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  • 0
    Modernsoundling

    From a post on Modern Soundling:

    The World Service Archive Project, released in beta testing recently, is an earth shattering occurrence. It really is huge. We're close to a tipping point for radio drama. But something is missing. A foundation.


    As a professional writer who lives in a world of nonprofit foundations and arts organizations (I work for the largest arts organization in non-metropolitan New York), I've had the chance to observe them in action.


    They raise money. They work to boost, enrich and preserve whatever their speciality is. They spread the message. They champion. They protect.


    Radio drama has no such institution. It may be the only major artistic medium that doesn't have an incorporated cheerleader. And think of the medium's l…



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  • 0
    Modernsoundling

    From a post on Soundling Modern Soundling

    Part Two of my series discussing radio adaptations of Mervyn Peake.  

    Part One Can be found here.   

    This was a more difficult task than I had anticipated. I found that, in trying to juggle in my mind the multiple audio adaptations and the original source material, it was nearly impossible to clearly refer to the language and keep it in mind without a text in front of me. Something about the very medium makes that a challenge, particularly when discussing works of such length. I took as many notes as I could throughout the listening.

    The two plays (Titus Groan and Gormenghast) form the 1984 BBC adaptation of Mervyn Peake's novels. But only the first two. Rock star Sting was a big fan of the novels, and as …

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  • 1
    Modernsoundling

    From a post on Modern Soundling:

    Gormenghast is a good candidate for audio adaptation. It has been adapted three times – first by the ABC in 1983, and then twice by the BBC. There was also a four-hour TV version in 2000.

    I chose this series because I wanted to examine a narrative that exists in multiple mediums. That's the best way to analyze adaptation techniques. An especially good candidate would be the Sherlock Holmes stories, which have undergone countless adaptations over the years, in every medium possible. But though I do love Holmes (especially the BBC radio series with Clive Merrison), the Peake material is a bit richer.

    The ABC radio version of the Gormenghast Trilogy was adapted by Michael le Moignan and Larry Lucas, with producti…

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  • 0
    Modernsoundling

    From a post on Modern Soundling

    The BBC recently changed the names of their radio drama time slots. Instead of Afternoon Play, the name will be Afternoon Drama, and so on. They have replaced “play” with “drama” across the board.

    This presents a conundrum at the Audio Drama Wiki. Early on, we decided that every parcel of drama would be referred to as a “play,” in the same way that an album and a song are both considered “music” - we needed a name to cover all of these similar things. For an encyclopedia, this is particularly necessary. Half the battle is classification. In the way information is organized lies the philosophy and intention behind the effort.

    The theatrical origins of radio drama bequeath to us the terminology of the theatre. I …

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  • 0
    Modernsoundling

    From a post on Modern Soundling:

    I'm a bit disappointed that the BBC didn't broadcast the first annual BBC Audio Drama Awards. Not that the ceremony would have been terribly exciting on its own, but a bunch of nerds who belong to a subculture can have a party about anything. And make it work. I once had a party to fix the busted backlight of my laptop, in the dark days before I switched to Mac. On New Years Eve, my friends and I threw a cider tasting party and evaluated 19 ciders from all over the world (including three of my own) and evaluated them on the 100-point wine scale. It's an excellent way not only to transmit enthusiasm about a subject to others, but also to build long-term emotional connections to things (like cider and radio dr…

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  • 0
    Modernsoundling

    From a post on Modern Soundling.

    On Sunday, the BBC will hold its first ever BBC Audio Drama Awards in London. What took them so long?

    As someone who's actually lived in Hollywood, I know the importance of the Oscars. It's literally a holiday.. Anyone who shows up to work that day is there for the singular purpose of entering the Oscar pool. Here's the trick – just pick all the ones that Entertainment Weekly picks. They're usually right. Don't be like me and vote for the production with the most amusing title, or you will forever curse The Story of the Weeping Camel.

    The Academy Awards were founded for one purpose that wasn't, and still isn't, about recognizing excellence. They shell out the big bucks to sell a product. Some people bemoan how …

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  • 0
    Modernsoundling

    Adaptation

    January 13, 2012 by Modernsoundling

    From a post on Modern Soundling

    In the next few weeks, I'll be delving into the world of Gormenghast. The poet, artist, and novelist Mervyn Peake created this world in three books: Titus Groan, Gormenghast, and Titus Alone. Brian Sibley recently dramatized the whole series for the BBC, including a new book by Peake's widow Maeve Gilmore, continuing the story. [1]



    But what happens when one cultural work is transferred into another medium? It happens very often. The two terms used are adaptation and dramatization. I'm not sure if these two terms mean the same thing, or contain distinctions. In the Audio Drama Wiki, we label everything a “dramatization” that is a radio version of a thing from a different medium. I chose the term arbitrarily.

    Stage play…



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  • 0
    Modernsoundling

    From a post on the blog Modern SoundlingBritish Radio Drama

    edited by
    John Drakakis

    One of the few collections of academic essays on the subject at hand, British Radio Drama is an essential book for the extended radio drama library. It's not the whole story, it's not definitive, and it's not up to date. But it covers some important topics that receive little attention elsewhere.

    John Drakakis, the editor, wrote a good history of the medium in his introduction. There are essays on Henry Reed, Louis MacNeice, Giles Cooper, Dylan Thomas, Susan Hill, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Samuel Beckett. The last chapter, entitled “British radio drama since 1960” mentions Rhys Adrian, R.C. Scriven, Don Haworth, and a few others.

    Perhaps the most useful aspect of th…


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  • 5
    Modernsoundling

    The Real Version?

    December 20, 2011 by Modernsoundling

    From a post on the blog Modern Soundling.

    Authorial primacy is a question that crops up from time to time in media theory. My film studies classes were filled with it. They were also filled with nasal grad students performing pretentious, sprawled monologues. Never ask a film studies class a question, you will want to lightly slap them.

    Who is the author? That's the question. There are a few divergent schools of thought. In film, the most well known is the auteur theory – the director as the prime author of a film-text, imbuing a movie with meaning and intention below the surface of the narrative.

    Another track you can take is the “audience as author.” That's the idea that the meaning doesn't rest within the cultural object being consumed, bu…

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  • 3
    Modernsoundling

    The Citizen Kane of Radio Drama, from a post on Modern Soundling

    In a previous post, I discussed how Orson Welles' War of the Worlds isn't all that great. It got me thinking about what was.

    In film, we have Citizen Kane as a benchmark in a variety of different ways, and the greatness of Kane is a topic that comes up frequently. In radio, however, I wasn't sure what play would be the equivalent. Now, some people say pshaw to the whole concept, but I say pshaw to them. It's an interesting exploration of the medium we love, and to be able to define and express ourselves about the medium is a useful exercise. So - what is the Citizen Kane of radio drama?

    First we have to look at Citizen Kane. There's a reason why Kane sits atop the lists as the “greatest …

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  • 0
    Modernsoundling

    From a post on Modern Soundling


    As a Mac user, the death of Steve Jobs is particularly cutting. Recent tributes focus on his technical innovations, on the computer interfaces and advancements that made his products particularly effective. And that's all true. But underlying his achievements is a fundamental dedication to two principles: organization and experience.

    The things in our lives can be arranged in many different ways, and those ways have a significant impact on how we live our lives. The organization can make or break the experience. Not just the physical and mental tasks, but the physical and mental states that accompany those tasks. The culture Jobs created at Apple focused on the experience.

    What is the audio drama experience?

    If w…


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  • 0
    Modernsoundling

    Judging audio plays by their covers.

    from a post on Modern Soundling

    I can judge a book by it's cover. You've probably done it, too. It can be a surprisingly accurate judgement. What we don't do often enough is judge radio plays the same way.

    One of my passions is collecting vinyl records. Not for the sake of the vinyl, which, let me add, is not a superior medium for sound reproduction, despite what the hipsters say. I love the covers, the poster-sized photos and paintings, the fonts, the track lists, the worn spines, the tactile sensory experience. The covers of LPs suggest worlds that I want to immerse myself in, emotions I want to feel, messages I want to receive. They are invitations. Like the dust jackets and covers of books, album covers …

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  • 2
    Modernsoundling

    From a post on Modern Soundling

    Dear Americans – please stop talking about Orson Welles. At least in regards to radio drama. Don't get me wrong, I love the guy, there is no filmmaker I admire more, or have studied as deeply and obsessively as Orson Welles. But he was a filmmaker,not a radio dramatist. He called himself a filmmaker and wanted to be known as a filmmaker. He's certainly my favorite.

    He seemed to recall his radio days with fondness, but it was not The War of the Worlds that he was most proud of, or The Shadow or The Mercury Theater of the Air. His radio career afforded him great success, and allowed him to launch a career in Hollywood. But radio was always a means to an end – a means to fund his experimental theater, a means to achiev…

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  • 1
    Modernsoundling

    From a post on Modern Soundling: There is so much audio content out there, and it is so difficult to find out about it. There are several resources that help, but there's no one place to go for answers. Developing an understanding of the medium in terms of what's out there and who's doing it is fundamental to developing and maintaining an audience.

    The BBC does not maintain, to my knowledge, a database about their radio output. If they do, it's not accessible to the public. Sure, there are listings on their web site, but these are confusing and far from comprehensive. Wikipedia has some information on radio plays, but most of the information we're talking about falls outside Wikipedia parameters, particularly with regards to notability. For…

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  • 0
    Modernsoundling

    From a post on Modern Soundling I recently returned from a Doctor Who convention. In addition to being fun, it was also instructive in terms of how fans of cultural content interact with each other and share their interests. There are useful parallels between Doctor Who, (the long running BBC scifi TV show) and radio drama.

    Television used to be like radio. In the early 1960's, when Doctor Who premiered, video tape was extremely expensive. Programs were shot “live to tape,” for broadcast. After the episode aired, they were copied onto film to sell overseas and then erased. The tape stock was then reused. Because the BBC had no archive mandate in its charter, and because the concept of repeats, syndication, and home video did not exist, many…

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  • 2
    Modernsoundling

    From a post on Modern Soundling

    These days, the internet is the most essential means of distributing audio drama. And that’s great – it’s cheap and cost effective, it can integrate the audio with text and information providing background and additional context for the production. But something else happens when people distribute audio drama on the internet. They create confusion.

    As my earlier post discussed, audio drama is ephemeral. By its very nature it doesn’t have a physical body to inhabit. It’s like a weird alien ghost, roaming the galaxy in search of a mind to take over. So when people present audio drama online, they need to do so in a way that allows that weird alien ghost to beam into people’s brains in the most efficient way poss…

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  • 0
    Modernsoundling

    Restless Eyes

    April 29, 2011 by Modernsoundling

    From a post on Modern Soundling

    What Do You Look at When Listening to Audio Drama?

    You've probably encountered this problem before. The awkward presence of eyes, your eyes, sensory organs constantly feasting on the rich input of the world surrounding.

    What do you do? You are listening to a radio play, but your body is primed to engage visually, as it is accustomed. You aren't used to this, this imagery from within. While reading, your eyes are occupied, so busy consuming words that you can forget that they are translating text into narrative. With audio drama, your eyes have nothing to do but look around and try to distract you.

    What do you look at?

    Close your eyes, and you might fall asleep. Instead you choose to keep them open as the story ta…

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  • 1
    Modernsoundling

    From a post on Modern Soundling:

    Audio drama is by nature an ephemeral medium. Radio broadcasts are even moreso. Because of a lack of physical presence in peoples’ lives, it is difficult to share it with others. One of the greatest mistakes that audio drama producers have made over the years is underestimating the importance of the way in which people socialize with audio drama. It’s an individual experience. That’s not a bad thing, in fact, it’s something that makes the medium so special. It is very intimate and individualized. But it’s hard to transmit that to other people. And it’s difficult to see audio drama. Not in the sense that it’s difficult to look at. I mean in the sense that it is difficult to see that audio drama is happening in t…

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