Tag Archives: tips for writing

Gas Gallery: Response Time

Gas Gallery - Oriel Nwy

Gas Gallery – Oriel Nwy http://www.celfceredigionart.org/

Call for participants: Writers, performers, directors, actors, poets, spoken word, filmmakers, sound artists, devisers.

On the weekend of 20th – 22nd of September, Gas Gallery will be hosting the first response to Art project which will be curated and produced by Scriptography Productions. The event will feature a workshop, a 48 hour challenge to produce a performed response to the current exhibitions at Gas Gallery and promenade performances of the work.

At 5.30 on Friday 20th participants will be allocated a “space” within the Gallery and will be asked to respond to the work,
the space and the environment. They will have just 48 hours
to write or devise, rehearse and produce work which will be performed on the Sunday evening as a promenade performance. The project will respond to the art on exhibition whilst also exploring the Gas Gallery, not just the exhibition spaces but its secret rooms, hidden cupboards, doorways and staircases. It will also seek to bring the environment outside into the performances within the Gallery.

Participants can respond as individuals or as part of teams and participants will be encouraged to collaborate with one another. The team or individual allocated to the “space” will be confirmed at 5.30 on the Friday.

Exhibition of Sandra Masterson's work Language, Earth at the Gas Gallery

Exhibition of Sandra Masterson’s work Language, Earth at the Gas Gallery

Mentors will be available through the weekend so experience of previous projects of this nature is not required.

The process will be filmed and shared through social media during the weekend. Participants will be encouraged to think about multi-platform presentation within the responses using film, audio and social media. The shared pieces will be photographed, filmed and recorded as audio as part of an on-line exhibition of the performance which will be shared on social media.

On the evening of Sunday 22nd September the 48 hour challenge to respond to the art, space and environment
of the Gas Gallery will finish and participants will share
the work produced during the weekend. Audiences will be given the opportunity to walk through a series of short performances curated and produced by Scriptography Productions.

The current exhibitions are by Sandra Masterson and Aislinn Knight. In the downstairs gallery ‘The Language Earth’ by Sandra Masterson will be showing. Sandra  uses’ the soil as both the medium and the subject of her work, opening up a space in which the geological and historical past and the present are fused through a visual interpretation of the concept of ‘working the soil’’. In the upstairs gallery paintings by Aislinn Knight ‘Landscape of Mid Wales’ reflecting  the landscape as noisy, wild and constantly changing, rarely quiet, peaceful and still will be exhibiting. Both exhibitions will start on September 4th and show until October 8th. You can find out more about Celf Ceredigion Art, the current and future exhibitions and other events like Stories by Gaslight (monthly storytelling night) at their website

If you are interested in participating or would like more information contact scriptographyproductions@gmail.com


Interview with Sean Langton

Legacy Film Poster

Legacy Film Poster

Sean Langton participated in a collaborative writing project for theatre Town with No Traffic Wardens and his short play Dad was presented as part of Beginnings both for Aberystwyth Arts Centre, both produced by Scriptography Productions. He was commissioned by Ceredigion Mental Health Forum to write a short play Army Surplus about ex-soldiers suffering from PTSD in the NHS. He is currently working on a TV pilot script. For Trebuchet Films he has produced the short film Legacy and has two short films in development along with two feature films Cowboys Can Fly and Broken Boys. For Chen Noir Films he produced the short film Brotherhood and for Monty films he currently has a feature film in development.

Where did the idea for Legacy come from?
I’d been estranged from my family for about four years, and when I finally got back in contact with my family I found my father had died six months previously. It got me to thinking about how you can repair rifts when that person is dead. I originally wrote it as a monologue for a theatre showcase at Aberystwyth Arts Centre. The piece had a good reaction, in writing the piece I found the theme of forgiveness and I thought the theme gave it a uniqueness that would make it stand out as a short film. I thought I could adapt the piece for film and write something that would make the audience think about the issues involved.

How was the process of adapting it for the film?
The monologue was one man talking to a gravestone so it didn’t have a visual side that was needed for film. In telling the story on film I chose to tell the story of Ryan as a child with his father and the complexities of a relationship that traversed a loving relationship between father and son and an abusive relationship and alongside that the story of an adult man visiting his father’s grave.

You put together an impressive crew of people to work on the film, director Alan Campbell, DOP Phillip Escott, Ian Smyth Production Manager, Andy Carslaw co-producer/editor.; How did you get them all involved?
I was having a pretty dire Christmas alone and I’d just got a twitter account and I tweeted, all I want for Christmas is a producer to make my film. Within 24 hours I’d had a a tweet from Andy Carslaw who was initially interested in directing the film, I sent the script to him and he came back to say he loved the script but thought that because of the subject matter it might be difficult to get someone on board as a producer so thought I should produce it myself. I thought – why not? So I did some searches on the web to find out how you produce a film and came across the Guerilla Filmmakers Masterclass which is run by Chris Jones. I tweeted, does anyone know Chris Jones and is Guerilla Filmakers any good. The first person who got back to me was Chris Jones who told me he was really good and the course was great.

I then spoke to Andy Carslaw who’d been on the film the year before. So I went on the course, it was an intensive three days of 15 hour days, complete information overload but I came away with everything I needed to be able to produce the film. Most of the other people involved were also people who responded to my tweet. Ian I met in Game where he was working just before starting a film course. I was in Game because I was selling all my electrical goods to put towards the film budget. We got talking and I convinced him to come on board with making the film.   I ended up with a great team of people who really believed in the film script and the subject of the film.

How did you go about casting the film?
I started off locally trying to find people but I found when I asked people to be in the film they looked at me a little bemused really because I think they doubted whether it was going to happen. I then put an advert on a website asking for actors and I found James and Ryan through that site. It was great to get James on board because he’s a writer himself so having an actor who could look at the project from a writer’s perspective and see what I was trying to achieve with this first film was a huge bonus.  It was very difficult to find the actor to play the young Ryan because we needed to find an actor mature enough to handle the subject matter who had very supportive parents who were willing to be there throughout the filming. Ryan’s parents were fantastic. They read the script through with him several times before agreeing to do it, ensuring he understood the subject matter. He was brilliant in audition. In the film he really does handle some very difficult scenes with maturity that is astonishing from such a young actor.

You managed the funding campaign yourself. How did you go about raising that?
I raised as much as I could initially, personally. Then I ran a crowd funding campaign on Sponsume through the website and twitter. It was really hard work but it was worthwhile because it covered some vital costs of the filming. As well as promoting the film. I know I was a bit of a pain and some friends stopped following on twitter because they were getting a bit sick of me constantly asking for money even though they’d already give me some money but luckily once the campaign was over they did start following me and talking to me again! A film company Chen Noir contacted me to say they wanted to be involved, we went to London to meet Brandon Smith and he asked how much money we wanted but instead of taking that offer, because it involved signing over more rights than I was willing to give. Instead we asked for him to come on board with his marketing expertise and as a co-producer which he agreed to do.

What was the pre-production of the film like?
It was like putting together a huge jigsaw, and you didn’t know if you had the right pieces or if they would fit until the first day of shooting.

What is it like shooting the film?
Well the very first hour of shooting was a bit of a disaster for me personally because on the way to set at 8am, I was heading over in a car really early to get to my friends house where we were shooting I was desperate for a wee. We stopped at a farm to ask if I could use the toilet and the farmer said they didn’t have one but I could go behind the bales so I climbed over a gate and fell face first into a cowpat. So I arrived for the beginning of shooting covered from head to foot in a cow pat, I had to ask my friend if I could have a shower and borrow some of her husband’s clothes.

This was the very first time you had been on a film shoot. Did it meet your expectations?
I remember thinking – will you just get on with it. Everything took such a long time. The first 3 seconds of the film took 4 hours to film and it was in a tiny room and we’d covered the windows with black bin bag because it was supposed to be night-time and it was boiling hot and we were sweating. It was a real shock how much work is involved from so many different people.  The film is five minutes but it took us one week of filming.

What was post-production like?
It was a bit of nightmare to be honest because we had to do it all ourselves and it was new ground for pretty much everyone on the film. All of the sound we’d recorded had to be re-recorded in a studio. Then agreeing between us all -the final cut of the film. Then the colour grading which was something I didn’t know anything about , colour grading is the process of making the film look as though it is all shot on the same day at the same time. Editing the sound had a complexity which I hadn’t realised with the different layers being added on like the sound of the boy diving down in the bed, the footsteps, the clinking of a plate, which had to be added on. We were really lucky to get Steve Lord who worked on the sound for us. It was a really long process and we were learning as we went along.

What was it like seeing the first rough cut of the film?
It was quite emotional seeing something that had been in my head on the screen. By the end of post-production I’d watched it so many times that it lost all emotion and you watch it from a very analytical view point.

And how was it when you saw it on the big screen?
That was very emotional again because the impact of seeing something that began life as a nugget of an idea 18 months ago was there in front of me on this huge screen. It hit me all over again what an amazing job the actors and the crew do working on the film.

This is a very personal story for you but now it’s a film. How does that feel now?
Yes, now I look at it and it’s a product. A film that shows my writing and my producing, it shows what I can do. It was a truly cathartic process to go through. Writing it was something that allowed me to work through some real issues for me and hopefully can now help others going through similar issues. I had one friend phone me in tears after watching it and also had one guy who saw it said to me, “really touched me on a personal level and helped me re-think issues in my own life. To have those kind of responses. It was why I made the film and it doesn’t get any better than knowing people have been touched emotionally by the film

What is the plan for the film now?
We’ll be entering the film into festivals in Wales, UK and the world. We’ve had lots of really positive feedback

You were asked by Chen Noir films to produce another short film Brotherhood. What was that experience like?
Yes, Brandon Smith approached me with a script he wanted to produce by Adam Cohen. The film was about two brothers – one of whom has Downs Syndrome

A friend of mine, Debbie Moon, has recently created and written a CBBC drama Wolfblood, and it has a really good male lead Bobby Lockwood so through Debbie I contacted him (through Twitter again) to see if he was interested in playing the lead in Brotherhood. He was really interested and I signed him up.

I went to the London Screenwriters Festival and on the second day I was having a coffee and this guy Stuart Fryer who has directed commercials and music videos, introduced himself and he said he was looking to go into drama. I sent him the script once I got back home and he sent me a treatment. I thought straight away that his vision for the film was perfect so I asked him to direct him.

He then brought on board his wife Charlotte Woodhead who is a commercials producer, she brought on a vast amount of experience and contacts which just gave us access to equipment and support that was incredible. She also brought Eileen Garstead to the film who has masses of experience filming in Manchester.

We then got Otto Baxter and Edward Ashley signed for the other roles.

It was a whole different world on Brotherhood with a large crew. We were filming in a student house and I was in the production office which was upstairs in the house. In the morning I went into the office and when I came down in the afternoon the design team had transformed this plain, stark, magnolia house into a family home. One day we were filming a party scene and the art department had done such a good job that one of the assistants thought a party had taken place and started clearing up.

My role was to deal with any problems, Charlotte was an incredible mentor to me and taught me so much, and was continually challenging me to push myself. I learned so much on that film. Legacy we filmed on an £800 budget. Brotherhood was a £10,000 budget.

What other projects are you working on now?
At the beginning of the year I began to develop an idea Broken Boys about homophobic bullying. It is Romeo and Juliet meets Neds. I’ve written the story and outline and an American writer who is currently resident in Wales Julie Grady Thomas is currently writing the script. It is Trebuchet Films first feature film. Trebuchet Films have also bought the rights to Ken Smith’s film Cowboys Can Fly, a coming of age drama and a homosexual love story, which takes you back to a simpler  time before computer games and playing on phones when children playing in the woods and playing cowboys and Indians .  I’ve also agreed to work with Stuart Fryer again who wants to make a horror film as his next project.  Some of the projects will be Trebuchet, some will be for other companies.

Legacy won the Audience Choice Award at Cardiff Mini Festival.

Robert Harper

Robert Harper

Robert Harper

Robert has always had an immense passion for radio, which began after receiving a Highly Commended award for his entry into the Carlton Hobbs competition in his last year of attending the Welsh College of Music Drama in ’94. During his first two years working in theatre and T.I.E. for companies such as Made In Wales and Theatr Iolo, he also worked hard at realising his dream of working for the BBC Radio Drama Company. A number of of roles in BBC Radio Wales productions ensued and then an audition for the RDC landed him a 12 month contract. That year gave him an amazing opportunity to work with numerous wonderful producers, writers and actors and to fully immerse himself in the medium of dramatic radio production.

He’s acted in over 200 radio plays and radio serials, a selection of which include Against The Grain, Aunt Julia and The Scriptwriter, Einstein In Cromer, People Like Us, The Tree of Liberty, War & Peace, Anna Karenina, and was also a lead character, Matt in BBC Wales radio soap opera Station Road.

Robert is also an experienced voice artist, having recorded commercials, computer games, TV narration, short stories, animation and much more for companies worldwide.

Not just a pretty voice, Robert has performed on TV in The Bench, Dirty Work, The Bill, and Tati’s Hotel, and in a number of Short Films and Features.

His theatre work includes the Corman/Grimes in Serious Money for Waking Exploits, the Duke in Measure for Measure, Launce in Two Genteleman of Verona, Séan Tyrone, Fragments of Ash, and can be seen this June/July in Invisible for Next Page Productions.

Robert is also co-founder of County Channel TV and Artistic Director of Bare Fiction, with which he is planning a national project for 2014.

In EarCandy he performs the roles of the King of the Ducks in Duck by Debbie Moon, Baz in The Extension by Carmel George, D in Cursed by Sandra Bendelow, Joe in Starlings by Sarah Taylor, The Man in Lost by Branwen Davies and PIP in Rules are Rules by Dean Scott.

What interested you about being involved in the EarCandy project?
I love acting in audio drama. Every time I get a whiff of a chance of performing for radio, the excitement and anticipation of the project courses through me. Having worked with Scriptography on play readings for some of the writers, it was an added bonus to be experiencing their work through a different medium. And it’s such an unusual project, with a dozen short pieces by different writers, offering a rare chance at playing a number of completely different characters.

Which was your favourite role to perform in EarCandy and why?
My favourite? That’s hard. The King of the Ducks was memorable because it was the first character of mine that we recorded, and obviously, during recording, we had a lot of fun playing the levels of duck noise within the speech. Of course, playing a bell has it’s challenges too, and I can’t wait to hear how Tom has incorporated my thoughts on the character into the soundscape. All of the roles were extremely enjoyable to play, due to the breadth of types, but the hardest was the man in Lost. Hard because of the emotion in the peace. It’s one of those terribly moving scripts that makes you cry when you’re reading it, so you have to overcome the feelings of the listener, and simply be true to the character you’re playing.

You have just been cast in an episode of Archers what does that mean to you as a radio actor?
It’s dream I’ve had for 20 years, since first becoming involved with radio drama, so of course I’m thrilled. I worked on radio drama in the same studio they use to use in BBC Pebble Mill, but this will be my first time in the new studio at the Mailbox. There’s something lovely things about the studio set up that I can’t wait to see, but it’ll be all over far too quickly. They can definitely expect me to keep knocking on the audio door for more.

You have done a vast amount of radio acting what is the strangest thing you’ve been asked to as a radio performance?
When I was a member of the BBC radio drama company in ’96, I was often asked to play characters with varying accents, and, thankfully, regularly lived up to the challenge. One time, producer Sally Avens came up to me in the drama office to talk about the serial of Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter. Sally asked me, quite calmly, “Can you do Spanish Chicago?”, to which my only possible reply was, “When by?”.

What other projects do you have coming up either as an actor or with your company Bare Fiction?
After the EarCandy launch I’m off to Birmingham to start rehearsals for a new play, Invisible by Liz John & Julia Wright, touring the Midlands. With Bare Fiction we are in the early stages of pre-production for a new play by Lisa Parry called Blood, which will also go on tour. And for 2014 and beyond, I’m planning a big new writing project to take new writing, Bare Fiction style, across the whole of the country with 40 Plays in 40 Nights.

The EarCandy plays are available to listen to at the EarCandy website.

An interview with Tracey Goddard and Julie Grady Thomas about their audio drama The Surge

Tracey Goddard

Tracey Goddard

Tell me about your play, what is it about and where did you get the idea?
TG: Our play is about a woman who surges awake from her coma.  I had the idea for a hospital radio play initially because there are so many good recognisable hospital sounds effects but I also this would be a good opportunity to explore a character’s inner thoughts rather than the spoken word.  I first heard the time ‘surge’ on a television drama and thought it was just a made up term until I researched it and found it to be real.  At writing for performance meeting one of the members also described a similar incident with a relative; this also spurred me on to explore the space between life and death.

This is your first time writing an audio drama, what were the differences in how you thought about finding an idea for an audio play?
TG: It’s different writing for radio because you have to think about sound first and foremost.  There is still a visual picture in your mind but all the time you’re thinking about how the sound is going to bring those pictures to life.  There is also the awareness that the picture in your mind will be very different to the ones conjured by the audience; so I try to keep the pictures fairly generic and simple.  By that I mean not over filling the space. A hospital room is easy; most people know what they look like and can picture them effortlessly.  But the other great thing about a hospital room is its sparseness, which means everything you bring into that space must have purpose i.e. set the scene or move the story forward, sometimes it’s both. 

Julie Grady-Thomas performs stand-up for the first time at Crash Test in November 2012

Julie Grady-Thomas performs stand-up for the first time at Crash Test in November 2012

How different did you find the writing process working on an audio play? Did you do anything differently?
JGT: I’m not entirely convinced the writing process itself is that much different to writing for a more visual medium. Rules of good storytelling still apply: format, structure, all the fun stuff. I do believe that writing for radio requires you to slightly alter your perception. Many of us are so used to describing things visually or relying on our sight for information. Obviously, with radio, you can’t do that. When I wrote my first audioplay, that very fact seemed more like a complete and total hindrance, a restriction, a massive roadblock. The difference for me was in giving up. I simply gave up trying to get around the visual dilemma and just embraced my other senses.
TG: Yes, writing for radio is just a little bit more involved, I find.  You have to think more carefully about how you tell the story, what words to use and how quickly or slowly you want the story to unfold.  Rhythm, pace and the power of silence also become important.  You have to create space to let the audience fill in the blanks.     

And what did you learn about writing an audio drama from the EarCandy project?
JGT: I learned that rhythm is not only your best friend, but your worst enemy.
TG: I remember thinking at the beginning this is an ambitious but exciting project and I was thrilled to be on board with it.  It has demonstrated that anything is possible and I feel really lucky to have been a part of it.  The group have been supportive and encouraging towards each other and it didn’t feel like the long upward battle the lonely writing process can sometimes be.

What was your favourite thing about writing for audio?
JGT: Writing is always fun for me. I’ve always loved it. But there’s something about writing for audio that is just pure play. Play with silence, with rhythm, with sequence, with sound…
TG: I like the idea that you can get inside someone’s personal space and almost whisper in their ear. It’s like having a private conversation.

What was your least favourite thing about writing for audio?
JGT: I’m going to sound like an utter control freak, but I guess it boils down to not being able to control the listener’s interpretation of the characters they hear. In film, I would be able to directly feed viewers the image of Sylvia, for example. But that ability to create and imagine on the listener’s part is what makes audio such a fantastic, interactive medium.
TG: I love writing for radio, it pushes you hard and makes you want to do better.  I find myself reaching for exactly the right word or phrase to describe exactly what I want which can make the editing process quite long.

Tell me about any other projects you are working on at the moment.
JGT: I’m very excited to be developing a webseries based on my stand-up comedy. If you’d like a sneak peak, just come out to the next Crash Test Dummies Scratch Night where I’ll be performing. And I’m also finishing up an independent feature, Broken Boys. It’s coming-of-age film that follows the unlikely coupling of two gay teens. It’s all about first love and what a gorgeous mess it can be; the raw power it has over us, the hurt it can create, the cuts, the scars, the beauty.
TG: At the moment I’m working on my final creative portfolio assignment for my Masters Scriptwriting degree.  It’s a family drama still in its early stages and I’m not yet sure if it will be a film or the start of a television series.

The Surge, a short audio drama by Tracey Goddard and Julie Grady Thomas is available to listen to at the EarCandy website



Interview with Lance the bulldozer

The Extension by Carmel George. Illustration by Boz Groden

The Extension by Carmel George. Illustration by Boz Groden

So, Lance, how long have you been driving a bulldozer?
Lance:   Fifteen years, more or less.

How does it feel, driving your bulldozer through someone’s home?
Lance:  If the truth be told, it makes me feel bad.

What do you mean, bad?
Lance: Well, take this guy Baz and his wanting to build an extension to his caravan; he’s not doing anyone any harm, is he? It’s just those nobs on Thatcher Estate, they don’t like anyone who’s different from them.

Lance: Yeah, you know, not the same class.

So, if you don’t approve of the Council, bulldozing people out of their homes, why are you still doing it?
Lance: Have you been done the job centre lately?  Cos, if you had, you’d see that there’s nothing out there for the likes of me. I’ve got a wife and two babbies to feed. I can’t afford let my principles get in the way.

What would you like to see happen, in Baz’ case?
Lance: I think he and his girlfriend should be left alone. I mean they’ve got a baby on the way, they don’t need all this hassle from the Council, do they? My motto is live and let live.

Right. So, you must have been pleased with the decision taken by Frank Fielding?
Lance: If he’s allowed to keep his promise. Those bastards at the Council, they don’t give a shit about people like us, they’re just a load of jobsworths!

So, what’s your next job Lance? 
Lance: Knocking down a mental care hostel, to make way for a new Tesco!

The Extension, an audio drama by Carmel George is available to listen to at the EarCandy website

Interview with Catrin Fflur Huws about The Constant Hunger of the Troll Under the Bridge

The Constant Hunger of the Troll Under the Bridge by Catrin Fflur Huws. Illustration by Boz Groden

The Constant Hunger of the Troll Under the Bridge by Catrin Fflur Huws. Illustration by Boz Groden

Tell me about your play, what is it about and where did you get the idea?
The Constant Hunger of the Troll Under the Bridge is about the surrender of the imagination to fear. Ariel is imaginative, but does not understand the fears of The Twins. I’m not sure where I got the idea to be honest. To Kill A Machine was very much a lightbulb moment – I was at Bletchley Park reading about Alan Turing’s life, and how he was convicted of gross indecency for homosexuality, then given female hormones, and then reading his work about ‘can the interrogator tell the difference between a man and a woman? ‘ and the play sprang from there. With this, it was more of a combination of things that interest me – I’m very fond of colours and how they work together, and I’m fascinated by ‘magic’ characters, characters from a slightly ‘other’ world who interact with the real world. There’s also the dilemma of imagination being free and unconstrained, against a need for security and certainty, which is something I think about a lot. The play was therefore a mixture of all of those things, and the product of messing about with different ideas – the first draft of this was about four coal miners in a mineshaft, so it’s changed quite a lot as I played about with ideas to see if any of them would go anywhere.

This is your first time writing a audio drama, what where the differences in how you thought about finding an idea for an audio play?
It was quite challenging in many ways. My experiences of theatre are in many ways quite classical. In Shakespeare for example, you have very few stage directions, so Richard III could be set in a flat in Haringey, or in a children’s playground or in fifteenth century Leicester or on a spaceship, and it’s a matter for the director to decide on the setting. Accordingly, having to have a clear idea of space was a new challenge – especially having to resist the temptation to respond to questions with ‘Dunno. Do What You Like.’ My acting experience has also influenced my writing – knowing that directors interpret stage directions very liberally. I was in a production of A Day in the Death of Joe Egg once. The stage directions there are very detailed – down to the fact that there is a fish in a tank in the living room. The idea of this is to convey Sheila’s fondness for everything that’s alive, but that the fact that the house is cluttered with this is also stifling. Some directors would take those stage directions very seriously, whereas others would say ‘the budget doesn’t stretch to a performing fish’ or ‘we can’t get the fish in the van’ if it’s a touring show, and convey Sheila’s affection and optimism in other ways. I also try to avoid writing specific characters – even down to gender, because I think then there’s scope for different productions to do different things – unless of course gender is an issue, as it was with To Kill A Machine. Again, the need to be very specific about who the characters are, was a challenge. That being said, it also provided a useful constraint – the story has to be told through the dialogue because there can be no visuals, which you can sometimes forget in theatre.

How different did you find the writing process working on an audio play? Did you do anything differently?
There are some things that are the same of course. Characters, dialogue, the structure of the plot are all as important. There are also similarities in the writing process – the realisation that the first draft is not the final version – it’s more the opportunity to get to know the characters before you write the first draft of what the story will be. However, there are differences. There is a need to consider different voices. I assumed that that meant pitch, register, accent, but it’s also about viewpoint. With theatre, you can have more shared viewpoints or gangs of viewpoints – the parents in Romeo and Juliet are a good example – although they are on opposing sides, their point of view is broadly similar. With radio, there is a need for the viewpoints to be different because you can’t see the visual cues, such as the fact that the Montagues wear the blue hats and the Capulets wear the red hats. The fact that sound can also be a ‘character’ was also an interesting insight – the broken saucer in The Constant Hunger of the Troll Under the Bridge for example would be lost on stage. There’s more that I probably should have done differently – the possibility of using sound as a character, and thinking about the sounds more is something I’ve definitely become more conscious of.

What did you learn about writing an audio drama from the EarCandy project?
Blimey – lots. It challenged my assumptions. I think with theatre, especially contemporary theatre, there is an assumption that it is like film – that you can show a lot without needing to say it. That’s true to an extent, but the story has also got to be told through the dialogue because in a massive auditorium, the actors are going to be tiny-wee, so the audience can’t see the action, and can’t be directed to look at the right thing in the way that they can in film – they might be looking at the little fat spear wielder on the left, when they’re meant to be looking at the King’s askance look on the right. Accordingly, the importance of dialogue was something I’ve learned a lot about – you can’t shy away from the fact that the dialogue has got to tell the story.

What was your favourite thing about writing for audio?
I think it’s the fact that I learned something new. I think it gives you the opportunity to be much freer, so if you want to have non-human characters, there’s a lot more scope for it with radio. You can change setting far more easily in a way that you can’t do with theatre. With the underwater scene in The Constant Hunger of the Troll Under the Bridge, you couldn’t do that in a theatre because I imagine it’s very difficult to act when you actually have to be dripping wet, whereas with radio you can just sound dripping wet, and you can be bone dry by the next scene, without having to write in a comedy furniture moving scene in order to cover the fact that someone backstage has to blast the actor with a hairdryer. I like the fact that there’s a constraint to it as well – it forces you to think a bit differently, and not do things the easy way because the audience can’t see it. That’s always useful – having to find new channels for your creativity.

What was your least favourite thing about writing for audio?
I found the specificity to be quite challenging – there was much more of an emphasis on envisioning it, which I found tricky because part of me thinks ‘how do I know what you’re imagining? Imagine it how you want it to be.’ But part of me realises that that might actually be a bit lazy – perhaps as a writer I do need to paint a better picture for the listener, and that perhaps I’m not working hard enough on visualising the situation. So, realising that there are things that I am wrong about is rather galling.

Tell me about any other projects you are working on at the moment
Oh, too many things. First off, there’s altering To Kill A Machine for a full production in 2014. That’s hard because I like it as it is. I know there are things that need to be changed – I accept that, but it’s nevertheless difficult to take it apart in order to make it better. I’m also working on a Hammer Horror pastiche for Castaway Community Theatre’s summer show. That’s fun – it’s good to write for a big cast, and it also gives me the opportunity to write what I enjoy, which is gender neutral characters. The thing with Community Theatre, you can’t write a play and then pick and choose ‘a man in his twenties’ or ‘a forty year old woman’ – it’s got to be something that can accommodate whoever decides to be in the show, so you can’t do an all-female play if half your cast is male. It’s currently at the stage where I know what’s wrong with it, and it seems like a lot, so there’s a sense of having to be brave and grappling with it even though my inherent inertia is being a whining child who’s saying ‘oh but I can’t. It’s hard…’ I’ve also got a Welsh play called Plentyn y Tylwyth which I worked on for Sherman Cymru’s Gair Ar Led project. That’s in what I call the dream stage at the moment – I am juggling with it in the back of my mind until I go back and finish it. I’m also working on a play called The Rock. This was a play I wrote for Scriptography’s Playpen project, and I’m working on developing it as an animation, with the possibility of adapting it for a younger audience or an adult audience. Animation is a multilingual medium, so again, there’s going to be an adaptation into Welsh. Then there’s a Welsh version of To Kill A Machine. I’ve got this notion that Welsh doesn’t do innuendo in the way that English does. Therefore in scenes like the one where the Interrogator recruits Alan to work at Bletchley, there is an undercurrent there that’s quite threatening despite being very polite, and I don’t think that would work in the same way in Welsh because that kind of doublespeak isn’t so prevalent – or it works in a different way.

Catrin Fflur Huws new audio drama The Constant Hunger of the Troll under the Bridge is part of the EarCandy project produced by Scriptography Productions.  You can listen to the play here

Follow news of the project www.facebook.com/earcandyaudiodrama or @earcandy_plays

Interview with Dean Scott about his audio drama Rules are Rules

Dean ScottTell me about your play, what is it about and where did you get the idea?
Rules are Rules is set in the not-to-distant future. One night a woman is about to give birth, but she’s experiencing problems. When the ambulance fails to turn up it is up to her boyfriend to drive to the hospital. They get in the car to go when a computer installed by their insurance company refuses to allow the car to start as the driver is over the drink drive limit. It’s then a battle between man and computer and a race against time to get to the hospital.

The idea behind it is that I wanted to look at problems that can arise between us and technology when technology is taken to the extreme. At the time I wrote Rules are Rules Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror was on Channel 4, which I loved, and I was very much inspired by the similar themes that show dealt with.

What where the differences in how you thought about finding an idea for an audio play?When thinking of ideas for my audio play I knew I wanted to make full use of the medium, so coming up with the idea involved me thinking of interesting ways to use sound. One thing I thought always sounds great and something I’ve wanted to use for a long time was that classic talking computer voice like the one in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Once I knew I wanted to do something with computer voices the rest of the play just fell into place.

How different did you find the writing process working on an audio play? Did you do anything differently?
The big difference from writing for the screen and writing for radio is thinking about how to tell your story using only sound. You have to find ways of creating visual pictures in the imagination of the listener using sound, which is great fun. I found that to be the biggest difference. The rest of my process was fairly similar: coming up with characters, developing the story, creating an outline, and then writing the script.

What did you learn about writing an audio drama from the EarCandy project?
The main think I learnt when writing for EarCandy was to let my imagination run wild, you can do anything on radio that on television would be either impossible or extremely expensive. I also learnt how to tell visual stories using sound.

What was your favourite thing about writing for audio?
My favourite thing about writing for audio is that you can write almost anything you like without having to worry about budget or practicality. I love the fact that you can write a story set on the bottom of the deepest darkest depths of the sea, and it will be just as easy to produce as a story set on the seaside.

What was your least favourite thing about writing for audio?
I love writing for audio, there is nothing about it I don’t like!

Tell me about any other projects you are working on at the moment.
I’m currently working on a full length radio play set in the spooky abandoned tunnels of the London Underground. I’m also working on a television series about crime and politics in Wales. I’m writing a historical horror film set in 1800’s South Wales, and am developing a number of high concept film ideas.

Dean Scott’s new audio drama Rules are Rules is part of the EarCandy project produced by Scriptography Productions.  You can listen to the play here

Follow news of the project www.facebook.com/earcandyaudiodrama or @earcandy_plays