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Squadron Leader Jack Steel – The Missing Episode

Way back in 2008 we released the first episodes of our twelve part audio drama Squadron Leader Jack Steel and the Starblade. Between them the twelve episodes have been downloaded around 70,000 times, as well as being broadcast on actual radio in Canada and the USA (apparently – no-one we know actually heard them…) SLJS was It’s a Trap’s first big project outside of organising one-off LARP events and the first time we not only presented a finished product but also took a look behind the scenes as well.

It also represented the first and (probably) last time that we tried to create income from a project with merchandise. Although this means that most of us still have stylish Jack Steel t-shirts and hoodies, it also meant that we put a bit of effort into making the physical media worth buying as opposed to just downloading the episodes for free. To that end we produced an extra prequel episode that we claimed would never be podcast. So, since this is a blog and not a podcast (and with apologies to the two people who bought the audio CD…) may we present the long-lost prequel episode Mordred’s Mission

(nb – the “play” icon is hidden to the left of the time counter on this particular player plug-in…)

 

 

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From Raw Audio to First Draft – Stitching Together a Radio Play

Our Ravenskil project has been ticking along for some years now and has reached the stage where the majority of the voice recording is complete and we’re starting to pull the episodes together. There are eight of these in total, each coming in at thirty minutes in length – so you can imagine the vast amount of raw audio we’ve recorded in the form of takes and re-takes (and out-takes) which needs sorting through and editing into a final product.

Gill Dean and Leighton Williams - two of our voice actors
Gill Dean and Leighton Williams – two of our voice actors

Due to hardware and (lack of) studio constraints, voice actors were recorded individually. We’ll take a look at the H4N and associated hardware setup in a later blog post, but suffice to say that we ended up with this sort of thing:-

 

(Tom Butterworth ran a close second for the role of Emily…)

The next stage was to transfer it to a PC and sort through all the different takes of an actor’s lines for an episode and select the best one. In some cases where the line has been recorded with a number of different inflections, both/all might be taken so that the one that fits best can be used.

Normally plastered across two monitors...
Normally plastered across two monitors…

Each line was exported as a single audio clip which could then be inserted into the appropriate character track on the master recording. We then inserted some ambient noise and sound effects for each scene to form a rough draft of the complete episode, so that the original clip now sounds like this:-

Although it sounds much better this is still not the finished product – for example in this clip Emily’s voice still has too much “room reverb” due to the recording being made in a room with a hard floor. Once the entire episode has been put together to this standard it will be edited down to the correct run time and then passed to one of our friendly neighbourhood sound engineers to tweak and fiddle with until we have the finished product. So until then it’s back to work!

 

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The Ravenskil Chronicles – auditioning now!

Our next big audio production is The Ravenskil Chronicles, a Cthulhu-inspired horror/detective series set in the 1920s. The scripts call for a cast of thousands (well, dozens) and we’re asking  for your help yet again. Only this time it doesn’t involve running up and down a beach in the rain, as with the Arms Race: Escalation shoot.

In fact, acting for an audio drama is an altogether rather cosy affair, involving sitting in a comfortable chair, thesping into a microphone while you’re fed with tea and biscuits.

We will be autioning for voice actors on Sunday 12th August from 4pm – 7pm and again on Sunday 19th August from 12pm –  3pm (or as long as required) and would like to invite anyone who is willing to give it a go to come and take part.

There are characters of all ages, genders, backgrounds and dodgy regional accents so should be something for everyone. Let us know if you’d like to come along and please feel free to spread the word to anyone else whom you think might be vaguely interested.

The sessons will be at our recording studio (well, Chris’ house) on Mill Hill Rd in Norwich. If you’re in Norwich and would like to give it a bash but cannot make either date then we may be able arrange to come to you at a convenient time – let us know.

If you’re not local all is not lost: we can arrange for you to audition by sending a recording over the internet.Recording of the actual series will be done in a fairly piecemeal fashion dependant on when and where actors are available so shouldn’t represent too much of a drain on people’s time.

Do let us know if you’re interested, either in the blog comments or by using the contact page.

Please note that unfortunately we will not be able to pay or cover expenses for this project.

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Casting Call for The Ravenskil Chronicles

It’s a Trap! are currently looking for actors to join us on our latest Podcast Drama project.  We will shortly be recording The Ravenskil Chronicles, an eight episode original drama series set in the 1920s following occult investigators Alistair Higgins and Sam Preston as they travel England in fighting hidden, long forgotten foes.

The Ravenskil Chronicles will be released as eight half hour episodes on the internet.

We are looking for volunteers to come on board for specific roles and/or to join our Company of Players providing voices to a myriad of extras.

In particular we are looking for actors to portray:

Alistair Higgins –  a world weary Occult Investigator, an ex WWI army officer in his late 20s.

Samuel Preston – a sergeant in WWI, east end of London ex-con turned good

Rupert Higgins – the patriarch of the Higgins Family

If you are interested in helping us please email ravenskil@itsatrap.co.uk

Auditions and rehearsals for late June / early July.  The rehearsals and recording will be taking place in the fine city of Norwich.

 

Please note we will be unable to pay or provide expenses for participating in this project, and we expect the recording to last over the course of a few weeks.  We all have to work so we’re going to have to be flexible in the recording process.

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It’s A Trap’s 2012

It’s A Trap’s 2012

If the Mayans were to be believed, 2012 is a trap for us all. Assuming that to not be the case, we’re going to be busy this year on several exciting projects.

Arms Race web series

It’s been a long time in development but the Arms Race web series is finally going to happen this year. Following on from our 2010 short film we’ll tell the continuing adventures of soldiers in a steampunked Crimean War. This time out we have better equipment, a more experienced crew and a fantastic multi-episode script from Chris Burdett. We’re doing everything we can to up the scale and excitement, while keeping the fun, tongue-in-cheek style of the original short.

To get a sneak peek at what we’re up to, check out our recent weapons test.

We’ll also be updating the Arms Race website soon with pre-production diaries, so keep an eye on that.

Arms Race comic

Bridging the gap between the end of the short film and the start of the web series, our first foray into comics will be a 3-issue adventure with all-new characters and a few returning faces.

The comic will be released online for free and will expand the backstory and universe of Arms Race considerably. A preview of some work-in-progress panels can be seen above.

The Ravenskil Chronicles audio drama

This remains something of a working title for our brand new Cthulhu-inspired horror-detective series, from the producers of Jack Steel. Set in the 1920s in the aftermath of the Great War, Captain Alistair Higgins must face his past if he is to survive an encroaching threat from beyond the known world.

This multi-part audio drama was written by IAT members Chris Burdett, James Harvey and Simon Jones with guest writers Tom Butterworth, Nadia Jones, Mike Fortey and Amy Lyall. It’s the biggest audio project we’ve ever attempted and paranormal mystery fans are in for a treat.

Spiffing Review returns

Your hosts Simon Jones and Wayne Bolt are back this weekend for the third series of their decidedly irregular movie review podcast. They even intend to release episodes on a regular basis this year, though we’ll believe that when it happens. Episode 1 will be online soon featuring reviews of Tucker And Dale Versus Evil and Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol.

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Squadron Leader Jack Steel and the Starblade

Squadron Leader Jack Steel and the Starblade

Jack continues to march on, we’re pleased to see that we’ve now had 30,000 downloads of Squadron Leader Jack Steel & The Starblade!

Thank you to all of those who have taken the time to listen to the show and for all your great feedback.

Head over to our Squadron Leader Jack Steel and the Starblade website to have a listen if you haven’t already done so.

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The Ravenskil Chronicles

Please check back soon for information about our next audio drama, The Ravenskil Chronicles.

For those of you with twitter, why not follow @ravenskil?
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Squadron Leader Jack Steel & The Starblade

Squadron Leader Jack Steel & The Starblade

If you like high adventure, Arthurian legend, pulp sci-fi, dastardly villains, heroic heroes, brave if dim companions and voluptuous femme fatales, then you should probably listen to Squadron Leader Jack Steel & The Starblade.

 

Listen to both series of Jack Steel for free over at the Jack Steel Website!

 

Or if you can’t wait, you can listen here: