Natalie Malcolm

Week 1 – 26/01/18

This week was the first week of the module, I am looking forward to it alot as in college I produced a 15 minute audio drama as part of anti bullying week called ‘Cyber Maddie’ which was based on cyberbullying. We listened to different dramas and discussed as a class how each one was different and different techniques that was used within each of them. For the second half of the day we were put into groups and went off to produce a 3 minute recording – we could either make up our own or go by a script which was given to us. My group went by the script and tried to make it as dramatic as possible. We wasn’t allowed to edit anything and we had to record in 3 different locations. It was a really fun task and made you think creatively, also listening back to the other groups was good because it sparked more ideas.

Week 2 – 2/02/18

Unfortunately I wasn’t here this week but I emailed Jeremy beforehand to let him know my first and second choice of roles which were producer and production co ordinator. My group is:

  • Producer – Me
  • Director – Afia
  • Studio Manager – Simon
  • Script Editor – Ellen
  • Production Co-Ordinator – Adam

We have chose the play Theo and Tat Versus The World written by James Mortimer. We created a group chat and arranged to meet on Tuesday to read over the script and make any changes aswell as cast potential voice actors.

Week 3 –

Tuesday 06/02/18

Unfortunately Afia was ill so she was unable to attend and Ellen was unable to attend but submitted work through our google drive we have set up. Adam sent emails to the cast members to introduce himself as production co ordinator and got a response from Rosanna confirming that she can play the role as Tatiana. There are some issues with cross casting as he needs to meet with the other groups production co ordinator and director however this will be resolved Friday. Simon wrote down the sound effects for every scene which we will look at on Fridays lesson. I set up a google drive which has been shared with the group and inside I added a script folder for Ellen which she has put suggested ideas on what to change and also made a copy of the script adding in (highlighted) what she thinks should be added which we will all look over on Friday. I made a pre production and post production folder for all of the documents to go into and I also made a production schedule as a whole setting deadlines and organising editing sessions. I also created a meetings action points document with gives an overview on what we will be doing in each meeting and a document where the group can put down which day they are free so we know when to meet. I also created a minutes document where I document everything we have spoke about when we meet.

 

The cast we have confirmed so far:

  • Rosanna Miles – Tatiana
  • Bart Lambert – Kieran

On Friday we are going to listen to the actor and make sure they suit our sound, if not we will recast. On top of that I am going to speak to Simon about SFX recording which he is already working on at the moment.

Friday 09/02/18

Today Jeremy showed us some of 2015’s dramas which was really useful because it taught us things that we could do and also things to avoid doing. Recording footsteps in the studio with the actors is a good idea which Jeremy suggested. One of the groups that we listened to had someone who edited the “heart” without the group hearing it and they did not like it. That wont be happening with our play as I have scheduled in editing sessions for me, director Afia and studio manager Simon. Jeremy also went over pre production documents and talked about post production too which was very useful in order to organise which is what I did afterwards as I made notes on the production to do list and wrote in bold who should be doing which job.

We also had a meeting with ‘Drama Darlings’ and Jeremy about cross casting as we had some issues of communication however we managed to sort it all out and we casted our actors. It is as follows:

BEN AYERS – THEO

ROSANA MILES – TATIANA

BART LAMBERT – PAUL AND EXEC

JAMES DUNHAM – KERIAN

OLIVIA WARREN – EXEC

On Tuesday we are going to meet and will be talking about potential back ups incase we get let down on the day. Jeremy also talked to us as a group and asked us where we were at and what we are doing. After that as a group we looked over the edited parts to the script which script editor Ellen had made and gave our input. We can up with a final script and Ellen sent an email off to James the writer talking about the minor changes and the small flashback segments we would like to add when Kieran and Theo meet again as we thought that there is more to be explained about them both. Afterwards me, Simon and Ellen attended a literature review session so I set Adam and Afia a task of sourcing sound effects as I have made a deadline for next Friday to have them sourced. I updated a few documents and I went through with the group what we will be doing in the next meeting. Monday after Pop Up station I have organised the group to go into the studio for 30 mins to get a feel for the following Friday and the real recording session. I put all of the post production and pre production documents in the google drive folders and filled out the front page document. On Tuesday we are going to meet for longer and read through the script acting it so that we can add anything that we feel how the script needs to be said. We are also going to discuss what SFX will be recorded on the day due to timing and what will sound better. I am also going to be creating a production schedule for the day and work out timings by splitting each scene down and the order of how we are going to be recording each scene.

James replied Friday night to Ellen saying this:

This was really good news, Ellen is going to work on the smaller changes and on Tuesday we will discuss the bigger changes which Ellen will then write up.

Week 4 – 

Tuesday 13/02/18

Today we met to have a read through of the script all together. Unfortunately I was very ill with food poisoning so I couldn’t make it in the beginning of the meeting but I arrived at 11am. We went to the library with printed scripts and read through the script to time it and see if everything sounds good. The first run was 14 mins so we went through the script again and made changes to shorten the time. Without sound effects and the complicated flashback execs scene we made 9 mins which was good as then we can add that scene creatively and add sound effects on top of that time. This process took a while as we had to get the script just right because Adam will be sending them off on Friday to the actors. Ellen sent the amendments to James the writer and he responded with this

As people had to dash I quickly ran through what we will be doing Friday and I started to create my production schedule. On Friday I want to show everyone my production schedule and run through scene 5 in the studio in the morning. Also talk more about sound effects as the deadline for sourcing the majority is Wednesday 21st February.

Throughout the week Ellen has been contacting James as there are some parts of the script that he has suggested sounds for us to do instead of what we came up with. As a group we have decided in post production to try them all to see how they sound as for example in one scene James wants the sound of kissing instead of the sound of a belt and zip being done up however we are not too keen on the idea of having kissing sounds but we will test them all out. Tomorrow’s lesson we are going to utilise the time in the studio (especially Simon and Afia) to see how it would be like next week. Simon is going to get some advise on SFX for on the day off Jeremy and he is going to finish the pre recorded ones for next week.

Friday 16/02/18

This morning we had the chance to go in the studio with Group 2 and I released how much more stressful this is going to be on the day. Last night I created my production schedule with timings and scene breakdowns however I feel like I will change it slightly due to how much longer we may need on scenes. Niara the intern was with us in the session and she talked us through the mics with Jeremy and I learnt quite alot. After the recording session which went ok we had a production meeting where I shared my production schedule with Simon and Afia. We went through the script again and made a few changes, me and Afia on Tuesday are going to re do the schedule properly and go over in our heads again. Also we are going to write additional directors notes on our scripts and read through it together as this is the only time we can do together before Friday. Whilst we was going this, Ellen and Adam was looking at back up actors just to be on the safe side and Ellen sent the scripts off to our actors. We spoke about tea and cake which Adam is sorting. We had a meeting with Jeremy which we had a few questions to ask him, we also discussed a problem with Group 2. They had re casted ‘Beth’ who was going to be Olivia Warren who we are using too without telling us so we are in jeopardy of being marked down for this when we had no idea. Adam wasn’t present for the meeting but we spoke about how important his editing takes are on the day which I will relay the information to him.
On Tuesday as I previously said me and Afia are meeting and Simon is going to be recording sound effects so it is easier in post production. I will also be doing a risk assessment of the studio and making sure all the paper work has been done and everything is ready for Friday.

Later on Friday Olivia replied to say that she can make the recording which is excellent as we have everyone that we need now.

Wednesday 21/02/18
AM:
Yesterday Simon sourced all of the sound effects and music which was brilliant, I am excited to hear them on Friday after the recording session and it make our lives less stressful in post production. Adam also leased with the other group about who is bringing in refreshments so that is now all sorted. On Friday morning we are coming in at 8:30 and going over it for any last minute changes and to see that Afia is confident with the schedule. Fingers crossed after this is finished everything will be all set for Friday. Adam has been asked by Jeremy to ring the actors the morning of Friday so we are all good to go once the production schedule and risk assessment has been completed by me.

PM: I spent the morning devising the script into sections of recording which I did on paper and I will photocopy for the group. I printed off editing notes for Adam to fill out on the day and I worked out all of the timings. I was going to allow for a 10 minute break halfway through however as they get an hour lunch the timings are very tight allowing a break and we need as much time as we can get. So I decided to take out the break and calculated how long we have for each scene. I did this by counting the words in each scene then dividing it by the overall amount of words in the script and created an average:

The production script is done my end, Afia is filling out positioning’s and directors instructions. Throughout today we received a phone call that Rosanna is unable to do the afternoon now due to an audition but she is able to do our recording so fingers crossed she turns up. We have a back up just incase though which I sourced.

I also completed a risk assessment sheet for the day:

I finalised the call and schedule sheet:

Afia printed off all the scripts and production schedules for whoever needed them today also which was a massive help as I wanted them done before the day.

We have all worked so hard pre production, fingers crossed all goes well on the day!

Friday 23/02/18

Today is the day of recording so I thought I’d pop a little pre prep talk message in the chat as I have made sure everyone was organised before hand and briefed on what they are doing on the day and made everyone aware of the production schedule.

I arrived in uni at 8:20 as me and the director was going to go through the schedule one more time so that she feels confident. However she turned up at 8:50 so we didn’t have the time as planned. The cast all arrived so I made them tea and coffee and welcomed them all, they was all interested in what we was studying and commented on how amazing the studios are. Olivia was particularly pleased about there being so many women and women being in charge, which was really nice to talk about. I thought it was good to build a relationship up with the members before we started and they were all extremely nice and I could have a joke with them. We sat down for a read through later than expected because the studio was not set up in time which I wasn’t the happiest about. When we went to read through there was a confusion with the characters as in one of the emails that someone had sent Bart Lambert was down to play Paul and James Durham was down to play Kieran when we casted the other way around. I’m not sure what went wrong here however I apologised for the misunderstanding and we went ahead with the read through. It went well and the actors were really good, so I couldn’t wait to get into recording. We started later than expected which at the beginning I was stressed about but I soon re calculated the times in the studio and briefed Simon and Afia. To begin with however, there was no direction and when there was the director completely ignored my production schedule which was so frustrating and I tried to tell her but she was going with her way which was very odd. In scene 2 of our play it includes flashbacks from “The bedroom” scene which is scene 1 so I had planned to record all of those parts first then do all the scene 2 party parts however that did not happen until take 2 which I was fuming about and tried to get across to the director. We had 2 different scripts an actors script with the lines numbered and a production script with the sections for takes annotated which I had done. The director mistakenly gave Oliva who played the execs and taxi driver the wrong script meaning she had the production script with no line numbers and different pages which was embarrassing. The director was going to have a copy of the actors script and as I was sitting next to her have the production script between us however she had personally numbered her production script which correlated wrong on the actors line numbers meaning when she would say go from page __ line __ the actors was very confused as they were wrong. I pointed this out when I realised what she had done after scene 4 so this delayed time. Ellen sat in the recording space with the actors which was nice as they did have someone just incase they were unsure and also Ellen was ticking off every line said to make sure they were all recorded. Adam started to fill out the editing sheet but got abit overwhelmed so I said to him don’t stress it doesn’t matter just concentrate on using his stopwatch to let me know how much time we have left of each scene. A few times I had to step in and give directors instructions and help the actors clarify what was being asked of them which I didn’t want to butt in but at times it had to be done. I did have to brief the director a lot on whats coming up next which frustrated me because I had made this whole production script and it took me a while so I felt like a lot of my hard work had gone to waste during this process. This made the time in the studio very stressful for me and a lot of that was because there was so much faffing. We did manage to pick up time but I had to put my foot down at times and say we can afford to do another take as the ones before were good so that would be unnecessary. Also I wanted to make sure we re recorded scene 4 because there were no re takes made and that was a massive mess up of a scene in terms of direction and organisation which again I had prior organised so was upsetting for me too see as many meetings I scheduled we I made sure we spoke a lot on that scene. After scene 4, I made sure I made it clear if we want any retakes to do it then while we have the time and not to go back to them all at the end because it is good to retake as the actors get into the scene more than the first go. Once I put my foot down that is what we did from then on. Towards the end we had some slight technical problems with one of the mics, I am still unsure what it was but it was annoying due to the time we had and I wanted to make sure everything was done in time as that is my job. Overall, I feel like I have worked so hard on this so it was nice to actually see it come to life after planning and working on documents for the past 2 weeks. I think on the day I definitely executed my role well however I felt at times I was doing 3 roles at once. The teamwork was there beforehand but on the day it just disappeared due to people changing there minds and not sticking to the plan. The term too many cooks spoil the broth is the right phrase to use in this instance as there was too much input from the tech op which the director listened to and didn’t go with her judgment at times which was very disappointing and did have a big input of the downfall of the recording. I have scheduled in days for Simon and Afia to edit with me over looking it which I am looking forward to hearing as there was some brilliant acting. I hope the end piece is good because I feel very deflated and upset after what happened today.

Here is the time sheet that I changed throughout:

Here was my production script that I created for the day that i shared with everyone however parts did not get followed:

Week 5 –

We are now in the process of starting post production so to start off Simon cut down all of the scenes and takes which was super helpful. He created a spreadsheet for me and Afia to rate each take out of 10, 1 being poor and 10 being good. This would then help Simon create an average and find out which is the best sounding take for each section of the scenes. Due to the bad weather we could not meet on Friday with Jeremy or as a group to work on the project so we individually completed things. Next week I would like to have completed the documents (presentation details, music reporting and short synopsis).

Week 6 –

This week we spoke about the opening sequence of the drama as this needs to stand out for people to want to listen. Simon has got a bed and Afia is going to write a mini script, we think it would be nice for Ellen to voice it being script editor. Next week we will decide fully on this. On Wednesday Afia and Simon met to start initial editing, I was not present as I am not around all of this week however I was available on message and google drive. I was sent scenes 1 and 2 which sound great, the only criticism I had was the flashback sounds were way to loud and came in to abrupt at the beginning as it did scare me. Apart from that everything is sounding very good. Next week I will be around to edit with them. Below is the first rough cut of scenes 1 & 2:

Week 7 and 8 –

The last two weeks Simon has been cracking on editing and has met up with Afia to get her creative input and Afia has been sourcing some of the music and sound effects. We created the introduction and ending to the piece which I suggested to be voiced by Ellen as she was script editor. Simon had some music perfect for this and it is sounding really good. We have filled out the music reporting sheets and me and Afia filled out the presentation details and programme description sheets together. I am extremely happy with the final piece and it has got the all clear from producer Nat.

Analysis of Dramas:

Cuttin It
This drama really touched at my emotions to the point where I did shed a tear. This was incredible, it was so simple between 2 main characters but so effective. The sound effects were only used to add dramatic effect and were not used too much but when they were it was done well. At the beginning it was quite funny and to end how it did, I did not expect that from first listening. The storytelling and description was amazing and really set the scene for me as I knew exactly what was going on. The fast flashback scenes were done so well and it did not need any sound effect to signify it, it was very effective without. I was on edge all the time which I love as I don’t know what is happening next and I was wanting to know. The end part when we didn’t know if it was her sister or not, the use of silence was incredible. Thoroughly enjoyed this.

Death Of A Cosmonaut
This was another drama that played with my emotions, I was so engrossed from start to finish and what the best thing is with these drama’s is that time flies by whilst you are listening it feels like a 10 minute drama it is that good. The use of one main actor was very clever as it did not distract from his story and the use of inner voices was incredible. I would end up getting frustrated with him when he was angry at himself. The part when we was waiting to see if he told his wife he was going to die was a highlight as even though he spoke in another language from the sounds and reactions we could tell that he had told her. Music played a big part in this drama too that built suspense and tensions and also at sad points in the drama too. The use of silences was very effective too as it kept us thinking. Another great drama.

How Success Ruined Me
This drama for me was confusing at first but once I got into it, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The fact they mixed a script with normal chit chat made this drama so special, it made it very funny. One part that I really liked the most was when there would be sound effects and he turned around and said I’ve got them on my phone and then read it again and the sound effects played. Another massive part of the drama was listening to the connection between the two as it was really special to hear.

Riot Girls: Polygamy For Girls
This drama told quite a funny story of a feminist. The use of music created scene changes which I wasn’t a fan of as the music didn’t really suit the drama and it distracted me away from the story. However, this drama used more sound effects as we was listening to the day to day scenes and they were doe extremely well. I like how the beginning and the end all linked up and there was defiantly some shocks in this drama, it was my least favourite but the sound effects and how it was a so real made it very good.

Incomplete Recorded Works Of A Dead Body
This drama was very hard to listen to personally. I had to turn off because I am squeamish however forgetting that part how the audio worked was incredible. The sound effects were spot on at times, apart from the typing sound effect which did not sound right! The storytelling was amazing and how it did work but like I said I had to turn off.

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