Here’s a fun one that you will hear dissenting opinions on no matter what your stance is.
Question #1: Do I incorporate a narrator into my story?
The easy answer is “do what feels right”. The hard answer is “do what feels right”. I like narration. Some producers react to it with revulsion. Why do I like it? I’m a writer. I like to get in my character’s mind. The Behemoth would not have been the same if I’d told the story outside of Madyson’s head. Max, being a monster, doesn’t talk. And being that the focus of the story was Madyson and her escape from a life she felt alienated in, telling the story through dialogue with a silent behemoth wouldn’t quite cut it. Charlie’s Mailbox might work in anime but never as an audio drama if I hadn’t let Charlie tell her the story though narration. It’s a device that I feel comfortable in. And that’s the point. If it’s comfortable and compelling then tell it the way you want to. I employed narration in Inhale, Bryar Lane, and Izzy. All shows I am immensely proud of. I didn’t do so with Carbon Dreams or Is There Anybody Out There?. Why? It wouldn’t have worked. What it boils down to is what feels right when it comes to conveying the story you want to convey.
Question #2: How do I explain why the listener can hear this?
This is the ‘framing’ question. Audio drama reviewer Wil Williams has written about this and talked about it extensively so I won’t go deep here. Suffice to say, when telling Sarah’s story I am not going to explain to the listener why it is that they have this magical ability to listen in on the action. I struggled with this dilemma early on before I completely got over it. I felt it was necessary to ‘frame’ the audio with a device. I felt compelled to ask “How are you, as the listener, hearing this?” For Scotch I explained it by giving poor Bobbie a recorder. For the sci-fi/fantasy The Fiona Potts Interview I set Fee up as an interviewee in a fictional podcast called The Undiscovered (hosted by the impeccable Dan Zappulla). I’m not saying it was wrong or that I regret doing so but it was an unnecessary concession. By even thinking about this I removed some of the magic from the medium. You never question why you can see what someone is doing on the big screen. You lose yourself. It’s the same with audio drama when done right. The listener sees it all in her mind. You don’t need to explain to her why she does.
Next up – let’s talk about a little formatting.
Other Posts in this series:
- Birth of An Audio Drama 013: Recorded Lines
- Birth of An Audio Drama 012: Read-through
- Birth of An Audio Drama 011: Recording
- Birth of An Audio Drama 010: Voices
- Birth of An Audio Drama 009: Cover Art
- Birth of An Audio Drama 008: Drafts
- Birth of An Audio Drama 007: Format
- Birth of An Audio Drama 006: Framing and Narration
- Birth of An Audio Drama 005: The Discovery
- Birth of An Audio Drama 004: The Project
- Birth of An Audio Drama 003: Evernote
- Birth of An Audio Drama 002: Listen
- Birth of An Audio Drama 001: Plan
- Birth of an Audio Drama – A Very Brief Overview