News Picard Audio Drama Announced - No Man's Land

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Tuskin38, Jan 12, 2022.

  1. thribs

    thribs Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They just get in the way sometimes. Especially if the narration is overly detailed. They can stop the flow of the story. Even in some novels I have that issue. Not in @Christopher ’s novels of course. :)
    I prefer if they just describe things in dialog. Sure it might come off as unnatural, but at least the story flows better. Big Finish have gotten rather good at that.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I've always hated unnatural "radio writing" dialogue where characters narrate what they see to each other, or to themselves. To me, that gets in the way far more than narration, because it's diegetic, actually going on in the scene, and totally artificial.

    Although I agree that narration should be used judiciously in audio. Though I wrote Tangent Knights 1 in prose format which was then adapted to audio by GraphicAudio's people, I learned how to write in script format for Books 2 & 3, and I discovered a lot of cases where I could skip the narration and convey what I wanted through sound effects or through performance/subtext notations on the characters' lines. That way, I could save the narration for when it was really needed. As with most things in life, it's better to find the optimal balance between different elements than to go for an all-or-nothing approach.
     
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  3. coryjosb

    coryjosb Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    There's also the Early Adventures.
     
  4. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Vice Admiral Moderator

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    Thank you for the information! I didn't actually realize Audible was a subscription service. I'm looking more for something where you can just purchase once, and then listen whenever you want without needing to maintain a subscription. I did look at Kobo, because I get my ebooks from them, and they allow you to purchase... but apparently you can't read audiobooks in the PC software and need to use a mobile app. Guess I'll have to look into other vendors to see what options are available.
     
  5. coryjosb

    coryjosb Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    You don't need an Audible subscription to listen to any content you've purchased. With an Audible subscription you get one free credit per month which you can use to purchase any audiobook/drama on their store which you can then keep forever. I believe with a subscription you can also purchase additional credits for a very reasonable price.

    You're still able to purchase anything outright without the need for a subscription but using their subscription service is usually the cheapest method of purchase.

    If I'm wrong somebody please correct me, my Dad uses Audible actively but I've only used it on and off so I may have made a mistake somewhere.
     
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  6. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Vice Admiral Moderator

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    ^ Thank you!
     
  7. Csalem

    Csalem Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah I stuck with the subscription. At the moment I am paying £7.99 a month for one credit and the Doctor Who dramas can cost around £17.99 on their own but the credit covers the cost, so a good saving.

    Initially I signed up for the free trial which gave one free drama with the expectation of cancelling at the end of the trial period, but I decided to keep it going.
     
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  8. James Swallow

    James Swallow Writer Captain

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    This exact same comment was made in another thread on audio dramas back in 2018, and as I said then, I'll say now: that definition lacks nuance. If the work is a text being read (usually by a single voice actor) from a pre-existing source, with little or no music and effects, that's generally accepted to be defined as an audiobook.

    The Sulu stories are very clearly performances that were written and originated specifically for the audio medium, they make full use of it for dramatic effect, and the interaction between the characters or lack thereof is irrelevant. A work with a cast of actors, music, effects, and in some cases narration, that's an audio drama.

    (Additionally, regarding the Sulu audios, where does this idea that "they apparently weren't allowed to have actual interactive dialogue" come from? Citation, please.)

    The word "dramatization" is key; what's being described here sounds like an audio drama - in this case, an adaptation of a text into a dramatic format for audio, not just a reading.

    Quite so, it's a broad church, and YMMV, as they say.

    But as someone who has been writing audio dramas for almost 20 (!) years, I personally feel it's important to draw a line between "this is someone reading a book" and "this is full-on dramatic production" because I see the terms used interchangeably and that can be a problem for creators in the marketplace.

    Audible is especially to blame for this, with it's system of "credits", as often subscribers will see a 20-hour audio book and a 2-hour audio drama and go for the book because it is perceived as better value for money, when the difference is one of quality, not quantity. I've already seen comments to that effect regarding No Man's Land, and I'd hate to see this audio do poorly because it's seen as too short.

    tl;dr - audio books and audio dramas aren't the same thing, they should be taken on their own merits and are equally valid entertainment experiences.
     
  9. coryjosb

    coryjosb Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Just wanted to add that In verh excited for this, as somebody who has listened to a lot of audio dramas produced by Big Finish for Doctor Who I've always thought that the format is something which would work much better for Star Trek.

    A lot of the Doctor Who drama's fall into the habit of being too action heavy when trying to emulate the show which without the visuals is something which doesn't work in the format at all imo meaning I'm just waiting for that to end. Action works fine in small doses but Big Finish can lean on it a bit too much, in my opinion.

    On the other hand, a lot of my favourite Star Trek episodes mainly focus on the crew discussing a moral dilemma whilst orbiting a planet. Episodes like Balance of Terror and The Measure of a Man are able to work equally well in audio with no sacrifices or an over reliance on dense narration.

    Not sure if this story is that I would have picked to attempt to kick off a line of audio dramas but I'm still excited to see what comes in the future from this, whether it remains something to compliment the current line-up of shows (especially excited to see what they do for Strange New Worlds) or whether they use the format to explore the older shows.

    Only worried that focusing purely on the current shows would remove an element of ambition since they'll want to avoid doing anything which can contradict the shows, whilst they already know how far they can go with the previous shows and can maybe explore underdeveloped characters from new angles and things.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    My Tangent Knights series was created specifically for the audio medium, but when GraphicAudio invited me to pitch an original series proposal, it was phrased in terms of pitching a trilogy or series of books, and they commissioned novelists like me to write prose manuscripts which they would adapt. And the company's tagline on their website is still "Audiobook Adventures." So not everyone agrees with you that the terms are forbidden to overlap.



    If I had a citation, I wouldn't have said "apparently." The fact is that the books don't have any interactive dialogue despite trying to come as close to it as they could, which leads to the deduction that something must have prevented them from having two performers interact directly. I think I read once that having dialogue would've made it a dramatic production and they didn't have the license to do those, so they had to tiptoe around it. But I don't recall.


    That's a fair point, but I just resist building walls between categories that can and do overlap. What GraphicAudio is doing now with original audio series like Tangent Knights is basically the same in execution and logistics as what they did before with audio adaptations of prose novels like Only Superhuman or my Spider-Man book. The only difference is that they're commissioning original novel-length manuscripts rather than adapting pre-existing books; otherwise the format is exactly the same, so it seems specious to say they can't be the same thing. Their productions have always been a hybrid of audiobook and audio drama, and I'd say that's actually part of their identity as a company.
     
  11. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Which were not labeled as full cast audio dramas; the tagline on the box (before it was dropped with the rebranding in 2018) was "Brand New Adventures" instead.

    So does that mean you consider the "Chronicles" series that Big Finish does (to pick examples you've worked on: the Companion Chronicles, the Liberator Chronicles, and the first two series of Stargate) to be audio drama too, rather than audiobooks? Or does only having two (two-and-a-half if Lisa Bowerman's directing) actors disqualify them?
     
  12. coryjosb

    coryjosb Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Big Finish definitely either marketed them as full-cast or got to the point where it felt kind of misleading. I remember discussions on GallifreyBase at the time where people were annoyed by the narration because "It feels pointless to include so much narration in full-cast audios" so I'm definitely not alone in thinking that.

    In the news section you can see them described as a "more full-cast approach" to those stories and the Early Adventures category says "told through narration and a full cast of actors".

    The packaging doesn't describe them as full-cast but just about everything else did.
     
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  13. James Swallow

    James Swallow Writer Captain

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    Ease up on the pearl-clutching, no-one is "forbidding" anything here. :rolleyes: I'm simply talking about definitions of different types of works.

    As to the comments about your Tangent Knights series... However you want to phrase it, however it might have been produced, from all the evidence I can see the end product of Tangent Knights is 100% audio drama. It's not drawn from a pre-existing, previously published work, it's not a simple reading. It's full-cast performance with multiple actors, effects, the whole bit. As you say yourself, it was written specifically for the audio medium. That sounds like an audio drama to me. And whatever GraphicAudio's corporate tagline might be, Tangent Knights is badged as a "GraphicAudio Original".

    But I grant you that GA do deftly blur the line between the formats, and they produce great stuff, I have to say. As a listener, I've always considered the GA productions I've heard to be 'dramatic adaptations' of their source material rather than a straight audio book.

    I absolutely do consider the BF "Chronicles" stories to be audio drama! They're written from the ground up to be audio stories, told fully in that medium.

    As aside, it's worth noting that BF's "Chronicles"-type productions were born out of production constraints rather than creative choices - like wanting to do stories featuring characters whose actors had since passed away but without recasting the role, stories that could be produced on a lower budget using a smaller cast, or stories where it was just too expensive or too difficult to get hold of certain performers.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yes, it is. It's an audio drama with novelistic narration, per GraphicAudio's standard format. I just don't agree that an audio drama can't also be considered an audiobook. Life is full of overlapping categories, so insisting on strict binary definitions is artificial.
     
  15. James Swallow

    James Swallow Writer Captain

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    Narration in an audio drama isn't "novelistic", it's just narration.

    They are demonstrably two different things. But go ahead, you do you. :shrug:
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, I wrote Tangent Knights Book 1 as a prose novel manuscript, and most of my prose narration was adapted verbatim (though I took care to avoid "said" tags, and in retrospect I would've used less of it, and have done so in books 2 & 3).


    That's what they used to say about male and female. Categories are generalizations, not absolutes.
     
  17. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I doubt it. You can't discount the Audio-Visuals and the experience in making Doctor Who audio dramas Briggs and Russell gained there. Listen to an AV story and almost anything from the first decade of Big Finish, there's the same storytelling approach in both.
     
  18. thribs

    thribs Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I used to listen to Big Finish dramas all the time. I sort of fell out of them in the last few years. Stories just weren’t grabbing me as they used to
     
  19. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  20. DarrenTR1970

    DarrenTR1970 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In reading this, I was reminded of a quote by Eric Stewart of 10cc who also produced and mastered their albums on how he got their albums to sound so good - "There are two ways to mix a track. Either you mix the track for the guy with the big speakers and a superb system, or you mix it for 99% of the public who listen to the radio and have quite reasonable stereos. We mixed the track for the 99% with reasonable stereos."
     
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