To say this project has been a labour of love, would be a massive understatement.
It has taken more than two years and a heady mixture of lockdowns, procrastination, and gritty determination, in addition to much-needed encouragement from a great number of supportive individuals, for it all to finally come together.
‘A Life Unknown’, in its current form, was borne from a piece of Women’s Fiction, which I wrote as part of my Creative Writing dissertation back in 2018.
During that time, I was presenting and producing a music show on NLive Radio, and it was a simple throw-away comment that gave me the idea to turn the story into a radio drama.
It was my first attempt at writing a full-length script and, somewhat serendipitously, I was at that point introduced to a group of writers and actors in Northampton, called ‘Writing Doesn’t Have to be Lonely’.
It was in a small basement room, in ‘The House of Dapper’ (back when meetings like that were still allowed!), where I awkwardly set-up my laptop and recorder to hear a wonderful bunch of people read the script aloud, and in that instant, I was hooked. I was a BTEC drama student back in the day, but not even the high of going on stage could beat hearing a room full of actors bring my words on the page to life.
A few drafts and group-meets later, the script was ready. And then, honestly, I pretty much gave up.
I felt too much out of my depth. The danger, as I’m sure many writers can attest to, is that after writing and redrafting a piece of work countless times, you can end up feeling that it’s all just a bit shit, and who on earth is going to want to listen to it anyway? Imposter syndrome? Absolutely.
Then in 2019, the submission date for the BBC Writers Academy was put under my nose, and funnily enough, I had a full-length script ready to go. Not giving it much thought or hope, I submitted, and to my genuine surprise, it was long listed in early 2020. Granted, it didn’t get me into the academy, but a letter of encouragement from the BBC was apparently all I needed to reignite my belief in my work. Yep, it’s all about validation for me 😉.
So, the project was back up and running, however, this was when the actual hard work began.
There is apparently a very good reason why film makers start with ‘shorts’ before embarking on feature films, and perhaps why I should have considered making a short audio drama before setting out to write and produce a full-length radio play. Working on a shorter piece would have given me a much better idea of the post-production process; something that became painfully evident, and even more challenging due to lockdown.
And it is at this juncture that I must celebrate the generosity and calibre of all the actors involved with the project. Whereas in usual rehearsals members of the cast would be able to get some direction and be able to respond naturally to each other, due to lockdown, individual recordings were required instead. Some of the cast members were already set-up with their own recording equipment, whilst others bought theirs new, just to be able to contribute to the project. Kudos to you all.
After receiving the last of the main recordings, I felt elated! I was excited, but also completely overwhelmed, having created what I can only describe as a huge audio jigsaw puzzle! Had it not been for my creative cheerleader and magical editing wizard, yes, such a human exists, was I eventually able to put it all together.
The process was incredibly rewarding, a mighty and steep learning curve on many levels, but honestly, worth every moment.
I am, believe it or not, doing my hardest to avoid gushing, but I am so very grateful for the opportunity that this project has provided, both on a creative and educational level, and at its core, a deeply collaborative experience.
My gratitude to all those involved knows no bounds, and I hope this project will be the first of many more to come.
All my love, Rachel x
P.S. All three episodes will be available after broadcast at: