The holidays are over and although we’ve been very active on Facebook we’ve been a little remiss here on the blog.
A few of the things coming up:
An interview with CJ about the project at bookyurt.com. Before Christmas CJ was sent the interview questions. She answered them and they’ve been forwarded on so as soon as we’re informed that the interview has gone up we’ll let you know.
Two more interviews with CJ at audio drama review sites.
Guest blogs regarding everything from audio drama to acting for audio drama to adapting for audio drama from some of the leading people in the field.
Mekala McCaughy, our art director is working on a full “sketch book” that we’ll be posting from.
It is my personal goal to find our “Banachi” by March, if not sooner.
Of course, you’ll be kept apprised of everything as soon as it’s available . In the meantime, if you’re so inclined, drop by Facebook and get into one of our discussions. We’d love to have you.
(c)2012 SR Jak
CJ Cherryh Movie in Audio
December 27, 2012
Recently we posted the following question on our Facebook page:
“What do you think makes CJ’s science fiction different from other writers of the genre?”
We’ve gotten some wonderful answers and have posted them (with the author’s permission) below. If you’d like to chime in on this discussion like us on Facebook and keep up with all our news!
From Logan Waterman:
Her strength is her culture/psychology. CJ writes the best, most alien aliens in sci-fi. Others may do hard science better, or military stories, or a few, very few, world building. But no one can touch her aliens for psychology, culture or anthropology. Of course “anthropology” is the wrong word. They are completely believable, and completely not human.
From Mars Whitacre:
Every time I start identifying with an alien character, she changes it up so that I remember that person is not human. There may be characteristics in common, but ultimately the human character in each story is brought to the realization that no matter how close the culture is, it’s not the same. This kind of misunderstanding is what leads to all kinds of conflict in fiction and real life, and CJ shows her audience how dangerous it is to assume that someone believes the same things you do just because you have one thing in common. This just shows her knowledge of human nature… You have to be intimate with how a human thinks in order to create a believable society that is so inherently different than humanity. Yet her people are still people, with their own foibles and faiths and issues. Amazing!
From Joel Chesky Salomon:
Cherryh writes as if she were in SF’s Golden Age, writing to Joseph Campbell’s challenge, “Write me a creature that thinks as well as a man, or better than a man, but not like a man.”
Hal Clement did about as well as anyone; his stories are full of how assumptions made by one species will not at all be obvious to another. His Mesklinites are as alien as the hani. But only C. J. Cherryh could write the atevi.
We’re getting other comments, too but have not received permission (yet) to reproduce them. Come on over to our Facebook page and tell us what you think!
In the last blog I answered a few of the questions that I’ve been getting and now I’ll answer some more.
Q. How did you convince CJ to allow you to create a Movie in Audio of Foreigner?
A. The best answer I can give you is: At the point we first talked to her no one had (as I understand it) approached her about doing an audio version of Foreigner. And, especially not the type of audio we were proposing, i.e. full-cast, fully soundscaped and scored. Of course, telling her what we’d like to do was one thing, what we had to do was show her what we could do.
So, we talked to her about what scenes she might like to hear, and we created a couple of extra scenes that would provide us a chance to shine both with sound effects and adaption skills. Once she approved the script for the demo we pulled together actors we felt would bring the characters to life and we recorded the scenes with them. Then Tim took over and started creating sound effects, pulling up music and eventually putting it all together. (Amazing how you can reduce months of work down to a couple of sentences!)
Once the demo was done we forwarded it to CJ and her agent and held our breath.
So…. How did we convince CJ? We did the best we could to bring her her words in a way she’d only ever heard in her head. And evidently, we succeeded.
Q. Why do Foreigner?
A. Because it’s one of my favorites. You see, I say I’m one of the producers and I am. But I’m also the person who started this whole crazy journey with a chance encounter/conversation on Facebook (yes Facebook) with CJ. I love this series. Every couple of years I read it, from the first book to the latest. And, whenever I read it I can hear the characters in my head. I can hear the sound of the macheita, I can hear the Wi’itkitiin, I can hear Ilisidi laughing. So what else would I want to do as an audio drama?
Q. How soon will the “Movie in Audio” be done?
A. The best answer I can give you on that is that we want to get it done as soon as possible, but a project of this size is like putting together a production of “Aida” (the opera, not Elton John’s show). The actual recording may only take 3-4 weeks, but then you have to create or track down all the sound effects, mix them, compose the music, work with the dialog tracks and then slowly stitch it all together. It’s just not something that can happen overnight and there are a lot of people involved in it.
Q. How can we keep track of what’s happening?
A. Well, if you’re on my website that is one way, although, not the best way. You see I want to turn the CJ Cherryh page (on my own website) into more of a “director’s chair” series of postings. And this blog here (tumblr) will have a lot of information for sure. I’d say the best way to keep up on the project is to do all the usual things; like us on Facebook, sign up for the Twitter feed, do an RSS on this blog, mine, the websites, etc.
I should let you know, however, that at this point “progress” is a funny thing. The script is 90% done. The other 10% is just tweaking and cleanups and changes should CJ want them. Most of our team is in place. Budgets are being worked and reworked. Actors are being listened to for roles that are not yet cast. So, until we’re funded there really isn’t too much to tell you by way of “progress.” Once we’re into actual production, reports will be constant.
What we can do, until we’re funded, is keep you up to date with the scripting, who we’re dealing with (we’re still seeking a perfect Banichi) and, frankly, starting dialogs with the thousands of fans of both CJ and good audio drama. We love hearing from you. We love answering your questions. From our very first discussions about the project Tim and I decided we wanted to be as accessible as possible to all of CJ’s fans and the people interested in this Movie in Audio.
Q. Why are you calling it a “Movie in Audio?”
A. It’s a marketing phrase. It is unfortunate but you can still mention “audio drama” or “radio drama” to people and they don’t know what you’re talking about. I know this because every now and then I ask people if they like it and I get a blank stare. However, if you say “Movie in Audio” they stop, puzzle upon the phrase a little and ask (most of the time) “What is that?” But when it comes right down to the finished product; who cares what we call it? Once it’s done we want you to be able to put in your ear buds, close your eyes and let us lead you into the world of Bren Cameron and the atevi.
Until next blog:
Some Questions and Some Answers
Hello CJ Cherryh fans! It’s been a bit since we last blogged, but you’ll find that we’re going to be much more consistent from now on.
As you can see, the “look” of the blog has changed. However, we are in the middle of defining a unified look for the whole project so expect to see a variety of things happening here until we settle on a felicitous design.
If it were up to us (the producers) to decide on the look one would want Feudal Japan and the other would want a cross between Art Deco and 1940’s Sam Spade’s office complete with banana leaf curtains. So you see; our art director is going to have some fun and we, the producers, will acquiesce to her fine taste. We’ll give you a little hint as to the future of our “look:” Think atevi.
I (Sable here) have been getting a fair amount of questions through my website’s “contact” page regarding the project so I’ll get right to answering a few of them.
Q. Have you cast all your actors yet?
A. We have cast three of the major roles (all with CJ’s approval) and have received a multitude of audition submittals for the other roles, enough to cover this book and a few new productions of War and Peace. If you’re asking because you’d like to audition you need to know three things: 1. We require that you live in the Pacific NW, (Seattle would be best as we’re not budgeting for travel and living expenses for the actors). 2. We prefer you have acting skills. Having a good voice does not mean you can act. Sorry to be so blunt, but this is an audio drama and just reading the lines won’t do. 3. This is a full out commercial venture. We will be, between rehearsals and recording, looking at a three to four week recording schedule, five days a week, 8 hours a day.
Q. What does a producer do on an audio drama?
A. Everything. J
A project like this starts out with one or two individuals deciding on the viability of the project, if they really want to take on the workload, how long it will take, how much will it cost, etc. etc. etc . Once they’ve got a strategy worked out, they start to bring in other people to be part of the team. However, they are the ones who make the final decisions, sometimes individually, most of the time jointly. Individual decisions would fall under 1. Which person is in charge of the financials and how he/she wants to set up bookkeeping. 2. The person doing the directing confers with others regarding casting, but eventually makes the decision who he/she wants to use. In our case, both ACE (Audio Cinema Entertainment) and STS (Sebastian T Sweet Productions) has equal say on any decision unless one defers to the other. And both of us are willing to make the coffee for the employee lounge. J
Q. How much does CJ have to do with the project?
A. I have to say, I was surprised that this wasn’t the very first question that was asked of me! But, the answer is very simple – CJ has a LOT to do with the project. For instance:
1. When it comes to the actors for the main characters she picks the voice she wants. Granted, she picks from the people we present to her but, we know what she’s looking for through prior discussions and then, from the audition pieces we get, we pick the best actors and the best voices for her to hear. We also provide her with our opinions on the actors’ abilities. Obviously as the Director I have actors that I prefer to work with and, of course, will champion them, but only if I feel they’re right for the role(s).
2. CJ has the final say on the completed script. Because scenes from the book are being conveyed in dialog form I, as the adaptor, have to try to approximate CJ’s writing “voice.” In my mind I refer to her as “The Goddess with the Mighty Blue Pencil of Editing.” So far she’s liked what I’ve written in “her voice.” But, like Bren, I do tend to exist on a fair amount of bicarbonates when awaiting approval from her.
As I said earlier in this post, as producers, Tim Knofler and I are the bosses on this little venture, however, we do answer to a higher power and that would be The Goddess with the Mighty Blue Pencil.
Next blog I’ll answer more questions.
Until then, keep calm and enjoy life.
More sketches from Mekala: Bren with one of the lace collars from his semi-formal meeting wear.
(c) 2012 Mekala McGaughy
This is the rough sketch of our new Baji-Naji symbol.
CJ was given several different sketches and this is the one that she has chosen. Eventually we’ll show you the others, but we love this and wanted to share it.
It was created by our wonderful artist, Mekala McGaughy.
NEWS NEWS NEWS
1. We are filming the Kickstarter Video this week. We thought about using the actors that will be playing Jago and Bren, but decided against it.
2. We’ve got a “social media” person and once we get everything all sorted out there will be more postings here!
3. We’re narrowing down studios to record. No decisions yet, but, there are a couple that are looking better and better.
4. Word has gone out for actors so we’re hoping to start casting the rest of the roles soon.
5. We’ve asked CJ if she’d like to record a little something for the Kickstarter video and she said yes, so we’re trying to work out the logistics on that.
that’s it for now!