Matt Toulson

Blog Post 1: 10/10/17

A few weeks ago, I went to the Imperial War Museum where they had an exhibition on the First World War. It was an interesting exhibit that covered all aspects of the war, but what I noticed was that there was nothing about what happened to the soldiers after 1918. A lot of them would have suffered from shell shock (or better known now as PTSD) and others would have had life changing physical injuries.

I decided for my project that I wanted to explore some stories of what happened to soldiers and how they settled back into civilian life. I think this would be a good audio piece for the Imperial War Museum to use in the exhibit and would be quite topical because next year is the centenary of the end of the First World War.

When I was at the museum I manage to get a wide range of pictures about why men wanted to join up to the army in the first place and how propaganda and patriotism played a role in them signing up. This week I wrote down the way in which I wanted to approach the audio because I was unsure whether I wanted to create a drama, documentary or a mix between the two.

What I’m going to do this week is contact the press office at the IWM to see if I could access more sources and try and get a commission from them.


Blog Post 2: 24/10/17

This week, I attempted to get a commission from someone at the Imperial War Museum. The first person I emailed was the wrong person to ask because she only dealt with media enquirers and not commissions, but she was really helpful and re-directed me to somewhere else. Then, I messaged someone else at Imperial War Museum, but unfortunately they couldn’t help with what I was asking.

I also planned out in detail how the audio piece was going to be executed so that I knew exactly who I was going to interview

I also decided to start emailing people who I wanted to contribute towards my audio piece, but have not received any emails back about that.


Blog post 3: 7/11/17

I decided to approach SSAFA with a pitch last week. I emailed them and they were really helpful and agreed to work with me,  They gave me a brief to work with that said I could focus it around the three themes of mental illness, physical illness and death- the three situations that usually arise when someone goes to visit them. I decided to do an audio drama with three short dramas that focus on each theme. The drama would be set in a different war from the last 100 years- the first world war, the second world war and the afghan war. Now, I had to start looking for stories that could be used to tell the story of these three major issues. I had to think of a way to approach these subjects delicately so as not to upset or offend anyone that listened to them.

Because I knew I was doing an audio drama I began looking for voice actors to read out the monologues for the audio piece. I tried looking on, but the people on there either didn’t reply to my message or replied and said they were too busy, so I decided to look elsewhere. A friend suggested to me to look on gumtree and post an ad on there for voice actors.

A voice actor did get back to me. He was a professional and had a studio to do his work in. This sounded like it would work to my advantage but he then asked me to be paid more than £100, and because I couldn’t afford to pay him for that I had to turn him down. I was back at square one with the voiceover artists.


Blog post 4: 21/11/17

In the past two weeks I have mainly been writing my script for the 20 min audio drama. I figured out that I wanted to have them all as monologues to show that these people who are talking might not often have someone to talk to and it could get quite lonely for them because of what they are suffering. The script was coming along fine until I started writing the second part of the audio drama, the episode that focused on physical illness. I found it hard to find any appropriate material or online resources so I decided to give that a rest for a bit.

This week I also started talking to the people at SSAFA to start working in cooperation with them. They were really helpful and gave me some tips about what to write about and how to go about showing the effects the war had on individuals.

I recorded some of the bits of audio that I was to need so I could start editing them but I decided that didn’t like them enough to go in the final piece so they weren’t used. I still wasn’t having any luck with the gumtree ad, but then I was advised to try and find drama societies that might do it for free. I messaged Westminster uni’s drama society to try and get a response.


Blog post 5: 5/12/17

I finally started recording my bits of audio this week. I wrote the script exactly how I wanted it and then went into the studio to record. It was just in time, too, as I had a meeting with someone at SSAFA so they could have a look over it to give editorial content. She was pleased with it and decided that this would be my final script.

I was in desperate need of someone to record the audio at this point. I asked around to see if any student might be interested. Luckily, I managed to get three people to record it in the end. The recording took place over three days. The voice over artists were all students, but I think they sounded alright after I edited them down. I was ready to start editing my final project.


Blog post 6: 12/12/17

The last week was spent recording and editing content. Some of the recording was very low quality originally so I had to get the VO artists to re-record it and send it to me. I spent most of the last week editing my final piece together. It took a long time as I wanted it to sound good. I didn’t realise how long it would take ot edit the 20 mins of content, so I’m glad I started editing when I did because I would not have completed in time otherwise.

The final piece wasn’t perfect, though. Listening back after I submitted it, I realised that there was a bit of low quality audio in there, especially with the ‘voice mail’ part towards the end. This was because, to get an authentic sounding ‘voicemail’ I used a VO over the phone. I realised afterwards that I could have used the effect on Adobe Audition to give it a ‘voice mail’ sound.

However, overall, I think my audio piece has been successful. The final product met with the oral brief that I was presented with, and SSAFA were happy with it. I would just try and make it a bit more high quality next time.

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