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A Radio Drama From the Comic Section

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A Note to the Teacher:
Even though recording an audio play with sound effects requires a degree of technical skill and equipment, very young students are capable of creating some memorable productions. Recorded background sounds and music that do not require exact synchronization with the dialogue can be used effectively with only a couple of boom boxes. Sound effects that must be timed precisely with the dialog should be done manually -- a knock on the door, for example.

Guide the students as they make their plans.  Don't let them get too far in over their heads with the technical details. A moderate amount of challenge is beneficial; too much challenge is destructive. Make students aware that sound effects should support the story and suggest action and that too many sound effects may detract from the story. Letting the students listen to some recorded audio plays helps them better understand the use of sound effects.

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 record several minutes of each background effect.

Student Instructions

  1. Select a comic strip from the newspaper. Make your selection from a continued comic strip.
  2. Start with an issue that begins a conflict (problem).
  3. Collect these issues and clip out the comic strip.
  4. Attach the strip to sheets of paper. Divide the paper into two columns and attach the pictures
    sequentially along the left-hand column.
  5. Enter sound effects (SFX) and stage directions opposite the picture in the right-hand column,
  6. When your script is finished, check your sheets to make sure your writing is neat and readable. Ask
    your teacher to make copies of your script. (Note: In comic scripts, conflicts may seem to go on almost forever. You may have to find a place to stop before the conflict is completely resolved - 5 to 10 issues perhaps. If you can't decide where to stop, ask your teacher for help.)
  7. Make a list of all equipment needed.
  8. Make a list of all SFX needed.
  9. Locate all equipment and SFX.
  10. Cast your play. (Characters, Recording technician (s), SFX person (s), Director.
  11. Rehearse your play. Below is a suggested schedule:
    • 1st time is a read-through (no SFX, but the SFX crew and recording technicians should follow
      along and make notes about special problems that need to be solved).
    • 2nd and 3rd times are to let the actors get used to the lines and develop character (SF'X are
      included and the recording technician should be recording to get used to the equipment, placement of microphone, etc. After each rehearsal, listen to the recording with the students and lead them in finding ways to improve both acting and technical performance.)
    • 4th time is a dress rehearsal (SFX, tape it this time).
    • 5th time record the play.
  12. Arrange a time to present your play to an audience.

 
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Last modified: June 04, 2015