You Can’t Say That Again!

As we head in to the on air replays of a remastered Ep1 tomorrow and finalise the scripts for S2 I thought again of some of the inspirations for the Whoniverse. It began all those years ago with an australian script writer in the shadow of a possible nuclear war, with themes of child welfare, tribal conflict over technological advantage and aired the day after the assassination of president JFK.

Science fiction is a perfect medium to explore uncomfortable themes lightly for our general audience, without making fun of it.  G rated being free to air, no visually graphic content. Radio gives us a lot of freedom and an unlimited wardrobe budget ( yay!)  The corny fantasy aspects work in our favour here – no one is going to take it too seriously  … and yet…

12662528_546702162168677_6253121898270132284_nTropes burned into the collective consciousness

Adam the chief script writer is rather young and living in the lucky country. He is of the generation of australians who are not convicts, refugees of war or bad economics, and yet those themes will be threaded throughout.  In production EP1 working title was Terror of France since it is set in the Napoleonic era but before it hit the airwaves Paris was rocked by the first of a string of terrorist attacks! So it was a rapidly renamed Citizen of Gallifrey pts 1-4 (because titles are just hard ok?)

Terry the companion is accidentally shoved into the dangerous universe from his comfy hipster lifestyle. Unlike the usual BBC companions he’s neither courageous nor particularly bright, although he has a handy knowledge of what the actor Michael Rutter calls ‘pub facts’. But by ep8 I had him step up, up meaning a whole 93 floors, and help unite two economically divided races. The currency is water – the currency that literally underlies the conflict in the Gaza strip which sits over an aquifer.

 What would Terry say?

Actually I think we only continue to teach Shakespeare at school so the generations have some common ground other than today’s weather. ‘Miles’ is still ok with millenials as ‘kilometres does not roll lightly off the tongue’, but ‘acres’ is largely out. So ‘miles of redbrick roofs’ it is.

A doctor who can say what she wants?

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season 2 means a new frock!

and then there is the whole fanfic thing of what does and does not upset auntie. I joined up to this production to have a go at script writing but also because i was INCENSED at the ageism and ownership of imagination that some people think the word copyright implies. Free speech is bandwith worth fighting for. So BBC freely broadcast into your home, set out to inspire young minds, and literally ‘capture’ their imagination. After making a false sense of friendship blossom, suddenly ‘auntie’ closes the trap on your 18 yo brain and shackles you to you can’t say/write/share that unless we give you permissions or you cross our greedy palms with silver?  Before that…yeah we would love you to use a T’ardis in your school play – teachers please contact us? Not on my watch. Ironic video of Peter Capaldi talking to a young fan at comic con -ahh how much the world has changed now Auntie has to deal with a facebook enabled parent observing.

Back when i was homeschooling, Auntie wanted to charge someink like AUD $66 before postage for a vhs tape of the RI Christmas lectures – a series inaugurated by Michael Faraday as  FREE public lecture. Meanwhile across the pond the HHMI foundation streamed their xmas lectures from the web or posted out a CD for nothing. Cue incensed letter to the RI followed by a sudden appearance of a benefactor and the free streaming, $6 CD at their institution too. So i thought we could have at least one grammatical use of the word doctor immediately followed by the word ‘who’ hidden in every script and perhaps a doctor who saves the world with a strongly worded letter to the editor … listen for them 😛
https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/gDW4VUkvEfE?rel=0

Get ready for the Nixi!

Episode 7 The vortex of the Nix pt 1 premiering on  October 30th World Audio Drama Day

Goodness! How happy a coincidence is that – on a day celebrating THE radio drama show of shows – Orson Well’s War of the Worlds broadcast. Hard science crossed with heroes and monsters, all set within the worldly concerns of our everyday life experience – isn’t that what science fiction is all about?

Spoiler alert

The Nixi are a product of a brainstorming session at the Deloraine craft fair a year ago with some members of Deloraine nanomo write-in group – in a faerie shop no less.  All I had at the time was Adam’s brief to crash the Doc and her stowaway into a waterworld and my idea to bring some cutting edge hard science- the Electric universe, into two 15 min episodes. Brain cells supported by coffee and cake and good company came up with rat like race of scavengers who live on the desert world of Nix, and have a unique sound. They go “nixixixix ” They are bipedal man sized creatures insulated with thick scales that can also cover their eyes and ears when needed. Rather like certain knights who say ni! but lacking a shrubbery 🙂 Cue the coloured pencils and young Bridgette Ewings created Pelham the Brobrean seamonster  for us as the plotline started to unfurl like this –

( It sounds amazing btw his voice is also a whiteboard marker! see the credits below) Then just integrate huge tech info dump into the crayola somehow.

Wouldn’t it all be easier with a picture? image courtesy of Claire Stribbles Photography

clair-stribbles
the lavender seas of Brobree performed by  Aurora Australis and the waves of Smygehuk Sweden

No historical characters were harmed in the making of this play

Our producer was at first rather horrified at the disparagement of Einstein’s work – after all time travel, big bangs and blackholes abound in the fictional world of the Doctor. Luckily we don’t have to budge the ultra massive bulk of academia to shift science fiction plots to the next level and leave some of our old tropes behind -that’s the fun of writing near future hard scifi. The science of electrically structured water that is used by the Brobreans to build their Dome is real enough, as is the Birkeland Current, Safire  and Wallace Thornhill ( with his permission of course! ) – although he hasn’t invented a flux ‘capacitator’ ….. yet…… http://www.thespaceshow.com/show/16-aug-2016/broadcast-2759-wal-thornhill

CREDITS  see https://thedoctorsaudioadventures.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/story-details-3-the-doctor-ytbt/

Credits for sound effects on Episode 7 Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 0, 3 or 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Mixing Audio 101

 “See 1 do 1 teach 1”

A quick behind the scenes look at how we take our voice actors onto alien worlds. Did we mention we are all amatuers and volunteers?

rowena-d Firstly the lines are recorded by Adam Brooks the director with the actors in studios at City Park Radio Launceston using Audacity. Audacity is an audio editing program that’s completely free which I found useful for recording streaming audio lectures broadcast at inconvenient o’clock  so I could play them back later. Download it here for mac pc linux audacityteam.org   It’s quicker and easiest to do each actor separately, in case they fluff their lines and its very flexible – there are no rehearsals needed, it fits in with everyone’s busy schedules, minor changes to the script are often made on the fly with several versions recorded. And it allows collaboration at a distance. With a  very quiet room and a good microphone Terry’s lines are recorded at his home on video and then the audio is stripped off and shipped thru cyberspace to be pasted together with the rest by Adam. Use the free VLC media player to do this by simply converting video to a pure audio format audacity understands like OGG Vorbis or mp3 ( the conversion tool is in the media tab).

“sleep is for the weak”

Next we optimize the voices following the basic algorithm of this youtube tute https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYF5ytMDFpA – maybe a bit of treble boost for the females, both bass and treble for the blokes and a pitch shift for Izzy. For the aliens a few more effects are applied over whatever accent our vocal talent Brooke Maloy has come up with.

izzy-phaser-settings
eg. Trevor edited Brooke’s Izzy voice on episode 6 with these settings
inside the type 40 Questr time machine
inside the type 40 Questr time machine

To get them aboard the Questr the sound effect “reverb” using the preset “voice II” is applied to the appropriate sections of the vocal track. The pre-recorded background hum is then imported onto a separate track to the vocals. Next any other sound effects or music are added – either cut into the vocal track, or layered as more separate tracks with their volume lowered by the envelope tool when someone is speaking so as not to overwhelm the storyline – see  this tute  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXfVKSx7WtY  by Alan Levine who teaches aspects of it as part of an open online course in Digital Storytelling called DS106 http://ds106.us/open-course/ based on previous syllabi taught at the University of Mary Washington. These guys are funny, the community is great btw. If we get time we then compress and normalise the volume.

kevin_macleod_1
a creative commoner 🙂

If we didn’t foley them ourselves, the sound effects come from a variety of creative commons licensed sources – mostly freesound.org . The full attribution is listed on each episode page. The cinematic soundscapes are from the generous folk at machinimasound.com and Kevin MacLeod who is responsible for a mass of free youtube scores incompetech.com

Lastly the lot is exported as a .wav file for broadcast later at City Park in the good old fashioned way over the airwaves.

PS to save youtube tutes for offline viewing i use http://www.converttoaudio.com/

time-table season 1 broadcasts

Broadcasting live from city park radio 103.7fm Launceston Tasmania Australia, or on the internet live stream

*note all times are Australian eastern standard time

Don’t worry if you miss an episode they will be hosted here on our site so you can listen any time after the repeats finish on cityparkradio.com

Season 1 2016

1 The Doctor, Citizen of Gallifrey episode 1

Sunday 18/9 10:30am Wednesday 21/9 1:30pm Thursday 22/9 6:15pm Saturday 24/9 3:30pm

2 The Doctor, Citizen of Gallifrey episode 2

Sunday 25/9 10:30am Wednesday 28/9 1:30pm Thursday 29/9 6:15pm Saturday 1/10 3:30pm

3 The Doctor, Citizen of Gallifrey episode 3

Sunday 2/10 10:30am Wednesday 5/10 1:30pm Thursday 6/10 6:15pm Saturday 8/10 3:30pm

4 The Doctor, Citizen of Gallifrey episode 4

Sunday 9/10 10:30am Wednesday 12/10 1:30pm Thursday 13/10 6:15pm Saturday 15/10 3:30pm

5 The Doctor & the Planet of Origin episode 1

Sunday 16/10 10:30am Wednesday 19/10 1:30pm Thursday 20/10 6:15pm Saturday 22/10 3:30pm

6 The Doctor & the Planet of Origin episode 2

Sunday 23/10 10:30am Wednesday 26/10 1:30pm Thursday 27/10 6:15pm Saturday 29/10 3:30pm

7 The Doctor & the Vortex of the Nix episode 1

Sunday 30/10 10:30am Wednesday 2/11 1:30pm Thursday 3/11 6:15pm Saturday 5/11 3:30pm

8 The Doctor & the Vortex of the Nix episode 2

Sunday 6/11 10:30am Wednesday 9/11 1:30pm Thursday 10/11 6:15pm Saturday 12/11 3:30pm

episode upload date

as anounced on an erlyer post, today the upload date is to be revealed and on the facebook and on this site the first episode will be uploaded on Monday 19th September at around 4pm australian eastern standard time, each episode shall be uploaded weekly around the same day and time

reward

I can hardly believe we have been going at this for over a year thanks to everyone who works hard and those that support us all your patience and hard work will play off and be rewarded

grain of salt

so I got my monthly news letter from city park radio and on it states that upon confirmation the episodes will start on Sunday the 18th I want to strees about the fact that the confirmation has yet to happen, so take this with a grain of salt until confirmation

production values

when this goes to air i want people to realise how many hours we all put into it and understand that the production values that can be achieved by a community of volunteers ran program, the time constraits thre in and the fact that none of us have done this sort of production work before, so if something isn’t as good as what you think, be my guest to try and orginise your own episodes

mis-calculation

the NTFA leauge finishes on Sunday the 3rd of Sept this means we could possibly broudcast on Monday the 4th of Sept, how-ever it seems i mis-calculated on a post earlyer saying the latest we could go to air is Monday the 19th of Sept well its actuly Monday the 26th of Sept (1 week later/7 days)

re-orginising episodes

i was thinking abot abit of swiching arund on stories for season 2, i was thinking of moving story 8 to story 6’s slot, and either moving the fomer story 6 to 8’s slot or moving it into season 3 and using one of the stories that has been so healy reqested into 8’s slot, what do you guys think

ideas & listenership

the ideas keep coming and thats great but, the question is is it going to draw in and keeep listeners, on the first point yes i belive doing some of these ideas in stories will certinly bring people who are interested in those type of ideas in for those episodes, however its hard to say that they’d stay unless we kept offfering those ideas, yet we need to try other ideas to get other people who have other intrests, pluss we want to be original not juast doing stuff like things that have alreaddy been done

cross-over mania

a host of ideas floded in regarding cross-overs this week including several seral ideas where we do something like ‘xyz’ eg. have a story like i-robot or a.i where robots are taking over. eg2. have a story where humans are becoming more and more cybernetic like in blade runner. eg3. have a story like alien or preditor

charicter info i.s-bot

Inteligent srvice robot aka I.s-bot or izzy is a small 2ft tall robot that looks rather child-like, izzy was bult by the timelords to service their time machines, izzy travels with the doctor assisting in her adventures, izzy can change out many of its parts and has many fnctions, including flying feture, tenticle feture, swimming and diving features and many more