Are you ever going to record COLD FIRE and SHATTERGLASS?
Versions of this (“Why haven’t you . . .?” “Did you ever . . . ?”) are hands down the most common questions that pop up on our Facebook page these days. As to the why haven’t we, the answer is simple, and sad. We ran out of money. The 2008 economic meltdown, plus a back-stabbing by a corporate partner, hit FCA really hard. But, as I like to say, we ain’t dead yet! Tammy and I have talked many times about trying to do these. And, yes, we have discussed doing a Kickstarter if we ever do decide to tackle them. However the barrier isn’t only financial. Inertia is a factor as well. Getting projects this big into motion would take a huge amount of effort, since I no longer have a full support team in place, and we would have to gather an enormous team of actors. So for now I’m sticking to shorter projects with smaller cast. Even so, I haven’t given up on the idea of returning to the Circle World!
What Is Full Cast Audio?
We are a small company with a big mission: to create great recordings of wonderful books using a full cast of actors rather than a single narrator. We truly believe that we are pioneering in a new art form, a new way to experience, more fully than ever, an author’s intent. In fact, one of our primary goals is to create a recording that will delight the original author.
For more about the company, click here.
How Do You Define “Family Listening”?
Our “net” for family listening is simple: Can an intelligent adult and an intelligent ten year old listen to a book at the same time with equal enjoyment and a lack of embarrassment?
This doesn’t mean we won’t record a book that might be edgy, even controversial. When we choose something like this it is because we believe that (a) it is a great piece of writing and (b) it handles things that are worth discussing in a family setting.
We do have some titles, such as Dunk, that are aimed at listeners in the teen years, and these we clearly mark with a “Teen Listening” logo.
Do You Ever Record Adult Books?
We would like to do some adult titles eventually. However it is not easy to find contemporary novels published for adults that fit our “family listening” criteria.
We think it is an interesting cultural note that while most novels published a hundred years ago would be, if not equally interesting to adults and children, at least capable of mutual listening without embarrassment. Almost no modern novels can make the same claim. What this says about modern society we leave to the reader to decide…
How Do You Choose Your Titles?
This is mostly Bruce’s job, and it’s made easier because he has been involved in children’s publishing for twenty-five years now and knows many of the best authors in the field. He is constantly sifting through review magazines and publishers’ catalogs, looking for new books for us to record. Authors, agents, and publishers send titles for us to consider. Friends recommend new things they have read.
Out of many hundreds of books that come to our attention, we have to choose a mere handful. It can be an agonizing decision! There are so many titles we would love to do!
And that is the first priority, of course. It has to be a book we love. (Given how much time we spend on a production, and how many times we are going to read the book and listen to the recording before it is released, this is necessary for our sanity!)
Here are some other factors:
1) A book has to have a lot of dialogue. Otherwise, why record it with a full cast?
2) We try to have a mix of titles for a range of ages.
3) We like to include one or two classic titles, such as The Moffats and David And The Phoenix on each year’s list.
4) We have to have a good chance of selling enough copies to make a profit! The audiobook market is growing rapidly, but it is still only a fraction of the print market.
5) Despite that, we also feel we have a responsibility as publishers to nurture NEW talent. Therefore, we try to include at least one first time author on each list as well. This has brought us such wonderful talents as Doug Cooney and Anita Briggs.
Where Do You Find Your Actors?
Our actors are drawn from the tremendous talent pool available to us in central New York. Though people are often startled that you can find this kind of talent outside of New York or Los Angeles, the truth is that there is a wealth of theatrical ability available in most cities. One of the reasons we can find this talent is that we have the luxury of casting on the basis of ability rather than looks! As we like to say, “There are no bad hair days in audio.”
How Are You Different From Radio Theater?
In radio theater—now often called audio theater—the goal is to tell the story through dialogue and sound effects, eliminating the narrator as much as possible. We love radio theater. But that is not what we are trying to do at Full Cast Audio. Our emphasis is on the book, and our goal is to bring the full text to life, exactly as the author wrote it. We truly believe we are creating a new art form, a melding of the lively voice style of old time radio theater with the fidelity to text of the traditional audio book. Everyone knows how disappointing it can be to see a movie made from a well loved book, how often the story has been changed, how many things must be left out. A full cast recording is like having a movie in your mind—one where they didn’t mess up the book!
Why Don’t You Use Sound Effects?
In a script written for audio theater, a slamming door or a ringing phone may sound just right. But because we are recording the complete text of already published books, sound effects are often redundant. For example, if the author has written “Then the phone rang” and right after that we put in the sound of a ringing phone, it’s like saying the same thing twice.
About the only sound effects we use are on the voices themselves. These effects may include slight “reverbs” to indicate when someone is thinking to him or herself—pretty much the equivalent of printing something in italics—or a treatment to make it sound as if someone is on a telephone, or coming over a school loudspeaker, or speaking in a big cavern.