My agency was a one-man organization for my private investigator, Jim Sardic. Sardic Investigations, located in the basement of the Javits Center in West Manhattan. The case I received was You Don’t Know Jack; it was about a mysterious figure who would call people over the phone and make demands, confuse them with nonsense speech, and otherwise scared them with his ominous nature. In my investigation, I found that he was harassing the people of New York with his calls. But not only was Jack intimidating, he was unnatural. He spread to new people’s phones like a virus. An “infected” line would spread Jack to other lines through which people called. Jack was a malevolent force whatever he was. Sure enough he turned out to be an Outsider, some strange being from beyond the Puncture.
Luckily this is Sardic’s specialty, but it was his biggest case yet. No case had spread through New York like this one had. At first he took on a few clients who reported Jack’s calls and behaviors, and tried to find the connection between these people. But as Jack spread to more and more phones, Sardic had to hurry to find the source. He had to go up the tree of people that Jack spread through and find his initial victims, so he could eventually find Jack himself. I won’t spoil the whole thing here though.
My primary media type for this project was audio. The core story was driven through audio recordings of tapped phone lines that Jack called through. When Sardic realized how big this case really was, he put it in the public domain, posting updates and information on Jack to the blog section of the Sardic Investigations website. The first audio segment is a recording to one of Jack’s phone tapped victims.
And the second is a recording of the final confrontation between Jack and Sardic.
My secondary sources of media were web, design, and video. Respectively, these took the form of an information page on Jack and how to deal with him should your phone be infected, a link board for Jack and his first few waves of victims as he spread outward, and a video detailing a big discovery in the case regarding what Jack is and how he started calling people.
Keep in mind that all these forms of media are out of order. If you want to properly see how the investigation played out, go to the bottom of the blog page on the Sardic Investigations site and read upward through the posts.
It was quite the interesting case, and it even has seemed to kick-start Sardic’s career. Dealing with Jack has gotten Sardic some serious notoriety in New York, and he has already gotten several new calls for strange new cases.
The audio assignments were fun to make. I played around in Audacity a lot to make all the different sound effects for Jack’s voice. I recorded myself talking for the base speech, then overlayed the speech with heavily distorted versions of more speech along with sound effects I found on freesounds.com. I alternated heavily between denser clusters of sounds and lighter ones. While the dense clusters sounded the coolest, it was also important that you could actually understand what Jack was saying. So alternating within that spectrum let me get the balance I was looking for. For Sardic’s voice, I just used an unaltered recording of my own voice. I had to do some heavy distorting of Jack’s voice to make the two characters sound distinct, but for what Jack was it worked out that he was so strange sounding. That was actually the initial reason I distorted Jack, and when I realized how much you can do with the different effects in Audacity, it was fun changing things around more and more to make a unique sound. I went with a creepy feel for Jack, and think I got a very creepy character out of the audio editing.
I made the images in Gimp. Some were new, and some were taken from old images I made for Sardic and his world that worked out for the story. The video was surprisingly tricky. It took quite a bit of tinkering to get my voice over to line up with each segment of the video and the camera’s movement across the images in it. But in the end, I really like how it came out. The website itself for Sardic Investigations also came out well. That’s mostly thanks to how much content I already had for Sardic from all the previous assignments I had done for him. Since I had so much to work with, it was as easy as picking out a theme on WordPress, and applying all the world-building content that I made for Sardic.
It was a huge week for both me and Sardic.