Soho’s littlest Creative Directors find audio success
Posted on: Tuesday 4th of September 2018
Leading audio post production facility GCRS (Grand Central Recording Studios) teamed up with local school Soho Parish, who as part of their curriculum have an ‘enrichment hour’. The result was two fantastic short stories written and directed by the students. The stories have since been picked up by Robert Elms’s BBC London show, Clare Lynch’s Soho Radio show, and the Fun Kids Story Quest podcast.
GCRS sound designer, Steve Lane, described the project to us:
Our brief to them was simple: Write a five-minute radio drama to be recorded and mixed at our studios. The students spent a few weeks writing before coming into us, and we were sent the scripts ahead of time – this is when we got really excited. Their creativity knew no bounds, and we received two pieces unlike any other we had worked on.
Future Warfare, mixed by Steve Lane and written and recorded by Mordecai Watson, Adrian Koh, and Elijah Palmer is a gripping tale set in a parallel universe packed full of moral dilemmas and a long lost friend. We were able to use almost every dramatic sound effect imaginable including helicopters, gunshots, and terrified heartbeats.
Louis Stockwell, Shayne Tolentino, and Kaisaan Manirambona wrote the next story: Poison, which was mixed by Munzie Thind and Culum Simpson. We loved the quirkiness of their work, set in a Sydney laboratory featuring a scientist and a suspicious potion – it was full of suspense. Both stories had a strong sense of social justice, and a focus on tech – an interesting reflection on their generation.
When the boys came into record, we were surprised at how seriously they took it. They each had a clear idea of how they believed it should sound, which resulted in many takes to ensure the recordings were just right. It was so interesting to see even at their young age some of the boys had a clear talent for different specialisms. Some were born directors, others technically brilliant, and some natural performers. Another thing we noticed was how brilliant their sense of dramatic timing was, something difficult to teach. The next generation of audio talent are perhaps more used to mediums such as audio books and shorter, online content – in many ways they are a few steps ahead of any of us when we started out.
Having such high quality recordings meant we were in a good place for mixing. We are also incredibly thankful to Goldstein Music for allowing us to use two of their tracks for the project, it was a great way to show the boys how to get the full dramatic potential from their hard work.
At Grand Central audio excellence is of the upmost importance, and our ground breaking VR department survives through us seeking innovation. For this to continue, we need to do more to attract talent, we should not always be looking in the same places. We are not saying that we are expecting these boys to be running for us in ten years, but inspiring their generation with what is possible in audio can only ever be a positive thing for our future.
The results far outweigh the input. It was inspiring to have people come in who are so excited by their own work, and who arrived and left on such a high from the prospect of making something tangible. We do not want this to be a one off project, and although we might not repeat exactly the same exercise again, it is our aim to do what we can to encourage diverse talent who bring just as much to our business as we are able to bring them.
As audio people unless you shout out that audio is great, that it is a whole world of creative power in its own right even before you use that power to bring life to the visual world, audio will forever be seen as nice to have – but what is the big deal? It was a great deal for these kids and we had a blast working with them. For anyone toying with the idea of using studio time for allowing young people to explore audio, we would wholeheartedly recommend it – and we will look forward to hearing the results.