Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ray Porter & Barbara Rosenblat on Golden Age Stories

Ray Porter:  I was involved in that project. I was given the narrator role, which meant anything that wasn't a character voice. I was working in Ashland at the time and was planning to fly down to L.A. to visit my wife and son and their studio (Mad Hatter) was just across the bridge from where I live. I arrived at 9 AM and was given a stack of paper that was about the size of two and a half NY phone books. I didn't realize there would be so much and I was only available for the one day! I was then introduced to Jim Meskimen whose work I have admired for years and told that he would be sitting in the room with me providing direction. Imagine being given an 18 inch high stack of math problems to do in one day but then being told that Einstein will be helping you with it and that was what it was like for me. The studio itself is amazing, decorated like Alice in Wonderland. It also has a very interesting musical history, the large recording room has a piano in it with the signatures of everybody who has used it in recording sessions inside it. I saw Paul McCartney's signature in there. We were in a small adjacent room. It was me in front of the mic and Jim was seated a few feet away. His direction was so great. Effortless and always spot on. We managed to have a great time recording, which is good because we worked from about 9:30 AM until around 1 or 2 AM if I remember correctly. I say "if" because my memory is a little hazy after around 11:30 or so. We were all amazed that we got it done in one day and we were also completely exhausted. Immediately after we were done, someone came in and asked me if I would do an interview and share my thoughts about recording the books. So I sat down in front of a camera and tried to answer a few questions about the read. Needless to say, I doubt I was very articulate but the interviewer was very patient.  The people at Mad Hatter studios were great to work with and being directed by Jim Meskimen was an absolute gift. I usually record at home so having a director right there was unfamiliar to me but afterward I wished I had a larger booth so I could invite Jim over to help. We did the session after the main cast recording was done so I still haven't done a full cast recording all together in a big room but I look forward to it someday. My background is mostly theatre so I am very accustomed to that environment. This was an adventure. Our marathon session made narration feel like an extreme sport!

Barbara Rosenblat:  Jim is a fine director indeed. He knows how to handle talent in the studio.  We know that casting is half the battle. When you are finally in front of the mic, it is good to collaborate with someone who understands how you work and guides you with that directorial ear that not all producers are blessed with.

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