EDITING WEEKS (13/03/21 – 25/03/21) 

Well, there we have it. The editing part of Audio drama is officially done with! I’ve really enjoyed the whole process, and I think my group and I worked really well together.

I had a meeting with Simran and Sahara, in which we went through the scenes and takes. Sahara explained her notes and we listened to the clips that she thought sounded best. Simran and I agreed that these would be the best takes. There were a few lines that Sahara didn’t like from some of the takes so I played lines from all of the takes for everyone to decide on. The majority of this was agreed upon, except one line! After going round in circles I mashed up both of the lines that Sahara and Simran thought sounded best, and everyone agreed on using this. In the end it added a lot more to the final piece, as it sounds like Theo was talking to himself, and showing he was nervous. The mashup happens in scene 5, and its when he’s debating on going out to the pier, so it adds to showing his characters anxiety.

After this, it was time to edit. Truth be told at the beginning I found it a bit tricky to edit, because there wasn’t a lot of direction in the script for sound effects whilst the two characters were talking. So, I started off by downloading the sound effects that Yumeng put on the google drive for scenes 1 and 2, and put them in their place. I then recorded sound effects for scenes 3-5, and repeated a few sound effects where necessary. In addition, I also had to record some sound effects for scene 1 and 2 that were missed out. After I put all of the sound effects in their place I worked on building up the middles of the scenes, so I found an appropriate piano piece that I used in short bursts throughout the piece to represent Theo feeling guilt over what happened on ‘that night’, which I think was effective. I also added some descriptive sounds mid scene when Theo was explaining to Richard what happened, and when he was asking Richard why he didn’t tell anyone what happened. I reused the dinner bell sound effect for one of the lines where Theo says ‘There was a bell, why didn’t you call for help?’, and made it a lot slower. This is because it could show that the dinner bell that we hear throughout the entire play is not actually happening in reality but also a figment of Theo’s imagination as he remembers the guilt. Another sound effect that I was really proud of for finding and blending into the piece was the Tinnitus sound effect. I used this in scenes where Richard was shouting at Theo, and I increased the volume drastically as he kept shouting to show Theo’s rising stress and anger levels. Having direct silence come straight after the build up adds for more of a dramatic effect and I was really happy with the overall result. I also added an echo onto Richard’s voice, and played around with the panning so that Theo is more prominent on the left headphone, and Richard is more prominent on the right headphone so that the listener can paint more of a picture of the scenes. I also played around with the panning on some specific sound effects so that it sounds like the characters are moving. Eg, when Richard is walking it sounds like he’s moving closer to Theo etc.

After I was happy with the editing, I made a WeTransfer link and uploaded it to the Google Drive on Wednesday. My team members listened to the audio that I had created and they said they liked the sound of it! Both Simran and Sahara said that they thought the echo that I had for Richard was a bit too strong, as some of the words he was saying could be inaudible. So I went back and edited it and turned down the echo on his voice so that it’s still there, but just not as prominent. Sahara also mentioned turning down the volume on one of the sound effects for chewing near the beginning, so I made that adjustment too. I then sent the audio to the group and uploaded it to blackboard as everything had been done.

Yumeng had sent me the production sheets and filled in the programme description, I went and filled in the other 2 as they were only really able to be filled in after editing so I did that quickly with no problems. I then attached them to the blackboard submission and everything was done!

Overall, I’m really happy with the audio drama, and this module. I really enjoyed it, and because audio dramas and screenwriting are something that I’m interested in, it’s given me an insight to see what the production side of putting on a production is like. I’ve enjoyed working with my group and thought everyone was really hard working. And I’m looking forward to hearing the other team’s productions, as all of the scripts were really interesting!

 

STUDIO WEEK (06/03/21 – 12/03/21) 

On the Tuesday, I had another Zencastr session with Simon and another group’s studio producer, as Zencastr decided to release an update a few days before our recording date! To my relief though, this was essentially the same but just had a slightly more updated look to it, so no issues there. It was also handy to have another session going over everything so that I was sure in my mind of what was going on as I was a bit stressed about messing up the recording because then I would also be letting down my team mates and affecting their grades too.

The day before the recording, we had a zoom session with the actors in the group where Sahara explained how she’d like them to perform certain lines, and read off her notes what she had envisioned, they also got the opportunity to ask her questions too so I think that this was very helpful for the finished product. I also explained what would be happening on recording day, and gave them a run through on how to use Zencastr.  I think this went well and meant that we didn’t have to waste time in the beginning of our recording going through technical difficulties.

When it came to recording day I was very anxious, I think I had psyched myself up too much that “if I got it wrong, then I would ruin everything and everyone’s grades for everyone else.” Which was obviously not a very good mindset to have! After working out the correct levels for people’s mics in the beginning half which didn’t take too long, it then meant we could go through the script at a reasonable pace. Making sure we had extra time for wild tracks and retakes. I had a panic attack at 12, once we finished recording the first part. (But because I had put myself in the mind set that I would be the reason for messing up people’s grades, it was kind of expected!). I thought that there was an issue with the recording, where it actually had turned out that Zencastr got confused with the specific number on the recordings and added an extra number for some reason which I’m unsure of. So when a team member asked for me to send them recording 3, I had sent them recording 3 but was actually labelled recording 4 due to Zencastr’s mistake. My team member then told me that lines had been missed out which caused me to have a bit of a panic attack, but after asking the actors to wait for 5 minutes while I went through the recordings I then realised that everything was all there in the end. I asked Sahara, the director, to just do one recording where the actors go through every single take just for my peace of mind and they did that. We then finished at 12:30. In the end, it turns out this take was one of the best ones as 2 of the scenes used predominantly all of this take! I think maybe having the actors read all 5 scenes all in one go gave them more creative control to get into it – so I think it worked out for the best in the end!

Straight after the recording was finished, I made one massive multitrack in audition that lasted 40 minutes. Which had every single scene and every single take in order on it. I then uploaded it to the google drive so that the other members of the group could listen to it in their own time, in better quality, and so that we can have a zoom meeting before I start editing to go through specifically what takes and lines we want.

Besides my panic (due to unhealthy mindsets I put myself in, and Zencastr having a funny five minutes), I’m really happy with the recording. I thought the actors did great, and I’m looking forward to creating the finished product. I’m also going to gather more sound effects for this.

To Do: 

  • Have a zoom meeting with my group discussing what scenes/takes to use
  • Gather more sound effects for the different scenes
  • Edit the audio drama by the 25th

 

PRE PRODUCTION WEEKS 7-8 (26/02/21 – 05/03/21)

During this week, as there was no class, my group and I had a group meeting to go over final casting for the show. Jeremy had sent us some actors, and we had our discussion about what we thought of the actors. Although we were a bit unsure of one of the voices, I found one part in the actors show reel that I thought sounded really effective, explained my thought process and played this to the group. They then said that they could ‘see it’ after I played it and everyone was happy with the casting.

During this meeting, I also told my group members what I had been told from the zencastr session with Simon so that they were clear with what was going on on the recording day. I think this was helpful because it means that everyone would be on the same page. We also agreed to have a meeting with our voice actors and a quick run through during the following week, so our producer Simran organised this with the actors.

In addition to this, I also watched a bit of one of the groups recording on Friday, so that I could get into the mindset and visualise what to expect when I record myself. I stayed until the studio manager stopped the recording and had to refresh, so that I could see how to handle that.

To Do: 

  • Continue to keep up to date with what’s happening on recording day with my team mates
  • Continue to chat to my team mates about ideas

 

 PRE-PRODUCTION WEEKS 1-6 (22/01/21 – 25/02/21) 

To start off audio drama, and get us into the right feel for producing our own plays, we created short pieces that we recorded on our phones and with sound effects in the background. I read out a poem that Jeremy had put in the chat of blackboard collaborate. I also recorded myself next to a clock, and scribbled on a bit of paper when the part of the poem mentioned a bit about drawing – I didn’t realise how creepy I could make things sound! I really enjoyed doing this exercise, and I feel like it has set me in the right foot for coming up with ideas for our audio drama.

I have been put in the group that will be looking at the script Chicken and Ketchup by Eva Wakeford, along with Simran, Sahara and Yumeng. I’m really happy that I got put with this script, because it was one of the scripts that I was drawn to the most within the first read through in class. In addition, I think the exercise where we had to create a short piece really helped with this play in particular, because a lot of the dialogue between Theo and Richard is quite tense and leaves the audience members on edge, so creating an individual piece on my own that tried to channel this atmosphere has helped me to come up with a few more creative ideas that I can use when editing the final product.

The role that I was given was the role of the studio manager, and I will be in charge of the recording of the actors and editing it all together. I was a bit hesitant about this at first, because although I am a radio student and I am very comfortable with all of the editing sides of things – I have never used zencastr for anything before, so I have been really hesitant about messing things up on the recording day. Simon gave I and the other studio managers a tutorial on how zencastr works which was helpful, but practicing with both Sahara and Simran made me feel a lot less worried about the recording day. They both read the script, while I recorded them on zencastr, and then I saved the audio onto my computer and google drive, and opened up a zoom call where they could see a bit of the editing process too. Although it was just a quick unrehearsed run through of a scene in the script, it was really nice to hear part of the script coming together with sound effects. And I’m really looking forward to recording the professional actors and editing it all together.

I created a google drive, and added Simran, Sahara and Yumeng into it. This will be helpful because it means that they can upload any sound effects that they have created into there, so that I can use it for editing. Everyone has been assigned different sound effects to cover, and they will either be recorded ourselves our sourced from the internet. There are plenty of places to get royalty free sound effects, either from YouTube or the BBC, so I’m sure this won’t be a problem.

My group and I have had several meetings together, in which we have discussed the sort of ideas that we had in mind for casting, and also some additional lines that we could add into the script. I came up with the idea to add in “you’re so selfish!” to a line in scene 1, which adds to why Richard is angry at Theo. Sahara also thought that we could add in the line “Chicken and Ketchup, Chicken and Ketchup”, also in scene 1, on repeat before Richard throws a piece of chicken at Theo, which acts like a bit of a taunt. Together, we had a zoom meeting with the writer of the script, Eva Wakeford, who really liked our suggestions! She made the changes and then emailed the updated script to her. It was really nice to generate ideas with the writer of the audio drama, and it was really interesting to hear her original plans and where she got the idea from. She said she is looking forward to hearing our work, and would like us to let her know how we’re getting on. We’re planning to have another chat with her soon.

For the next steps over the coming 2 weeks before our recording date on the 12th of March, I will aim to record and gather lots of sound effects and put them on the google drive. I will also continue to chat to my group. I’m really happy with them because everyone is really passionate about the project, so I will bounce off ideas that are suggested in there too, as well as coming up with my own ideas for what we can do. We will also continue to keep chatting about casting and the sort of sound we envisioned for the characters of Theo and Richard. We have had brief chats about this together, and with Eva the writer, and I think we all agree on the sort of sound we want. Jeremy also suggested an actor, and we really liked his voice so we will have a discussion over what part we think he should play.

To Do: 

  • Record and gather sound effects from the internet, and put them onto shared drive
  • Continue to chat to my group and keep them in the loop with what’s going on
  • Discuss casting ideas with my group
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