Last Wednesday I managed to get half a dozen actors into a recording studio for free. I can not thank them enough for their time and effort. As a result the pilot for my steampunk radio series, “Rain, Steam and Speed” has now been recorded and is undergoing editing and the addition of background noise, incidental music and sound effects.

We started off, after we had all found the studio (got lost, phoned each other etc…) with a run through of the whole script. This gave us a chance to work out how we were doubling up on parts so that we covered everything without anyone trying to talk to themselves. It was also my first chance to actually hear my script being read by other people.

I suppose I must make this learning point number 1: When you write a script, you will have an idea in your head of how it will sound. When other people do it; it will sound completely different.

We managed to iron out a few little errors of writing, bringing us to learning point number 2: No matter how many times you go over the script, when it is read out – any remaining errors will really stand out. However, when we went for a take there were still one or two things that with hindsight I would have changed.

When we came to recording, I learned two things very quickly. Learning point number 3: make sure each scene fits on a single sheet of paper – preferably on one side. This will save time as we couldn’t record more than a page at a time because of script rustling.

Learning point number 4 was: screams and shouts have to happen quietly. This is partly because you don’t want to deafen your sound engineers, but mainly because you will get a flat topped peak. Apparently there are few things worse than a flat topped peak; it has something to do with sound quality (it’s technical…).

However, we went on with very few re-takes and most of those were accompanied by furious scribbling of notes. So learning point 5 is: if you want pauses or changes of pace mid sentence – write it in the script! You actors won’t know what you are trying to achieve if you don’t tell them!

Finally I closed proceedings with the credits. Learning point number 6: don’t miss anyone’s name out…

This was a very positive experience for me. Everyone said how much they had enjoyed doing it. Everyone expressed an interest in doing more episodes. I enjoyed myself and I can not say how pleased I am that the cast and crew enjoyed themselves. I have learned a lot in a short space of time. Now all I have to do is write the other seven episodes of the first series.

No pressure then….