Your work as a radio drama director

 Redraft the SCRIPT
70% of the work is preparation in PRE-PRODUCTION


 'Reality-test'  Problem spot
 Be adventurous - look for more possibilities and techniques  Avoid clichés?
 Sound out your use of key music clips, etc.  

SCRIPTS - training scripts - radio soaps (short-form serial dramas) - LIST OF SCRIPTS ON THESE SITES

DIRECTING THE ACTOR - objective, obstacle, subtext, adjustment, choices, objective

70% of the work is preparation before you go into the Studio

Look for problems.

 Take as many decisions as possible beforehand.  Be flexible. What is left for post-production?
 Consult your Studio Manager, and technician.  Problem-spot
 Prepare your directing notes, particularly those for the actors' characterisation: 'personalisation', 'particularisation', for picturisation-work by your actor.  Check equipment
 'Diamond' notes ( the special creative notes that identify and solve problems, and unblock your actors' problems)  
 Work out a time schedule for everything, especially for the sequences (sections) in your script.  

Quality work comes from quality actors

You are required to be your own casting director.

 This demands social skills and networking.

 Make the most of AUDITIONS
 These are crucial skills for your development & self-professionalisation.  
 You are responsible for getting the best voices and acting.  
 Use the appropriate directing terms. Such as beats and moments, and terms to do with voice and characterisation.  

Discover new Acoustics

Do you need to make a wild-track?

 Do you need to go out with recording equipment?  Be more individual. Be adventurous
 Should you record outside the studio? OB  Discover more acoustics in the studio
 Discover movement and location  


Your script(s) should show range and make technical demands

Not just 'talking-heads' scenes - discover movement and embodying

Embodying - getting the character's body into the dialogue

For all these terms - see the RADIO DIRECTING TECHNIQUES site.

 Get the feel of the script and the genre and the mode  Be adventurous
 Get pace and rhythm, related also to subtext, beats and moments  
 Pay especial attention to signposting and description  
 You often have to inform your audience by description

 Do not confuse your audience


You are your own manager - director and producer

 Casting-director  Production manager  Scripting and adapting
 Pre-production (casting etc.) Production (in the studio)  Post-production (editing)

Getting in and out of the Studio

 Good professional relations with everyone.
 Clear up after yourself.

Directing style

 This is crucial. You have to suit your style to the script. There are a series of creative decisions here.
 You have to decide : Mode, Genre, Serious or not
 What is the mode - realism? Standard production? Non-realism? Which of the non-realisms? Expressionist nightmare? Mix of realism and interiorisation? There could be a mix of modes.
 What is the genre? Thriller? Sci-fi? Comedy? Farce? Tragedy? Children’s radio? Domestic? Problem play?
 There could be a mixture of genres.
 How serious is this? Comic? Farce? Mixture. You have to signal this from the top probably to the listeners.
 Discover the structure, the rhythms of the whole and each scene, and how to build and find the climax.
 This comes down to looking at each beat, discovering the moments, and looking at the whole flow of each scene.

The greatest danger areas, and the most exciting for creative directorial decisions, are the following:

 Choice(s) of music, especially at the top, where you must send out a number of signals.

 Beginnings and ends of scenes (scene boundaries) - where one scene meets another.

Scene boundaries - 'hard' into / 'soft' into - silence - music bridge

 These choices for scene boundaries are crucial. Your choices are - straight-cut, crossfade, fade out to silence and fade in or The Archers fade, or music bridge, or another bridge.
 You can lose the energy of the play here, or you need to fade to silence to sustain the pace and it needs this gap.


You realise the need for this in the subtlety of the acting and directing.

And that you relate this to the rhythm of the sequence and the whole.

Maybe leaving a gap, a pause, or even quickening up.


Credits in the radio play


Does this need an introductory credit?

Does this need an announcement after it ends - technically called the ‘back anno’ (back announcement).


Some other notes:

WARNING: If your piece is for children, you must specify the target audience. Children change so fast.

Ditto other audiences, such as teenagers.

If for broadcast, you probably should respect BBC Editorial Guidelines









This site is 'Radio Drama - directing, acting, technical, learning & teaching, researching, styles, genres'. See INDEX to navigate also.  Complete curriculum of scripts, techniques (acting & directing & post-production & genre styles), advice, sound files - effects and atmoses (with no copyright and so free to use), detailed script commentaries, etc.

Academic material on this site is Creative Commons License Alan Beck is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

Learn about radio drama on this site along with my book - Beck, Alan, Radio Acting, London: A & C Black ISBN 0-7136-4631-4 Available on Amazon. CLICK HERE.

To the WELCOME PAGE for Alan Beck's sites. See more of Alan Beck's work.


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