Depending upon whether you use twitter or facebook (come on, you must have heard of them?!) you will probably know that 4amcab had a bit of a setback with the last episode. I rather cleverly managed to drop the external hard drive that contained all the recordings and, more heartbreakingly, the work-in-progress edit of the show.
I had no back up except for a copy of the raw studio recordings with the actors. I lost everything else. This means all the mixes that I’d done for the past ten episodes have all been converted from 1’s and 0’s into just, well, nothings.
Before we even started work on the very first script for Series 2, we announced that all the episodes would be released on the 1st of the month, we call it 4amcab Day. I dropped the hard drive – only 6 inches, I should add – four days before the deadline. I usually spend about two weeks on the edit, at a nice leisurely pace, so I don’t get too rushed with it. I now had four days to redo what I had almost finished.
I spent the first day in denial that it was gone. I went to see a computer specialist to try retirieve my hard work but it was to no avail. The only way to get the stuff back was to send it to a professional with a dust-free “clean room” who would like to charge me anything from £500 – £5,000 to get my work back. That would have taken at least two weeks so didn’t help with the imminent deadline and I don’t make Crystal Meth for a living, so I couldn’t afford the price tag.
The only course of action was to hold my hands up (once I’d stopped wiping the tears from my face) and say we’d miss the deadline this month. 4amcab Day would be postponed, at least a few days. Then something wonderful happened. I sat down to recreate my masterpiece and it all fell into place. As I’d been working on it for the last ten days it was all fresh in my memory and I found that my muscle memory (and actual memory) started to remember what I’d done. I was racing through the episode. Another stroke of luck was that my cohort, Rachel, had planned to be at the recording but instead sacked it off to drink Pimms at the cricket. So I had sent her an initial cut of the story for the episode of just the actors performances for her approval. I was able to pull that off my email and had the starting blocks for S2Ep4 – Spudmarine.
As we credit all the music we use under a Creative Commons licence, I had even kept a record of what music I had used so I was quickly able to download it again and chuck it in the mix. After a few days of hardcore editing, I had recreated the first mix of the episode. Then it was just a case of listening back and making notes and adding in extra sound effects to bring it to life.
The episode went out a little later in the day than usual but 4amcab Day was celebrated as usual, more so in fact. The moral of the story is Don’t Drop Your Hard Drive or Back Your 5hit Up!