The making of…

The Odyssey of AST

Arizona State Route 98

This is NOT, repeat NOT the way we went.

What a merry band, were we,
Who set off in the name of AST,
On stage, we were set to perform,
In foreign lands, to invite scorn.

Producer Dan was the first to go,
His tiny car heavily laden, and slow,
Shortly followed by Science Brian, and partner,
Action Dan, girlfriend and dog were there, not long after.

Editing Episode 13 - Aah, Robot!

It seems that my last tirade about Science Brian’s ludicrous sound effects has borne fruit. He has now started inserting apologies into his scripts to pre-empt my wrath. Well, sort-of apologies…

A snippet of AST script showing the sound effect "PUNCHING A ROBOT NOISE. SORRY PD, SORRY. I’M NOT SORRY."

OK, so it’s not really an apology, but I’ll take what I can get

But the thing is, ‘punching a robot’ is not a particularly difficult sound effect to create. It’s just a case of mixing the ‘cartoon punch’ effect that I’ve used in many previous episodes with any of the 272 hits* produced when you enter ‘metallic clang’ into the Freesound search engine.

So that’s that dealt with. Now, what am I going to fill the rest of this blog with?

Oh, I know – let’s talk about equalisation.

The Idea Machine

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (or Leonardo Da Vinci as he is more commonly known, thank you Wikipedia) was a man of many and varied talents. Artist, designer, scientist, musician, his talents stretch out before you in a way that makes you want to punch him in the face. But he’s dead, so that would be distasteful.

Leo, as he was known to people whom he’d never met, was a man never short of ideas. He invented the helicopter, the parachute, the concept of painting Jesus on walls, and the Rubik’s cube (one of those isn’t true). Just when you’d be thinking, “he must be done now”, out popped some other work of genius kicking and screaming into the world. Before the nurse could wrap it in swaddling and clean the gunk off it, someone would hail old Leo as a genius once more. One can only assume Leo’s ego was so big he must have grown that enormous beard to cover it up.

Editing Episode 12 - An Apology

And it was all going so well…

Every now and again, I am persuaded to string together a few musical notes on some instrument or other. The ‘jaunty’ (©Action Dan, 2013) Action Science Theatre theme tune, for example. So, when we needed some music to underscore the exciting alien-hunting montage in Episode 10a, I duly obliged. And people were generally very kind about it.

They won’t be doing that again.

War of the Cotswolds - Poster Boaster

War of the Cotswolds poster

The finished poster. Fine work (you can click it for a larger version).

At Action Science Theatre we pride ourselves on exploiting giving creative people opportunities to collaborate with us and show off their talents. Any regular listeners among you will have noticed the fine baritone vocal craft of Mr Matthew Kirk, the chirpy chimes of Miss Sreya Rao, the husky lilt of Miss Amy Wackett, and indeed the virtuoso musical talents of one Producer Dan. On top of these fine people (not literally) we have the many other cast members who have so memorably and unforgettably brought characters from previous episodes to life (but whose names escape me right now… um… some of them may have been Irish?).

Editing Episode 10 - When the Boat Comes In

Growing up in the north-east of England, it was impossible to remain unware of the region’s industrial heritage. In particular, shipbuilding on the Tyne has a distinguished 800-year history. As a child of the 1970s and 80s, however, it was also impossible to ignore the decline in shipbuilding – indeed, in all forms of manufacturing industry – in northern England at that time. Unemployment rose, and once-busy docks and slipways fell into disuse, lending a melancholy air to the river, and a sense of dispair to the region as a whole.

Since then there has been massive regeneration. Like similar areas in cities such as Sheffield and Birmingham, Newcastle’s Quayside has been transformed into a centre for arts and culture, as well as new housing developments.

So what does all this have to do with Editing Episode 10? Well… not much. But after 10 episodes, I’m rather running out of things to talk about.

The Anatomy of an AST Script

As runners of a moderately successful free audio drama, people often ask us what the hell we’re doing in the garden, and threaten to call the police. But we’ve stopped garden dipping recently, and have instead spent more time on our scripts.

Scripts on the floor

You spend hours working on a script, and it ends up like this.

So, how do we do it? Well, we’d recommend Celtx – it’s free! And it does all the formatting for you. Which is good for us because we’re quite lazy. So that’s the tool, what about the constituent parts? The anatomy, if you will, of an AST script?

Let me take you through it:

Title

My favourite part of the whole thing. A great place to stick in a pun, play on words or, better still, something that is almost a pun or play on words but actually isn’t. Nothing like confusing the minds of a select group of the population. And you are a select group aren’t you? Of course you are. Look at you, sitting there. Reading this. Probably eating something sticky. Don’t let other people judge you. We don’t judge you. We think you rock. Have another one, handsome.