Keeg’s Quest creator Rich Matheson was one of the writers/producers/voice actors I interviewed in the 2013 documentary All Ears – Celebrating the Medium of Modern Audio Drama
During his segment, Rich spoke passionately about the uniqueness of audio drama, and the art of using fine details to help build a three dimensional, living, breathing world in the head of the listener.
Rich’s main example was the use of a simple chair creak in The Leviathan Chronicles, recalling that in this particular scene a submarine officer leans back in his chair, which was heard to squeak. Matheson argues that it was “a sound that did not need to be there” and that it “was not required to tell the story” continuing that “just this simple act of hearing this guy leaning back in his chair trying to formulate the words that he’s going to tell his captain –that put me there”.
“When you become a mixer, or at least in my case… when I started mixing I started listening. I listened to a lot of audio, and audio drama, trying to pick up tips and tricks, and learn what I was doing wrong… you have these lines coming in with a fan in the background, or a dog barking. This echoey stuff that no amount of digital mixing or tweaking can fix. The source of the audio has to be as clean as possible. I didn’t realise that. And little things, I would be in a gas station, I would close my eyes and just listen… you can hear the pump clanking in the background, or you can hear this or that. If you’re creating an environment for audio you have to incorporate all these things. You have to create this picture in your mind and say “okay, there’s going to be birds there, we’re near the water so you might want to hear a motorboat, and little tiny things, like that chair squeak. Little things that people necessarily wouldn’t expect to find there, but they can see how they’d be there. And those little surprises every now and then really drive home that you’re in this environment and doing these things.”