The two most popular series run in ERGO last term, determined by popular opinion expressed to this reporter, were Ted Kochanski's series on the MBTA, and this column. Ted's series was well presented, tightly written "objective reporting", whereas my column was more along the lines of reasoned (?) opinion. Or at least, no doubt, you would agree that it was opinion. Some seem to think that the two are mutually incompatible: I hold up ERGO as living proof that they can work together. It even says so on our masthead. But their seeming great polarity does bring up the question: which would you like to see more of in ERGO? News or opinion? The editors of this paper do not like to make decisions in a vacuum, any more than the editors of the Daily Reamer do.
As for I am Curious (BLUE): after seeing it, I would say that is is clearly not worth 50 cents, without an LSC audience to provide extra dialog, inappropriate laughter, and auxiliary sound effects. Anyone who saw it for $3 has my deepest sympathy. Perhaps the unending search for a good skin flick is just that, unending.
Shakespeare, that most durable of playwrights in the English language will be dusted off again by the MIT Dramashop (and I do mean dusted off). They have upcoming performances of "The Merchant of Venice" advertised elsewhere on this page. Considering the level of Dramashop performances 1 have seen so far this year, the production promises to be a good one, well worth the time and the money. A review of one of the opening performances will appear in this same column next week. Go, have a good time, see a good play!
Those of you who have eyes like eagles will have noted by now that the author of this column is the very same person who ran an ad in ERGO last week asking for radio scripts. As of now, the response has been minimal, so I shall repeat the request here in m column, adding in some juicy details for the un-initiated. In addition, I'll show you just how easy it is to write a radio script, in proper format.
I am the producer of "WTBS Presents....". In case you are not familiar with WTBS organizational procedure, all that means is that I have a program concept which I have sold to WTBS Program Director Larry Rosenblum, who has approved it and allotted air time for it. It is up to me to fill it with technicians as well as music, sound effects, actors, and all in all, radio plays. Although it would be nice if I could, I cannot do it alone. I need help, with both scripts and actors.
What I do not need, necessarily, are people with very strong voices, (unless they can keep them down), or people who have marvelous gestures or expressive faces. What I do need is people who can really express an emotion with their voice alone Experience or no experience, I would appreciate it very much if you would try out. As soon as I get enough people to express interest, I will set a try-out date, put you in front of a microphone, and PRESTO! A Star is Born! Co-eds should not shy away; you are not only wanted but needed. If you want to try out, leave your name and phone number at WTBS. And tell me when to call.
Now a word for the budding script writers in the audience. If you have ever written a serious (or comic for that matter) short story, it should he adaptable for radio with a minimum of effort. Its colorful language can be maintained, as can the scenes, as long as you remember that radio is an aural, not a visual medium. Complex philosophical meanderings, long sentences such as this, and prolonged conversations between only two people in a quiet room tend to either confuse the audience (in the first two cases) or frustrate the sound effects man (in the last case).
It is also useful to keep two things in mind which the beginning script writer tends to lose sight of:
- a) Do not overuse the announcer-narrator. Have him shift scenes only if it cannot be done with music or dialog. Or have him speed the story up or provide background information.
Do not resort to him (or to flashbacks, for that matter) excessively.
Along the same lines, avoid an abundance of radio broadcasts that coincidentally give all the information the characters have been looking for (After all, these are the mistakes I made at first, and there is no need for you to duplicate them. Spend your time making new mistakes!)
- b) Be imaginative in your choice of sound effects, but not, overly so. On our budget($0) there are finite limits to the sounds we can produce, find, or create. If you know a common ordinary garden variety sound which approximates what you are looking for, by all means annotate your script accordingly.
For those of you who have never seen a radio script, I will here provide a profusely exaggerated imitation of the desired format.
ANNCR: MACNEIL PASSED THE TWO WEEKS QUICKLY, UNTIL...(FADE OUT)
MACN: (FADE IN) OK BOYS. (HOARSE WHISPER) THIS IS IT.
JOHN: (OFF) YOU CAN COUNT ME IN.
VOICES (SMALL GROUP, OFF MIKE) E TOO...SAME WITH ME...I'M GAME
SOUND: DOOR OPEN
MACN: HEY, WHAT'S THAT? I THOUGHT EVERBODY WAS HERE ALREADY.
CAPT: THAT JUST MADE MY JOB EASIER. HANDS UP MEN!
MUSIC: TRIUMPHAL, SWELL AND UNDER
Pretty simple, huh gang? Makes you feel like you've been reading the stuff for years. By way of explanation, you can write lines the length of a regular typewriter page. Its just that we had to use short lines to make them fit our column. Be sure to double space, and be careful of your tab set. Music and sound effects should be underlined; name abbreviations should be short and clear. OFF is a technical term meaning that the line is delivered from further away from the microphone, so that it sounds further away from the microphone (funny how that works out).
You should now have no legitimate excuse for not submitting a script to "WTBS Presents...", 50-030 or 3 Ames Street; ATTN Paul Schindler.