White Noise

•May 8, 2013 • Leave a Comment

We had our Science Fiction Showcase on Saturday May 4th and very soon George Maddocks will be posting a blog about the whole experience. In the meantime, we thought we’d show you our short film WHITE NOISE.

This was our entry for the Sci-Fi 48 Hour Film Challenge and was our first fictional short film. We had a ball making it and are thrilled with the outcome. Please do check it out and if you like it, tell your friends!

http://www.wiredupmedia.co.uk

Advertisements

Wells, Welles and Wireless by Robert Valentine

•April 22, 2013 • Leave a Comment

This OctobHorsell Commoner, it will be seventy-five years since Orson Welles’s ground-breaking production of The War of the Worlds sent credulous listeners scurrying for the hills. To commemorate this legendary radio landmark, Aural Stage Studios, CONvergence, Radio Drama Revival and iZotope have organised a competition inviting audio producers to pay homage to what is undoubtedly the most infamous radio production of all time. The competition parameters are as follows: the maximum length for submissions is fifteen minutes, and must include arrival inside a meteorite, tripods used for locomotion, massive destruction and a natural biological solution. Needless to say, it was an offer we couldn’t refuse.

As a Surrey boy, I grew up in the part of the country most ravaged by Wells’s Martian invaders. They only landed a short drive from me, not far outside Woking at the sandpits of Horsell Common, and went on to quickly heat-ray and black-smoke their merciless, three-legged way towards London. So it was then, on Saturday 20th April 2013, that a small and enthusiastic cast and crew led by director George Maddocks made its way to the spot where the first cylinder landed back in 1898. The area is still a Mecca for a certain kind of sci-fi fan, and we were all incredibly excited by the idea of staging our on-location recording right there wheWar Of The Worldsre it all happened. Okay, so maybe the microphones wouldn’t pick it up, but hopefully some of the magic would rub off on us.

At the tail-end of the 19th century, of course, the British Empire ruled the waves and it made complete sense for an alien invasion force to land in the commuter-belt and from there strike at London, the Earth capital. By 1938, New York was very much the obvious target if you wanted to take over the world. Interestingly in Welles’s version, the story is set in a ‘not-so-distant future’ in which the tensions across the pond in Europe did not in the end lead to the start of World War Two. In 2013, however, it’s fair to assume that the Martians would attempt a simultaneous strike across the globe in order the crush all human military resistance. The Martian modus operandi necessarily changes with our own, and its probable to assume tHorseelhat in this day and age ‘shock and awe’ would be their strategy. They are us at our worst, after all, and I think that this is the true secret of the story’s power. The War of the Worlds is a cautionary tale in which invaders from Mars give the Earth’s reigning superpower a taste of its own brutal medicine, and in which we are reminded that mankind’s dominance of the planet is an illusion. By the time Orson came to do his version of the story, H.G. already considered it badly dated, but time has shown that while media may change and the baton of global dominance may pass between nations, the lessons of the novel are as important as ever.

DEAD LONDON: WAR OF THE WORLDS by Gareth Parker and Robert Valentine, is premièring at The Lost Theatre as part of the Wireless Theatre Company’s Sci-Fi Month Showcase on 4th May, 2013 at The LOST Theatre, London. Tickets on sale HERE – only £5!

http://www.wirelesstheatrecompany.co.uk/index.php/our-plays
http://waroftheworlds75.com/

What The Dickens Magazine

•March 26, 2013 • Leave a Comment

What The DickensContinued…

Continued...

The Saint Valentine’s Day Murder – On Stage!

•February 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Back in 2011 we recorded a brilliant new comedy, live at The New Diorama Theatre. The critics and audience loved it:

“Brilliantly written, directed and acted, and very very funny.’ – Fringe Report

‘Superbly written, it fizzed with sharp and imaginative one-liners’ – Remote Goat

In fact, the play was so loved and is so popular on the WTC website (download it HERE) that it’s now been made into a full stage show by Newgate Productions  and will take place at The LOST Theatre (Vauxhall) on the 14th, 15th an 16th February. This is a show not to be missed – so if you are looking for something a bit different for your loved one, or you’re entirely Bah Humbug to the whole idea of Valentine’s Day – this is the play for you. Get your tickets HERE and we’ll see you there (there’s a brilliant bar to have drinks after as well!).

Here are some great rehearsal shots of the show:

George and Le Poulet

Matthew Woodcock and Kevin Haney as Jean Pierre Le Poulet and George Chapman

Kosminski & Le Poulet

Laura Marshall as Kosminski

Florrie & George 2

Ceri Gifford as Florrie and Kevin Haney as George

Michelle & George

Claire Suarez as Michelle and Kevin Haney as George

Joan & Le Poulet 2

Jade Allen as Joan Pizer and Matthew Woodcock as the detective

Davis & James

Writer/director Peter Davis (who also plays William Gull) chats with Mike Garnell who plays James Maybrick

STAGE FRIGHT – The Film!

•January 28, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Back in October we were thrilled to help The London Horror Festival open the two week festival run by recording three short original horror radio plays. Each play was performed in front of a sell out audience at The Etcetera Theatre on 15th October, and then judged by the one and only Richard O’Brien who looked spectacular in killer heels. Once Richard picked a winner, he treated the audience to an acoustic music set. It was the perfect start to a brilliant two weeks of top class horror theatre.

Do have a listen to the three productions HERE. But when you listen, with any luck, you’ll think it sounds so smooth and professional (we hope) that you won’t think about the long process that goes into a WTC live show – the whole day is such a thrill for all involved, we thought we’d use the skills we have developped with our sister site Wired Up Media and bring you STAGE FRIGHT the film! A 5 minute behind the scenes sneak peek into our day. If you like it, please do share with your friends:

My Writing Process by Susan Casanove

•December 3, 2012 • Leave a Comment

‘This radio lark’s a wonderful hobby, y’know. I’ve got friends all over the world, all over the world… None in this country, but friends all over the world.’  – Tony Hancock.

The cast of We Are The BBCI’m not entirely sure why this particular witticism comes to mind when I think of my writing work.  Happily it’s not true to say that I don’t have any friends in the UK; however, as the writer of several online audio dramas, I am lucky enough to have come into contact with numerous people around the world via the internet, many of whom I’ve never met, who are kind enough to let me know what they think of the little stories I like to write to keep myself amused.

I get asked a lot of questions about my writing, many of them via Twitter (@SueCasanove).   Most of these questions are a little too complicated, certainly to be answered in 140 characters.  So I’d like to take this opportunity, first of all to thank everyone who has listened to the plays I’ve written so far, to everyone who’s sent me messages, comments and questions, and I’m going to try as best I can to answer some of the questions that I’m asked most often.

‘Where do you get your ideas from?’

This is the question I find most difficult to answer because it feels as though it doesn’t really apply.  I will attempt to explain this: I have honestly never tried to get an idea from anywhere for a script, because pretty much everything around me is almost always presenting me with ideas to dramatise.  The only considerations I have are to figure out which ideas are the strongest, which would make the best stories, and how best to tell them.  When I attended the wedding of two seventy-something friends of the family, I was genuinely moved by their devotion to each other and their joy at finding love again later in life; soon after I started writing Leaves in Autumn – not based on, but certainly inspired by that wedding.  And my visit to Hamburg’s Dialog im Dunkeln, an exhibition in which blind people lead the audience in small groups through a series of completely darkened rooms was the inspiration behind my 2010 play, Angels in the Dark, coupled with a modern-day retelling of my favourite story, A Christmas Carol.  My more recent scripts, including the ones I’m working on now, are less obviously inspired by any particular event, but more a mishmash of ideas.

‘How do you write characters?’

Before I started writing scripts, I trained and worked as an actress.  I love everything about the acting process, in particular, I really enjoy preparing for a role.  At ALRA, were we taught what I consider to be the best method for building a character; I’m not talking about making any of the life changes associated with so-called ‘method acting’, the best tool I was taught was to answer as comprehensively as possible ‘the 10 questions’.  With each acting role I’ve ever been fortunate enough to be given, I relish really getting into someone else’s head – who is this person?  What makes them tick?  What do they want?  And here’s the secret (OK, it’s not a secret, but none of the books on scriptwriting I was advised to read mention it) – you can apply it to scriptwriting too.  And the great news is, unlike an acting role where the script has already been written and you have to work within those boundaries, discussing and agreeing your character choices with your director and fellow actors, as a scriptwriter, you can do what you like!  It’s a bit like being in charge of your own little universe, and instead of only getting to do character preparation for roles I’m asked to play, as a writer, I can build back stories for people who are older, younger, male, less privileged, more privileged …  there are no limits other than my imagination.  To find out which kind of characters work well together in a story, all I can say is watch copious amounts of TV and film and think about what has worked well in the past.  Once you have an idea of who your characters are, I’ve never come across a more useful tool for building a character than the 10 questions, either as an actor or a scriptwriter.

‘How did you come up with a character like Rob Sterling Davies?’ 

Back in 2008, I wrote a one-woman show called The Diary of Bulah Clack.  It never saw the light of day, partly because I realised that I wasn’t brave enough to give up a full-time office job to go and do my own show, but mainly because it wasn’t very good.  It was my lame attempt to write something a bit like The Diary of a Nobody, but sadly my diarist, Bulah (basically a version of me) was nowhere near as endearing a character as Charles Pooter, therefore the script was doomed.  In spite of this, what I did like about The Diary of Bulah Clack were the unseen characters: those that Bulah talked about in her diary.  There was her boyfriend Talfryn, a self-proclaimed great writer who had never actually written anything as he didn’t have time, and an annoying man called Rob Sterling Davies, a pompous, stuck-up member of the Swansea Gilbert and Sullivan Society that Bulah attended.  So when I came to write We Are Not The BBC, it was a question of righting what I had got wrong in that previous script.  With a clean slate, I wrote a different story in which Bulah became simpler, Talfryn did turn out to be a great writer after all, and Rob, as well as becoming more evil, also became the main character.

‘Is Rob based on someone you know?’

No, Rob isn’t based on any one person.  His character is an amalgam of many different ideas, including aspects of about 20 people altogether, some I’ve known and worked with, some historical figures and others from fiction .

‘What was it like working with Stephen Fry?’

I’ve been a huge fan of British comedy since the 80s when shows like A Bit of Fry and Laurie and Blackadder first got me hooked, so it was of course a joy and a privilege to work with Stephen on my play, We Are The BBC.  He also kindly tweeted a link to the download when it was released bringing many new listeners to the series and to the Wireless Theatre Company.  I wrote about working with him in more detail in an earlier blog entry which you can read here.

‘Will Rob ever get his comeuppance?’

Well …  the final instalment, Better Than The BBC will hopefully be released by summer, 2013.  Please follow me: @SueCasanove and/or @WirelessTheatre for Twitter updates.

Perhaps another reason why Hancock’s one-liner seems apt is that, although I receive messages from people in countries I’ve never visited, a small number of people I do know – some friends, work colleagues and relatives, have yet to hear any of my plays.  It’s not a complaint, radio drama’s not everyone’s cup of tea.  I will say to anyone who hasn’t really tried audio drama yet, you could do a lot worse than start with The Wireless Theatre Company  – with over 150 plays to download or stream any time, for free, you’ve got nothing to lose, so why not give it a go?

Susan Casanove’s website: susancasanove.co.uk 

Taking Stock, by Gareth Brownbill

•October 17, 2012 • 1 Comment

I once entered a scriptwriting competition ran by Big Finish. Along with the competition guidelines they included some quotes and advice from established Big Finish writers. One of these quotes stated that writers hated having to write – they preferred to have written, and this struck a particular chord with me.

 

If procrastination had been an Olympic sport this year then stand aside Mo, Chris and Jessica: it would have been me running off with all the gold medal plaudits. One of my favourite writers, Douglas Adams, made missing deadlines an art form. This never seemed to be intentional or malicious. From all accounts he was a very nice man – he just found it extremely difficult to sit down and write, and yet look at what he produced on a good day.

 

I’m not even a full-time writer. I work full-time in an office and have to think about writing in my spare time. You will notice I used the word think, I never actually said that I write in my spare time. I can’t say that I write in my spare time because I don’t actually write. I make cups of coffee, I pick up books and read pages at random, I take a sudden inexplicable interest in Homes under the Hammer, but I don’t physically force myself to sit down and write one word after another.

 

By the way, this blog doesn’t count – I’m just at the stage where I really, REALLY have to get things off my chest.

 

To be fair, I have had a rather important distraction this past year. I became a first time dad and this wonderful, momentous, life-changing experience has helped me to put a few things into perspective about goals and dreams. It’s also helped me to realise that the current of time seems to be flowing at an ever-increasing rate. Samuel will soon be a year old already and yet it only seems like yesterday that I brought him home from the hospital with my wife and tried to cope horrendously with my first ‘proper’ nappy change. It seemed to consist of a lot of flailing arms and legs, and me exclaiming:

 

“Argh, he’s weeing!!”

 

“Argh, he’s pooing!!”

 

“ARGHH! He’s weeing AND pooing!!!!”

 

More and more often recently I’ve been shocked at how many years have passed since such and such a film or song was released, or certain events took place. It doesn’t make sense that so many years have passed by in so seemingly short a time. It also brings into sharp focus the number of unfinished writing projects that seem to be building up in the attic of my brain. Ideas and titles for scripts and stories, meandering blocks of dialogue that might make an important contribution to a finished project or disappear for all time up the orifice marked ‘Delete’. My online short story collection, Ghosts, Kebabs & Random Musings (www.lulu.com), promised potential customers that the collection would be updated with more stories every few months. I haven’t been anywhere near it for ages. It sometimes feels like the only constants in my writing are the things that I’m scared of. Fear of rejection; fear that what I’m submitting isn’t quite good enough; fear that I’m not good enough. Is this the same for all writers? I honestly couldn’t tell you, as I don’t know that many. Maybe I should work in a partnership more often. It never seemed to do Galton & Simpson any harm. I selfishly take comfort from the diaries of Michael Palin, one of my all-time heroes, describing how many drafts and how much work he had to put into the scripts of The Missionary and American Friends. Even John Cleese had trouble making the script of Fierce Creatures work after the huge success of A Fish Called Wanda.

 

Perhaps the key to enlightenment lies in ploughing on regardless and taking the rough with the smooth. Learn from your mistakes and don’t beat yourself about the head too much if things go wrong. There are other, more important priorities demanding my attention at the moment anyway. My little boy is smiling his most charming smile and wants me to play peek-a-boo with him. How can I possibly resist that? Work on projects when you can, take comfort in the company of family and friends, and brace yourself for warp factor poo when it’s your turn to change nappies!!

 

You can download Gareth’s play, TURNING THE TIDE, at the Wireless Theatre Company website: http://www.wirelesstheatrecompany.co.uk/index.php/component/jotloader?Itemid=15&cid=2&id=92

 
%d bloggers like this: