Pre-production Week One 22/01/21:
In week one, we were introduced to Audio drama and discussed the different types of sound or components that play a part within the production of an audio piece. For example: Acoustic, silence, tone, voices, characters, a change in scene, sound effects, descriptive language, dialogue and music.
In order to further understand this concept we listened to an episode called The Parallax from an audio drama show called The Cipher.
We then experimented with making our own short audio piece, in which I decided to record a poem which included some sound effects of a ticking clock and crumpling paper. It was fun to explore how sound and dialogue can portray a mental picture for the listener and allow their imagination to run wild.
Pre-production Week Two 29/01/21:
As a class we read some scripts to familiarise and discuss the different styles and genres of scripts out there. I along with some other members of my class participated in reading a couple of lines as part of a character. I believe we also listened to some podcasts and I noticed the change in style and was able to compare it to The Parallax episode I previously listened to. I much preferred a strong narrative within the dialogue to convey the story more alongside sound effects. You feel more emerged and engaged as a listener, it also feels more personal like the character is speaking directly to you and they are able to share their accounts or experiences of whats going on.
Later, we chose what scripts we liked the most, in addition to what roles we’d prefer to play in contributing to the production of the script. Based on our choices we were put into groups.
Director- Work with actors on recording day and responsible for creative vision with the rest of the team.
Script: Chicken and Ketchup
Writer: Eve Wakeford
Pre-production Week Three 05/02/21:
We were directed to listen to an audio drama called: Lifelines. It was an interesting drama that had a lot of sound effects, and included themes that were a lot more deeper and emotional. However, this audio drama effectively balanced that out with lighter more humorous scenes such as a couple calling up the ambulance; as the wife haphazardly cut her husbands ear whilst trying to give him a fresh hair cut for his interview.
Jeremy further talked on having a analytical approach when listening and I kept that in mind when listening to this series.
I found it to sometimes be quite unrealistic, especially in situations where the receiver was talking to a casualty. She would ask questions or say things that just seemed pointless or out of place in that scenario so made her appear unprofessional. It also came across as amateurish at times. Despite things like this that took away from the drama, the overall production and sounds effects were good. Also, the storyline was engaging and I liked the variety in scenes. There was a good amount of descriptive dialogue that further gave context and painted a picture for the listener.
Pre-production Week Four 12/02/21:
We had a tutorial on how to use Zencastr. We then recorded our first test of our script within our individual groups. And later played it to the class. Our test consisted of a two minute audio, with two main characters and a few background sound effects. In doing this exercise I was able to look at the audio piece created analytically and see the parts that I would edit and do differently next time.
This is also something Jeremy mentioned in class today, that it’s crucial to think analytically when producing audio drama. I guess to ensure it flows seamlessly and clearly portrays the narrative/story you’re trying to get across to the listener. Creating a coherent story or piece of audio.
Jeremy also suggested that we listen to the other audio dramas on blackboard which I’m going to look into.
Lastly, in our groups we discussed what our next steps would be, furthermore any edits we would add to the script. Below is a overview of the points that were made:
SCENE 1 (EDIT #1)
THEO: Leave?…Do you not think about how that would impact me? No, absolutely not.
RICHARD: You’re so selfish
I’m sick of you!
SCENE 1 (EDIT #2)
THEO: Just sit down, shut up, and eat your fucking chicken…
Richard throws chicken at Theo.
RICHARD: (Repeats) Chicken and Ketchup, Chicken and Ketchup, Chicken and Ketchup…
- Find all sound effects for script
- Edit script
- Contact Writer
Pre-production Week Five 19/02/21:
Before our session on Friday, myself and my team in group 3 got in touch with the writer of our script Chicken & Kitchen via zoom. It was interesting to find out how her script was loosely based on her friends. This helped her in developing a story based on their characteristics and friendship dynamic.
We further discussed the play, informing her of any edits/alterations we’d like to suggest and she was intrigued by our ideas and looked forward to how the audio drama would come together in the end. I mentioned to her that the dynamic of the script reminded me of an episode of Black Mirror- A White Christmas. And that I would look at it for reference when exploring what sort of sound effects could enhance the narrative of the script.
In relation to class on Friday, Jeremy discussed casting and what to consider when looking for actors for our script. Heres is what we came up with for our cast:
Age: Late 20’s-30’s
Accent: English (Uk, London)
Voice Quality: Authoritative, depth, quite sinister
Emotional State: Dark mental space
Defining Characteristics: Recluse, Loner, Traumatised, Personality disorder.
Any Special Requirements: No
Age: Late 20’s-30’s
Accent: English (Uk, London)
Voice Quality: Lighter voice, youthful
Emotional State: Rebellious state, frustrated
Defining Characteristics: Unpredictable
Any Special Requirements: No
We listened to some audio pieces and participated in exercises that put us in the shoes of a director. Today’s session really helped in giving me an insight in what a director does, how to properly delegate tasks and how to express a vision. In addition, how to communicate effectively, get the best out of my team and collaborate with the actors, also ensuring I take their points on board.
Here are some additional points I noted down from the session:
- Understand the characters- What emotion, tone or volume of voice would they have?
- Check in with the actors, make sure you’re on the same page for the character being played
- As a Director it’s important to communicate with the actors and explain how you feel the characters would be played or the emotions they would convey. Express the story, also the journey you see the character going through. Take time to go through the script thoroughly.
Lastly, after listening to the audio dramas in class I noticed the dramatic effect transition sounds and a pause or silence after sound could have. Transitions can add context and silence can add great intrigue. For example a character pausing before they answer could convey they have something to hide or a lot on their mind. Additionally, hearing an accident happen and then leaving a silence for the audience to wonder if the character is okay, is another powerful example.
Pre Production Week Six 26/02/21
This week Jeremy discussed the essay questions with us and any useful links or additional information that would aid us. Also gave us a general idea of the requirements for this segment of the module.
I’m glad this session was put together for us so that I wouldn’t be left aimlessly trying to answer my essay question without having insight or guidance in what the module is asking of me.
Pre Production Week 05/03/21
This week we had no class as the first set of groups were recording, so my group and I set up a meeting to confirm our cast for the script. We had previously been sent some potential candidates by Jeremy and we’re coming to an agreement as a team. This was very useful as we were able to delegate who would play what role and how we felt the actor would fit the overall script. It was effective to communicate the vision to the overall group and have everyone on the same page.
We then arranged a practice and talk through session with the actors via zoom and Zencastr, which happened on 11/03/21. I’m so glad with the feedback and engagement received from this session. As the director I made some notes beforehand about each scene within the script to depict the emotions and narrative of the story and relay this to the actors. In relation, I would break and ask for their thoughts, whether in agreement or not, even if they had their own suggestions I was open to take them on board. Furthermore, I answered questions and gave suggestions that would help the actors get a more in depth understanding of the character. We then wrapped up the session with communicating any last details and overall prepping for our recording day.
Studio Week 12/03/21
Before my recording at 10am-1pm I refined and sent over my notes that I made about the script to the actors. I also sent out the recording schedule ahead of time. Being prepped in this way allowed me to effectively direct the actors and my team. I learnt to do this from the previous audio drama sessions that really opened my eyes to what it takes to direct. Before the recording I also researched some tips for directing voice actors and this further boosted my confidence and understanding. It was comforting to receive positive feedback on my directing and overall it was an enjoyable yet challenging role. It entailed a lot of multi-tasking, communicating and being organised. Following the recording we delegated our next steps in which the audio was prepped for editing and we arranged our next meeting.
Edit Week(s) 15/03/21 – 25/03/21
During this time I contributed by going through all the recorded takes to refine what was useable to what needed to be scrapped and made a note of other details such as the timestamps for each take. I also labelled the characters lines within the script and aligned these markings with my notes to point out which specific lines could be used within an edit. This made things a lot easier for the team as we now had a foundation to agree or disagree on. It also allowed members to know specifically what I’m referring to and have access to specific takes from the timestamps I labelled.
In relation, this made the job so much easier for my team member who would be editing the audio as now all she had to do was follow along this refined plan and make the cuts.
And in completion of our audio drama we successfully submitted it. This was a lovely relief and felt very rewarding after working as a team throughout the weeks to complete this piece of work.