Let’s make some noise

I’m really not used to writing scripts anymore.


It’s sad but true. Back when I was a wee lad (by which I mean about 6-7 years ago) I could remember the “proper” formatting for stage and screen scripts, but delving into our drama module recently has made me realise I hadn’t focused on script-writing for a very long time – and despite having watched a play and a musical in the last year and a bit (a 100% increase on my usual intake of both) – I’d not really had my analysis cap on for either of them.

As such, my first piece of homework for drama included very little sound – to the point that the tutor reading it had forgotten halfway into the stage directions where the scene was set! While it’s been challenging writing small play scenes, balancing all the possible stage elements while reminding myself that no you plonker, this isn’t a film and you Can’t Do That, I daresay I’ve also enjoyed it a bit as well. There’s something about writing a script that’s quite satisfying when you get into the groove of it, and it’s given me a nice avenue to explore some more comedic writing as of late as I’ve been on a bit of a Monty Python binge recently.

Our final assessment for this module is a radio play, which will be a challenge unto itself – no visual cues to rely on for the audience, and foley… I am dreading foley. I’ve watched a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff about foley artists that work in the film industry, but frankly I’m not sure how they manage to pull it off at this stage. Still, good foley will be key in enhancing the play and conjuring the idea of something being there when it’s not – I’ll have to smash a lot of bits and bobs together in front of a microphone until it sounds good!

On the subject of sound, this week’s evening class was focused on writing to music, our preference for or against and the effect it could have on our writing. I wrote a few pieces during the class, some of which were influenced by music and some which were set to music. As it’s the most standalone piece, I’ll leave you with this piece which was inspired by a bit of Jay Z:


A Concrete Poem

If you’re having hole problems, I feel bad for you son

I got 99 problems but a ditch ain’t one

I got the H-S code saying “unsafe, don’t go”

But boss wants to make sure the gap is closed

The council says it’s just “Roll up, tip and go”

But it’s concrete – what kinda facts are those?

If you grew up with holes round your ma’s abode

You’d respect that the speed it sets is slow

I’m like “Sod critics, you can kiss a JCB”

Who makes it pour out that slow? Not me!

Got beef with the foreman cos he don’t know

I’m good to drop that thick grey concrete flow

If you’re having hole problems, I feel bad for you son

I got 99 problems but a ditch ain’t one

One thought on “Let’s make some noise

  1. “I’ll have to smash a lot of bits and bobs together in front of a microphone until it sounds good” as far as I can tell that’s pretty much what Foley is. The easiest thing to do is to just record the actual thing that makes the noise you want but that’s not always possible or it might give you a sound that doesn’t seem quite right without the visual effect. It’s like rain on camera, the real stuff doesn’t look right. So you end up trying a bunch of stuff until you find something that works and that’s how you end up with coconuts for horses walking.

    These days radio plays probably use large libraries of Foley that get mixed into the final product but historically when radio plays were done live that wouldn’t have been possible. There would have been a couple of people standing at a table with a bunch of props ready to make whatever sound is required by the play. Kind of like actors but without words.


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