Recently in The Making of Rockford's Rock Opera Audio Book Category

Walking with Dinosaurs Audio Story News

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Last week we went to Wembley Arena in London to see the amazing Walking with Dinosaurs audio visual spectacular.

Amazing stuff. Really! If I had been 7 years old I think I would have exploded with excitement as the huge radio controlled beasts loomed over us! It was so interesting so to see how it was all staged. The mix of narration, facts, audio, acting and action was excellent.

It showed us what can be achieved in live theatre these days and what we can aim for for future live performances of Rockford's Rock Opera!

Anyway. For anyone, aged 5 to 105 whose considering going to see the Walking with Dinosaurs show, although it is expensive, it's well worth it. Or, if you can't afford the ticket to Walking with Dinosaurs, listen to part one of our dinosaur audio story which is completely free... and just as amazing :)

Rockford's Pitch is No 1!

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A quick Blog about Rockford's Rock Opera's visit to Sheffield and the Showcomotion Children's TV and Film conference.  Here's what they say about themselves:

"The Showcomotion Children's Media Conference is the only event in the UK dedicated to children's content across all media, and the inter-relationship between entertainment, education and play.

Since 2004 the conference has gone from strength to strength, and expanded its remit to the entire range of media and entertainment experiences available to kids.  It now attracts delegates and speakers from Radio, Television, Film, Interactive Media, Games, Licensing, Toys and Publishing..."

... and us!!!!

Elaine and I visited Showco in the hope that we could meet people in film and TV in order to introduce Rockford's Rock Opera to them. Up until now we've kept Rockford's Rock Opera very much 'on the web' and made no attempt to pitch it as a film or TV series. It's because we wanted to prove its success as a groundbreaking audiobook and also, to be honest, because we don't know anyone in film or TV!

Anyway. To cut a long story short Showcomotion went really well for us. In fact, Rockford's Rock Opera caused quite a stir, winning the Dragon's Den style pitching competition (up against an original 'short list' of over 100 pitches) on the first day and, as a result, getting a great introduction to some of the world's to international film and TV execs.

Without saying too much. We now have lots of interest and interesting people to meet.

A big thanks to everyone at ShowCo and we will certainly let you know more news just as soon as we can. (Still happy to hear from Steven Spielberg though...)

A Hitchhikers Guide to Audiobooks (again)

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A UK survey published last year (and which I wrote about in a previous Rockford Blog) voted The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Primary Phase, by Douglas Adams, read by a full BBC cast) as the nation's most popular audiobook for adults and children.

As I said at the time, it's great. It's a fantastic, classic production. You should get it!

But it was made thirty years ago. Nothing wrong with that either perhaps. But why, when computer technology has brought high quality audio production within the grasp of every project studio, are there no more Hitchhikers-style adventures in sound? It seems to me that the phrase 'audio book' now means no more than an actor or author in a studio reading a book.  

Hitchhiker is so much more than this - a wonderful story, of course, but also a real adventure in sound with narration, characters, music and sound effects.

The answer to the lack of creativity is certainly lack of budget... and laziness. Producing complete audio adventures is a real undertaking. A labour of love and, I'm afraid, commercial pressures make few allowances for the sort of dedication required.

Unless of course you're mad enough to have locked yourself in a darkened room for three years to produce one! Rockford's Rock Opera is our unique adventure in sound. If you love Hitchhiker, you'll love this too (so will your kids) and, because it's written by Steve Punt, there's a Douglas Adams connection there too. Part One is free so you can judge for yourself!

This blog will tell the story of how Rockford's Rock Opera is now reaching out, with a free audiobook, from our attic to the world. 

Barack Obama interrupts Audio Book Recording

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There was I, recording vocals for demos for Rockford's Rock Opera Part 4 when I was interrupted by an incredible din coming from outside. It was about 7.30pm last night and I was up in the attic, as usual, writing songs.

Suddenly the house shook and my vocal 'take' (possibly the best sounding singing since John Lennon sang 'Revolution' - I wish) was ruined. Naturally I went to the window to see what on earth was going on and guess what? Four massive helicopters were flying overhead. Quite scary really...

Anyway, I soon found out - via Sky News - that it was non other than the American President, no less, who had trampled on my ducet tones. He was flying in Marine 1, having just arrived from the US at Stanstead Airport... and New Barnet was obviously on the flight path!

So, I'm thinking of keeping his rumble on the recording of RRO Part 4, just so I can write in the sleeve notes; "Additional sound effects: The President of the United States of America and entourage".

Just as well it isn't still George W or I would have been very upset. But I fancy President Obama would like our audio story and so I might just let him join in the fun.

Just as long as he doesn't make a habit of it.

Latest Audiobook News

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OK, so I've been rubbish at writing my Blog recently... did you know something like 90% of Blogs peter out after three months? I can easily believe it. It all takes time and, when there's so much else on, it's so easy to put off the Blog.

But that's not going to be me. I'm going to stick with this Blog though thick and thin because I love you all and I know you're hanging on my ever blogging word and, one day, perhaps this Blog will will taught in schools...

Perhaps not. But we have been very busy recently and so the Blog has slipped.

Why you ask? Well. We've been talking about all things operatic and audio-book-like on BBC Radio 4 no less! As I mentioned in a previous tome, we were invited on to Radio 4's Go4it programme to talk about Rockford's Rock Opera and performing children's musicals. It was really good day and it was great to meet Barney (nice chap) and the gang.

We've also been preparing for our next gig at The Bull theatre in Barnet, tweaking last year's first performance to include just a bit more of the story.

What else? Well they'll be loads of new stuff on the website shortly including a text synchronised read along version of the audiostory - sounds very technical but it looks and sounds great. It should be up in a month or so. I'll let you know.

We're also working on new songs for Rockford's Rock Opera Part 4. We've got about 10 songs so far but, until we finalise the story, I won't be finishing them off just yet. Still, they're sounding amazing (even if I do say so myself). I can't wait to play them to you all.

That's it for the moment. Sorry for the rather random Blog but I'm in a rather random mood this Wednesday night...

If you haven't clue what I'm talking about just go to Rockford's Rock Opera and listen to our amazing adventure in sound for free!

Rockford's Rock Opera Live (Again!)

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Following our sell-out Christmas Shows... by popular demand, Rockford's Rock Opera is going live... again!

Rockford's Rock Opera (Part One and bits of Part Two) Live (Again) Special!

Based on the acclaimed audio book and featuring the Sweetapple Orchestra, Steve Punt, Jess Pendall and Foulds School Choir, Rockford's Rock Opera will be live at The Bull Theatre, 68 High Street, Barnet (EN5 5SJ) at  
8pm on Friday 20th March 2009.

Tickets can be purchased from the Rockford's Rock Opera shop - £5 and £10 each I'm afraid, but ALL proceeds go to the Dare to Dream Children's Charity. Places are very limited so please book your tickets now (or you can let us know by email).

The show should finish around 9.30 and we hope to see you afterwards in the bar area (children welcome).

We really hope you can come and bring your friends and family.

Note: There are two large car parks very near the Bull Theatre and its a 5-ish minute walk (up the hill) from High Barnet Tube.

"Rockford's Rock Opera is an amazing
mix of story, songs and soundeffects. It has a freshness that makes you smile
as you listen and could become a cult favourite as beloved as Wallace and Gromit."

Christina Hardyment. The Times Best Children's Books (December 2008).

Recording Audiobooks

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I was reading an article last week by Radio 2 DJ and (excellent) author, Stuart Maconie. He was talking about audiobooks and how they're becoming more and more popular - so much so that he's been asked to read all of his books so that they can be turned into audio versions.

He describes the process of sitting in a small room in some dingy studio reading for hours on end. It's not a very glamourous life being and audiobook reader! Stephen Fry who, as I've already mentioned in this blog, is a huge audio book fan and performer also describes the small dank studio spaces that are the habitat of the reader. 

Still, as Mr Fry and Mr Maconie both agree, even a big book doesn't take THAT long to read - perhaps a week in the studio at most - so the suffering is only temporary...

Rockford's Rock Opera is often described as an audiobook. I suppose it is the best description although it does upset me a bit to be compared to someone reading a book on tape. It is certainly a story on CD with a narrator I suppose but, really, that's where the similarity ends. 

Rockford's Rock Opera took 3 years to record! Three years recording narration, sound effects, characters, songs and all the rest. So, if you'd like to hear what a audiobooks really can sound like, give it a try.

Rockford's Christmas Free Audio Adventure in January

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Well, here we are on January 12th and it's time to share with you a picture of our local school choir rehearing Rockford's Christmas Song. As you can see, the event was also filmed for a forthcoming documentary film.

You can hear the results of the recording session in the videos section of the website and we're already planning activities for next Christmas! Yes, this year we've learnt, to promote a Christmas single properly you need to start in January.

A lot more Rockford activity over the past few days too including plans for a new way to deliver the story on the web, and plans for a new book version of the audiobook. Also, going to the BETT SHow later this week so I'm sure they'll be some good new contacts to be met...

Anyway, for the time being, here's to Rockford's Rock Opera Christmas Number One 2009.
Just in case anyone thought the story of Rockford's Rock Opera isn't all 100% true, here's a picture of the real tree near the lake in Battersea Park - "with a blue carrier bag caught in its bare winter branches" - where Rockford meets the mysterious Cocklebur Ick and where all his adventures being.

So, why not visit Battersea Park and you can see it - and lots more scenes from Rockford's Rock Opera - for real! You might even find yourself on your way to Infinity...

The Real Poo Bag Tree.jpg

Are Audio Story's Cocklebur Icks Real?

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If I had a penny for every time I've been asked this question I'd nearly be able to buy a very large curry by now.

For those of you who don't know, the Cocklebur Ick is one of the extinct stars of Rockford's Rock Opera - our unique adventure in sound. As you'll know, they are cute small yellow creatures with rough green stripes down their backs and who had the misfortune to stick to things (including Rockford the dog, in our audio story). You may also know that Cocklebur seeds were the inspiration for the invention of Velcro - hence their name.

When, in the free audio stroy we meet the Cocklebur Ick she's on her way to the Island of Infinity and a home amongst the world's extinct creatures and so is, unfortunately, the last Cocklebur Ick... take a look at The Tale of the Cocklebur Ick video to know more.

So, were Cocklebur Icks real? 

Well, the truth is, I don't really know. Originally I thought we'd made them up but then someone wrote to us from Hitchin in Hertfordshire (UK) to say they remember Cocklebur Icks playing in the streets at night when they were a child. SInce the writer was in her 80s when she wrote this must have been a long time ago.

So, in search of the truth, we're shortly off on safari to Hitchin to ask the locals if anyone else remembers Cocklebur Icks. We'll let you know...

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the The Making of Rockford's Rock Opera Audio Book category.

Free Children's Audio Books is the previous category.

The Message behind Rockford's Rock Opera is the next category.

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