Week 1 – 2nd February – Production Week 1
This week we were put into groups, given roles and found out the script we would be working with. First of all we went through all the 7 scripts for the benefit of people that hadn’t read them in the previous week, however even though I had read them before today it was a real benefit for people to slightly bring them to life because it made them make a bit more sense hearing them instead of just reading them. I had a favourite which was ‘Coffinated’.
We it came to closing roles I knew I wanted to be a director, being a very visual person and having done acting throughout my life I felt this would be the role for me as I could see a lot of what I wanted to create in my mind for the the listeners to imagine themselves. It was also a very popular choice but managed to stick with it and keep the role and was put into a very good group of people that I felt confident to work with and trusted. As director I also feel like this role will help push me in terms of creativity and confidence. When we got into our groups we were asked to come up with 3 top choices and I heavily push for Coffinated to be our top choice and this wasn’t a problem at all because we all immediately agree and there was a lot of potential with the script.
Producer – Sam
Director – Me
Production Coordinator – Clare
Studio Manager – James
Script Editor – Tino
Week 2 – 9th February – Production Week 2
We got together today and went through a few pages of the script and highlighted points that we’d like to get heavily creative with and maybe change and what we’d use for SFX and locations. As director I went through when I got home and annotated the the script heavily with all my ideas and images I wanted to create. James was however, very helping in this reading of the script as he reminded us and suggested locations and logistics around the script especially how we are going to get it to sound like we are recording people in a coffin.
We have got it confirmed that we have a 3 hour slot in the afternoon of the 23rd to record our drama. Over the next week we are working to get in contact with actors that Jeremy has suggested, come up with a clear plan of how we want to record it and the set up for the studio, as well as sound effects. We have a test recording next week where we can get in the studio with the exact set up and play with how we want the actors to stand and act.
Week 3 – 16th February – Production Week 3
This week we had a group meeting to discuss the script and finalise it all. I wanted to make sure that my elements of colour to the script were kept in but also technically achievable too. However, the script was good but did need changing more in terms of the SFX and not the actual copy of it.
Friday morning we were able to get in the studio and test out how we would like the set up, how we are going to use the mics, the distance we want the actors to be at. We only had half an hour so we wanted to try the most important locations which was the coffin and the café. For the coffin scene we thought it might sound best in the new booth thats in the room with a mono mic, however when we put it into practise it wasn’t the sound we wanted so the other option we decided to try was getting the two actors to get close to the stereo mic and surrounded my sound boards gave us the sound we wanted, so me and James agreed that’s what we were going to use.
We then moved on to the café scene, this was a much more simpler set up but we did realise very quickly we are going to need extras and probs to give a nice café atmosphere and make it sound as realistic as possible. Me and James were happy with the sound of it and made sure we are going to use that set up for next Friday. I thought it was good to come away from that session and sit with the group and go through each line and sate what mic we want to record on so we aren’t messing around next week.
Next week we have said it’s important that I have a clear communication with the actors and James to make sure it’s smooth as well as Sam to make sure she is happy with the outcome too!
Week 4 – 23rd February – Recording
This week it was our turn to record our drama, where we had three hours allocated to studio time and our actors. So it was very important that we used our time wisely and pre planned it very well. I worked closely with James and Clare to draw up a detailed recording schedule.
Because we were pushed for time we all decided that it would be best to record all the scenes out of sequence so all locations of scenes were together so it would be more of an efficient use of time. This would be better for the actors too as they would be in and our for just one line.
After the group that had record in the morning before us we had an hour with the studio and actors before hand so we could set up the studio with the panels ready and the mic at the right height and levels, we also ran through the whole script with all the actors together so they all got a feel for how it was going to be played out and I could tell them some of the visions I had for the delivery for certain lines. James had also kindly brought in some extra props for the café scene which made setting up much quicker too.
Before we started recording we had a quick reminder of our roles before we started, me, James and Clare were dealing with a spreadsheet that had take notes on so when it comes to editing it it’s much easier to see which one we liked and extra comments. I must admit I was a little nervous before just because I’d never directed a group of professional actors before but I soon warmed up to the role on the day.
When it came to recording each line and take I’d use talk back to talk to the actors about what scene, lines (e.g. lines 20-28) I’d want to be read out and how we wanted it delivered. We thought it was a good rule of thumb to do at least 3 takes of each part. I felt that I was able to get across to the actors how I wanted them to deliver each line as we didn’t have much trouble with that but we did changed around the dynamic sometimes; For example we tried people walking in different sides, walk away at different points when talking, sometimes talking across the mic if they were shouting.
The overall recording went very well and we finished it in two and a half hours and that was down to the fact we planned out our recording very thoroughly, we made sure our actors had a break and refreshments too. Overall it was a great experience that I really enjoyed and learnt a lot from!
We had some time at the end though to experiment with creating sound effects and play around with the café scenes. For them scenes we had a cast of eight extras that Clare managed to sort out for us, we played around with the sound of them using cutlery, glasses, poring water and low talking voices. We recorded them as a wild track and with the actors too so we got a choice of both.
Overall I’m very pleased with how the day went and I’m glad that everyone could come together to produce an organised and efficient day! Me and James are aiming to get the first cut done by next Friday afternoon.
Week 5 – 2nd March – Editing
We planned to come in and edit but due to the weather not a lot of people could make it in and the University was closed. However I still came in and helped James with editing and working closely together.
To start this process we went through the document that Clare had created with notes from me and James during all the takes, so when I came to adding them all to the audition file I could tell James which one we preferred on the day, sometimes we listened to other takes just to make sure we got the right one. This process was very quick because of the labelling process James had decided to do.
We then had to locate some audio that we couldn’t get on the day like the car crash sound and the sound of the bell from the café door. This process was very long winded as we had a sound in particular we wanted and a lot of the effects we very bad as well. I worked with James ensuring that we worked through the script to source all the right SFX.
I then left James to work on a rough cut of the edit as I didn’t want to distract him so that it could be done as quick as possible, however due to the weather conditions it had to be called to a stop half way through but it will be picked up when he can and there’ll be a rough edit done by next week.
Week 6 – 9th March – Editing
This was the second week of editing and it was a very successful day! We had a rough cut done by the end and a clear list of improvements had been made which I had gone through and agreed. The only issue that would of effected our editing was that there was no quiet place or studio available so James had located a quiet-ish place in the library. When I joined him I listened through and made a few notes on what I heard initially thought that needed changing, these were just minor parts though. It was annoying though as we both couldn’t listen to what was going on a slightly slowed down the decision making but we were happy by the end of the day.
The last thing to do was to sharpen up the edit and add the effects on the voices of the actors.
Week 7 – 16th March – Delivery
This was the week we had to submit it, so we made sure that we got a studio so we had good speakers to listen to the edit, the big task today was going through and fine tuning the edit and making sure we are happy which how each scene sounds. James played me the piece all the way through and I made notes of what needed to be changed or just slightly adjusted, there was probably about 6/7 things that I noted down.
After this it was the hard and long task of putting the right effect on the actors voices to make sure they sound like they are in a coffin. This took about 3 hours of playing around with effects and adjusting levels of them in auction so we were finally happy with the outcome. During this Sam was making sure that we had all the paper work done ready for it to be handed in at 5pm
At 4pm we were all happy with the final edit so we exported it and handed it in. The overall process of audio drama was very interesting and I’ve learnt a lot especially dealing with actors and becoming more authoritative in certain roles.