Thursday, February 25, 2010

Movies of the Mind for Modern Times - Audiodrama Podcasting

The script called for snow, and it was snowing.

"I wanted light and fluffy," said the director, Fred Greenhalgh. He was talking about the cozily muffled acoustics, not the pretty view. "This is perfect," he said. "Roll 'em!"

Windshield wipers slapping, a car whooshed to a stop at an old schoolhouse in this coastal city, now home to a theater company. Letting the car door slam as he got out, Bill Dufris, playing a cop in Brattleboro, Vt., said, "I'll do my best," and crunched up the wooden steps to a make-believe crime scene.

Overhead, a sea gull screamed. "I could hear that," Mr. Greenhalgh interrupted. "This is supposed to be Vermont." Thinking that inland Brattleboro shouldn't have sea gulls, he called for another take. Mr. Dufris got back in the car, drove around, slammed the door, and delivered his line again: "I'll do my best." Somewhere in the harbor, a foghorn blew.

"Cut!" said Mr. Greenhalgh. His sound man turned off his digital recorder. "The joys of recording on location," Mr. Greenhalgh said. "OK, one more time."

A 26-year-old with blond bangs and a goatee, the director was busy dramatizing a detective story. Not for the screen. For the iPod. The book it was based on—"Open Season" by Archer Mayor—begins with an image: "The snow lay before our headlights like a freshly placed sheet…" But Mr. Greenhalgh had no camera. His job was to translate the book into sound.
An interesting article from the WSJ. Anyone who hangs around with me at Forgotten Classics already knows about them but it is nice to see audiodramas getting some ink in a mainstream publication.


  1. I saw this same article this morning! And I thought, another great avenue for the new evangelization!


  2. Audio verite. Heh!

    Well, it's probably more fun for the actors and producers than sitting around in a studio. OTOH, there are always going to be airplanes and road noise and so forth. Ambience cuts both ways.

    The NPR woman... argh. Talk about someone being totally deaf to reason. When you think of how much pledge money NPR made off the Star Wars radio dramas, or those weird sf mystery ones, back in the seventies and eighties, it just makes you want to cry.