Sunday, October 15, 2006

Notes from 1st production (12th - 14th Oct 2006)

I've just recovered from my first studio days: 3 back-to-back productions of dramas adapted from some Ruth Rendell short stories. It all went pretty well, considering it was my first time working with "proper" actors (as opposed to the unscripted stuff I did for Resonance FM). Apart from nearly falling asleep with fatigue on the 3rd day (Saturday) it was a lot of fun. Really strong casts on all 3 days, lovely people and a good atmosphere all round.

Of course, when you're knocking out 30 minutes of drama per day there's no time to experiment: as soon as one scene sounds good you crack straight on to the next one. I really wanted to make sure that these didn't sound like "traditional" radio drama, ie the sort of static, stagey stuff that people use as the reason they don't like listening to drama on Radio 4. And it's very difficult. I don't yet know if I succeeded, but the quality of the actors gives me a head start. Technically I tried out a few things in consultation with the studio manager beforehand. We gave Jenni (the spot person) an OB (outside broadcast) mic and asked her to follow the actors as they moved through the scene. This seemed to give a slightly different acoustic but I'll only really find out after the edit.

But hey, I'm just happy we finished on time and recorded all the scenes. Next time I'd still like to experiment a bit more, though. What I want to do is get hold of a couple of actor, give them clip mics, let them loose in a city centre location and improvise a couple of scenes with them. I reckon it will work and, if so, I want to offer Radio 4 (or 3) a full-length version for broadcast.

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