So wayyyy back when this whole process started, you before coronavirus was a thing and the world shut down, we were split into groups of four and given a variety of scripts to choose from to make our audio drama. My group consisted of Makee, Holly, Stephen and myself – a.k.a Radio 4some. (You’ll have to blame Stephen for that one) We narrowed down our final options to Paul – a story about a guy who worked in a radio station – or Angel Fish – a tale that revolves around a detective constable that finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation that strikes a little close to home. Since we all live and breathe radio, we thought it would be a nice change to challenge ourselves with something different, especially in terms of recording ‘locations’ that were new to us in sound. Basically we thought to record a radio studio would have been a lot less interesting that trying to record the Thames riverside and a pathologist department. Plus Angel Fish had way more scenes to get creative with – which as the director was much more exciting to me.
As the weeks went by we went through the script several times with each other and individually to make notes on scenes, how we would record the actors, where they would be placed around the microphone, any bits we struggled to understand or we felt would be a step too far to replicate solely in audio. From my directive point of view I made additional notes on what I felt the characters might be thinking or feeling during certain times so I had a sense of where I would like my version of this story to go and so I could begin to hear how the audio drama would sound in my head. Also in this time I began working on creating some mood boards for each of the settings. The idea for this was so that it was help me picture where are story would be set, but also so that it would help me to think what sounds I might hear on each of these locations. Additionally, I thought it might have been useful for the actors – if only I had remembered to put them up on the recording day!
Speaking of, recording day was a interesting one! I had lots of fun directing, something which I had never done before. I learned a lot from the experience, such as you can never be too prepared! And also have two copies of the script because trying to turn pages mid scene is a nightmare. Overall I felt I did a good job, but in future I would try to take more control over the room in general, rather than running in and out between studios. By this I also mean setting out a clear artistic direction from the off, maybe at the table read for example. At some points, with everything going on, I felt I lost my direction a little bit and I feel that if everyone knew what I was thinking in terms of the story then it possibly would have ran a bit smoother. I think if I had to do it again (which I would like to do!) then I would definitely need to work on my communication.
During the editing process the rest of my team were fantastic. Stephen made life very easy with the way he laid out access to the takes on Google Drive, and this reflects brilliantly on the communication between him and Holly on the day of recording. Between them and Makee, they had put together the best takes in order and found lots of appropriate sound effects to put into a rough draft before cutting them into sequence for me to play with. I was really grateful for this as it meant by the time the rough edit came round to me I could just focus on getting creative and getting the story to sound just how I wanted. I added in various sounds such as the mermaid song that can be heard in scene 11, and soundscapes of London. I really enjoy mixing and layering different sounds in that way, (and also panning the sounds), something I learnt from making adverts for our pop up station project. I also cut back on some sounds so not to distract from the story as told by the actors, this was important to keep the pace of the audio. One thing I made sure to adjust in the edits was the reverb on certain scenes. As much as we tried to get the best recordings we could with the actors between the studio and the booth, some scenes needed an extra air about them to make their locations believable, for example the pathologist department or scene 7 which switches in and out of the forensic tent. By adjusting the reverb it helped to create a sense of space and movement in the story.