A man obsessed with time builds a house that's a giant clock.

Direct download: Clock_House_v11_Libsyn.mp4
Category:Films -- posted at: 12:45pm EDT


Finally you can watch the entirety of "IMMUNE!" now released in all 4 parts (plus a prologue) at:



Part fiction, part narrative, part superhero origin story (kinda), part personal narrative, part graphic novel, the film takes a deep look at the reasons we all might want to believe in superheroes, and the dangerous places we end up as we get lost in the world of fantasy.

"a unique take on film as self portrait"
Official Selection of the Chicago Underground Film Festival.

Direct download: Immune_Podcast_Pitch_2.mp3
Category:Films -- posted at: 2:21am EDT


Blind people playing baseball?  Yeah.  That's right.   All you need is a ball that beeps.

(photo credit: "baseball" by theseanster93 via flickr creative commons)

Direct download: Beep_Baseball_Draft_v2.mp3
Category:Audio Stories -- posted at: 7:40pm EDT

Go Do by Jonsi

As a small change of pace from the rest of the podcast, here's a short music video I put together made entirely out of letters.  

The video was created for a two-week run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as part of a live show I was doing alongside comedian and performance artist Ryan Good. Initially the video was meant to serve as a background element to a movement piece, but we ended up liking the video so much that we all but abandoned all on-stage movement during the projection.

The song in the video is Jonsi's "Go Do."  Some of you may recognize Jonsi as the lead singer of the Icelandic band Sigur Ros.  If you like the song (somehow after well over 100 listens, I'm still not tired of it) you can buy it here.  Or it's worth checking out Jonsi's website directly, where you can watch the official "Go Do" video, or live footage from his "Go" Tour which includes animated projections that are way more impressive than anything I can do.

Direct download: Go_Do_v7_APPLE_TV_LIBSYN.m4v
Category:Films -- posted at: 11:50pm EDT

Door Belle

The alternate title for this was going to be the Isaac Hayes-esque "Girl, I Wanna Get You In My Belly Button T-Shirt Hole" but the mp3 title field wouldn't fit it.  But now that you know that, I mean, c'mon, aren't you curious....? 

Direct download: Door_Belle_v2.mp3
Category:Audio Stories -- posted at: 11:24pm EDT


I just finished a live reading at Maryland Insitute College of Art's Falvey Hall in Baltimore this past weekend where I performed live versions of "One Reason When Visiting Sacred Sites" as well as "How to Be a Man (sort of...)" alongside playing some clips from "Beneath the Surface."  After the performance, one of the students showed me a painting/drawing she had done inspired by the first segment in "Beneath the Surface." It was quite a nice surprise gift so I figured I'd share it with all of you as well. I've attached the picture here, entitled "Fading Time" by Sophie Monosmith.

In other news, I've spent the last year trying out a variety of different animation styles to figure out the best way to approach the rest of "Immune." Well, after a year, I think I've finally got something figured out and a decisive style through which to approach the film. My hope it to release the first episode before the end of the year.


Category:About Phonography -- posted at: 11:38pm EDT

Beneath the Surface (ENHANCED) Because this is a much longer piece than I normally produce, and because in writing it, it naturally broke down into seven distinct parts, I wanted to give the listener the option of listening to the piece as a whole or to each section individually. So I created an enhanced podcast, which allows you to interact with it the same way you do a CD. You can jump forward to the next track or back to one you want to hear again. Also each track has it’s own chapter title and individual artwork. The only downside is that not every portable music player can handle an enhanced podcast (sorry) so I had to make two separate ones.
Direct download: Beneath_the_Surface_ENHANCED.m4a
Category:Audio Stories -- posted at: 3:17pm EDT

Beneath the Surface This project started because I was interested in the hundreds of towns around America that have been evacuated and then purposely flooded in order to make reservoirs. In many cases, the streets, the buildings, still exist underwater. When droughts happen, these town resurface and the people who lived in these towns often come back to see what’s left of their old homes. To me, this was a very powerful image. I saw it as such a perfect example of the idea that “you can never go home again.” As I started researching I kept finding all these different parallels between water and memory, between water and time, in mythology, psychology, physiology, in the great floods, and icebergs, in swimming pools, and ancient rivers. It began to feel like maybe the reason water kept appearing as a metaphor for these things, was because it spoke to a basic human connection between the two. That maybe somewhere in the nature of water itself, we could find the nature of the human mind. (((NOTE: This piece is a slight departure from my earlier work. The piece is written less as a monologue and more like a transom of ideas set to music that I've written for it. It’s separated into 7 different sections, like tracks on a record, each with a different perspective on the relationship between water and memory. So to that extent it should be listened to more like a music album with narration instead of lyrics.)))
Direct download: Beneath_the_Surface.mp3
Category:Audio Stories -- posted at: 11:45pm EDT

THE VOICES YOU HEARD IN BENEATH THE SURFACE INCLUDE: Nell Haynes (Voice 1 & 7), Elaine Kanak (Voice 2) Lauren Fath (Voice 3), Abe Ingle (Voice 5), Joanne Colonna (Voice 6), and others. SPECIAL THANKS TO: Charlie Scammell, Joshua Zavin, Sam Neuman, Dave Riemenschneider, Sean Gannet, Kolter Campbell for calling and contributing their thoughts on memory. Also Ryan Good, Cara Francis, Jessica Solce, Renee Erikson-Farr for performing a section of the piece that I ultimately and heartlessly cut.
Category:Performance Credits -- posted at: 4:16pm EDT

A Lesson in Social Confusion: Or How I Essentially Became a Street Kabuki Performer Entirely By Accident I mean, seriously... The piece is 3 1/2 minutes. With a title like that, do I really have to write a description to convince you to listen to it? (Non-fiction?)
Direct download: 01_A_Lesson_In_Social_Confusion.mp3
Category:Audio Stories -- posted at: 1:23pm EDT

Stories of Lost and Found #4: Through the Window and Across the Street Ryan Scammell finds some pages from a young girls' diary (?) in the closet in his apartment building. He reads us something she had written about the deaf man who lived across the street from her and what happened when she finally tried to talk to him. (Fiction)
Direct download: Lost_and_Found_4_COMPOSE_MUSIC_2.mp3
Category:Audio Stories -- posted at: 11:15am EDT

Stories of Lost and Found #2: A Phone Conversation When a woman finds the wind-chimes she made in 8th grade shop class, she calls an old friend to talk about the thing they did and why she still can't forgive herself. If you're interested, please visit the website for information about the origins of this piece.
Direct download: 01_Stories_of_Lost_and_Found_2__A_Phone_Conversation.mp3
Category:Audio Stories -- posted at: 11:59am EDT

This piece is 100% fiction. The woman's voice is performed by Jessica Solce who's a wonderful actress in New York City.
Category:Performance Credits -- posted at: 9:01pm EDT

How To Be A Man...(sort of) As a special Thanksgiving episode, this is a story about fathers, sons, the woods, and the never-ending quest to figure out what it means to be a man. (Non-fiction)
Direct download: 01_How_To_Be_A_Man...sort_of.mp3
Category:Audio Stories -- posted at: 4:28pm EDT

Stories of Lost and Found #3: The Letters One of a series of short-short pieces about things lost and things found. A couple receives a letter from a friend who has been dead for almost a year. (Fiction)
Direct download: 01_Stories_of_The_Lost_and_Found__3_The_Letters.mp3
Category:Audio Stories -- posted at: 4:45pm EDT

And I Have No Idea What Happened To Him After That We like to believe that we have control on our lives. That we can sculpt perfect moments around us. That if we put ourselves in the right setting with the right people everything can be everything we want it to be. A few weeks ago, two of my best friends, Nell and Pete, came in from out of town for what started as a perfect weekend. But as the weekend got closer to the end, and as we tried to hold on to that perfect moment, things spun out of our control when the forces of nature and of life changed everything. (Non-fiction)
Direct download: And_I_Have_No_Idea_MP3.mp3
Category:Audio Stories -- posted at: 6:25pm EDT

One Reason When Visiting Sacred Sites It's Important To Remember That You Are Not An Aboriginal But Grew Up In The Suburbs Or: How not to commune with foreign cultures. -- I lived in Australia for seven months in 2003 and 2004, almost half of which I spent travelling in a car with my friend Dave and a german girl named Susanne. This is a story about an experience I had at a beautiful place in Litchfield National Park called The Buley Rock Pools. That's actually a picture of Dave at the Buley Rock Pools to the right. This piece was originally published in a literary journal called Storyscape at www.storyscapejournal.com. (Non-fiction)
Direct download: One_Reason_MP3.mp3
Category:Audio Stories -- posted at: 12:12am EDT

The Rabbi What it means to be 20 years old. (Non-fiction)
Direct download: The_Rabbi_EQd.mp3
Category:Audio Stories -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

A Length of Time is Measured By the Space Between 2 Hands This is not a radio piece. It's actually the last film that I made. (Which means if you don't have a video ipod you may want to watch this online at ryanscammell.com) For the last two years, it's been sitting in a drawer being watched only by dust-bunnies. For some reason, though I spent about half a year working on it, I showed to almost no one after I completed it. I watched it again last night and was surprised by how much I liked it. For all the time I spent in college exploring these themes in my films, I never really quite got out whatever it was that I was trying to reach. I don't know if this film succeeded in doing that or not, but ever since I made this film, I've felt this kind of catharsis with certain issues in my life. Watching it again last night reminded me how much it said about who I am and how I think. So I figured I'd share it with you all now. The piece talks about the space between people and how so often we are incredibly close to people who in time will be incredibly important to us, and yet we never know. I should also say, I made the film with the intention of it being slightly interactive. There is a lot written on the images of the film that is too much to take in while listening to the narration. If you feel so inclined, go ahead and rewind to the sections that have writing that you might have missed. -- Ryan Scammell (About 50% Fiction)
Direct download: A_Length_of_Time_Compressed_2-desktop.m4v
Category:Films -- posted at: 9:49pm EDT

The Other There's a million ways to fall in love, and a million ways to fall apart. Sometimes all it takes is an email. (Non-fiction)
Direct download: The_Other_Audio_Polaroids.mp3
Category:Audio Stories -- posted at: 8:05pm EDT

It's Just A Matter of Time Liza Minnelli is downing red wine in her tour bus. The stagehands all together look like a Judas Priest cover band. Coney Island is a Ferris Wheel slowing to a stop. Andy Warhol! Incubated babies! Lawsuits! Lions in flames! It all comes together at a Liza concert in 2005. (Non-fiction)
Direct download: Coney_Island_Final_Cut_Mp3.mp3
Category:Audio Stories -- posted at: 2:34pm EDT

Everyone's got different ways they like to explore new things. Some people hate trails and maps, and just prefer to wander out into the woods (like me) and see what they find, but some people like a little bit of guidance on where to start. So... if this is your first time here and you'd like a little direction, here are my recommendations: My piece "The Rabbi" is definitely my favorite, with "How to Be a Man... (sort of)" and "Stories of Lost & Found #4" coming in second and third. I know other people have others that they like more for this or that reason, but personally I think that those are the best work I've done. So if you're just coming across Phonography, and want to start with the very best, start with those. Otherwise, feel free to venture off into the woods and see what you find out there.
Category:About Phonography -- posted at: 11:59am EDT

For now, while there's still not so many of you fans out there, anyone who wants to write to me and send me their address, I'll burn them a free CD. It won't have fancy artwork, and in fact I might steal the case from another CD in my collection (say Pearl Jam's "Ten"). But on the upside it won't have any of that annoying plastic wrap that's impossible to open. My email address is ryan_scammell@hotmail.com.
Category:Free CDs -- posted at: 12:27am EDT

Yeah. So this is me. Ryan Scammell. This is my podcast.
Category:About Phonography -- posted at: 6:14pm EDT

I used to be a filmmaker. I used to be the lighting designer for a jam band. I used to pick fruit, and make coffee, and pop popcorn, and hustle stereo speakers out of the back of an unmarked white van. I’ve written and produced audio pieces for Weekend America on NPR, Storyscape Literary Journal, Storylifepodcast.org and I used to intern over at WNYC’s Radio Lab. My films have played in Ninth Letter, and have received various grands and awards. I’ve written fiction for Flashquake Magazine and, back in the day, articles for NUComment.
Category:About Phonography -- posted at: 6:13pm EDT

Brooklyn. Why? Are you coming over?
Category:About Phonography -- posted at: 6:12pm EDT

I do live readings of most of the work that appears on this website, where generally I use a combination of live foley and cued sound effects to recreate the piece in a live environment.  Previous places I've been asked to perform include:

New York University ("The Rabbi")

Maryland Institute College of Art ("One Reason When Visiting Sacred Sites..." "How to Be a Man" and clips from "Beneath the Surface" and "Immune")

Brooklyn Historical Society, NY ("And I Have No Idea...")

Cake Shop, NY ("One Reason When Visiting Sacred Sites...")


Category:LIVE! -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Phonography literally means “writing in sound” and most of what I’m putting up here are non-fiction audio stories, mostly essays and memoirs, that try to use music and sound effects to bring them to life. But the stuff that appears on this site, can be just about anything, and I kind of think that each piece requires it’s own medium so it’s not surprising to find short films, or written pieces, or photo-journals, or whatever other weird stuff I can come up with to put up here. You can also hear my stuff on www.myspace.com/ryanscammell.
Category:About Phonography -- posted at: 6:10pm EDT

You’re always welcome to email your praise or death threats to: ryan_scammell@hotmail.com.
Category:About Phonography -- posted at: 6:09pm EDT

Any inquiries regarding booking me for a live reading, securing copyrights, publishing my work, sampling my work, comments, whatever, feel free to contact me directly via email at ryan_scammell@hotmail.com.

Category:Contact -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Subscribing If you like what you hear (and I hope you do) you can certainly subscribe to my podcast. It’s free, and all that it means is that rather than checking the website for updates, it’ll send them to you automatically, so that whenever I finish a new piece it’ll come to you within a few days after I post it. This way you can put it on your Mp3 player or burn it to a CD and you don’t need to be confined to your computer.

ITUNES: Just click here or on the button on the left side of the screen that says "Subscribe with Itunes" and you're all set to go.

GOOGLE READER: Like Itunes, you can just click here, or on the little google reader button on the left side of the page. This won't actually download the files, but it will let automatically let you know when I post something new.

OTHER MEDIA PLAYERS: My recommendation is to download a program called Juice. It's free and it will take care of downloading the podcasts automatically. Once you install Juice, click on the green plus. Type http://ryanscammell.libsyn.com/rss into the blank next to where it says URL. That'll subscribe you to my website. Check the episodes you want to download and then click the button with the blue circle with an upside-down triangle in it to download them. Juice works best with Winamp or Windows Media Player, but once you download the files you can listen to them in virtually anything that plays MP3s. If you want Juice to automatically check for updates, you'll have to set up the scheduler (the button with the clock). Not the easiest, but it works.
Category:How to Subscribe -- posted at: 6:06pm EDT

PIECES WITH MUSIC I WROTE: Beneath the Surface, Stories of Lost and Found #4, Stories of Lost and Found #2. 

However, up until recently, almost all of the songs I used were excerpted from existing pieces. The bands and musicians that I use, if you have heard them, you know how incredible they are, and if you haven't I can't recommend enough giving their music a listen. Please visit their websites and their myspaces and please, if you like what you hear, buy their albums.
Here's the list:


"just like i pictured it" by Medeski Martin and Wood (buy)

"hypnotized" by Medeski Martin and Wood (buy)

"nocturne" by Medeski Martin and Wood (buy)

"Go Do" by Jonsi (buy)


"Anna Kournikova" by Tin Hat Trio (buy)

"Grub Ridge Stomp" by Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey (buy)

"Holiday for Strings" by Walter Schuman (buy)
"Ansari" by Tartit (buy)
"Apache" by The Shadows (buy)
"Carmina Burana" by Carl Orff
"Symphony # 5" by Shostakovitch
"In the Morning" by The Donkeys (buy)
also including excerpted film clips from: K2
The Edge
Jeremiah Johnson
Star Trek

#3 THE LETTER: "Lord Stand By Me" by Reverend Gary Davis (buy)

"Mama Told Me Not To Come" by Three Dog Night (buy)
"Untitled" by Jeff and Guy and the Asylum (Jeff and Guy and their assorted bandmates play on random nights in Washington Square Park around 10pm)
"Less Than You Think" by Wilco (buy)

"Pistol Dreams" and "Shallow Grave" by Tallest Man on Earth (buy)
"Alanson, Crooked River" by Sufjan Stevens (buy)

"Skinny Love" and "Lumpsum" by Bon Iver (buy)
"I Used To Do" by The Clogs (buy)
"Spem In Alium" by Thomas Tallis

"You Don't Have to Be Afraid" by Kaki King (buy)

THE OTHER:"Freedom of '76" by Ween (buy)
"All Our Base Are Belong to Them" by The Books 

Category:Music Credits -- posted at: 2:52pm EDT

BENEATH THE SURFACE: originally aired on Remix Radio and XM

HOW TO BE A MAN (...SORT OF): originally aired on the first episode of O'Dark 30, put out by the NPR affiliate KUT-FM in Texas.

A LESSON IN SOCIAL CONFUSION: was a featured piece on the Public Radio Exchange and Rainn Wilson's website SoulPancake.com

AND I HAVE NO IDEA..: played in StoryScape: The Literary Journal of Champions, Issue 3

ONE REASON...: played in StoryScape: The Literary Journal of Champions, Vol. 1, Issue 2.

A LENGTH OF TIME: played in the featured artist section of Ninth Letter in February 2009 and received a Creative Short award from the Missouri Review in their 2008 Audio/Video Competition.

THE RABBI: originally aired on StoryLife and will be included in an upcoming issue of Drunken Boat.

IT'S JUST A MATTER OF TIME: originally aired on The Listening Lounge on Minnesota's NPR affiliate KFAI.
Category:Publication Credits -- posted at: 4:37pm EDT

I know some people have trouble figuring out how to get the pieces to play, which is reasonable since the interface is not particularly intuitive. Choose a piece that you'd like to hear and just click on where it says "POD" next to the title. This will stream directly in your web browser. If you'd prefer to download it, you'll see a link that says "direct download" at the bottom of the description of any episode. Click on that and the episode should start to download to your computer immediately. Or you can, of course, download any of the episodes free of charge directly from the Itunes store by searching for Ryan Scammell.
Category:How To Use This Website -- posted at: 4:18pm EDT

If you have the free moment, please check out the work of some of my closest friends. They range from artists to writers to musicians and besides being talented in their own right, most of them are people that have been featured in some of the stories you may have heard.

Abe Ingle's podcast "The Flight and the Fall"
Evan Cobb: http://www.evancobbjazz.com/
Nell Haynes: http://ya-na-bah.livejournal.com/
Ryan Costello: http://the-ugly-book.livejournal.com/)
David Riemenschneider http://eshinisrael.blogspot.com/2007_03_01_archive.html
Amanda Murray: http://mandr.tumblr.com/

Radiolab: http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/
This American Life: http://thislife.org/
Joe Frank: http://www.joefrank.com/

The Mountain Goats: http://www.mountain-goats.com/
The Hold Steady:http://www.theholdsteady.com/
Category:Links -- posted at: 4:25pm EDT

Do you want to get away for 3 1/2 minutes? Try this: Close your door. Put on your head phones or turn up your speakers. Close your eyes. Click here and listen. Did you laugh? Did you picture yourself on a specific street corner, or did you recall a detailed, awkward memory with a creeped-out stranger? You’ve just experienced the art of Phonography, the brainchild of independent producer, writer, filmmaker and former fruit picker, Ryan Scammell. His mostly fiction audio essays combine spot-on scoring with beautifully layered sound effects, leaving no question as to whether he has chosen the best medium for his art. Listening, like really actively listening, is one of the hardest things to do in the world. But if you let them, Scammell’s high-flown stories and hypnotic voice will take you to a place where listening comes almost as naturally as feeling. http://www.redpepperland.com/2009/02/11/social-confusion/#comments

When in doubt, poke some fun at yourself. And if you can incorporate some spot-on scoring and sound effects into the mix, all the better. If you haven't checked out Phonography yet, you owe yourself some mid-day procrastination. Phonography is the brain child of independent producer and former Radio Lab intern Ryan Scammell. His most recent audio essay examines into the deep, dank world of "manly men." Don't worry, this is no Women's Studies 101 critique of masculinity. Instead Ryan delves into the personal, recalling a Thanksgiving excursion with his father and their attempt to chop down trees with manly abandon. Dressed in chinos with nary a hatchet between them, Ryan and his father aren't exactly the "gentlemen Rambo" types. Hilarity ensues. Other Phonography highlights include the step-by-step dissection of a friend's failed relationship and a meditation on how to defy gravity with a slightly drunken Rabbi. These pieces are layered, complex and beautifully produced. You'll be glad you took the time to listen.
Category:Press -- posted at: 8:46pm EDT