VCDS-Helen Ho script writer interview
6:34PM Mar 9, 2021
And for this first question was like to write technical verification? Um, I, I would bet that it's a different experience reading for radio drama as opposed to an in person audience. So I'm very curious to hear about your general thoughts on waiting for an audio drama. I was like,
yeah, so I originally wrote technical dedication in high school, and it was a stage play at first. So yeah, getting to like rewrite it and adapt. It was, it was different. I've never written like a radio drama before or like an audio drama. And it was mostly like, like, I was very lucky that Alexa and Gail were pretty helpful. And I had, you know, some friends who were really helpful in terms of reading it. But it was a lot of like, having to think like, and I had to restructure a lot of the jokes, because a lot of the jokes were very, like, Originally, it was a stage show, right? So they were like, actual, like, directions. And, and then in the rewrite, like, I had to consider like, Oh, yeah, nobody's gonna be able to see any of these things. So you know, and like, defects can only go so far in terms of establishing like, things that are, you know, you can't see the room, you can't see the people. So it's like, it suddenly has to be a lot more like, about, like, what the characters are saying, and what's not being said, rather than what's being shown through like, body language and stuff like that. So yeah, it's just, it like, kind of opens up another door of like, you have to think about stuff that you really wouldn't usually think about when you're writing stage play.
Yeah, like to expand a bit more that if possible. So I guess from your perspective, if you're reading an in person, play, you might have those days directions, you might have those. I've had this it's been a long, long time, those cues for the actors to read before lines. From your view, writing for radio, for this podcast format, for COVID-19. How did you adapt the script? Did you still have those stage cues? for like, like audio implementation? ghosting? Yeah.
Yeah. So, um, yeah, there was still like, there was still like, so I typically when I write like, scripts and stuff, I don't really give too much explicit direction for the actors, because I kind of like it when they like, interpret it as their own. And they kind of like put their own twist on like, stuff, obviously, like for big, emotional moments. Like, I'm like, if I want them to scream, like, I'll put like, you know, you scream at this part, or whatever. But yeah, so I guess adapting it was more there was a little bit more like, I would have to like add a little bit more cues, because it's like, just so the audience can hear it, because they can't see like in their body language, oh, they're frustrated, or whatever. So you want to add, like, in a tone of frustration, just so the actors kind of know, to, like, emphasize that more in their voice. And also, I think it's really interesting, because like, the people that we got in the cast, like, they're lovely, and they're all like, terrific stage actors. And I think very few of them had done like a radio drama before or like an audio drama. So it's just, and like, they probably weren't only acting, you know, with their voices. So, yeah, I did add, like a bit more like of the, into the script. I feel like just to kind of guide them. Yeah,
it's a pretty interesting experience. And I was had some questions as well, in terms of the origins of clinical verification, you mentioned wearing this in high school. Did you have a particular inspiration? What to whatever events led you to this work?
Yeah, so I, um, so I went to an arts high school and we did a Fringe Festival, which is a very short drama festival of plays that are all written and directed by students. And when I was coming up with an idea to write a script, I knew I wanted to write about like zombies. But I didn't know how I was going to do it because it's like a stage show. And I was like, I like you can't really write like a chase scene on stage. It's not really doable. And then like also, I was like, I like I didn't know what characters I wanted and I didn't want it to just be about like zombies I wanted it to be like, like I was like, there needs to be something interesting about it because we we've seen so many like zombie dramas and stuff. And my actually my like drama teacher, she was the one who said I've never seen a show about like, stage hands like people who work with stage crew people who work backstage and I was not an actor in high school. I did like backstage stuff and I was was like, Oh, that's really interesting. Like I could write about my own personal experience kind of work, like draw from that working backstage, and then make it. And then like, kind of mash it with the zombie idea I had. And also, I think at the time, in Toronto, there was this very short lived run of this play by a writer called Johnny son called dead end. And it was, it was about two people who were trapped in a room and there was a zombie at the end of the hallway. And I was like, that is so interesting. And such a funny concept to be like, imagine if a zombie apocalypse happened during a show. And you were trapped in the tech booth with your fellow techies. So that's kind of like where it came from.
Yeah, like be prepared for something that's, that's maybe the original as well. That's something that's really interesting here. And I'm checking to be your upcoming production, which is with the assistant director of what all of this is over. Yeah, I was curious to learn more about what the role of the assistant director is. How how's your experience been been so far? as an assistant director?
Oh, yeah. So originally, um, last year, Sidney asked me if I wanted to be a stage manager for her because she was pitching Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. Because this was before we knew, like, you know, we weren't going to be able to do anything in person at all this year. And so yeah, I was like, I've only stage managed before. So I was like, Yeah, I would love to stage manage, because that's what I was comfortable with. I think I directed once in high school, but I was I've never done it, you know, at U of T. And, um, and then yeah, like, we this, we couldn't do Rosencrantz and Guildenstern obviously. So production itself changed to this, like collective creation type thing. And then it became like, like you because it was online. And because of like, the nature of the production, it stopped being something that I could like, actually, like, really stage manage, like, there wasn't much I could do in terms of stage managing other than like scheduling. And like some other, you know, admin work for Sydney. And Sydney was Sydney's a lovely, lovely director. And she would like, ask for my opinion, and my feedback, cuz usually stage managers don't really give like creative feedback, or like input. But yeah, she was like, Sydney's amazing and lovely. And so she would be like, like, what do you think about this, like, you know, just so she could get another opinion. And then after that, she was kind of like, well, you're basically you basically become my assistant director. So would you like the title as well. So it wasn't really like I started as an assistant director, it was kind of like, I, like those two roles were kind of merged together for me. And I feel really grateful that I got that chance. So yeah, that's how it was being dragged there. Yeah.
Like, that's, that's pretty critical experience as well. And I'm like, what's the perspective of someone considering to watch when all this is over? What do you think it could be like and interesting piece for them for them to experience?
I'm sorry, could you repeat the question?
On the perspective of someone who's considering watching the BBC, so what do you think they should watch it? Why do you think it could be a good experience for them to have? Okay?
Yeah. Well, so it's, it's about when all this is over is like, about it's kind of the stories of these like five individuals on the day before, like, everything was shut down at UEFI. And, and so that was kind of like, I would guess, quote, say, quote, unquote, like our last normal day, and I think I'm a very like, introspective, reflective person. So I am always thinking about like, doing, you know, on this day, a year ago, and this pandemic has just been like, so crazy and life altering. And it's like, really interesting to think like, Oh, my God, like, a year ago, this whole thing started. And like, this is what I was doing a year ago. And it's like, really weird and slick. And while while we were working on it, like, it was it felt very weird to be like, you know, if this hadn't happened, like we, Sydney, and I would be doing something completely different right now. Like we wouldn't even be working with this cast. So I think it's interesting if you're listening to it, and you're listening to like these people, and you kind of remember like, wow, yeah, like I was, you know, going to class or I was one of the characters is coming. home from a party like, Oh, I was supposed to go to a party that week or, you know, like all of these things that like, Yeah, I remember when I would walk around on campus, and I would see so many people. And I don't know, it's just like, we're right now we're at a point where we're very alone and isolated, but being able to listen to that. I feel like kind of grants a sense of like, unity in that, like, we're all still going through this together. And we all kind of feel the same way. And yeah, it's just like, when all this is over, like the title literally, it's like, this is over. Like, we'll save each other again, and it won't be so alone. And the sad. Yeah, so I think Yeah, and I think it's, like, very well written to because it's, it's a collective creation, right. So it's like, we draw from our own experiences. So I hope it's a nice relatable thing for people to be able to listen to and feel like, you know, I remote be reminded of their friends and be reminded that they're not alone.
Sounds really excellent. And it's very relatable and puts words to those thoughts and experiences of production. Right. So that's, that's really missing here. And yeah, like, those are all all the all the questions I had in mind, if you have, or would you like to add anything that you'd have to?
no, no, really? I think that's all um, thank you for having me. Really nice to talk to you.
Absolutely. Yeah. This was a really really fascinating interview. And yeah, I'm a huge fan of Ireland hasn't gone through and like read the read the scripts and and saw the reaction. But I think that in place of that are like, multiple productions that I think will be really amazing ones already happens. And the next one, so then, if there's going to be a tickets, I'll firstly be I'll be getting one. And then like, I'll be tuning into the stream. And it's a coping with this as a reporter, you're supposed to be normal, supposed to be natural, but this is my end of the feature. And you know, the editors can be more personal. So yeah. And yeah, like so I'm very much excited on a personal level. And I hope this article can help more people discover the word.
Yeah. Awesome. Thank you. No, thank you so much. I'm glad to hear you're so excited. Yeah.
I hope you have a great evening and a very successful production.
Yeah, you too. Thank you.