The Making of:
"Deep in the Forest" was conceptualized based on the tradition of J-pop idols groups having stage plays. BETA is an international trainee unit, so members are spread throughout the world. Juju Neto was from England, Nanami is from Argentina and Rika, Ami and Hikari are from the United States.
The answer to the spread out nature of BETA was an audio drama. Each episode is 8-9+ minutes long and most premiered in October with the final one premiering in November.
The plot is essentially four girls go into the woods because their close friend Juju claims she saw a hairless cat-like creature in the woods which she swears is not a cat at all but something else entirely. Rika is far more than skeptical of this and simply plays along, expecting the situation to lend to a more reasonable explanation. Meanwhile, Ami supports Juju's quest, even if it does not seem to be in the realm of possibility. Hikari is simply curious and joins them wanting to know any answer. Nanami first episode is the 2nd episode, and a listener can quickly piece together how she fits into the mystery.
The drama was originally part of a song a song with the same name, but it was decided to do the drama alone in celebration of both fall and Halloween.
The inspiration for the drama was purely based on the lyrics of the song but with a more lighthearted ending. I wanted to keep the drama as family-friendly as possible. In writing an audio drama, what the character says carries the most weight rather than what is seen. I narrate when necessary and let the girls' witty retorts do the rest. Since there was only a table reading for the 1st episode, I had no idea how the members would read their lines, so editing was an absolute pleasure. Over each episode, each member became more comfortable in their role. An interesting piece of trivia is that four out of the five members each have a final line.
Ami: Episode 1
Rika: Episode 2
Hikari: Episode 3
Nanami: Episode 4
Because of the early departure of Juju from BETA, she was not given a final line. Her character is mentioned in all four episodes despite her only having spoken lines in two out of the four episodes.
Writing has been a passion for me for most of my life, but this was the first time I wrote an audio drama. It was both hard but gratifying!
I hope you will listen to the drama and share it with your friends!