Writer Greg Weisman turning ‘Ghosts’ series into audio playWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | email@example.com
It’s cliché to call something a labor of love, but it can truly be said for Greg Weisman’s latest project. For years, Weisman — famous for being the creative force behind animated series like Disney’s “Gargoyles,” “The Spectacular Spider-Man,” “Star Wars: Rebels” and more — has worked on writing a series of young adult novels called “Rain of the Ghosts.”
Originally pitched as a television series for Nickelodeon, the books chronicle the adventures of a young girl named Rain who is given a magic armband, allowing her to talk to the dead. The first two volumes of the series are already on the shelves, with another seven planned by Weisman.
But last year, about the time that the San Diego Comic-Con was going on, an idea got stuck in Weisman’s craw.
“Usually, I’m accustomed to writing scripts, teleplays where I have great actors sort of take the dialogue and bring it to life. And what’s great about that is, even if the dialogue’s mediocre, a great actor can do something terrific with it,” Weisman said with a laugh, in an interview with Toledo Free Press.
“But here, when I wrote the novels, I had to make sure that the dialogue would sort of sing on its own, so to speak, because I couldn’t count on having any actors read it. But having finished the books, and being proud of them, now I still want actors to read it!”
Weisman wanted to bring the books to life in an audio format. But not just a traditional audiobook with one guy performing all the characters by himself. No, he wanted a full production with multiple actors filling the myriad roles and truly immersing listeners in the world of Rain and her mysterious gifts.
Hence began his efforts to make the first book in the series into a full-fledged audio play. Weisman launched a fundraiser April 1 through Kickstarter, in an effort to raise enough money to give the piece the production quality it deserves.
“I went with what I know,” Weisman said. “This audio play is a four-hour animated movie without the animation. You’ve got 20 actors playing 30 roles. You’ll have a full musical score, sound effects, the works. It’ll really come to life in your imagination.”
Weisman believes in the project so much that he sunk over $30,000 of his own money in hiring and recording actors — most of whom Weisman has worked with before, and many of whom are well-known to the general public — before he even started the fundraiser.
“I just had phenomenal people working on it,” Weisman said, citing respected actors like Ed Asner, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, Jim Cummings and more. “All of the actors, save two, I’ve worked with before.
“All of that is done and paid for. The Kickstarter is not to pay for the voice work; that is done. The Kickstarter is to pay for postproduction, which I can’t afford to do, and that’s getting the music composed, editing all the vocal tracks into a coherent whole, getting the sound effects, and then mixing it all together into something that really feels lush and full, and complete.”
Weisman supervised most of the recording process himself, including work with newcomer Brittany Uomoleale, who plays Rain, and Daniela Bobadilla as her friend Miranda.
“The recording process was a joy — the most fun I’ve had in a long time in this business. I directed them, I had a little help from Jamie Thomason, who directed the first session with Daniela, Brittany and Bryton [James], just to set the right tone because Jamie is so good. He was the voice director on ‘Gargoyles,’ ‘Spectacular Spider-Man,’ [and] ‘Young Justice.’”
Weisman expressed hope that the project would help bring new eyes — and ears — to a world he is incredibly proud of.
“I’m hoping that the audiobook is another way that people can appreciate it, whether they’ve read the books already and want to hear these great performers bring these characters to life, that’s great — or maybe there are a lot of people that don’t have time to read,” Weisman said.
“I do hope it raises the profile of the whole series. It’s supposed to be a nine-book series — I’ve written the first two, I’m researching the third one now. But we want to try and keep this thing going — and that means we need sales.”
For more information on “Rain of the Ghosts,” visit: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1693681637/rain-of-the-ghosts-full-cast-audioplay