sound effects

Radio copywriters – don’t we just love ‘em! – really, really like sound effects. And who can blame them? After all, radio’s the theatre of the mind. But sometimes copywriters forget they’re writing for radio, or seem to. Here are some of my very favourite sound effects, as suggested by copywriters:

  • The sound of sunshine
  • Approaching death
  • A virus, multiplying
  • The ageing process
  • A spider, spinning a web
  • A car-park full of cars, rusting

Now I’ve got nothing against creativity. Hell, I’d welcome more of it but who in their right mind knows what sunshine sounds like?? (Maybe dogs do…there’s something to ponder…)

I was once in a session with one such copywriter who’d opted to produce the session.  (How I love sessions like that! No, seriously, I’m not being funny. I really love sessions where the copywriter offers to produce.  They’re sooo much fun!) This guy was very keen and pretty new to radio so all the usual twisted cynicism hadn’t yet permeated his soul. He was passionate about his work and told me how he wanted the ad: “You’re a mum-next-door: pretty fashionable, takes care of herself, probably has highlights, loves tapas and shopping that kind of thing. Just play with it. Have some fun.” (We were doing an ad for block paving)  I asked him how I’d convey the highlights thing, on air. He didn’t find it funny. “Look, Emma, what you’ve got to realise here is that we’re not just making commercials, we’re making little films.”

It was then that I reminded him we were doing a radio ad.

Reader, he never booked me again…

Some new music written in the oddest of times

Who will sing at the inauguration?

Handy political sound effects

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Emma Clarke

Emma is an award-winning voiceover, broadcaster and writer. Want to find out more about Emma?
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