The Human Eel

The Human Eel


Much of the same process with a Nick Guy script applies to the Human Eel. I must first come up with a theme, a particular subject I would like to address, a particular doctrine or practice or stand of the Church that I want to provide an apologetic for. I try to make these subjects ones that the Church is particularly facing in our culture.

And, of course, from here I have to immediately into working this theme into a plausible story line. Why would the Human Eel be dealing with this subject? How do I build a story around it?

The next step, just like when writing a Nick Guy script is the research. I look at both sides of the argument (from the Christian and the non-Christian view) and work that information into the story line.

I then segue into the actual story line, working in the information along with the comedic situations and fleshing out and developing the plot. Balance is a key factor here. I try to provide pieces of the information as the story unfolds, not all at once. This creates a flow and helps to keep the episode from bogging down or losing focus.

During the actual writing of the script, many things can happen. Many times, as I’m writing, an idea will come for a funny bit, and sometimes it’s one that I will be able to use as a running gag throughout the whole story.

generally write to include everything I want to have in a particular scene and in the script as a whole. Later on, during editing, I will refine the script.

Also, since the Human Eel has a good sized cast of regulars, I want to be certain I utilize them well. In some episodes, certain characters will have a larger or smaller role. Also, the relationships between the characters is important to maintain. Rebekah Bradford has been a big help with this whole thing. She is good at suggesting situations or nuances that help develop these relationships.

After the writing is all done, I turn my attention to recording. I will break the script up into individual scenes, and lay out a track sheet for which characters appear in which scenes. I will start recording the voices I am doing. I will schedule the other voice actors to come in and record their lines. After this process is done, I can piece together the dialog as it needs to be sequenced for the scene.

Then I add the sound effects and music. A good number of sound effects, like footsteps, doors and the like, are easy to get or produce. But sometimes, I require a sound that is a bit more challenging - even a bit hard to define. For this I will many times combine different effects to produce what I’m looking for. Since radio has no visual, we rely heavily on sound effects.

Regarding music, I have a pretty good library of incidental and segue music that I have recorded for the Nick Guy Series. But I discovered early on that much of this music doesn’t really fit with the Human Eel. Fortunately, with my background as a songwriter, I can write and record my own music, and customize it to fit what I need.

I have to admit that digital recording has made the whole recording process much easier. If I want to cut some dialog from a scene to make it shorter, I can just cut, paste and delete what I need. I don’t have to cut and splice tape. This is also an advantage when working with music. If I need to make a piece of music either longer or shorter, it’s simply a matter of cutting and pasting digitally as opposed to physically cutting and splicing a tape.

Perhaps the toughest part of producing a Human Eel Adventure is the editing. When working in radio, each episode has to be timed exactly. One minute over or one minute short won’t do. Also, I want to be able to end each episode at a moment of tension. To accomplish all of this, time needs to be either cut or added. Usually, I run over on time. When this happens I am forced to go through the script, scene by scene, to make cuts.

One would think if 30 seconds needs to be cut off of a 25 minute program, that it would be easy. But it’s not. I may have seven or eight scenes in each 25 minute installment, and after editing and cutting and reworking one scene I find I have a grand total of 3 seconds.

Although this can be a grueling process, I have found it to be beneficial to the overall production. Many times, what was said in three sentences now needs to be said in one. Being forced to do this usually results in the dialog being clearer and more to the point. It helps the flow and pacing of the program. But I must be careful to not rush the story either.

When all of this work is done, I then listen to the finished product (or at least what I assume is the finished product). I listen mainly for the flow and pacing of the story. I also have to try to listen to it as if I’m hearing it for the first time and have no idea what is going to happen. This is important because sometimes, after editing, I may have characters referring to things that were in the original script but were cut out.

In the end, I hope we have accomplished what we set out to do. Provide a tool for equipping the Church to be able to give a good, solid defense for the Christian Faith. Doing it in a way that is encouraging, educational and entertaining. I hope we succeed.

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