For months I’ve been working on this mammoth project – from making a rash decision to adapt the novel for audio, to finding myself directing, producing and editing a four hour, four episide production with a cast of 19, it’s been a year in the making.
And it finally went live on Thu 16 December – Jane Austen’s birthday no less. Thanks to November and December being a bit of a whirlwind, I didn’t get chance to talk about it here back then, but as one of my (no doubt soon to be forgotten) New Year’s Resolutions is to write more, where better to start…
I’ve written previously about my crazy idea to adapt my favourite novel and then a quick update on how it was all going but now that it’s really, really, REALLY actually going to be out there for people to listen to, I thought I’d best pen a few words on what I’ve learned along the way.
First things first – the world re-opening just as you’ve planned countless nights on Zoom with folks who are suddenly allowed back to work and the pub makes things tricky. Availability plummeted – not that I blame anyone! After months of being glued to our laptops for communication, the need to get back to “normality” was essential. Inevitably this meant my plans for recording everything together over Zoom fell apart rather quickly. Hopefully you’ll not notice that actually, the bulk of the recording was done one-to-one with me, rather than with the other performers in the scene!
Secondly, having more than 20 different devices in far more than 20 set ups causes some interesting consistency issues when trying to balance audio. I’m not an audio pro by any means so there are bits in this I’m sure that more experienced audio-bods will wince at, or mutter “oh if only you’d done X Y and Z this would sound better”. I’m very grateful to Richard at White Cobra for undertaking some major re-recording sessions in their duvet-lined recording den!
Thirdly, which perhaps I should have mentioned first, people are awesome. There’s been a lot going on for lots of the cast since we began, and for them to commit to finishing the project means an awful lot. I’m incredibly proud of everyone.
I had to make some hard decisions towards the end in terms of cutting bits of scenes where the audio was too much of a battle, cutting bits of scenes that actually, with the character development and performances, didn’t make sense any more, and adding in some little bits and pieces that really helped the scenes.
I’ve spent more time than I care to think searching for free audio effects – mostly on FreeSound.org (where I used Creative Commons sounds only) – and free classical music recordings on YouTube audio library and Musopen (again all Public Domain or Attribution-free recordings).
Spreadsheets are amazing for making me get things done – it turns out I am motivated by being able to write DONE in big letters in little rectangles…
And lastly, that I’ve surprised myself here by just how much I managed to do. I will admit to be naive coming in to this with regards to how much work is was going to be, but I’ve enjoyed it a lot, the frustrations and all, and I can’t wait to get my teeth into another one…