As this project draws to a close I’ll seek to summarise the entire process in full with this post. I will provide links to the appropriate sections of the blog where progress has been documented, from the concept development and planning stage, through script writing, auditions, and casting, to recording, post-production, and testing. I will not repeat links in this post, so each one is unique. If I refer to the same area again I’ll make that clear that it is linked above.
The year began with a wider analysis of my main passion, Modern Audio Drama, which is dramatised fiction created in the radio drama format, but with a more modern and cinematic feel, and released online in podcast form. In my storyboard I put together a wide selection of popular audio dramas. I also carried out an initial ‘provisional’ survey to gather some data and look for specific patterns in the audio drama listener world. The full results can be found here.
In the early stages of the concept development, background and planning section I began to lay down potential ideas that sought to both identify and offer a solution to an existing problem in audio drama. I speculated on potential ideas and formats that my project might take, including an eBook ‘training manual’, video tutorials, or a series of podcasts. These were all aimed at beginners and aspiring producers.
I went on to write and release the eBook training guide, titled How to Create Audio Drama, and since July have recorded and released a weekly show called the Audio Drama Production Podcast which aims to help and inspire people to create great audio drama. The show features interviews with writers, producers, and voice actors, as well as discussion, clips, and production tips and techniques.
I still sought to narrow the project down to something more focused than a general ‘how to’ approach. Through the podcast, through listening to some of my favourite shows, and through reading discussions and articles online I became interested in two schools of thought in the audio drama recording world. The question of doing everything in the studio, and micro-managing the soundscape around the actors voices in post-production, or taking the cast out on location and capturing the audio ‘in the field’. In the concept development, background, and planning section, linked above, I began to dive deeper into this topic as the weeks passed, analysing interviews, and drawing up some case studies.
I bought and read a selection of published books on the topic (or as close to the topic as I could find). There is some great content here focusing on recording on location for film or TV, recording dialogue for games or animations, and performing and recording radio drama. However, there was not a huge amount of material discussing the question of whether to record audio or radio drama in the studio or on location. The findings from these books offered lots of excellent “how to” approaches, but not so much “why to”.
The next stage was to write some short scripts to carry out auditions and eventually record my test dramas. Though my project was not aimed at investigating fiction writing I based most of my work on the results of the provisional survey where science fiction was the most popular genre. I also decided to avoid using narration in any of the shows. I decided to use the script and story to demonstrate a change of recording technique in my time travel story showcase piece where I would transport the protagonist from the future (studio) to present day (location).
I approached Fife College with my project proposal and they were happy to both circulate my casting call to the Acting & Performance Department, where I received a great response of nearly 20 people, and grant me use of the radio and sound studios. I carried out auditions in December and I was very happy with the standard and results.
Over the New Year I had been busy working on my previous audio drama series ‘Aftermath’, here I was able to demonstrate some of the processes and techniques used. As soon as this was completed I cast the five scripts I had created for this project and began the recording process. After some mixing in post-production I released my test recordings and main piece as surveys were drawn up to move into the testing phase.
Finally, I was able to present my findings in full after all test listening was complete, polls and surveys collected and compiled, and results presented as easy to access data in the form of tables and short articles based on the comments and feedback.