Week 1 – 2nd February:
This week, we all got put into groups. Initially, I had thought of going for the scriptwriter role to be on the safer side. But at the end, I decided to go for the director role as I thought it would be more challenging. We had an issue at first as our group, Unpredictable Productions, was missing quite a few members. However, everything got sorted when Ellie came and joined us. The team now consists of Jasmin Goken as producer, Tony Basten as Studio Manager, Ellie Rankin as Scriptwriter & Production co-ordinator and myself as director. We also had the chance to pick our scripts. We got Three quick phone calls and a headless rabbit, which was our second choice. I was happy with the script we got as I thought it was one of the funniest when we did first readings in the morning. As a last task, I went through the whole script to make sure that I had an initial idea of what I wanted to see as a director. I also started downloading audio dramas so I can give them a listen and know how to work with sound.
Week 2 – 9th February:
This week, I wasn’t able to attend class as I was campaigning in the SU elections. However, so I don’t fall behind, I read the script a few times during the week and made sure to write down my edits and the sounds I would like to hear. Ellie had already created a google drive for us so I made sure to add all my changes and list of sounds there so they can all access it. I also made sure to listen to audio dramas during my free time so I can have a better understanding of the production that goes behind it. I’ve been listening to Serial, one of the recommended audio dramas. I can’t really say that I like it very much because I feel like the story itself seems a bit staged. However, the quality of the drama is great. The sounds are very clear and it doesn’t make you confused in any way. I do think that season one was better than the others though, I feel like the drama lost its touch afterward. I am now starting Homecoming because I feel like it would be more beneficial to the audio drama we’re producing because it provides a more realistic feel to the story; something that I would very much like to see in our audio drama.
Week 3 – 16th February:
This week, we met up on Monday 12th to discuss everything that we needed to do before our recording day. We discussed the script changes and sounds we were going to use. We also discussed casting options just in case we couldn’t find professional actors on time. Finally, we discussed speaking to the other group recording on the same day to talk about cross casting.
On Friday, we had the chance to go to the studios and practice how we were going to record our audio drama. I have to be honest, I didn’t really know what I had to prepare as this is all new to me, but I decided to choose the scenes with the last phone calls as I thought they were the most interesting. When the group before us started practicing, I understood that positioning is really important, something I didn’t think of prior. When it came to my group, I had to imagine how the characters would be positioned at the pizza place and how interactions would go in the scenes I picked. I focused more on their tone of voice than positioning as I felt that it was more important in the play, since there aren’t a lot of movements. Once we finished the session, me and my group decided on the positions of the actors; we decided to have all the phone calls on the mono mic and have screens surrounding them, and the main characters on the stereo mic next to each other. I do admit that I was a bit disappointed in myself for not trying the scene where the characters come and go from the shop, but I’ve learned from my mistakes and will definitely record different takes during our production. We also were hoping to get more studio time so Ellie said that she would talk to Niara about it.
Week 4 – 23rd February:
This week, I met up with my group again on Monday 19th to discuss the script again and break it down. We weren’t really happy with the outcome of our practice session so we made sure to annotate the whole script with positions, movements and tones of voices to make sure that our recording goes smoothly. I also emailed Chris Royle, the actor Jeremy suggested for Big Dave, but unfortunately, he was not able to do it. I told my group right away and Ellie contacted Jeremy right after to sort it out.
My task for this week was to write up all the script changes we discussed in our meeting so Ellie can finalise it and to finish up the list of sound effects and music I want in the audio drama. I managed to do that quite quickly and also started to listen to a new audio drama, Alice isn’t dead, to explore how different genres use sound and music.
Week 5 – 2nd March:
This week, we continued to work on finalising the casting for our audio drama. I passed on the task to the production coordinator as I felt she had more experience with casting and I did not want to mess it up for us. I started working on the call sheet as well but didn’t really know how to do it so decided to do some research first. A few days later, Ellie asked me about it so I made sure to finish it up as soon as possible. I also asked Tony and Ellie if they had any previous examples of call sheets to make sure I had it right and Ellie provided me with one. It was very helpful and I managed to finish it up during the weekend. I decided to split up the scenes according to the characters involved as I thought it would make it easier for us during recording.
The group didn’t meet up this week so we decided to meet up on Friday to go through everything before our production, however, due to weather conditions, we had to cancel the meeting and our meeting with Matthew was cancelled as well. We are planning to meet up on Monday to finish up.
Week 6 – 9th March:
We all met up on Monday and discussed the call sheet and made sure to have everything in place for the recording day. Ellie had sorted out actors with Jeremy so that was a relief and me and Jasmin decided to take the role of getting the refreshments.
The following days, I made sure to go through the script and the annotations I had made of positions and tones of voices. Ellie had also been contacting me about accents for the actors and the whole group chose them together as I was unfamiliar with the different accents.
On recording day, I woke up early and made sure to go through the content again. Afterwards, I bought the refreshments we needed and headed towards uni. On my way, I got a message from my team saying that Jeremy had requested us early to do one of the recording which made me panic a bit; but luckily it was only a small section and the group managed quite well. Ellie had printed for us the scripts and the call sheets, she also annotated my script which I though was very nice of her to do.
Once our time came, I took the actors up to the studios while Ellie waited for Lewis, the actor playing Big Dave. Once there, I distributed the scripts and started a run through with them. Lewis had arrived so we managed to do it with all the actors. Once they were done, we started recording. I had to make some changes while recording, for example, instead of having the callers at the mono mic, I made them record from the booth, this was Jeremy’s advice to me which I took and it made the recording better. After recording the first scene with the cuts I made, Jeremy suggested we record the whole scene all at once. This was another good call as it made the actors more at ease as they they had context. We finished an hour early, which was a surprise to all of us, but I was quite happy with the outcome. The actors were really good and I feel that I did a good job as a first time director.
I set up an editing session with Tony on the following Friday.
Week 7 – 16th March:
Today, I was supposed to meet up with Tony to edit, but unfortunately I had no travel money to commute to Harrow. I messaged Tony right away telling him about the situation and we decided to communicate via messages or if he really needed me, via Facebook call. I had prepared the final list of sounds prior so I instructed Tony to start putting in the sound effects and follow the script while doing so. I made sure to follow up with him every few hours just in case he needed help. Jeremy also wanted to have a meeting with us so I asked Tony if he had gone, but Jeremy was busy with the other recordings so the meeting didn’t happen. Me and Tony will meet up next week to finish up editing.
Week 8 – 23rd March:
I met up with Tony at around 10:30 am and we started editing right away. Tony had already edited some of it so we sat until 5pm getting our sound effects and editing until we had a rough cut. We got Ellie and Jasmin to come in and listen to it. I had suggested that we add music but my group was very reluctant on adding music as they felt the drama did not need one. Once we finished up at 5pm, I met up with Jeremy on my way down and talked to him about music, he sent me an example so I still think we should have music in there.
Tony will finish up the rest of the editing in the weekend, then me and the producer are going to meet up with him on Tuesday to polish it up and deliver it Wednesday morning. I still think we should add music so I’ll try to convince my group on Tuesday.
Week 9 – Deadline week:
Tony managed to edit everything during the weekend so when we met on Tuesday, I listened to the drama twice and made sure to write down all of my final notes. Once done, I gave Tony these notes so he can know what to add or change before the deadline. We finished right away and Jasmin started on the paperwork. Once we handed in everything, we got an email from Jeremy saying he wasn’t happy about the background sound effects. Since none of us had access to Adobe Audition at the time, I started looking for a different sound effect and opted for a clock ticking. Then the next day I downloaded the software and edited the background myself since it was easy and Tony was at work all day. We sent it back to Jeremy and he was happy with it!