Earlier this week I met with a group of Performing Arts students to record my radio play. A friend from my MA course had first suggested this during our workshops and reviewing early drafts of the play. She teaches theatre at a local college and really wanted her students to get some experience with radio. Apparently there is a lack of good material suitable for young/teenage actors (dramatists take note). The recording went incredibly smoothly, mainly because they were already briefed on their parts and had read through the scenes. I just had to introduce the title and make a brief appearance at the end to state the actors names.
Today Tame Teen and I have spent a fun hour downloading sound effects to layer onto the recording - we also made some of our own (mobile phone etc). Over the Xmas break we plan to clean up the recording: edit out the paper rustlings, the squeaky door of the studio and add in the effects. He uses a fabulous open source programme called Audacity. This is just for our own entertainment, but it is satisfying to hear your words come to life. Handsome Hubby has been listening to the play on his way to work and is really enjoying it.
Writers often talk about hearing their characters in their heads. I've always heard these voices and not though it at all odd, which is probably why I now write for a living! But to see and hear my characters come to life is a truly unique experience. The guy who played my lead character was perfect. He had a youthful voice and brought a vulnerability to the role which was spot on. He WAS the voice I'd been hearing all the time I was writing the play. This definitely was one of those 'tingle' moments.
If you write drama then grab any opportunity to get your work performed or read. It could be worth approaching any colleges which teach theatre/performance arts - they may be crying out to work with new writers and happy to help with readings. Hearing others perform your work significantly helps to iron out dialogue issues. You immediately hear where the lines don't scan or sentences are over long. If actors stumble on dialogue it usually shows where to cut or edit.
Now we just need to go and pretend to smash a door down and we're all set.