Experiencing Audio Drama for the First Time – An Actor’s Perspective

Marissa Carruso reflects on her first experience working in the medium of audio drama, while starring in ‘Otherworldlies’ – An upcoming audio drama podcast from Aural Stage Studios.   If acting is an art form that requires a certain amount of self-awareness and self-consciousness, voice acting, because it is an even more concentrated form of acting (plus, wearing head phones allows you to hear every single nuance of your work as it is being created),  develops an even more acute self-awareness in the actor. I am familiar with voice acting for radio commercials and advertising spots, and doing voiceover work for film when the sound quality in a scene is not up to par, I even DJ’d a theme-driven college radio show Tuesday nights at midnight for a while, but voice acting for an audio play is a totally different experience. Sitting alone in a sound booth, trying to sound authentically enthusiastic about health insurance and hearing your own shmacting in the headphones can be nerve-wracking, but with a witty script, great story, rich characters and relationships, plus a beautiful recording room filled with great actors, voice acting is an interactive adventure! Walking through the old Buffalo Victorian home-turned-recording studio up to the amber-colored sound chamber with chandelier and microphones in place, an incredible sense of importance and freedom swept over me when it finally came time to set up my script and take to the mic. After Matt Boudreau and Brad Lauchert explain which mics we’ll use and how to adjust the levels of each other’s voices, they go back to the 6’x4’ sound board, covered in hundreds of little knobs and faders, to direct us through each scene, recording at least three takes of each one for plenty of editing options. The whole set-up feels like a true collaboration in which each artist gladly takes on the responsibility of making this project a success. There’s so much less pressure on the “me” when so many components have to come together to create a piece of work, and as a self-aware actor, that’s probably the greatest relief of all when working on a project like Otherworldlies.
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