Rick Carter's Jurassic Park: An Audio Drama - Part II
Updated: Feb 17, 2021
Preproduction on the audio drama meant doing a lot of prep work. We had contacted fans/voice actors to do the roles and received our recordings of the characters, adjusted the script to play more like an audio drama, did another pass through the script and "spotted" where the music was needed, written several musical ideas / themes, and taken note of sound effect needs. It was time to begin breaking down the story.
Although the script is only about 96 pages, the ability to produce the Audio Drama in one go was a bit precarious for a few reasons. If there were any delays or issues, we could have produced 90% of the drama and still had nothing to show for it. Further, would the audience be interested in listening in one go? Modern audiences are more use to smaller bite sized stories and with an already familiar story that's nearly 30 years old, producing a several hour Audio Drama might feel to the audience more a burden / retread than a joy. With these thoughts in mind, we began to read through the script and break it down into smaller pieces we came to call "Iterations," a reference to the original novel. Crichton breaks his novel down into these 'Iterations,' a term for fractals describing how many steps of complexity have been performed. As the story progresses and becomes increasingly complex (and the underlying structure of the story and the Chaos involved is more clear) so too do these structures underlying patterns and complexities become more clear as you perform more operations on a fractal. (This is how Ian Malcolm is so sure of the eventual failure of the park due to understanding its underlying structure, with the specific details being immaterial). Breaking the story up into smaller sections has (and still is) a bit of a fluid process. Recognizing the story beats, structure, and tone help to inform where the cuts belong. Part One--or 'First Iteration'--introduces us to the story and the arrival at the island, further hinting of what's to come, ending with a moment where an obvious but small time jump occurs. Part Two--or 'Second Iteration'--is the main park tour. Malcolm is introduced but this moment is interrupted by Hammond inviting his guests to begin their tour, ending with another hint of what's to come with the one animal NOT on the tour: the Velociraptors. This process continues on through the story, finding easily digestible and tonally similar sections of the story without breaking up the intensity, excitement, or setup/payoff moments built into the script. Although this is meant to allow an easy viewing / listening of the experience, it is only step one. Once completed, the entirety of this Audio Drama will be edited into one listening experience for those who chose to hear it this way.
The Author's Voice
Both Derrick and I have a strong affinity for a particular audiobook version of Jurassic Park. Released in 2000 and long since out of print, JURASSIC PARK read by William Roberts was a strong inspiration for the narrator. Anyone who has heard this version knows that William Roberts adds a great deal of LIFE to the script by creating character voices, speaking asides with a conversational lilt, and breathing into the descriptions with the efforts or struggles being described. The script, of course, doesn't have a narrator but does have moments of descriptions, character movements, and other physical actions. While trying to remain faithful to the script, we did take some liberty in how these moments were read, adapting them be less stage and screen directions but rather more how a narrator would describe the action. This translated well to our purposes but it did mean going through the script, line for line, and adjusting it to fit our needs. The original script is available online at Jurassic Time's site and a comparison will find that the information is all there albeit phrased differently. An example of a change is the decision to announce/not announce each character speaking. In a script that information is there but in an audio drama where each character can be played by someone else or voiced differently, that information isn't as required to follow along--except in certain moments such as the introduction of a new character. In the end, this is not OUR story but we are being custodian to it in our production. This means treating the story respectfully and retaining its intentions--including any flaws--during our production. (Continued on Part III)
In the mean time, check out the released parts of the story! The First Iteration: The Island Paradise
The Second Iteration: The Park Tour
The Third Iteration: The Saboteur