2012 Guild Audio Production - Actor With an Attitude (Felicity's Toupée)
On Thursday, the Guild students and master teachers gathered to collaborate together and create an audio drama. The students were able to put into practice skills that had been learned during the first three days of the Guild, and had the opportunity to actually work alongside the masters in creating an actually drama.
After brainstorming with the entire group to get ideas for the story, Kathy Buchanan took her writing team out and together they worked on creating a unique script that would both entertain and teach lessons. Meanwhile, Todd Busteed began auditioning students for the various roles, and talked about how he chose the various voices, helping students think about directing and casting actors.
When Kathy's team returned with the script, the recording process began! Todd recorded the voices, and then started adding sound effects while John Campbell worked on creating a beautiful piece of music to tie it all together. Watching the audio drama come to life before our very eyes, and seeing Todd, John, and Kathy all working together was a once in a lifetime experience! In the end, and after hours of collaboration between students and masters, we had created a meaningful, beautiful, audio drama!
An attitude of entitlement often springs up in our hearts when we are blessed with success and influence. But the most profound insights and wise perspectives often come out of the 'mouths of babes'. In this short drama, an actor with an 'attitude' learns humility through an unexpected token of grace. Along the way, the creative collaboration of Guild masters and teachers provides moments of humorous word-play and comedic relief that open the hearts of the listeners to the underlying spiritual themes of grace and redemption, humility and meekness, forgiveness and love. The 2012 Lamplighter Guild is proud to present, An Actor With an Attitude or Felicity's Toupée!
The Secrets of Creating an Audio Drama Unveiled!
On Day Four of the 2011 Lamplighter Guild for Creative Disciplines, students, instructors, and staff convened for a "crash course" in how the moving parts of an audio drama all come into existence and then fit into the final product.
John Fornof led the charge as Scriptwriter and Producer by "crowd sourcing" the storyline from the Guild attendees in the audience. Students called out ideas for interesting and quirky characters which John then feverishly wrote down to eventually produce a long list of funny, sad, tragic, and hopeful character possibilities to star in this new drama. He then began to put into action much of what he had been teaching all week by showing us how to create a story outline and eventually the final script that would soon be provided to the actors.
John was then sent away to work furiously on the final script while the group proceeded on with one of the highlights of the day -- auditions! Led by the acclaimed writer, actor, director, producer, and casting director Philip Glassborow, the auditions went fast. Many people volunteered and displayed an astounding amount of very promising talent. Even our "chipmunks in a watering can" were superbly acted and very entertaining! Auditions were carefully recorded and cataloged "on the fly" by the wonderfully talented Todd Busteed - our Audio Production instructor. Once the auditions were complete, the hardest part began... selecting the actors.
Selecting the actors was a grueling task because of the immense amount of talent that "showed up" during auditions. But eventually the actors to play the needed roles were finally selected and the next stage of the process began just as John Fornof was delivering the final script.
Todd Busteed was at the helm of the recording rig as Philip Glassborow directed the actors in warm ups, line delivery, dialogue, etc. Each of the actors performed their parts wonderfully... and in front of a live audience, too! Parts were gradually recorded, each take being cataloged for future reference, and we moved through the script at a nice steady pace. Meanwhile...
While much of this was going on, you would have likely seen John Campbell, our immensely talented music composer, bobbing his head underneath a set of headphones as he began to work out themes and music beds that would be needed for the finished product. We wouldn't be able to hear what was being worked on until the dialogue was completed.
When the actors finished their final lines to a round of enthusiastic applause, the work of editing the voiceover tracks and placing them in Pro Tools began. Now Todd donned the headphones and John Campbell "took the stage" to demonstrate what he had been working on and how he had arrived at his final pieces. He showed us how he developed a theme for the characters and worked it into the music beds he would create. Using just a midi controller keyboard and Logic Pro, John was able to create a fully scored drama that fit our script perfectly. Later he would take music cues from the script and create small clips of music to provide movement and nuance to the final mix and to enhance the telling of the story.
Once again, John C. huddled under his headphones to continue working while Todd gave us a crash course in recording Foley - sound effects like footsteps, cloth movement, etc. This is a critical process in the story because it's what brings the story to life and makes it believable. Students were called on to go in search of items that might make specific sounds needed for the sound design. Group "walla" was then recorded for specific scenes by having a group of 20+ people walk by a set of microphones chatting and talking as if they were entering a church for a wedding. (Later this would be mixed into the background to provide the sound of a crowd.) Once Foley and wall was recorded, music was "flown in" from John C. and the whole drama began to take shape as dialogue, music, and sound effects were all layered in together. Finishing touches like reverb, mix automation, compression, and EQ were added as needed and then the final mix was complete. We listened intently to the final product and applauded all of those involved who then took a bow!
On Friday morning, in the closing session, we listened as a group to the final mix of our drama and finished it with a standing ovation!