This week, I made some more progress on my project – as one piece has been written – and we learnt the techniques involved in the Radio pieces. Radio is entirely audio, where the effectiveness lies in the focus on dialogue and brief (audible) narration. This also encompasses Week 3’s progress, with a focus on audio experimentation.
When it comes to the project, I’ve made a great deal of progress. Prologue has been finished, totalling up to 3 pages long on Google Documents (Arial, Size 10). The writing is script-style, as description is handled through realistic dialogue and brief internal monologues handled by the project’s main character – Amelia Valentine. Warning for mildly crude language below.
(The extract is altered to show who is speaking. In the actual piece, the voices and coloured text will distinguish the characters.)
‘Through the corridor, around a corner, at the elevator. Stepping inside, I relax and half-heartedly elbow the downwards arrow to my left, listening to the doors close behind me.
One moment later, the elevator begins to move. There’s no one around, but cameras are tucked away in every sort of nook and cranny, so I’ve still got to be quiet.
[Ryuu]: “I wouldn’t worry about that. We, ahem, I mean, you gave them a few nasty wounds to lick on our way out. It’s not every day that they have to deal with an explosion, a scandal and a missing seat on their chain of command. I almost feel sorry for Koji, going out like that.”
[Amelia]: “The old bastard deserved it. He was giving us too much shit. Too many people died because of him.”
[Ryuu]: “So you threw him head first into the reactor after busting his kneecaps?”
[Amelia]: “And you would’ve done something else?”
[Ryuu]: “…Okay, point proven. You’re scary when cornered.”
[Akemi]: “Get on with it.”
[Ryuu]: “Right, right. Knowing them, their pride is more important than immediate reports. I’d give it a week before they’ve got their shit together.”
Only a week. It pisses me off that for all we did, they can recover in seven days. All they need is a cover-up story and a replacement.’
Behind the scenes, I also have an idea of what and where each landmark is. A museum, the clock tower and the college will all serve as ideal scenes. Each scene will briefly link reality and fiction together, but the main meat is the exposition of this fictional, alternate world. What could be, the way society has evolved, and how long-running issues (discrimination & corruption) have only ‘mutated’ to fit in these futuristic times.
To get an idea of what Canterbury’s history and people are like, I will be talking to two friends (Debbie and Amber) who live there. Their firsthand experience with the city may lead to interesting rumours, so talking to them is a priority.
Visually, I am stuck. I’m willing to save up money for artistic assets that perfectly suit the world I’m envisioning, but I shouldn’t be working on too much. It’s possible I may enlist artists within the college to draw just a few specific, establishing shots.
Audibly, it’s going smoothly. Synth and jazz music will work perfectly, I know where to find sound effects and voice actors will be easy to come across. I will voice one character, the main character’s voice has been sorted and I know who to go for the third (Akemi).
As for what I learnt during these two weeks, we focused heavily on dialogue and radio. Radio uses and exploits dialogue techniques to their fullest, only enhanced by various audio elements such as sound effects and fitting music.
A particular sub-category of radio exclusive to Japan, Drama CDs center around Japanese animation and various franchises, but are the exact same as radio shows at their core. For a more in-depth review of dialogue in other Drama CDs, here are two examples below.
‘Maya: Hey, Nick! Did you see the morning news?
Phoenix: *hums, scrubs* Done! It’s clean.
M: There was a yakuza fight nearby! It’s an unbelievable world.
P: What, did you say something? I didn’t hear you.
P: Ow! Hey, don’t pull my hair! You’re getting in the way of my cleaning!
M: So many cases are happening right now – it’s not the time to be cleaning!
P: But scrubbing the toilet’s important, Maya. If a client comes and sees a dirty toilet, they’ll get a bad impression.
M: You say that, but you’re just killing time because we have no clients, right? The toilet’s clean.
P: Well. It’s true that I don’t have anything else to do.
M: Ah, won’t somebody with a problem come to us with a request? There’s nothing to do.
P: So you just want to kill time.’
We can see here that, rather being called ‘Phoenix’, Maya calls him ‘Nick’ – a nickname. This already shows us that Maya is an informal and casual girl, while also sharing some sort of bond with Phoenix. They both share some similarities, and the dialogue plays it up for laughs, with Phoenix’s frantic cleaning of the toilet coming out of sheer boredom.
Maya, calling her friend out for it, also shows that the two are professional partners as well by talking about ‘cases’ and ‘clients’. ‘Ah, won’t somebody with a problem come to us with a request?’ This in particular tells us that the two are problem fixers of some description.
Through well-crafted dialogue in such a short moment, this piece has implied several things: friendship, occupation, habits and personality.
‘Irisviel: You heard just now, right? When we go to Fuyuki City, we have to dress according to the local culture.
Saber: Uh, ah, that.
Irisviel: I originally wanted to deal with it using the clothes we already have in the castle, but Kiritsugu said that the kimono wouldn’t do…
Saber: …So you actually wanted to wear that just now.
Irisviel: Of course! Saber, you’re a girl too, so you should understand, right?
Saber: …No, I apologise. Much of my life was spent riding over the plains, and the only times I dressed up were when I had an audience with visitors or when I attended ceremonies.
Irisviel: So that’s how it is… Alright!
Irisviel: Then we should really use this opportunity to try on lots of different clothes.
Irisviel: You finally managed to get a body again in the present day, since your past was like that, we should really enjoy some dressing up while we can.
Saber: Ah… Uh, I am extremely sorry for not being able to turn into a spirit form…
Irisviel: I wasn’t talking about that.
Saber: I do not require any bother in dressing up. As long as the clothing is not too conspicuous and is fitting…
Irisviel: That won’t do! You’ll be protecting me our entire time in Japan, right? Then you have to dress accordingly.
Saber: Ah… Yes.
Irisviel: The~n, I wonder if there are any other clothes in the storage room~
Saber: …Irisviel, you are far closer to a human than I am.’
From the beginning of this extract, it’s clear that the two characters ‘Irisviel’ and ‘Saber’ are planning to move somewhere else. For what reason is not explained here, but many other aspects are implied or explicitly told. Irisviel mentioning a ‘castle’ as if it were her property shows a higher class of living, like a medieval noble. However, ‘Fuyuki City’ implies their destination is eastern and that this is in the present day, which is only confirmed through the mention of a kimono – a traditional Japanese dress that females wear.
Further on, we see signs of Saber’s lack of connection to the world around her. Riding over the plains and an ‘audience with visitors’ contrasts with the present day setting. Irisviel shows that Saber is not from this time period, with the key words ‘you finally managed to get a body in the present day’. And, as Saber remarks about a ‘spirit form’, it is possible there are magical or supernatural elements present in the world.
Finally, the closing comment Saber makes implies that Irisviel herself is not human, while also further implying that Saber isn’t human either.
In class, we were given a writing exercise for radio-type pieces. The concept is this:
Two people, one object, they both desire it but it can only go to one. What conflict occurs?
That’s the rough idea of it, anyway. Random objects were given out amongst the class, but I chose not to have one. Instead, I stretched the concept to the limit, and came up with a horror-inspired idea, which you can see in the extract below.
0: “The rules are simple. In four minutes, toxic gas will seep into this room. This gas is very special. It will destroy your insides as you choke to death, meaning you will die a very painful death. Not all is lost, however. This gas is volatile, and kept in special containers. When it is in the air, it will dissipate in only a few minutes, with no trace. Finally, you have no doubt noticed the box in the middle. Inside, is a gas mask. There is only one, but it will allow you to survive long enough for the gas to disappear.”
1: “W-What the hell?!”
0: “That is all. Choose wisely. You have four minutes, starting…now.”
[Click. The intercom turns off.]
1: “This is…this is insane. Caroline, you heard that too, right?”
2: “Y…Yeah. Is there, um, another way out…?”
[Frantic footsteps followed by banging against a metal door multiple times. Sounds heavy.]
A third character, who I gave the number 0, is the one to set up the scenario. 1 and 2 are the two victims, with the desired item being a gas mask to save their life. I’m very happy with how the piece turned out, though the writing later on contains crude swearing which steers the target audience to be an adult one. I don’t feel bad about the swearing – as it shows a realistic reaction – but it can be perceived as an issue with this.
Finally, some of Alma’s work entailed recording and experimenting with the audio program Adobe Audition CS6. I helped Saffron with her particular recording along with Jamie and Robbie, as I had a piece of my own I could use for next lesson. Unfortunately, this took longer than expected. Various happenings from interruptions, audio difficulties and personal dissatisfaction with the voice acting (from all sides) had bogged us down. By the time we finished, I barely had any time to properly use the program in that lesson.
At the very least, we finished with a recording that we all felt satisfied with. We found a quiet room (albeit with echo), recorded all the way through and didn’t get interrupted. If anything, I’d say that doing it all in one take was our biggest downfall, as we could’ve simply recorded it bit by bit and edited it together. But, that’s my own personal opinion.