Ellie Rankin – Audio Drama

Week 1

This week we were split into our groups and assigned roles within that group, so that we were able to start work towards our audio drama. I am in the group ‘Unpredictable Productions’ and my role is Production Coordinator / Script Editor, as we only have four members in our group we have merged the two roles together . We as a group then had to choose between eight scripts (that we had previously read through as a class)to turn into an audio drama, and we decided to upon the script entitled ‘Three Quick Phone-calls and a Headless Rabbit”.

This week my main focus has been trying to organise the rest of my group , and get us all together for a meeting to discuss the direction of the piece, as well as any script changes and ideas about sound effects etc. This has proved to be quite difficult as third year is proving to be a busy time for us all, however we have decided upon Monday 12th February as a time to meet and discuss the above. As this is slightly later than I would have initially liked, I uploaded a document to the google drive (which i will insert below *) highlighting the key areas to discuss, as well as a few short tasks for us all to have completed before we meet, so that when we do meet we will be able to have a really productive chat and start to be in a place in which we can discuss casting etc.

*Audio drama meeting schedule

Week 2

This week has been much more productive than last week, and we have been able to really kick start our pre production process. We all met on Monday 12th February and discussed the topics mentioned in last weeks blog, and in the above document. One of our aims for this week was to arrange a meeting with the other group recording on March 9th in order to discuss cross casting – which we did. At the moment there is only one role that we need to cast the same actress for, which is the role of Janet / Mrs Collins. However as this is one of the main roles for our drama, Jeremy has told us to hold off contacting or finalising anyone as he would like to try and find some one suitable, instead we should create a list of names that could potentially be back ups.

Another point that we picked up upon in our group meeting, was that we really need to have a clear idea of the studio set up, and the order / process involved in recording on the day. During this weeks lesson, we were able to spend 30 minutes at the mic going over a few scenes and checking how certain positioning of the actors sounded. However we came to a very clear decision that this is not enough time, so the plan is to speak to Niara about organising some extra studio time in the coming weeks.

During a meeting with Jeremy today, we were able to establish that as we are not making any major changes to the script, we do not need to contact the writer with any concerns. The only possible way that this might change , is if we decide to set our drama in a different area of the UK. At the moment our drama is set in Birmingham, however the group recording alongside us, and hence using the same actors as us, is based in East London, so were are concerned about them being able to effectively do both accents. This may mean that we change the location to make it logistically more feasible.

This evening I have drafted up an email to send to our actors that have currently stated that they are available and interested, this email will include an attached script, as well as key information about the day. i.e. when to arrive, the address, expenses etc. I have sent this draft to Sofia, who is handling the casting in the group also recording March 9th. So once she has made her tweaks and we are both happy, I will send the email off on behalf of both the groups.

Finally, I have spent some time going over the admin for the piece, I have filled in the front page, created a contacts sheet, adjusted the production checklist and uploaded all of these documents to the Google Drive so that they are easily referable of the whole group.

Week 3

We had another meeting this week (Monday 19th) to go through the script and really break it down. Our studio practice time during Fridays lesson really didn’t go well and we wanted to insure that this wouldn’t be the case on our recording day. So we sat as a group and annotated the entire script, discussing where the actors would positioned and around which mic etc, so that when we get into the studio on March 9th – it will be immediately clear where we want people to be for each scene and hopefully this will help us to be more time efficient.

As Tony and I are radio students we also tried to give our director as many technical tips as possible that will help her on the day and she is unfamiliar with the radio studio, as it will be important that on the day  it is her giving the main direction without us interrupting.

I also sent a rough copy of the actors letter to Sofia (the director of the group recording on the same day as us) for her to look over before I sent it off to the confirmed castings. Once we were both happy with the letter I sent it off along with our script to Bethan and Matthew who will play Meg and John.

There is no practical lesson on Friday, however Jeremy has asked that a representative of each group meets up with him during lunch to update him with our progress. We will also take this time to discuss casting further as we are still yet to cast our two main actors as we were advised by Jeremy on Friday to hold off until he had looked for us.

My main task this week is to annotate the electronic version of the script with the notes made in our group meeting and upload this to the drive so that it is visible and editable for the whole group. I will also update any paperwork such as the front page as we hear about castings.

week 4

This week our group have not met up, however I spoke with Jeremy during the lunchtime meetings he was holding on Friday, just to update him with our progress and ask a few questions in relation to casting.

Currently we have 4 out of our 5 roles casted and confirmed as Tessa Sheridan has agreed to play Meg and Sarah Thom has agreed to play Janet. This means that we are just looking to cast the role of Big Dave. We have emailed an actor that Jeremy found on Spotlight who would be perfect for the role, but he is yet to reply – so this is really the main focus for us at the moment as Big Dave is the main character of our drama and his casting needs to be right.

I have spent time this week annotating the script on the google drive with all of the points that we discussed in last weeks meeting in regard to mic positioning etc. I have also updated the script according to Lamas changes and  adjusted its layout so that it is as clear as possible on the day for the actors and ourselves. Alongside this I have been updating the front page, contact list and availability chart according to the casting decisions and confirmations that have occurred during the week.

We have planned to meet again on Friday to further discus the plan for our recording and we will also meet with Matthew on this day, our time up until then will need to be spent contacting potential actors for the role of big dave.

Week 5

This week the actor we had contacted regarding the role of Big Dave let us know that he will not be available on our recording date, therefore we needed to seek out other alternatives, unfortunately the Director was reluctant to be involved in the casting, and has instead asked me to do it for her, this has been a recurring theme throughout the project up until this week the director has passed all of her work over to me, this week she did start on a call sheet but only on my request.

I emailed Jeremy to let him know that we were still yet to cast an actor for the role of Big Dave and he provided a couple of suggestions, the first was Avin Shah who’s agent replied very quickly to let me know that he was in Thailand till the end of the month and would not be available, So I have now contacted the agency of Arthur Hughes and am waiting on a reply.

I also spent some more time working on the script this week, and I have numbered each individual line, so that it will be very easy for the director and actors to communicate during the recording and find their place within the script.

Our Producer and Director decided to cancel our meeting this week, which I was concerned about as we are still yet to have a discussion about the call sheet and how the scenes will be sectioned and recored on the day. I think it is very important that we have a strict plan and time schedule to stick to during the recording, but no one else seems to agree so it does not seem that this will be the case, which concerns me as the studio practise time went very badly and both the director and producer are unfamiliar with the studio, and also did not attend their training session with Naiara.

My aim for the next week is to have an actor confirmed for the role of Big Dave, send the finalised script to all of the actors and have a detailed group meeting in which all the members attend and discuss the call sheet, so that we are all on the same page and fully prepared when we come to record.

Week 6

This week I spend a lot of time communicating with Jeremy about the casting of Big Dave, and luckily we were able to find someone available. Once he was confirmed, I sent across the script, front page and an email outlining the plan for the day and directions etc. I have also had a bit more contact with a couple of the actors who were looking for more detailed information about their character , in particular accent.

Our group met for a final time before recording day to discuss the call sheet and make sure that we are all aware of how the day will run on Friday, we also discussed refreshments for the actors and script admin.

Recording Day

This morning I came in at 9 to make sure that I have everything ready and organised for this afternoon. I re-read through the script to ensure that all the wording was correct, as we have changed the location of our pizza place and therefore some of the lines / stage directions and accents listed have changed.

Once I was happy with the script and front page I printed out 11 copies, one for each of the actors and team members as well as Jeremy. I annotated the directors script in accordance to a meeting that we had had a few weeks ago about the positioning of the actors etc. I am quite worried that that the director has decided to direct the actors purely from memory of this meeting , so I have made a written note of all the decisions made so that she has something to look back on should she need to (in the form of an annotated script). I have also made a copy of the call sheet for all members of the team as well.

I have also set up an spreadsheet on my laptop, in which I can record the details of the recording. It is set out in scenes , lines and takes, so that I can make notes on each take and highlight the best ones, this will make the editing process easier for our studio manager (I will include a screenshot of the finished table at the end of this post).

Week 7

This week I have had less to do than in the previous week, as the majority of my work was pre production based. However, I have sent out an email to all of the actors from our audio drama, thanking them for their help and providing them with the information regarding expenses and receipts.

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