For Audio Drama, after being put in our groups from pieces of paper at random, we chose are plays. We were lucky as a group as we got the play we wanted, Terms and Conditions. Terms and Conditions was an interesting play as it is set in the future, and there is lots of interesting things and sounds we can play with. My role is as the director which I am very happy about, as I used to be a drama student and I really love working on plays. For our first proper production week, we went through as a group reading the play, making sure we all understood what the play was about and had an understanding of the characters and what could be created with it. When then wrote a list of all the locations and all of the sound effects we needed, trying to decide what we would do live and what we would do in post production. We decided that there was a lot that we would do in post production, as there is a lot of unnatural, futuristic sounds in the piece. I made some notes of the characters and their personalities.
Then that week when I got home started to work on the script, looking at how I would direct the actors for each scene, making notes on where I would like them to stand and the movement, the pace, the volume of their voice. what kind of expression and emotion I would like them to portray for their lines. The next week me and Jasmine picked two scenes we would do a run through of in class. We picked two scene that we thought were two of the more challenging scenes. I made more notes on how I would like these two scenes to be directed and we then practiced them the following week. It went well, but it proved we had a lot to think about in terms of what we would do in the both and out of the both, especially in terms of AL and when we do speech that sounds like it is coming through an intercom. We have decided to pre record the intercom speech with Ford and Zora. We are meeting tomorrow to do a production schedule for next week and a bit more planning on how much time to give each scene and how we will create our live sound effects with props. So far I think the project is going well accept that some weeks have been more difficult due to not all the groups members being present in the lessons.
Some other material we looked at for inspiration were, the film “H.E.R” which is about a man that has a relationship with a Robot in his head. This was useful in terms of thinking about how to create the relationship between Shirley and AL. It was also useful to think about the voice of a in head computer. We also looked at the film “Blade Runner” for inspiration for sound effects as it has amazing music and sound that is very futurist.
Me Gabriel, Jasmine and Tabz met last friday to read through our play again and create a production schedule, unfortunately Jasmine had some important prior commitments with smoke radio so had to shoot off after an hour but was super helpful before she left off. We listened to some of our actors voices online to get a feel for the accents and tones of voice they could perform, which later helped me with descriptions for the actors. Then me and Gabriel worked for 3 hours on the production schedule, with 4 columns providing the scene/set location/scene location, the props needed, the actors in the scene and the time spent on the scene. This was hard, as we had a lot of stuff to fit into 3 hours with none of our 12 scenes being able to be more that 15 minutes which felt very rushed especially for scenes that are 6 pages long. We then had to rejig this because Jeremy then told us that we had not left time to read through the scripts with the actors and to set up which we would need at least 20 minutes for. We had to consider the amount of movement and props in the scene regarding the time, and also the amount of dialogue/speech. We managed to do it but we feel slightly concerned about fitting it all in the time scale.
Then this week, I sent the actors descriptions of the characters and some direction in terms of personality, their role and accent. Zalika and Gabriel sent emails in regards to scripts to the actors, and timings of recordings and where to meet etc. We have also chosen who is bringing in what props for the performance. I have finalized my notes of direction on the script. We feel as prepared as we could be for the performance and hopefully all should go as planned. It has been hard along the way as I felt some members have not helped in the process of this module at all and it hasn’t helped the number of absences. But I will always make sure that enough preparation has been done so that even if I had to do other peoples work for them we are ready for the day.
For the performance day, we met early before the performance to check our schedule was all correct and print out some copies and make sure we had enough copies of all the script. We talked about how we were going to set up the first seen which we were performing outside. It was a tricky thing to set up in which we needed phones and headphones for the two characters in the scene to communicate. I also went through my directors notes. We made sure we had brought all the props we needed for the day.
When it was our time to do our recording, we went and collected our actors. We first sat down with the actors, and i introduced myself to everyone as the director. I reminded everyone of their roles, and I introduced them to the writer of the play. We were lucky enough to have the writer come to see your recording which was very nice to have and helpful. I then went on to give a short over view of what the play was about and character descriptions. Although, as the writer was there, he wanted to give his own synopsis and descriptions which was useful to hear as he mentioned the characters backgrounds and their lives growing up which was interesting as I wasn’t aware of the characters pasts. This helped the actors too. We then proceeded to do a read through before hand so the actors could get a feel for the play which we did in good time. Everyone seemed happy and we went on to start the recording process.
We started with the outside scenes. This took a little while setting up and then we did do a few different takes of it but it went well and worked fine. We then moved through the scenes, I made sure I was communicating well with the actors telling them what worked well and sounded good, and then if we decided to do another take, what they could do to improve. I went into the recording space and set up for the different scenes, changing the microphone position and props if needed. We had some problems with distance the actors where from the mic at certain points but I corrected that. Everything went well and I am happy with the outcome of the group. I did find it a bit challenging, as I have felt everything has been quite rushed on this module, and I did feel as though it would have been good to be able to have some more time to practise directing, as on the day I did feel a bit as though it was like the first day at a new job, although you are aware of what you will be doing, getting used to how things run takes a little while. But I have been reminding myself this was our first attempt at a radio drama ever, so of course we wouldn’t be completely perfect.
The actors where fantastic and did a great job. Although, before the production we had listen to the actors and we felt that our actors for ford and AL, Tom and Ben possibly would sound better playing each others roles. When we did the recording, hearing them in real life, we felt this even stronger. Maybe this is one aspect we could have changed. The only other issue of the recording was we were running behind schedule quite a lot by half was through the session. We were almost 25 minutes behind schedule. But, we managed to make up time towards the end and only over ran by 5 minutes, which was impressive. I think this is due to the number of takes and the setting up of the scenes. I think it would have been nicer to have a bit more time on a few scenes and to do a couple re takes, for example on the scene where Ford dies I would have quite liked to have re done that scene as I would have liked more emotion and distress from Shirley. I also feel this is because maybe our play was a bit longer than some of the others, I was always quite sceptical about the time we had to do the performance before hand, but in truth in a real audio drama we would have had longer.
Over all the day went well and we were happy with the performance. Now there is just a lot to do in post production. We started the process the following week after the performance. Me, Jasmine and Gabriel met to do the editing. We started by going through and ordering everything. As we had not recorded our scenes in chronological order, it was the first thing we needed to do. We loaded all our tracks up and the recording schedule and went through everything finding the best takes of each scene and putting them from 1-12. Then after this, which took a couple hours, we then went and edited out mistakes. So this gave us the basic verbal audio for the whole recording. Gabriel and Jasmine sent this to our production group chat and next Tabs is going to try do some sound design for the piece. Next Tuesday we are meeting again to work on editing the voices with effects, to make them sound more crisp and to also make ALs voice sound more like an in head computer, fords voice sound like it is coming through an intercom for scene 10, and to make the ford and Zora recordings sound like they are a recording. This may take a while. We will then also add the sound effects. I have got a folder on my laptop full of possible sound effects to add. We are hoping to have a draft of our recording for next Friday, which is a week from the official hand in.
We met on Tuesday to do some more editing. In this session, we listened to what Tabs had done with the sound design and some sound effects. It sounded great. We then went through each scene and took notes of what needed to be changed, and what extra sound effects were needed. We then went and added the effects on the voices I have previously mentioned we were going to do, (ALs voice sound robotic, fords voice through an intercom and ford and Zora sound like they are a recording). I got the sound effects we wanted to add as we were going along in the session. We then sent these to Tabz who is going to add them in. We also recorded the intro and outro. Gabriel wrote them and then spoke and recorded them. We have also sent these recordings to Tabz who is going to add them in. We then talked about what we should do for music, as we felt music would be really add to emotional parts of the story and also key moments that were significant in the play. I wanted something with a specific theme that would be reoccurring. So we listened to some examples from Tabz of ideas for the music and he is going to work on something. He is going to send what he has done on Friday morning before we send him a draft. We made good progress in this meeting and I am excited to see how it turns out. We should be finished very soon.