Initial Planning and Production Weeks:
When we first received our scripts we each read over it in full, then discussed our thoughts on the characters – what kind of people they were and methods we would use ourselves if we voiced them. We democratically allocated roles, then throughout the weeks of pre-production, discussed potential SFX and any changes we thought about making to the script – although in the end we decided not to make any. We also set up a group WhatsApp for team communications and established what our roles were. Throughout the the pre-production weeks, we spent time in our lessons practicing recording ourselves, which gave me a good idea of the technicalities of directing and producing actors (or in this case my classmates) in this setting. During this time we also got to practice ways of recording SFX needed in scenes, in creative ways. An example would be how we needed duvet/sheet rustling noises in some of our scenes; I suggested using a coat by means of holding and squeezing it to achieve the desired effect.
Aside from this, I kept to my role in terms of managing general well-being in the group; trying to check in with each group member and offer help, advice and general thoughts on any executive decisions we made. I also made sure to note details I would need for recording day and planned the day according to what duties I needed to perform/take care of. I enjoyed trialling production methods in practice with the class at large, before putting into practice what we had learned on recording day.
On the morning of recording day, myself and the producer picked up the refreshments for the actors before making our way to the studios. We arrived early to go over the script once more and finalise our aims in terms of what direction we wanted to go in with regards to the personality of the characters, intonation and how we wanted to structure our recording session. I also printed copies of the script, ready for our session – enough for the actors and the entire team.
Once admitted to the studios, I made sure to greet all the actors and set up all the refreshments for them before they returned from their break. I then collected all their receipts/screenshot evidence of their train tickets, in order to refund their travel for the project as agreed. We asked them to do a read-through, which we sat in on, to ensure their familiarity with the script and also to evaluate their voices – which were each perfectly fitting for their individual roles!
During recording, we split the session into scenes by location e.g. ‘cafe scenes, train station scenes, voiceovers’ etc – each load of scenes recorded into separate audio files for organisation and also because we changed recording techniques for each ‘location’ in the script. Savannah’s voiceovers and the train announcements were recorded in the booth to achieve the correct acoustic, compared to the party and cafe scenes being recorded on mic in the main studio. I made notes on each take in each scene; on its quality, any notable differences (i.e. “Savannah too quiet, good ending”) and what number Markers in Audition corresponded to this take, as we went along. We ran into a little difficulty on the day with an issue between a couple of team members resulting in us losing a member, so I tried to ensure recording kept running smoothly and in a professional manner – offering direction and suggestions and keeping the team working closely together. At the end of the session I ensured all audio files were organised and saved to my memory stick for safe-keeping.
After recording day, I organised one of the edit sessions where I tried to make sure that every team member was included, as we began the editing process. We also co-organised another session where we worked around some absences by communicating over group WhatsApp and making sure all audio files/relevant documents were uploaded to the team Google Drive so they were available for everyone. Due to COVID-19, editing the drama overall as a team became impossible due to social-distancing measures. To get around this, we divided up the scenes and allocated them to each member of the team to edit – myself taking on Scenes 1-3.
On reflection of the production process, I feel confident overall that I fulfilled my role and helped out where needed. We faced issues as a team but I treated this as a professional working environment and encouraged other team members where necessary, to leave personal differences at the door in order to complete work on the project.
After creating this audio drama, I definitely feel I’ve gained new production skills that can be easily transferred to other projects i.e. techniques I have learned when producing actors, I can apply to other areas of audio production. I have learned invaluable lessons with regards to working in a team cohesively in a professional manner, and also how to manage and work with people in this environment.