The making of…

Editing Episode 9 - More Cable

Marvel Comics' Ghost Rider

Why yes, I would like to borrow your
Zoom H4n Handy Recorder

At the end of last month’s thrilling instalment, you may recall that the heretofore reliable AST technology had undergone catastrophic working-properlyness failure. Episode 8 was eventually rescued by a man on a motorbike, but we couldn’t rely on that happening every time. So, I had to find a way to make sure that we could get safely through Episode 9. For reasons that now escape me, the first step involved inviting Action Dan and Science Brian to my house and feeding them steak and chips.

Seriously – I’ve got to work out what they’re putting in my water.

Becoming Producer Dan

We then ran to Producer Dan and said, “We have no idea how to actually turn all this into reality! Help us!”

– Science Brian

That, in his ‘how it all started’ blog, is how Science Brian described the moment he asked me to get involved in Action Science Theatre. It’s quite charming, in its way – glowing with the enthusiasm of a young Irishman making his way in a strange, faraway land, hope shining in his eyes, alight with the realisation that all his Christmases have come at yearly intervals.

It is, of course, a thin, supermarket-brand, single-ply tissue of lies.*

Editing Episode 8 – This Ain’t No Technological Breakdown…

…oh no, this is the road to hell
Road to Hell (Chris Rea)

Now that I come to think about it, the lyrics of Chris Rea’s maudlin masterpiece are a fairly accurate description of an AST recording session at the best of times.

And I’m underneath the streetlights, but the light of joy I know
Scared beyond belief way down in the shadows

But recording of Episode 8 was hellish in ways that went way beyond the usual Producer Dan grumbling…

And the perverted fear of violence chokes the smile on every face
Common sense is ringing out the bells

We kind of won an award sort of!

Woohoo! We were nominated by One Crafty Minx, who is in no way favouring us for any reason at all. As soon as we found out we cracked open the champagne Coca Cola supermarket own-brand cola.

“The Liebster Award is an award set up to bring recognition to and increase viewership for blogs with fewer than 200 followers.”

Yes, we have less than 200 followers. One day this will be a cascading success of epic proportions. One day.

Editing Episode 7 - Environmentally Sound Effects

A green bin with a pun on the the word 'bin'

Action Dan and Science Brian help out by recycling jokes.

In these days of climate change, peak oil, fracking and Jeremy Clarkson, it behoves us all to do our bit for the environment. And what better way to help make a greener tomorrow than with a little recycling? So, as you listen to Episode 7 of Action Science Theatre, don’t sit there thinking, “I’m sure that sound has been in the past three episodes.” Instead, rejoice in the knowledge that, by recycling sound effects, we at Action Science Theatre are contributing to greener podcasting.

 

Editing Episode 6 - Things that don’t sound like things really sound. Like

Hmm… need to work on my titles.

Anyway, as I discussed in an earlier blog, much of my time in editing Action Science Theatre is spent trying to find or create sound effects that sound as close as possible to the real thing. Sometimes, however, the reverse is true; what you want isn’t anything like the real thing, because the real thing is too nondescript, or simply inaudible. This is where stereotypical auditory cues come in, allowing the creation of what Vincent McInerney* calls ‘mindvisible images’ – instant visualisation of what is meant to be happening. While McInerney is talking about writing rather than sound effects, similar principles apply.

Mr Twinkle's Story

I’m not sure I can ever convey the wonderfulness of sugar. My greatest pleasures have come from a square lump being dropped into my case by the generous Dr Korb. Many question Korb’s methods, some even call him mad, but I have always found him an excellent companion during our time together. True, we cannot connect on a truly intellectual level, but I find us kindred spirits both looking for answers in a barren land that is not of our making.

Antman

One of my pastimes is reading comics. This is a favourite.

I also like leaves. Crunchy and green, what’s not to like right?

Editing Episode 5 - The Ant: an Introduction

As my regular reader will know, I spend a lot of time in these blogs ranting about the ludicrous sound effects that Science Brian expects me to produce. Anyone who has listened to Episode 5, then, will expect this blog to be no different. Except that… when I first read the script for Solvay-nt Abuse – and saw that I needed to create a giant ant that rumbled, rattled its cage, smashed through the bars, roared, bit a scientist’s arm off, and then proceeded to crash its way through an explicitly marble-floored hotel – I passed straight through ‘ranting’ and emerged on the far side with a sort of cheery determination. Believe me, I was as surprised as you are.

Editing Episode 4 - Layers of Nonsense

Wherever you come near the human race there’s layers and layers of nonsense

That line from Thornton Wilder’s 1938 play, Our Town, pretty much sums up the editing process for an episode of AST. Layers and layers of nonsense. Even a simple scene usually contains three layers:

  1. Dialogue
  2. Sound effects
  3. Background noise

And, just to clarify, Point 3 does not refer to the sound of Action Dan munching his sandwiches in the corner of the recording studio.

Action? Science?...Asthma and spiders?

vegetables

So, what happens is you all bring a vegetable and put it in a bowl. Then you pick one out and whoever brought it…

Sometimes, just occasionally, if I tip my head to the right and hold it for long enough I develop a pain in my neck. This is a thing I have learned, a thing I have discovered through experimentation. People often say to me, “you’ll only learn in life if you try to do things”. And those people are right. Although I wish they would leave me alone, I have things to do. To learn, if you will.

I remember being a child and looking up to the trapdoor in the ceiling of my parents bedroom that lead to the attic. I looked and wondered at the riches that lay up there. Fleeting glimpses of old lamps, board games, and stereo equipment being carried up there by my father were all I knew of it. Fun could surely be had, so I tried to get up there. Unaware of the location of “the ladder” (the shed as it turns out, sneaky father) I would climb on various objects and just try to reach, but to no avail.