How I Wrote A Five Minute ALIEN Audiodrama That Got Performed and Produced LIVE at LondonSWF

This year we repeated the Dirk Maggs Audio Drama session from 2018, which involved creating an audio drama LIVE in the room. LSF delegates were invited to submit scripts set in the ALIEN universe, we would select one, and then make it LIVE in the room.

The script written by Aliénor Goudet was selected and she was seated at the front of the room… Here is her account of the events, and the final audio drama below.

I had no idea my script had been chosen for the session until I entered the room and heard the actors practicing their lines. The dialogue sounded familiar, so I peeked over their shoulders, and there it was. I was in utter shock when I realised.

The experience was absolutely surreal! The whole time, I kept telling myself ‘is this really happening?’ From the rehearsal to the recording to the sound design, I was completely awestruck. Like a little kid watching her crayon drawing come to life.

Dirk walked us through the changes he’d made to the script, and clearly explained why this line was added or this one was changed. Every alteration made sense and helped me understand the specifics of writing explicitly for sound. Unsurprisingly, it takes some real mental gymnastics to completely transfer the concept of ‘show don’t tell’ to audio. As Dirk stated, ‘sometimes, you have to say ‘the gun in my hand is loaded.’

As Dirk walked us through a bit of his career and the basics of radio drama, everything suddenly became concrete and within reach. Writing for a living didn’t feel so far away. I had started thinking of writing a radio drama myself, but it had never crossed my mind to try and actually make the project happen myself. When Dirk started talking about bribing actors with food and recording under duvets for better sound, I started picturing myself doing it all from my room. And a weird thought crossed my mind : ‘why not do it myself? I can bribe people with food. I have friends who are actors and musicians. I have a duvet at home.’

I never would’ve pictured it before. I’m just another introverted writer. And yet, in that moment, it felt more in reach than any other project of mine. I could see the plan forming in my head, and I felt excited rather than anxious.

I confess, I was grinning like a happy fool when Grace let us listen to the audio put together. Even at the end of this session, I was still in shock. It was an incredible experience that gave me a taste of what a finished project sounded like. It left me energised and encouraged me to give my own radio drama a shot.

I can’t thank Chris and Dirk enough for making this happen, and I hope to always remember that feeling whenever I’m in a writing slump.

Aliénor Goudet

One thought on “How I Wrote A Five Minute ALIEN Audiodrama That Got Performed and Produced LIVE at LondonSWF”

  1. Fantastic! I attended last time and, even though my script wasn’t produced on the day, I did go home and get some voice actors and made a version myself. It’s a blast and you absolutely should give it a go.

    Thanks for your report. Best of luck.

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