Julian Simpson’s excellent rumination on writing action in an audio drama also has this bit in it:
If we’re going to make this medium work, if we’re going to compete on the world stage, then we need to embrace audio for all it can do. This isn’t cheap movies, or talking books, it’s its own thing. The Americans are starting to throw money at it but they want to spend that money on movie star voices, which doesn’t actually aid the form at all (some brilliant movie actors lose all their power when you only hear their voice), and movie stars don’t want to spend a week on location for no money, so the shows are recorded over a morning in a studio and the quality suffers as a result.
We are capable of making extraordinary pieces of audio in the UK; we have great voice actors, brilliant technicians, and producers who understand the medium. What we need now are ambitious, imaginative storytellers, and an industry that doesn’t turn its back on the medium just as it is approaching its heyday.
This is where I have to say that I am doing THE DEPARTMENT OF MIDNIGHT with American partners, two British actors and five American actors, and the post will all be done in the States. Because I always wanted to try audio drama but (like the vast majority of my work) nobody in Britain was ever interested. And, yes, some movie stars may lose their power when you only hear their voice – I can guess which well-known audio drama podcast he’s referring to – but DEPARTMENT OF MIDNIGHT also has movie stars as well as tv stars, actors who count their voice as one of their instruments, and the limitations of studio work actually open up different avenues for performance and atmosphere.
The audio drama serial we’re doing after that will be set in the UK and use British actors. With American partners and post, because, see above, and see what Julian’s saying. And his notes on writing audio drama are invaluable and I wish I’d had them last year….!