After being sorted into our groups, we selected our texts. Our group wanted to produce ‘Terms and Conditions Apply’ by Ben Rawson-Jones, and we were fortunate as this was the piece which was selected for us. The play is set in the future, which I felt allowed for lots of creativity with audio design, as it did not necessarily have to be naturalistic and could be stylistic.
We then selected our roles. My role is Producer, so I will be responsible for the overall project and managing the team and deadlines. I also have some input in casting decisions.
Pre-Production Week 1
For our first pre-production week, I held a meeting to run through the script and to discuss with the Director about her vision for how our production will sound. I drew comparisons to the film ‘Her’ and mentioned this to the Director and the rest of the team. The film has a strong aesthetic both visually and aurally, and may be good as inspiration to draw upon. Another member of our group mentioned ‘Blade Runner’, as the film also has strong sound design.
We set up a group chat on WhatsApp to communicate. I created a document which outlined the locations of each scene and any props which may be required for the recording day. Additionally, we noted the sound effects needed for each scene and discussed whether these would be recorded on the day or added in post-production. I asked for the group to collect appropriate sound effects to be used for the post-production stage.
Unfortunately, our Script Editor was not present for this meeting, but I sent her the script and filled her in on the meeting through the group chat.
Pre-Production Week 2
We met to go through the script again, and I created a document which made clear which members of the group would bring in which props. We listened to the actors’ showreels to familiarise ourselves with them and to understand their strengths and weaknesses.
The Director and I produced a first draft of the production schedule, and it became immediately apparent that it was imperative we stick to time as this production has many scene changes. We decided that I would voice our opening and closing credits at a later date so we had more time with the actors to record the scenes. I am a voiceover artist so hope my experience will be beneficial.
We also discussed the logistics of the outdoor scenes. I felt it was very important that these scenes were actually recorded outside as Jeremy had played us some examples of the audio dramas produced by previous years, and my main criticism of these were that the outdoor acoustics did not sound realistic. Therefore, I made the decision to record two of our scenes outdoors using a Zoom recorder. This is challenging as the actor outside will have to communicate with the actor in the studio booth. After some discussion on the best ways to do this, it was decided that the actors will communicate to each other on the phone, listening through headphones so that the sound of the phone cannot be heard on the Zoom recorder. We decided to record these scenes first as we recognised that they may take extra time to record.
Unfortunately, our Script Editor was absent again, but I have informed her via the group chat that she needs to contact the actors and email the scripts to them by Friday. She is also going to get in touch with the writer who will be present for the recording next week.
During the week, I contacted Tim to inform him that we would require hard flooring for our recording.
For the day of our recording, we met early to prepare. Unfortunately, our Script Editor was not present on this day. I assisted Tim to set up the studio for recording. Ten minutes before our allotted slot, the Production Co-Ordinator and I went to greet the actors and writer. I felt it was important that the actors felt as comfortable as possible so that they could achieve their full potential, so I tried to build a positive relationship with them in the short space of time we had. We initially ran a short workshop before the recording session which allowed the actors to ask our group and the writer questions about their characters or the play in general. The Director and I led this session, and it immediately became clear that unfortunately our Script Editor had not sent the actors the scripts prior to recording, although I had asked her to. The workshop was therefore particularly useful for the actors as it was their first experience with the text.
During the recording session, I was responsible for the smooth-running and timing of the operation. I also helped re-organise the studio whenever needed for different scenes. I also recorded the outdoor scenes. I think we kept to time very well, and only over-ran by five minutes. Due to the complexity of the play, I think this was a good effort.
Overall, I was very happy with how the recording went. We had only one hiccup during recording when one of the microphones stopped working, but we quickly resolved this with the help of Tim. I was very happy with the performances from the actors. We were very limited on time for the recording, so I think we manged to do very well retrospectively. I felt we worked well as a team, and I enjoyed working with the group.
Edit Week 1
This week, the Director, Studio Manager and myself began editing our recording. The Script Editor was present for approximately 15 minutes. We imported the takes into a multitrack session on Adobe Audition and ordered them chronologically. We removed any mistakes, adjusted levels and added some basic vocal effects to certain sections. This took around four hours, and we then sent this to our Production Co-Ordinator who will be working on the sound design. I asked for the Production Co-Ordinator to create some drafts over the weekend for us to discuss and work on in our meeting on Tuesday next week, in the aim to get a first draft to Jeremy by Friday.
Edit Week 2
We met to discuss the sound design draft. We were all present, apart from the Script Editor. It is a very promising start, and our Production Co-Ordinator has done an excellent job so far. We went through the whole project and I noted down any comments we had about changes which needed to be made regarding sound effects, music, vocal treatment, etc.
To make editing easier, I saved each microphone as a separate channel, so voices can be adjusted independently.
We also decided that our production name would be ‘Albatross Productions’ which was inspired by the character of Al in the play. I then scripted and voiced the opening and closing credits for the project. The Production Co-Ordinator made some further edits which were discussed in the meeting and submitted a first draft to Jeremy for feedback.
Edit Week 3
I received verbal feedback from Jeremy which was useful in creating the final edit. I took this feedback into account and informed the rest of the team. We met on Wednesday between 12pm-5pm, and went through each scene. We were all present apart from the Script Editor. I am happy with the final piece and feel it has a cohesive overall sound.
I then completed the forms, with input from the other members who were present. I then created a SoundCloud account and uploaded the finished audio.
I then combined the three documents into one PDF and submitted this to Jeremy.
Overall I enjoyed this project and am happy we were able to produce Terms & Conditions Apply as it gave us a lot of creative scope. Those who contributed worked well as a team, and I felt we were able to implement our individual skills.