virtual dreamer

nextI have written extensively over the years about the process of falling asleep and have sorted my journal into four areas of interest.

Making a Sleep CD by Visualizing Golf

I thought it would be fun to let you in on the initial construction of a ' virtual dream'. A kind of behind the scenes look at how I go about constructing some of these dreamscapes.  When coming up with an idea I first consider if the scenario is relaxing and I make sure, certainly before I begin, I know ahead of time where it will end. This is not always the case. Tornado Alley is a rather intense dreamscape that I did as a request.  But, in general, the numero uno factor is relaxation (i.e can one fall asleep to it?). My brother is an avid golfer and the subject came up as to whether I could make a relaxation recording utilizing that scenario. I'm a golfer too just not anywhere to the degree my brother is. I mean three times a week? Now, THAT'S a golfer. Anyway, I mapped it out. I scribbled a diagram of what I would need to visualize to pull this off. (yes, I know I can't draw)

crude map for new recording

Drawing it out helps me understand the scale of the project. It helps in understanding the movement of the piece and serves as a reminder of the direction the sounds come from. The wooded area is to the left and the ocean (this is a seaside golf course) is to the right. Ergo, water sprinklers and some birds... left. Seagulls, waves, and other seaside ambiance... right. I usually make a list of recordings I think I will need. Obviously golf bag effects (I used my own), ambient noises and so on. I thought early on that this would be an early morning round but quickly changed my mind for the simple reason that more sounds can be found as evening falls.

The real work begins after I have assembled most of the recordings I will need. Some virtual dreams have as few as 20 effects in them, others have well over 100 different sounds. This process can take a a day or upwards of a week (as was the case in Jumbo Jet) depending on the complexities involved. There are almost always some audio effects I did not anticipate needing so I have a makeshift Foley lab set up in the studio.

The Scenario: Golfing alone you are the last one on a seaside golf course at dusk. You are on the par five 18th hole. As you get closer to the last green the ocean comes into full view. After finishing your round with a birdie you observe the sunset over the sea from a vista near the clubhouse.

Most of virtual dreams follow a paradigm. 5 to 15 minutes of background recordings one can visualize followed by relaxing ambient nature sounds. This is to assure relaxation and sleep onset as most people fall asleep within 15 minutes. There are exceptions. Stormy Beach and Bedtime Storm have very little visualization and are almost all atmosphere.

Another thing I have to do is copyright my stuff. I do this electronically by uploading the soundscape to the Library of Congress via copyright.gov. Then the work on the webpage begin. This is my least favorite part. Fortunately everything has a template and all I need to concern myself with is descriptions and graphics. When everything is completed it goes up onto the big board and possibly get categorized. Maybe I will start a 'sports' sleep sound page in the future. Heck, I just did White Water Sounds, about kayaking.  I have a whole new sports theme thing happening... although purely by coincidence.

So, that's it. Will it be a big seller? Maybe. Maybe not. I don't go into these recordings thinking like that. But will it be relaxing and, moreover, can you fall asleep to it? Now that I really can and do guarantee.

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