A Sound Idea

C. J. Cherryh’s first trilogy of novels set in the Foreigner Universe will be produced as a “Movie in Audio.”

What do you mean, Mike? An audiobook? A radio play?

Puh-leeze, that kind of thinking is so 1990! As scriptwriter Sable Jak told Sci-Fi London

The talking book or book on tape is just that, one guy just reading the book to you. This is, essentially, audio drama, but not like those old radio plays with a bit of dialogue and some footsteps and then someone banging two coconuts together for a horse, this is a full soundscape, with atmospherics and state-of-art sound effects, rich dialogue taken directly from the novels, and a completely original music score.

Sable Jak’s website says the projected budget of more than $250,000 will be raised on Kickstarter; the campaign has yet to begin.

Audio Cinema Entertainment, the production company, has already selected several voice actors and received Cherryh’s approval:

Cast as the only human in the story, Bren Cameron, is horror artist and voice actor: Wednesday Wolf. Helen Hayes award winning actress Gin Hammond will bring the role of the Assassin’s Guild bodyguard Jago to life and the actress/singer Jane Cater will provide the pivotal role of Ilisidi. A fourth main character has not yet been cast.

[Thanks to Francis Hamit for the story.]

9 thoughts on “A Sound Idea

  1. Sable Jak’s sweeping dismissal of radio plays suggests that she hasn’t listened BBC Radio in the past decade.

  2. Morris:
    I work in the audio drama industry on a daily basis and LOVE the BBC stuff. I was referring to the majority of people in the United States who still think of radio plays as “old time radio.” If you notice I say: “but not like those old radio plays” and by that I mean old old old old old. Audio drama in the United States is more a curiosity to the general public, thus the sorry state of the industry, but this attitude has been lessening, although, not fast enough for my tastes. Hope that clears up my sweeping statement. 🙂

  3. Honestly, Morris has it right–the BBC, let alone other independent radio theater companies, have been producing things like this for years. Sable Jak may need to search the audioscape for a clue.

  4. This conceit of coming up with a new name for an existing medium because “it’s not like those tacky old things” is strangely reminiscent of the “this has literary value, so it must not be science fiction” meme.

    “This is an ‘audio movie’, not a radio drama, because it has good production values.”
    “This can’t be ‘sci-fi’, because it’s about human relationships, not special effects.”
    See any issue of Ansible for more examples, including various creative labels used to avoid calling things science fiction.

  5. “Audio drama” is perfectly reasonable. “Movie in audio” puts new moronic in oxymoronic.

    And, yes, it’s *exactly” like “this isn’t sf, it’s good!”

    “I was referring to the majority of people in the United States who still think of radio plays as ‘old time radio.'”

    Oh, right, you’re referring to the stupid people — the ones who are so stupid they won’t otherwise be interested in an audio drama unless you call it a “movie” (with no pictures) — but whom you nonetheless wish to persuade you respect enough to give them a smart drama.

    What could go wrong with this usage?

    Not that the people who would be the audience for a C. J. Cherryh drama would be typical of whom you’d want to attract, perhaps.

    Oh, wait.

    “Hope that clears up my sweeping statement.”

    Expecting everyone who reads what you wrote to also read the comments here may not be the best strategy.

  6. In the first place gentleman Ms. Jak was NOT dismissing ALL radio plays. She was referring to American Old Time Radio of a by-gone era. I’ve been a collector of OTR for 40 years now and many of the shows done in the Golden Age did not have full sound scapes, many of then did limit themselves to a guy with a couple of coconuts. On the flip side many of the better shows did use sound to the full advantage IE: Gunsmoke, Dragnet, Suspense etc. However, that is then, today the large majority of the population do not have any idea that OTR even existed and frankly it’s not relevantto their lives as a source of entertainment. In truth, much of OTR was pap and not very good, I have listened to thousands of hours of it and I say that without reservation.

    Ms. Jak and her company are producing New Time Audio drama and if they choose to call it “A Movie in Audio” there is absolutely nothing wrong in that. It is a marketing ploy.

    The term “radio show” in today’s market does not mean a full cast audio drama to the audiences of the 21st Century. To this audience the term means talking heads, conservative and liberal, canned music and so on, not audio plays. In my business I have to know these things.

    I have been producing and syndicating professional full cast audio dramas for almost 18 years, I have been a professional actor, writer, director for almost 40 and I know that the niche for audio plays is limited. Anyone who thinks differently is in my opinon decieveing themselves. The BBC produces around 1,200 hours of new full cast shows a year, America does not, why because the audience and the money aren’t for major players to get involved. There are to my knowlege only three production companies in this country offering new time audio drama to commercial stations on a weekly basis, an extreme decrease from the Golden Age.

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