Making an Indie Radio Comedy Series Part #1

Episode 3 of Space Saga (In Space) is out now for FREE on YouTube, SoundCloud and coming soon to iTunes!

How did Space Saga come about?

It used to be called ‘Space Saga Lol Wow’ and starred all my Uni friends.

I liked writing comedy-adventures with my friends in as a ‘detox’ from whatever my ‘main’ writing project was. So I was steadily practising comedy without realising it…

My partner Gem told me often that these were her favourite pieces of mine. Then one day, my Dad of all people found a chapter of Space Saga and actually laughed.

I hadn’t even considered focusing on comedy until then.

Was it always a Radio Play?

Norman and his Holoccordion

Norman and his Holoccordion by Gem

In all its drafts, Space Saga was a novel. I even wrote 50,000 words of it for National Novel Writing Month.

But I had just spent a year trying and failing to get a children’s book published. I didn’t have the skill-set or budget to publish it or make it into an app on my own. I wanted whatever I wrote next to be something I could make from start to finish.

I already had an incredible artist in my partner Gem to bring any characters to life. It would have been a waste not to try to make SOMETHING.

And I had experience with audio…

Who are CatHatFiddle?

CatHatFiddle was a cover band I was in at Royal Holloway with Kieran Burling and Jessica Chiba. We had made videos for YouTube with recorded songs, dragging in lots of friends to do silly faces and play instruments.

I knew a talented bunch with a home-brew recording setup, audio-editing software and a sense of humour. It was perfect!

What was the Pitch like?

Something like this:

“Hey, friends. Remember that dumb space thing I wrote?

I’ve written a pilot for us to record! One season. 5 episodes. I promise they’ll only be 10 minutes each.

Simpsons Lie Detector

There goes the Lie Detector

I’ll do all the heavy lifting. I’ll write it. I’ll learn to edit the audio. I’ll put it up online.

I just need your beautiful voices. Like that octopus witch in ‘The Little Mermaid‘.

Because I want making it to be FUN!! For EVERYONE involved! We get to do alien gargle-y noises. And pewpew lasers. In fact, we won’t do it if it’s NOT fun.

Spongebob Squarepants Plankton FUN

Everyone has to like their part in it. There’ll be no pressure, as long as all of us come out happy with our part of the result at the end of it.”

Guy, Kieran, Jessica, Jo, Luke and Lorna are all brilliant. They jumped on board with enthusiasm, and made it 1000x better than the script. I don’t think we all understood it until I edited the first audio draft of the pilot, so it was amazing of them to take the risk before then.

And it WAS fun. A lot of times you can hear the smiles on our faces in the recording.

What was Space Saga’s Budget?

A few nights worth of samosas and chocolate sundaes from Marks and Spencers.

Radio lets you do ANYTHING for NOTHING. With just a couple of microphones, you can send people into space. No CGI, no booking sets, no budget. That was the main reason I chose that format.

Kieran had a whole backlog of royalty-free sound effects already. I paid for 2 songs and a few extra sound effects just cause I’m a perfectionist.

More on the Writing, the Recording and Making Alien Noises with our Mouths in Part 2! >>