Michaela Prell Capstone


Over the past months I have been collecting people's stories. I have collected stories on the tattoos that people have places on their bodies, how they got the tattoo, why they got the tattoo, etc. I have interviewed people I have known my whole life, friends, teachers, and even strangers. After each interview I would edit what I had recorded into a concise podcast and share it with the public on my Soundcloud account. The Soundcloud account is really the place where my Capstone lives.

The process for my project was fairly simple, and despite its repetitive nature, it never felt monotonous or boring. After setting up a Soundcloud account for myself I was able to interview, edit, and put out a new instalment on a regular basis - almost weekly. In the end, I was able to do a total of ten interviews as well as an intro and outro of the project.

Doing this project has taught me so much. Not only have I been able to ask people the questions I have wanted to for a long time about the art on their body, but I have also gotten to form my own opinions about tattoos for myself based on what I have learned from others. Even more importantly, I have found joy in getting closer to people I know, or don’t know by asking them about themselves and their stories. I am grateful that the last few months were even more gratifying than I initially thought they would be. 

Click here to see my Soundcloud.

Annotated Bibliography

Dundon, Barbara. "I'm Tellin' Ya!" I’m Tellin Ya. Barbara Dundon, 2013. Web. 03 Feb. 2016.

This is the website of my mentor, Barbara Dundon. I worked with her in my ILP last year. She introduced me to the art of audio production and storytelling. I wanted to make sure that she was recognized as someone I learned a lot from. Because of this I am citing her website, and the business she runs producing stories for other people. Having a person to learn from as part of the process that got me to where I am right now is very important to me. I work best when I am learning from a person, because they have lived what they are telling me. it is a different kind of research than reading an article or watching a video, and I find that it sticks with me better.

"Free Music Archive." Free Music Archive. N.p., 2009. Web. 03 Feb. 2016.

This is a online library of legal free audio downloads. I use it to get most of the music from my podcast. Since music is important in setting the emotion of a podcast, I spend time finding just the right track to use when I need it in my podcasts. I know that I can safely use the tracks I find on this website.

Glass, Ira, and Torey Malatia. "This American Life." Audio blog post. National Public Radio, 1995. Web. 3 Feb. 2016.

I have been listening to This American Life from a very young age. It is part of what inspired me to originally look into doing a podcast as an ILP and as a capstone. When you are learning about something, it helps to have examples to look at in detail. This American Life was one of those examples for me. I would sit and listen to an episode, and then look for the things done in the editing, or in the way that the narrator spoke, or a thousand other things, that made the story so compelling to me. I dissected this podcast for inspiration, and to make my own podcast better.

Graves, Nagee. Personal interview. 7 Dec. 2015.

I did my very first interview with Nagee. We talked about the two tattoos that he has, what they mean to him, and his plans for future tattoos. For a first interview, talking to someone who I knew, but not very well was the perfect thing for me to do. We both felt comfortable talking to one another, but had a lot to learn about each other - mainly I learned about him, but that’s the point of my project.

Lady Lamb. Rooftop. Rec. 19 Feb. 2013. 2013. MP3.

This is a song I used for the introduction to my podcast that I put on my soundcloud. Music is very important component to any audio based production. I decided to use a song that I already knew well, and that I thought set the tone for my introduction, and for what I wanted people’s first impressions to be.

Macolino, Sarah. Personal interview. 19 Jan. 2019.

I think this is the best interview I did. I say this because the tattoos had very meaningful stories behind them. It was easy for me to ask questions and listen intently, because the content really made an affect on me personally. I look forward to editing what I have, I want to do the stories justice! The only thing else I can really say is, thank you to Sarah for being so open and honest with me about things that are not easy to talk about. I really appreciate it.

Middleswarth, Jackie. Personal interview. 9 Dec. 2015.

Interviewing Jackie was more challenging than my first interview. That has nothing to do with her, and everything to do with me. I don’t think that I asked the “right” questions like I did with Nagee. He is a more outgoing person in general, so he was more willing to open up. But Jackie is less of a talker, so I had to work harder to get open answers. This was a good learning experience for me, to learn how to make people comfortable and open when they talk to me.

Paolini, Beth. Personal interview. 11 Feb. 2016.

I have known beth for all of my life. She is partly responsible for this project because I’ve wanted to ask her about her tattoos for all of my life too. Finally getting to interview her was really amazing and insightful. I am so glad she agreed to help me out, although not at all surprised.

Raul. Personal interview. 19 Jan. 2016.

I did not actually know that I was going to interview Raul when I did. (That’s why I don’t even know his last name.) But he was open and easy to talk to. We talked about his family, his mother and niece, and how amazing tattoos can be when they are well done. The importance of going to a professional to get a tattoo, because it really is an art. I appreciate a stranger opening up to me like this.

Spiegel, Alix, and Lulu Miller. "Invisabelia." Audio blog post. National Public Radio, 2015. Web. 3 Feb. 2016.

Invisabelia is another podcast  that I listen to to get inspiration for my own podcast. The topics that the program covers are pretty different from mine, so I mainly listened to look for examples of how the editing was done to make an impact on the audience, or rove home a point. Other than that, this is just a podcast that I like, and think is good, so it serves as inspiration for me.

"StoryCorps." Audio blog post. National Public Radio, 2015. Web. 2 Feb. 2016.

StoryCorps is a podcast that gives everyone a chance to tell their own stories. Because it only works if people tell their own stories, it is an inspiration for what I am doing. People telling their own experiences, in a way that will last, is a big part of the identity of my capstone. But the people’s stories have to be coherent and make sense. That is what I look at here when it comes to editing.I look for how the podcast is edited to best tell the story. In essence, my podcast is not about tattoos, it is about stories, so that is why StoryCorps is a podcast that I have studies as part of my research.