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Thursday, 12 October 2017

Live Streaming Again

I've been playing around with the possibilities of live streaming over the years - live in studio, with audience, using different platforms.  I'm desperately waiting for facebook live audio to kick in so I can start there - I've been playing with the live video and it's just a sod with my bandwidth.
For the moment I'm going back to live streaming with ustream - there are adverts, but life's a bitch sometimes.  I'm also going to use it to drive my new storytelling.
Instead of doing new work for my patrons on Wednesday, streaming it Saturday and then releasing it again properly to the world on the following Tuesday, I'm going to use the Saturday live streams to try out works in progress.  They'll be full and proper things, just I might want to change it after the live stream and I'll be actively looking for thoughts and comments from the audience.  You.
Then I'll start work on turning that live stream into something for normal podcast release.  It's a process.
So, this week, Saturday at 1pm I'll be streaming the long promised bit of storytelling The U.N. Special Representative.
You can catch the live stream here, this Saturday at 1pm (BST) and there'll be something streamed every Saturday at the same time, unless advertised otherwise.  I will also start scheduling what will be performed prior to each show.
You're probably going to hear versions of other promised shows on the live stream first. We shall see, I may even do some live streamed drama.

My work couldn't happen without the support of my patrons - if you think you could contribute to the work I create, go to www.patreon.com/robertcrighton and see if you can help - there are bonuses and you can get to listen to my new work before anyone else.
Also, as there's a lot being planned at the moment, if you want to keep up to speed, why not join my mailing list.  I know, so last century. 

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Thursday, 5 October 2017

The Lenton Croft Robberies

Spoilers!  If you haven't read or listened to The Lenton Croft Robberies, please don't read on - listen here and then read on.


SPOILERS BELOW
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BEWARE
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SPOILERS BELOW
It's been a while since I did a reading of something not written by myself, and I'd forgotten the joys and the traumas of late Victorian prose style.  My god, the sentences are long.  Long enough to get very lost, as a reader.
Anyone familiar with other detective stories of the period (there's an example of some possibly famous detective that leaps to mind... Shermes Hollocks?) will know the kind of story you're getting.  This is genre fiction, created to order, but that isn't to say it isn't interesting.  It's fascinating.
The Lenton Croft Robberies begins by establishing the character of Martin Hewitt - a nice genial chap, nothing like the brash show off detective we might otherwise know.  I won't go into detail yet, not till we're further into his case load - though his genial manner hides a sharp mind and occasional arrogance.  The first thing he's said, as related to us, is somewhat insulting - though not intended as an insult.
The case itself is more a character study and a careful walk through of evidence.  Sir James Norris, the victim of a series of robberies, is rather a brilliant creation.  At first glance he's a caricature, the bluff English gent.  But I think there's a real rounding to him - he may be made of stereotypical materials, but the thing about stereotypes is that there are a lot of them about.  There's a subtle craft to the character of Sir James Norris - he may be stuffy, a bit misogynist, possible (though I may be stretching here) hints of the homophobic, but it's all totally believable - he lives and breathes as a character.  He's just my kind of creation - likable despite the fact you'd disagree about almost every aspect of his personality.
The other characters, brief though their appearances are, are mostly sharply drawn.  The various women of the story all have a clear brief as to their character - you immediately understand their various intelligence and wit levels in a few moments.
There are a few tropes that are found in other stories of this type.  The possibility of dishonest servants is almost an obsession - it is the default suggestion and fear of a household this size.  There's also the question of the honour of the host in relation to the property of his guest.  Having your own stuff stolen is fine, having your guests property nabbed is horrific.

What, oh what, do we make of a line like this?
It was a comfortable room, but with rather effeminate indications about its contents. Little pieces of draped silk-work hung about the furniture, and Japanese silk fans decorated the mantel-piece. Near the window was a cage containing a gray parrot, and the writing-table was decorated with two vases of flowers.
"Lloyd makes himself pretty comfortable, eh?" Sir James observed.

Do I detect, or am I future struck, code for homosexuality in the effeminate indications of Lloyd's rooms?  The fact that he is the guilty party is suggestive.  Is this similar to codes such as confirmed bachelor?  Answers on a postcard.

The next case will be available to some of my patrons on Wednesday, and later to the rest of the world.

My work couldn't happen without the support of my patrons - if you think you could contribute to the work I create, go to www.patreon.com/robertcrighton and see if you can help - there are bonuses and you can get to listen to my new work before anyone else.
Also, as there's a lot being planned at the moment, if you want to keep up to speed, why not join my mailing list.  I know, so last century. 

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Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Martin Hewitt Audio - First Case Out Now

Just a short one - today there drops the first Martin Hewitt case from Martin Hewitt, Investigator by Arthur Morrison and as read by yours truly.

Enjoy.



My work couldn't happen without the support of my patrons - if you think you could contribute to the work I create, go to www.patreon.com/robertcrighton and see if you can help - there are bonuses and you can get to listen to my new work before anyone else.
Also, as there's a lot being planned at the moment, if you want to keep up to speed, why not join my mailing list.  I know, so last century. 

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Sunday, 1 October 2017

Fudging the Dismount - Electric Dreams

I'm starting to think Electric Dreams is getting an unfair beating.  It's still very polarised out there, between those who love and hate it, there isn't that much middle ground.  But that's the internet for you, it's where the middle ground goes to die.  There's all the it's trying to be Black Mirror talk, which is plainly a red herring.  It shares a similar aesthetic feel, but that's because that's the default aesthetic of now - I will write about this in a future blog post, with special reference to 1980's television studio lighting.
That said, Impossible Planet left me feeling some of that internet disappointment.  The ending just didn't work and the outpouring of dismay on Twitter was fairly well justified - it was a really good story and it was changed by the adapter into a less good one.  The adapter went for the addition of a love story, where the couple end up in some kind of group hallucination at the point of death - or is it all really real?  If it were a 1950's B movie the words The End would come up and turn into a big question mark.  It was nowhere near as satisfying dramatically as just leaving her to die alone with her android, and the crew missing that the planet is really Earth all along.  The original story left us with empty lies and missed opportunities.  Much more fun than a suggested have cake and eat it ending.
I've adapted science fiction before, with a stage version of The Time Machine (published script pending) and so I am at risk of being an hypocrite for attacking changes in adaptation.  The writers were encouraged to do so, and with an hour to fill, something else probably needed to be added to the narrative.  Probably.  I'm not convinced that something else could have been done to fill the time, especially when the rest of the world was so convincingly created.  So far the two universes created in the first two episodes have been realised incredibly well - showing us their world with as little telling as possible.
Let's address my hypocrisy for a moment.  As I say, I did an adaptation of The Time Machine for stage this year and it's interesting looking back at my version, because I thought I'd changed quite a lot.  It's a sod to stage because it's set in a world without language - or at least a language that is used.  My version used storytelling and narrative tricks to get inside and outside of the Time Traveller's head to get round this, but in terms of narrative I only made three explicit changes.  1. I reset it in the present/slight future day - but as it was originally set in the then present/slight future day, that seemed fine. I'm sure some people cursed my name.  2. I ditched his excessive use of matches, which was never practical or plausible. A phone with a faded battery filled in for much of the necessary plot actions. 3. I made it so as the Time Traveller possibly never came back from his trip to the future.  Now, there are similarities there to the ending of Impossible Planet, in that there was a hint that the ending wasn't necessarily real.  The difference was that I changed a bleak ending to a bleaker ending.  The Time Traveller was dead, and the story told was just a recording sent back in time, rather than he was somewhere in the future.  The change to Impossible Planet was to take an ending that's bleak and uncompromising and making it... well... a bit mushy.  And a bit mushy isn't really very PKD, which is why a lot of people went - oh, magic sort of happy ending, bleargh.  All that needed to under cut this mush were brief snatches of the two sort of lovers suffocating, turning blue, coughing up dark liquids as their lungs collapsed.  Just fractional cuts - from smiles to horror and back.  Then everyone would have been happy.
The real shame was that, until that final drift of shots, it was a really great episode - silly red killer robot eyes aside.  (I actually rather liked them, but they were silly.)  But anthology / short stories stand and fall by the dismount.  I think Asimov made the point about the short story that they're all about the idea - get in, get out and get out with a punchline.  (I can't find the essay in question at the moment, but it was something like that. Or I've made that up and it's by someone else.)  The previous week The Hood Maker did, to some degree, the opposite.  Teep stories are always a bit of a sod, they don't really have anywhere to go, so any flaws in the narrative were forgiven because it ended on a nice bleak note of chaos.  Whichever way that society was going, it was going via Hell.
And bleak is the operate word here.  We are largely here for the darkness, not the light.  We want the bleak and if you take it away from us without some payoff, we will be annoyed.  And by we I mean me.  There are always obvious problems with complaining about authenticity in adaptation.  How proper are these adaptations.  How much should we take with us when we cross over to a different medium?  My primary complaint, as I've said, is not with the accuracy of the version, just that the new ending just didn't work tonally.
So, two down, and they have been different enough from each other, and generally good enough to make me keep coming back.  I cannot fault the visual style, the scripts have been mostly tight, I am mostly happy.  It's just that landing.
More thoughts will probably come after tonight. #ElectricDreams

Metal Harvest - Script Available Now!

Now in paper form!
Metal Harvest - a storytelling music drama essay show - seriously, I don't know precisely where to place it. But it is, in my humble opinion, rather good. The audio version is available to listen to now - for free - but there is now a script version, should you wish to produce it yourself. Or would like to read the marvellous words. All the proceeds from sales go directly to my producing... more work.

To buy Metal Harvest, just click here. And then do all the other stuff. Like pay.
Metal Harvest
Written & performed by Robert Crighton
With Richard Fawcett

“This is the story of a shell...” Throughout the First World War the armaments created passed through many hands – from those in the mines and factories who made them, to those who transported the boxes and those who fired the guns.  This is the story of one shell, the story of those who touched it and whose lives were changed by it.  Told in words, music, image and song, Metal Harvest is the latest work from award-winning theatre producer Robert Crighton, made in collaboration with musician Richard Fawcett.



My work couldn't happen without the support of my patrons - if you think you could contribute to the work I create, go to www.patreon.com/robertcrighton and see if you can help - there are bonuses and you can get to listen to my new work before anyone else.
Also, as there's a lot being planned at the moment, if you want to keep up to speed, why not join my mailing list.  I know, so last century. 

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Thursday, 28 September 2017

Thinking In Sound, Not Space

I've been making theatre for nearly twenty years. I got quite good at it.  Still lots I want to do, still much to learn, but, by and large, I know what makes theatre tick.  It is a known thing.
I think in theatre.  I think in terms of space and entrances, in light and movement, sound and text.  My move to audio has taken about four years, and has taken this long partly because I still think in theatre.  I've been adapting my stage works, creating things that live somewhere between the theatre and audio universe.  Comedy was good for that.  A live audience for recording, I could do that.
But now I'm, by and large, no longer making theatre.  Theatre is the great love of my life, but it's slightly killing me.  Theatre has rarely loved me back.  Now that I've made that decision to stop actively making theatre (I expect I'll do one proper show a year, plus any live audio recordings I need for the podcast) I'm starting to think ahead, thinking about projects and how they work in this medium.  And I do mean thinking.  Actively sitting and thinking about sound, noises, shapes, waveforms, text, Foley, music, not music, soundscape - the range of possible universes that audio wants.  Can I do something exciting and new and different?  I'm learning to think in terms of sound, not space - which is ironic, as a do want to write a sci-fi series set partly in space.
At the moment I'm doing new versions of old projects and well as readings of other peoples stories - this is partly because it's fun, but also to buy me some thinking time.  And a little time to look at the competition - to see what I like and what I don't.  I already know radio, I've been listening to the BBC all my life, but the new wave of podcasts is a different world.  A wild west of invention and also cliche.  I'm hearing a lot of very similar work, similar quirks of sound, similar design.  Partly this is because these podcasts are of a theme - horror, science fiction, comedy - and that's what they do.  And many do it well.  But my podcast platform is not that.  It's different each week (most weeks), it's shaped around how I think, which is to never do the same thing twice, where possible.  I suspect this is probably why I never make any money.  But what can you do?  This is who I am. 
And I'm happy.  I can create different worlds, no questions asked, no marketing policy, no issues, no drama (beyond the drama I create) - and move on if it doesn't work.  And move on even if it does.
Audio, so far, hasn't tried to kill me.  We shall see.
Visit 'The Worlds of Robert Crighton' by searching it in itunes or whatever podcast app you use - or subscribe by visiting... here.


My work couldn't happen without the support of my patrons - if you think you could contribute to the work I create, go to www.patreon.com/robertcrighton and see if you can help - you get to listen to my new work before anyone else.  It's like audible, just cheaper and with no control over the content of your next listen. But you can download and keep my work forever.
Also, as there's a lot being planned at the moment, if you want to keep up to speed, why not join my mailing list.  I know, so last century. 

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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

September Audio Round Up

This month from The Worlds of Robert Crighton I've created for you, all this audio.

The Shakespeare Delusion

The Wheel of Shame 

Metal Harvest


& for my patrons
Martin Hewitt, Investigator - The Lenton Croft Robberies by Arthur Morrison
Which will be released online soon.

Four new audio podcasts all for the fantastic price of nothing.  Of course, this could not happen without the support of my patrons - my silent backers and those who use patreon.  Starting at just $1 a month, or less if you have a sympathetic exchange ratio, there are a whole host of rewards for your support.  From getting all these audios in a first release before everyone else, getting the audio to download and keep for all time, plus there will be bonus free audio coming soon as well.
Go on, become a patron - the more you give, the more diverse my creations will become.

My work couldn't happen without the support of my patrons - if you think you could contribute to the work I create, go to www.patreon.com/robertcrighton and see if you can help - you get to listen to my new work before anyone else.  It's like audible, just cheaper and with no control over the content of your next listen. But you can download and keep my work forever.
Also, as there's a lot being planned at the moment, if you want to keep up to speed, why not join my mailing list.  I know, so last century. 

Subscribe to my mailing list

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