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Radio Play

To challenge your creative abilities, take a short story you've written and turn it into a radio play. This exercise gets you to focus on sounds. One benefit is that when you write your next piece of prose fiction you will be more likely to enrich the work with sound references.

A variation of this activity is to listen to a short extract of a radio play and transcribe it using the technical terms and page layout below.

  • Acoustics – The sound quality of a room or other place. For example 'echoing', 'large open space', etc. You can also say things like 'church acoustic' or 'woodland acoustic'.
  • Approaching – The sound is getting closer.
  • B/G – Background sounds.
  • Bring Up / Fade Up – Increase volume (Similarly Bring / Fade Down).
  • Clean In / Clean Out – A sudden opening or closing of a scene without fading sounds up or down.
  • Crossfade – Blending the sounds of a scene ending with the sounds of the next scene beginning.
  • Cut To – Sudden switching of sound to mark a scene change.
  • Distort – Instruction that speech is to be distorted somehow, for example over a telephone or loudspeaker.
  • F/X – 'Effects', followed by particular sounds needed.
  • Off (or Away) – Positioning the speaker away from the microphone.
  • On (or Close) – Positioning the speaker close to the microphone.
Misty night scene

    (Blake stands motionless at the top of the steps, keeping to the shadows.

    He is obviously nervous. He reaches inside his coat pocket,

    as though to reassure himself. Suddenly another figure appears...)

    BLAKE: Who are you? Where's Jim?

    TULLY (with a throaty voice): Jim has been — ah — detained. You're dealing with me now.

    BLAKE: How do I know I can trust you?

    TULLY: You don't. Listen, if you don't like it you can walk away now... Or you can ring Davis to check my credentials... Or we can simply do the deal that you arranged. If I mention that I've spoken to Jenna tonight, does that put your mind at ease...?

    (Blake reaches again into his coat. Tully gasps and turns, as though to run.

    There is the sound of a single shot being fired.)


    TULLY: So, Jenna, you thought I wouldn't be coming back...

— Steve Bowkett.

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Posted by: Kevin Machin Date: June 10, 2017 12:00 pm
Categories: Resources Tags: exercises
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