Radio Room's season finale is here, the second part of our double-header of Queens of the Sapphire Sea! Both Bernassis are captured... but that might just be a good thing, considering that old scores, dark secrets, and more are waiting for them in the skies! And that's not counting the anger between the aunt and niece! Can the pair remain the undisputed queens of the sky? Or is their last adventure this, "...And I'll Suffer No Spies"!
Belle and Madeleine are in a tough scrape: chased by Cat Yudain and her flying banshees after finding a map to Napoleon's lost treasure, they'll have to deal with shady bartenders, exploding barrels of gunpowder, and the worst thing imaginable: an ex-fiance!
After an airship crashes into the Mediterranean Sea, Belle and Madeleine race to the scene with different thoughts on their mind (booty and rescue, respectively), but when an old adversary shows up, they'll have to put aside their differences to escape with their lives. With seaplane mercenaries, dogfights, and old scores to settle, it's another high-flying day in the life of the Queens of the Sapphire Sea!
If you like Hayao Miyazaki, airplane adventures set in France in the 1930s, high-flying action, and dogfights over the Mediterranean Sea, you'll be sure to love it! Take a listen here or on iTunes, Pocket Casts, or any fine podcast catcher.
This is something new we're trying out: show notes for our episodes, just in case you're interested in what is going on with each of our episodes. We'll do pre-show and post-show notes for each, the former focusing on aspects that do not impact the plot (sound, music, etc.) and the latter focusing on story elements that might affect your experience in a second go around (casting, scripting, etc.).
Plus, they come in easy, bite-sized chunks. What more could you ask for?
Queens of the Sapphire Sea
An Air of Propriety (Show #101)
After an airship crashes into the Mediterranean Sea, Belle and Madeleine race to the scene with different thoughts on their mind (booty and rescue, respectively), but when an old adversary shows up, they'll have to put aside their differences to escape with their lives.
The Music - Adam Nash did a terrific job creating the intro, outro, and interstitial music. Steele had originally wanted even more to set the tone, but after testing with some royalty free music, we discovered that it kind of diluted the effect, particularly when there was a lot of action going on. The music overshadowed the scene, or the scene overwhelmed the music. Unlike film or television (which require a juxtaposition between visual and auditory media in order to craft a narrative), radio is naturally all audio. This creates "building" effect: every sound effect, voice, or piece of music that you put into a second tops one another, almost like coloring with different water colors on top of one another. Eventually, you wind up with a muddled mess. And speaking of sound...
The Sound Effects - Steele did the design for this one (so send blame his way) and utilized open source software and royalty free sound effects throughout. The program (Audacity) has quite a lot of power for free software, though it has a nasty tendency to crash at the exact wrong moment. The sound effects all came from FreeSound.org, with only a few exceptions (the car horn found late in the episode is a real car horn, for example), yet there was such a large amount that there weren't really any instances in which Steele felt he had to settle. Some required no attribution, though those that do will have their own separate list. We would all recommend you utilize this resource if you're considering doing your own piece: it adds a whole 'nother dimension to the storytelling.
The Editing - Steele found that adding and cutting the dialogue first really helped nail the scene down. It really slowed down the process when he was going piecemeal (adding sound, voices, or what-have-you as he went along). By nailing the performances and their levels, he was able to craft the scene and then add the spice around it. It also allowed him to remove lines that slowed down the pace without having to rearrange all the sound effects. While he is proud of the piece as it stands, he feels you can really tell the difference between the scenes that were cut first and those that came later. The latter gel much better as complete units in his opinion.
Voice Work - The actors were fantastic, from beginning to end. Except for the mercenaries that show up in the final act, there were no "table reads" of the piece. Everybody came in individually to do their reading. This created unique issues, of course. When in a collaborative setting, actors can read and work off of one another, which they can't do when they're on their own. This meant that Steele sometimes had to use a different reading than he might have originally envisioned in order to match tone between the takes. Not that this was a problem: it allowed the piece to emerge much more organically, rather than as a singular vision.
Collaboration - Though this was Steele's first stab at the Queens universe, he had a lot of help crafting the final script, particularly the first scene up in the air. Adam was instrumental in forcing Steele to keep things moving, while Tyrant (naturally) provided all of the recording and acting, as well as directing a good chunk. Additionally, some of the actors improvised or gave alternate takes that proved to help the story flow more quickly. Stick through to listen to the end credits to listen to the large amount of people who contributed to this piece.