Monday, 18 October 2004

Dirk The Daring

During my second year of undergraduate study (1994-95) Maya Personal Learning Edition (PLE) was unrealized and Computational Geometry Algorithms Library (CGAL) was incomprehensible to the mathematically challenged; producing a lavish storyboard is one thing, translating it into binary code is quite another.

Putting my lofty CGI ambitions on the shelf to collect dust (so-to-speak), I specialized in audio and video production. These two mediums* have held me enthralled since childhood and BBC Radio Devon had already broadcast several of my documentaries on their now-defunct teenage magazine programme 90 Miles Per Hour (1990).

At the time BBC Radio One was broadcasting (in Dolby surround) Batman: Knightfall (1994). I decided to produce a 10-minute documentary comparing and contrasting the adaptation of comic books into audio form. Producer/Director Dirk Maggs had established himself as an audio auteur and graciously invited me to the Soundhouse recording studio to interview him during post production on The Amazing Spiderman (1995). And there I made Dirk’s professional acquaintance. Famed comic book artist Dave Gibbons (Watchmen, 1985) was able to provide his own insight, via a studio link, too. It is my intention to publish this documentary online in RealAudio format.

In 1998, whilst in the gainful employ of Reuters Business Information, Dirk hired me as a foley artist/studio assistant on BBC Radio 4 family drama The Gemini Apes. During the recording sessions I met screen legend Christopher Lee and the affable Garrick Hagon; who portrayed Luke Skywalker’s ill-fated best friend Biggs Darklighter in Star Wars. The majority of Garrick’s exorcised scenes, from a New Hope, were not reinstated in the recent DVD release to the detriment of the story.

Presently, Radio Four is broadcasting The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy - The Tertiary Phase. And, as ever, Dirk’s audio production is at the vanguard of broadcasting technology. You can listen to an experimental 5.1 mix (with suitable decoding equipment) online now.

[*I’ve always been perplexed by individuals who are anxious to stereotype and pigeonhole! The following question appears to be enshrined in interview vernacular: What part of the media are you most interested in? The honest answer is the media in all its rich diversity.]