a mockup or prototype.
Who have you been working with on the project?
I am currently working on SoundWalk under the guidance of the Artlink 212 incubator. I have a mentor, Matt Ganucheau of Grey Area in San Francisco, who is helping me focus the project and getting me to the phase of pitching it for future funding opportunities.
Otherwise, the people that I will be working with on SoundWalk will be any creatives that can add a valuable voice to its content development phases.
How did you plan to use the $1,000 microgrant you received from the Farnsworth Fund?
Currently, I have a system that works. I have built the necessary app and have set up the means for distributing it. Now, I just need content. I planned to use the Farnsworth Fund money to fund the production of one narrative fictional piece for SoundWalk.
It would pay a local writer to create a plan for the experience. Then, I would use the rest to pay actors to dedicate their time and effort to recording the required dialogue for the experience.
Having a fictional narrative piece packed into SoundWalk’s launch will really help people understand the capabilities of the medium.
In addition to the microgrant, what might be helpful for the project?
SoundWalk is at an interesting point in its development. The app is there. Most of the sound development tools that are needed are there. What it really needs right now is money to pay for content development.
It needs to invest in creatives to develop SoundWalks that will show people that sound can amplify their understanding and appreciation for the unseen worlds around them. I think the Farnsworth Fund can help connect me to people who see the importance of this work and who are willing to invest in it.
How do you see yourself fitting into the Farnsworth Fund community of entrepreneurs?
I currently see myself as a student of the community. While I am confident in the experiences that can be created with SoundWalk, I know that I have much to learn when it comes to presenting the app to the public.
I am a musician and artist first. Business has never been something in the front of my mind. I hope that I can extend my knowledge as a hardworking creative, and receive a helping hand by those who really know how to do business.