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Writing and Producing a Radio Drama

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Writing and producing a radio drama is a way to integrate most language skills into a real-life activity. It is an activity that can stimulate the student's imagination and uncover a power long hidden in many studentsCthe urge to create.

Steps involved

Let students listen to a radio drama cassette with writing (and perhaps producing)* their own radio play in mind. The writing and producing steps are:

  1. Select a story.

  2. Read and study the story.

  3. Decide upon any changes to be made in setting (time/place), characters, etc.

  4. Divide the story into sections, with each section relating a specific time, place, and event(s).

  5. Adapt each section of the story into script format (use the script booklet as a model).

  6. Decide upon and insert sound effects directions into the script.

  7. Let the individual (or group) cast and present the script to the class. The presentation can be done as a readers= theatre production with simple manual sound effects and perhaps recorded background sounds and music.

Some notes on sound effects (SFX)

Be careful that students don=t get carried away and include too many sounds. Sound effects should support the story and suggest action. Too many sound effects may detract from the story. Sound effects that must be timed precisely with the dialog should be done manuallyCa knock on the door, for instance. Sound effects that serve as background or mood may be recorded earlier and played back on a boom-box (or 2, or even 3) fading in and out as needed. To avoid rewinding tapes, be sure to record several minutes of each background effect.

Recommended Equipment

Minimal Equipment (with recording) If you are on a tight budget, but still would like to record the productions, you can make do with this equipment setup:

  1. Boomboxes (two or more, for music and recorded ambient SFX).

  2. Tape recorder with microphone jack.

  3. One microphone (for actors, omnidirectional is best).

  4. Microphone cable (match to the jacks on the recorder).

Minimal Equipment (without recording) If you want to produce radio dramas/reader=s theatre productions for an audience with background SFX, you can make do with the following:

  1. Boomboxes (two or more, for music and recorded ambient SFX).

  2. One microphone for actors (with amplifier and speakers if performing for a large audience).

The following equipment is recommended if you plan to do full-blown radio drama productions:

  1. Audio mixer.

  2. Boomboxes (two or more, for music and ambient SFX).

  3. Three-head cassette deck.

  4. Three mic stands (two with boom extensions).

  5. One omni-directional microphone (for actors).

  6. Two unidirectional microphones (one for manual SFX, one for recorded SFX).

  7. Two RCA cables (between mixer and three-head cassette deck).

  8. Three microphone cables (match to the jacks on the mixer).

 

Complete instructions for writing and producing radio dramas in the classroom are available in our publication: Theatre of the Mind, Writing and Producing Radio Dramas in the Classroom

 

Copyright 8 1998
Balance Publishing Company

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Last modified: June 04, 2015