In this post we go behind the scenes of the live broadcasted dramatised reading of “The Comet” by W.E.B Dubois. Also, my first time producing and sound designing this type of audio work.
For Black History Month I had the smart idea to broadcast a Black audio drama or live reading. Except that, I couldn’t find any in the public domain that we’re well read/acted and generally the pickings were slim. So I DIY an audio drama. Here’s some candid info about the process:
Feb 7th: I take a shot in the dark and post to facebook that I’m looking for “strong actor/readers” for a project. Over a hundred likes and tags later I post the sides and allow people to send me reading via email.
Feb 9th: After listening and calling the actor/readers back, “The Comet” was cast!
Feb 12th: We got together two days later on a Sunday afternoon for the first reading via conference call.
Feb 14th: The call was recorded with enabled me to make a rough edit to send to the actors so they could practice and for me to search for and place sound effects.
Between this time and our next rehearsal, I marked the script for possible sound effects and music changes. I thought about finding audio appropriate for the time period and even created the sounds I needed out of other sounds.
Feb 22nd: Video Conference call rehearsal. The actors are better acquainted this time around and using video helped them with the timing.
Our cast had to live their daily lives and we wouldn’t be able to meet again until our final rehearsal. Have you tried to coordinate 6-8 schedules?? It’s tough. So, I swapped old audio with the conference call version, made my final selections about music and sound effects and sent it to the cast. This time they could listen and get a feeling of the mood and practice their lines with the audio in mind.
It was at this time, I created an Fx script for myself and our live engineer to follow along and know when to trigger the music and sound effects.
Feb 27th: The cast finally meet! We do a run thru of the text, give each other notes and triggering the sound effects was a disaster on my part because I had no idea what app to use and tried iTunes. Don’t use iTunes for this guys- trust me.
We get through it, and I stay up all night finding and programming soundboard apps to put on two iPads for the next day.
Feb 28th: Day of the live reading! I gave the 2nd draft audio a last listen and actually removed some sound effects for a less is more effect. Met the cast at the location, set up our equipment, do a quick run thru and we go live.
Our engineer making audio adjustments throughout, me sitting besides him triggering sounds while the actors read their lines. All with a rush of adrenaline flowing through all of us, hoping for the best!
And it was the best… the best 37 mins of my life.
LISTEN HERE & check #TheCometBFR on instagram for more.
The Comet! The Comet! The Comet! Is live right now on bondfireradio.com A post shared by TK in The AM (@tkintheam) on
“The Comet” has been selected to be a part of the HEAR Now: The Audio Fiction & Arts Festival in Kansas City, MO! Read MORE.