How Can A Podcast Become Visual?

From the opening scene of “True You” by Invisibilia sound is utilized as one of the most important aspects of storytelling in order to create a vivid scene for the listener. The story begins with recounting the classic biblical tale of locust converging upon the Egyptian lands and destroying the crops. During this opening scene we hear dramatic music leading up to the sound of millions of locust swarming over Egypt. 

From the first major scene jump into the second scene, the Invisibilia producers decided to use a more up-beat and catchy soundbite that would signal to the listener that the tone of the podcast was about to change and that they would not be talking about such dreary topics. At the end of introducing a new character the producers play a more dramatic soundbite that tells us how grasshoppers transform into locust. Then we can hear the sounds of thousands of grasshoppers swarming together and preparing to wreak havoc upon the land.    

Before the first commercial break we are introduced to the upcoming stories in quick blurbs that do not reveal too much detail but are intriguing and leave the listener wanting more. While these introductions are being made the listener is also drawn in by the mystical music that is used as a segue into the commercial break and also used to bring us out of the commercial break. 

When we first hear Tanya speak about how she was a “bad ass” the sounds that accompany her voice is quite fitting. They are a mix between rock and roll and punk music that would make us think of a stereotypical goth/corny film from the 90’s. Then, the producers hit us with Tanya’s alter-ego’s giggles. It is such a drastic shift in the stories tone, but by introducing the giggles as part of the story rather than just telling us that Tanya giggles in her sleep the listener becomes fully immersed in the story and it does not become any less engaging. 

As Tanya tells us the first horrific story of her childhood we are drawn in with this mysterious music playing that is a bit sad and then given a quick sound as if someone jumped at you, which is presumably meant to spook the listener. As Tanya’s story goes on the sound effects and real soundbites from her bedroom continue to keep the listener interested throughout.

The next story about Chad, who draws comic strips using a pseudonym begins by playing music that could be seen as classical/dorky, which is how the story is trying to frame Chad.  

Another expert use of soundbites is when Chad is describing writing and the host of the show, Miller, says “in his journal,” we then hear the scraping sound of a pencil in a journal. Uses like this of a soundbite is what can help differentiate a good from a great podcast; the attention to detail and the care that the Invisiblia team gives to their podcasts shines through in this episode.

Check it out here