Blog 1- Pre- Production
Prior to this week, we were assigned a play to produce and the roles we would carry out during the process. Our group was given “Baby Blue” a play following the main character, Anna, and her struggles with postpartum depression.
The roles we were assigned in group 3 were:
Billy: Director and Script Editor
Kaylee- Producer and Script Editor
Pulama- Studio Manager and Script Editor
Our group originally had 4 members but one chose not to continue taking the course so we had to adjust accordingly. We decided to split the role of script editor across the three of us to lighten the load and make this process more collaborative. Once the roles were squared away we began editing the script. It became clear to us almost immediately that the script needed more stage ques, directions and notes for the actors so that they would be able to display the deep emotions written into the script. We worked together to add our edits to the script.
Besides the obvious edits, we also thought it would be important to flush out the relationships between the characters in the script. The play dissects the complicated relationships Anna has with those around her and it was vital to us that we defined those relationships better so that we would be able to explain the complexities to the actors.
We broke it down as follows:
Anna ~ Stan
Anna ~ Tabitha
Anna ~ Ella
Anna ~ Therapist
Once we established the relationships within the play and made the initial edits we had some time to block out a couple of the scenes. We sourced actors from the group above us and arranged the recording space into two rooms.
It became very clear that a lot of thought had to go into which area we recorded which scene in. A lot of things need to be take into account; space, acoustic, time, movement and relationship between characters. The practice session was very helpful and gave us a really good insight into how the actual recording day would go. It gave us a chance to better understand the mics, the importance of props and how long each scene would take to record. We went away from that session and blocked out the entirety of scene 4 and 5 to include room and mic changes.
To do next week:
- Block out scenes 1-4
- Send script edits to the author
- Compile props list
- Create recording schedule
I am looking forward to working on this script further and breathing life into it in our own way.
Blog 2- Pre-production
This week my group and I met to block out the rest of the scenes. We used what we had learned from blocking scene 5 to help us better visualize the placement the actors would need to have during specific scenes and lines in relation to the mic and to each other. We also decided what part of the main recording studio or booth we would set the scenes up in. This process involved a lot of trial an error because of the nature of our play. Anna has very different relationships with every character in the play and we wanted to reflect this in the scene structure as well as we could
We created two separate scripts this week; a recording script and a post-production script. The recording script is very straightforward and easy for the actors to follow. It also includes some notes at the start of each scene that we will go through with the actors during our read through. The notes are their to help them understand the complexities of the script and the attitude we want them to approach each scene with. The post production script is a lot more complex as it annotates all of the elements of the script that will be done in post production. This ranges from sound affects to atoms to experimental production techniques we want to incorporate. It was helpful for us to create this post-production script before recording because it allowed us to really understand how we want the final product to sound.
Lastly we created a recording schedule. This document outlines all the technical aspects of the recording day. We broke down each scene and listed the recording location, the props needed, the actors in the scene and how long we would spend recording it. This documents will help keep all group members accountable and help the day run smoothly.
I sent the final edited script to the author and she approved the changes and let us know she unfortunately would not be able to attend the recording day.
We will record on Friday, March 15th at 4pm. We all plan to get to the studio no later than 2pm with all the props and scripts so that we can run through it once more and be ready when the actors arrive.
Blog 3- Recording week
This week we recorded Baby Blue. Ahead of recording I sent over our final approved scripts to the actors and to Mathew to have them printed.
We arrived at 2pm on the day to go through the scripts one final time and highlight the scripts for the actors. We each brought in the props that we could and set them up in the studio as best we could before beginning.
When the actors arrived, Kaylee greeted them at reception and Billy talked them through the notes at the top of each scene briefly. Then we all sat in as the actors read though the script one time and asked us ant questions they had. We went over the schedule with them so they knew the rough idea of how we wanted the day to go and then we began.
Before recording we had lost a member of our original group so the three of us decided to share the roles more and be less strict about the boundaries of them. During recording, Kaylee became the studio manager and I took on the role of producer as I felt more comfortable with the nuances of the script.
My biggest concern during the recording was that we got across the different relationships Anna has with the characters in the play and that we stuck to the time.
We had very talented actors cast for our play so it made our job easier. We did struggle with the set up and scene transition in the room due to things we could have sorted out ahead of time and some things out of our control; the number of mics, the drum kit left in the booth, etc. Another thing we struggled with as a group was spending too much time talking between takes and scenes. At times I think it left the actors feeling confused and out of the loop and it definitely ate into our time. We had gone over the play in detail in the weeks leading up to recording but on the day there seemed to be some confusion on exactly what we wanted from the actors. I think at times we could have combated this by being more succinct and direct with our instruction.
Some positives were our time keeping. We knew going into it that we needed to save as much time for the final scene as possible and we were able to more or less do that. We also succeeded in positioning Anna to be the main voice in the play as we had envisioned. And lastly, I think we were sucessful in getting the actors to really tap into the different relationships occurring in the script.
Overall, it was a day of learning for me and my team mates. It was the first time any of us had recorded an audio drama, and for me and Kaylee it was the first time working with this time of script so I think it was a success. I’ve learned a lot about script writing and structuring and about working with and giving direction to actors. I know that there were areas of weakness during the recording process but I am still proud of the content we recorded.
I am looking forward to editing the recording because I feel that is where my teams strong suit is. We all have experience editing and producing long form pieces of this nature and we have some interesting ideas about production that we want to implement.
Blog 4- Editing Process
Blog 5- Reflection