Q Media: Audio Tour Experts

Delivering your goals, to your visitors, within your budget.

Archive for Script writing and development

Q Media in Rome!

We realize we haven’t updated our blog since September.  Many things have happened since then and we’d like to share with you what they have been and what we’ve been up to.

First off October 2011 found Mike and Stasha attending the Orpheo Partners Meeting in Rome, Italy. Q Media is an Orpheo partner and every two years Orpheo invites their partners from around the world to attend a meeting to catch up on what’s new with Orpheo and each other. This year’s meeting in Rome had attendees from Italy, Hungary, Russia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, France, Austria, Japan, Malta, Poland, Sardinia, Greece and Portugal. It was great to see folks we hadn’t seen in a few years and hear what other members of the Orpheo Network are doing with audio tours in their countries.  One great aspect of being an Orpheo Partner is that we are involved with a world-wide network of skilled, experienced audio tour producers and our combined strengths allow us all to prosper by assisting each other.  When you hire Q Media you don’t just get a team of award-winning audio tour producers with 10 years experience producing tours: you also get the benefit of many others who assist us in many ways in producing and equipping audio tours.

Besides the experience of traveling to Europe and seeing our partner members we also found out what Orpheo has been up to with developing their equipment. One of the exciting new things we learned about was the MyOrpheo App for both iPhone and Android. We’re now adding that as an option for our clients.

As for Q Media projects the end of last year and the beginning of this one have been busy times for us. We completed the audio tour pilot program for apartment rental industry leader Aimco and Q Media produced tours are now operating at apartment complexes in Denver, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

Also a project for The Kingsley Plantation in Jacksonville, FL is soon to be launched. This project was written and produced by Q Media and is being offered on iPhones that will be GPS triggered. One of the exciting aspects about this tour is that the visitor will always be immersed into a sonic environment and the audio tour stops will trigger automatically as they wander the grounds. A new, novel approach for tours and we’re really excited to be a part of this new application of technology.  But it isn’t all ‘sets and lights’.  The Kingsley Plantation allowed us to tell a story of slavery in the American South that is compelling, moving and novel.  We’re really proud of this one and the telling of the Kingsley story allowed us to touch upon greater human themes.  There are some wonderful performances from character actors in the production that really help to bring a sense of the people who lived there to the listener to allow them to imagine what life at Kingsley was like for them.

We’ve also been busy continuing to produce visually described audio tours for the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U. S. Army Corp of Engineers.  More Q Media visually described tours are now operational at facilities in Wyoming, New Mexico, New York City and Missouri.

This winter also had us updating the MillerCoors Brewery tour in Golden, CO in English, Spanish and Mandarin.  MillerCoors likes to be sure that they are staying current in their tour with developments and improvements to their facility and products and Q Media is happy to be a part of making the audio tour at the largest single site brewery in the world the best it can be.

For other repeat clients we’re busy this Spring producing the audio tour for Mt. Rushmore into French to be launched and we’re also working again with Friends of A1A to add another component to their cell phone driving tour with a tour of Bird Island in Ponte Vedra, FL

Lastly there’s BIG news coming from Q Media and we’ll need to let you know about that in another post dedicated to it.  We promise we won’t make you wait as long as it took up to update our blog from our last post in September and we’re REALLY excited about it.

Until then!

Mike and Stasha


It’s been a busy year so far for Q Media!

Hello Q Media blog readers. So far its been quite a year for us and we’d like to keep you updated on what we’ve been doing.

Q Media has been working with US Fish and Wildlife and National Park Service facilities all over the US this year doing Audio Described Audio Tours for the Visually Impaired. From New Mexico to New York, Texas to North Dakota we have been traveling the land producing tours. Some of these tours are strictly audio described tours and others are what we call ‘Combo’ tours – two separately produced tours that can be taken by both sighted and visually impaired visitors. You can find out more about this in our previous post ‘Audio Tours for the Visually Impaired’.

We’ve also branched out on providing audio tours for a new industry for us – apartment complexes. Q Media has been hired to produce seven audio tours for seven different properties throughout the US as a pilot program to see if the apartment leasing sales process can be augmented with audio tours. From what we know this is a new application for audio tours and a type of facility that we haven’t produced tours for in the past. The apartment complexes are in Denver, Philadelphia and San Francisco and the tours are cell phone distributed.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed with this one and hope that it takes off – a whole new market could be opening up for us and we’re excited about the possibilities.

Lastly we are going to attend the Orpheo Partners meeting this year in Rome, Italy. Partners attend from all over the world and we’re excited to see some friends whom we haven’t seen in years.  It’s always good to hear what other Orpheo Partners are doing in their countries!

Well that’s about it for now and a big thank you to all of the writers, voice over talent and technicians who have worked with us on projects this year – we couldn’t do what we do without you!   Here’s hoping that you are also doing well too.  We are thankful to be so busy in these economic times and we love what do, treasure the opportunities to go to new places and enjoy who we meet along the way in our pursuit to provide stellar audio tour experiences for our clients and their visitors.


Mike and Stasha

Audio Tours for the Visually Impaired

Institutions are using audio guides to comply with government mandated ADA requirements to provide interpretation of their information for all visitors.  Recently Q Media has been producing audio tours to allow some US Fish and Wildlife and National Park Service facilities meet their ADA requirements by providing visually described audio tours of their facilities.

Visually described audio tours are just that – an audio tour where the script is written to describe what is there for the visitor to experience and to also provide directions and other information that the sighted world sees and they may not.  Visually impaired individuals better experience a facility with these types of productions and they also allow a facility meet ADA requirements by providing interpretive experiences that are produced to directly serve their needs.

Stasha Boyd – Q Media’s president, primary writer and producer – is certified to write visually described tours and she has been using her skills, in combination with Q Media’s  award-winning production capabilities, to create meaningful audio experiences for visually impaired visitors.  When we produce a visually described tour we usually produce two tours –  one for sighted visitors and a visually described tour.  This way both sighted and visually impaired visitors get to experience a facility with audio and both tours incorporate high production standards to create a rich sonic experience for the listener.  We go on site to gather research, interview subject matter experts and record natural sounds that are specific to the location.  We produce tours that accomplish what a facility wants to convey so all of its visitors, sighted and visually impaired, will have the opportunity to experience the interpretation that leadership desires.

One visually described audio tour that Q Media recently produced was for the visitor center at The Audubon National Wildlife Refuge in Coleharbor, ND.  According to Jackie Jacobson, Director of Audubon It has been a pleasure to work with you… seriously, it was so nice to work with professionals on this task, as I had never used or seen one of these devices before. Thank you for all your patience! In working with clients Q Media strives to make sure that all facets of a production are equally cared for and that includes extensive communication with decision makers.  Many times they’ve never been involved in producing an audio tour and we pride ourselves in effectively communicating what it is that we do so everyone is aware of our process and how we achieve their goals.

Look for many more productions this year from Q Media producing visually described audio tours.  If you are a facility that is required to meet these ADA requirements, or cares to serve this facet of your visitors, please contact us so we can produce and equip a visually described tour for your location.

What we’ve been up to lately

Well we realized that we hadn’t updated our blog in some time and we wanted to write a post to let the world know what Q Media has been up to these last several months.  We like keeping you up to date on what our recent past projects have been and what are current projects are.  Maybe the next project we produce will be yours! 

Here are some of our recent past projects:

We produced and equipped an audio tour of the Seedskadee Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Green River, WY.  This area of Wyoming is beautiful with its wide open lands and wildlife and Q Media was hired to write and produce two tours – an audio tour of the visitor center and another audio tour for the visually impaired.  Q Media executive producer and main writer Stasha Boyd recently received her certification from the American Association for the Blind to write visually described tours and the National Park Service and The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Association are organizations who are striving to make their facilities compliant to the ADA requirements by offering interpretative content to the visually and hearing impaired.  The tour is presented to the public on Infrared triggered Orpheo Classic audio guides so the content plays automatically when a visitor enters each audio stop area.  Special thanks to Formations, Inc who designed and built the exhibit areas and provided the installation services to install the audio guide equipment.  Client – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Green River, WY.

We produced and equipped an audio tour for the Miller Brewery in Milwaukee, WI.  Miller and Coors merged in 2009 and the Miller Brewery also offers tours like the Coors Brewery in Golden, CO which Q Media produced an audio tour for in 2008 .  Q Media was contracted to produce a Spanish audio tour of the facility and we worked with the Miller Brewery staff who provided the script and we provided the translation, voiceover production and audio guide equipment.  A good example of how audio guides can be incorporated to enhance, not replace , live docents by providing foreign language translations so foreign visitors can hear and receive the story too.  The tour is provided to the public on Orpheo Classic audio guides.  Client – The MillerCoors Brewing Company.  Milwaukee, WI.

We produced the Coors Brewery tour in Golden, CO in Mandarin.  Q Media already had produced the Coors brewery audio tour in three languages – English, Spanish and Japanese – but their research showed that they were getting many Mandarin speaking visitors so they decided they wanted to tell their story to them too.  Client – The MillerCoors Brewing Company.  Golden, CO.

As for our recent projects:

We are currently producing an audio tour for The Mennello Musuem of American Art in Orlando, FL.  This is the third audio tour that Q Media has produced for the Mennello.  This tour will focus on early 20th century American art and the collection of Edward Wales Root – a patron of American artists in the early to mid-twentieth century and the audio tour covers selected pieces from Root’s collection and stories of his relationship to the artists.  Client – The Mennello Museum of American Art in Orlando, FL

We are currently producing an audio tour of the Miami Circle in Miami, Florida.  Unearthed in 1998 the Miami Circle is an enigmatic ruin dating back over 2000 years ago when the Tequesta Indians inhabited that area of Florida.  A 38-foot circle of holes cut into the limestone bedrock where the Miami River meets Biscayne Bay, the Miami Circle is considered a sacred place by Native Americans and revered by scholars as an important artifact of Miami’s past.  The Miami Circle site is being preserved and cared for by History Miami for future generations to experience a part of Miami’s history and they are providing tours of the site in both English and Spanish as a downloadable mp3 audio tour.   Q Media was hired to both script and produce the tour.  Client – History of Miami.  Miami, FL.

We’ve just received notice that we have been rewarded the contract to produce a driving tour of historic highway A1A in both English and Spanish.  This 45-stop cell phone driving tour will cover the 75-mile stretch of A1A from St. Augustine north to Ponte Vedra and will incorporate archival oral histories and interviews with local luminaries.  Q Media is scripting the tour, designing and installing the byway signage and designing and producing the tour’s rack cards.  Production is set to begin the beginning of March and the tour will be launched October 1, 2010.  Client – Friends of A1A.  St. Augustine, FL.

Hope you enjoyed catching up on what Q Media has been up to lately.  We have proposals out for many more projects so please check back to see our next update to find out what’s on our horizon.  Maybe the project we will telling the world about will be yours!

Knowing how to swing a hammer doesn’t make you a psychologist…

                                 Hammer                  We recently lost a bid to a competitor. After asking for feedback why so we could be better in the future , criticism was offered and was fair and was provided with the utmost respect and objectivity. The feedback we received regarding why we didn’t get the project was the tour sample we sent (the one closest in subject matter to the project we were bidding on) didn’t reflect their perceptions of how they envisioned the creative direction for their audio tour. Fair enough; but I wanted to add something I thought was missing from the equation when they evaluated our sample: the fact that we produced that tour in collaboration with that client. That tour reflected the vision of the previous client; it is what they wanted and achieves what they wanted to say. It delivers the goals they defined for how they wanted their visitors to interact with their space. Not to say it’s perfect – I can think of small things in any tour we’ve produced that afterwards I thought a change could improve – but the point is that working closely with the client was how that tour came to be. If we had won this recent proposal, we would have pursued the same spirit of collaboration with our new client because that is how we operate with ALL of our clients. At the end of the day, it is their vision and goals that need to be communicated through the audio tour. Of course we offer our learned perspective based on our experience and know-how, but in the end, the client is always right and we produce the tour they want.

And that brings me to the weird title of this post. Being able to drive a nail doesn’t mean you can build a house, or coordinate effectively with all the other folks needed to achieve that complicated goal. And like construction, skill sets need to be available for many aspects of audio tour production. Working with the people aspect — the group dynamics, the creative team, the psychology, if you will — of how a tour comes together is, indeed, the best thing that we know we bring to any project. Is the staff at the facility on the same page when it comes to the approach and content? If not, who brings about the cohesion to make that happen? Are the goals being defined and refined to meet what the theme of what the tour should be? Who facilitates the compromises when there are different viewpoints? Is there good working chemistry between the front-end creative team (writer, producer, and director) and the experts assigned to the project by the facility? If not, how can this be overcome and adapted to bring about excellence?

These factors are just some of the challenges that need to be addressed and they change each time we produce a tour. So in the future, we suggest that when you evaluate a proposal, or a bid, don’t simply ask yourself if the tour sample is similar in style or tone to what you want. Call and ask the previous client if the tour sample reflects what they wanted. Find out if the production team brought something to the table that improved on the vision they had at the start. Ask if the production process created a better outcome than they started with. That’s the key to producing a good audio tour – listening to the client and delivering the result they want.

Orange County Regional History Center

Orange County Regional History Center

Orange County Regional History Center

In 2008 we had the opportunity to do something we rarely get to do — work locally! I don’t know why it is but the old adage regarding the “pro from Dover” generally seems to hold. Never-the-less, we were selected to work with the Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando to provide audio guides and production support for the new audio tour of their permanent exhibits. This project has several lessons including some benefits and cautions to a la carte production as well as what to do when the financial rug gets pulled out from under you. Welcome to the wonderful and wacky world of public financing. Read the rest of this entry »