Paper Fire


Pick up a piece of scrap paper. You’ll have to do this in the correct order, so read these instructions first. You’re going to slowly scrunch the piece of paper in your hands, letting it crease and fold and move and crunch. Now, close your eyes and listen carefully as you do this.

What does it sound like? A piece of paper being scrunched? Yeah, alright, it does sound a bit papery, but also a bit like a crackling fire, right? We hear that cellophane actually is what the pros on old radio plays used to simulate the sound of fire, but who uses cellophane these days, huh?

On Monday, one very excited Footscray Primary School class boarded the train for a visit to the SYN Media office and their first Paper Fire workshop.

Paper Fire brings together young mentors from SYN Media and Express Media, and a class of upper-primary students, in a series of workshops exploring and creating radio plays. The group began with ideas about what a radio play was, what kinds of narratives would be best suited and what tools could be used to create sound effects (cue armpits, farty squishy toys and DJ equipment). They then set out to create a scene involving a flatulent tortoise.

Mason, one of the SYN mentors, shared with us his experience. His group ended up making a great saga about the tortoise being tricked by his enemy, which was a snake disguised as the tortoise’s best friend (also a snake), into eating a match, then farting and blowing up a football stadium. Meanwhile the tortoise’s nemesis, the hare, was stealing carrots from students at SYN who were too busy making a story. Very meta.

Meta indeed.

And what would a radio play workshop be without a stint in an actual radio studio? Thanks to Tim and Mason from SYN, the class tried out their best on-air voices, and even recorded a toaster rap.


Paper Fire is a partnership between 100 Story Building, SYN Media and Express Media. This project is made possible by funding from the Community Broadcasting Foundation.

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