As I was recently on the subject of recording I felt it was probably appropriate to say a few things about read-throughs.  Whether the production involved remote artists, local artists, or a mix of both, the read-through is a must.  I typically hold mine via Skype as most of my productions have been brought to life by remote artists all over the world (The Fiona Potts Interview is a great example of an international cast).

Before the cast performs its read-through I read the entire script out loud to myself.  You’d be surprised at how doing so sheds light on any mistakes, misspellings, or plot holes.  I’m not sure why this is, maybe it employs a different part of your brain, but reading the script is essential.  I do it now not only for audio drama scripts but novel-writing as well.

When it comes time for the Skype read-through with the cast I ask them to go through it quickly.  If/when direction is needed this is the perfect time to offer it.  I ask the artists to read through the script quickly because if something sounds slow, or drags, then it’s definitely going to be worse when it comes time to put the show together.  I’ll mark those spots as needing re-work and send out a revision of the script to the cast within a couple of days.

I also ask that the artists begin recording their lines as soon as they can so that the read-through and the cast dynamics are still fresh in their minds.  Some of the things I leave them with are:

  • Record 2-3 takes.   I leave this up to them as to how they wish to do so.  Some artists go line by line and some read through the script multiple times so as not to lose any rhythm they’ve built up.
  • Improvise!  While I do ask that they provide at least one or two lines as written I also want them to have fun with it.  If they feel the character should say something un-scripted I’m all for it.  Some of the best lines have come from improvised performances by an artist.  Pixie – The Devil’s Daughter stands as a prime example of a read-through that was both magical and entertaining.  James Oliva, the artist who plays Beel in the show, delivered alternate takes of Beel’s lines along with improvisations, 95% of which made it into the show itself.  The production was much better for it (thanks James!).

After the read-through is done and the cast have gone off to record their lines the fun part starts!


Other Posts in this series:

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