A Note to the Teacher:
Even though recording an audio play with sound effects requires a degree of technical skill and
equipment, very young students are capable of creating some memorable
background sounds and music that do not require exact synchronization with the dialogue can
be used effectively with only a couple of boom boxes. Sound effects that must be timed precisely with the dialog should be done
manually -- a knock on the door, for example.
Guide the students as they make their plans. Don't let
them get too far in over their heads with the technical details. A moderate amount of challenge is
beneficial; too much challenge is destructive. Make students aware that sound effects should support
the story and suggest action and that too many sound effects may detract from the story.
Letting the students listen to some recorded audio plays helps them better
understand the use of sound effects.
that serve as background or mood may be recorded earlier and played back on a
boom box (or 2, or even
3) fading in and out as needed. To avoid rewinding tapes, be sure record several minutes of each
- Select a comic strip from the newspaper. Make your selection from a
continued comic strip.
- Start with an issue that begins a conflict (problem).
- Collect these issues and clip out the comic strip.
- Attach the strip to sheets of paper. Divide the paper into two columns and attach the pictures
sequentially along the left-hand column.
- Enter sound effects (SFX) and stage directions opposite the picture in the right-hand column,
- When your script is finished, check your sheets to make sure your writing is neat and readable. Ask
your teacher to make copies of your script. (Note: In comic scripts, conflicts may seem to go on almost
forever. You may have to find a place to stop before the conflict is completely resolved - 5 to 10 issues
perhaps. If you can't decide where to stop, ask your teacher for help.)
- Make a list of all equipment needed.
- Make a list of all SFX needed.
- Locate all equipment and SFX.
- Cast your play. (Characters, Recording technician (s), SFX person (s), Director.
- Rehearse your play. Below is a suggested schedule:
- 1st time is a read-through (no SFX, but the SFX crew and recording technicians should follow
along and make notes about special problems that need to be solved).
- 2nd and 3rd times are to let the actors get used to the lines and develop character
included and the recording technician should be recording to get used to the equipment, placement of
microphone, etc. After each rehearsal, listen to the recording with the students and lead them in finding
ways to improve both acting and technical performance.)
- 4th time is a dress rehearsal (SFX, tape it this time).
- 5th time record the play.
- Arrange a time to present your play to an audience.