Audio drama “jobs”

This is not about the kind of jobs that make money – I wish – but rather some of the terms and titles we bandy around and do not always use consistently, since so many of us come from different backgrounds and histories, and what they might mean.

I’m not trying to set anything in stone, just to make us all aware of the vagaries of our industry and how you may need to be especially clear when someone asks you what precisely you do.

The easiest jobs to describe are of course:

ACTOR: A person who plays a role within a show.


WRITER: A person who writes the script

But what, for example, does a producer do? In movie terms, for example, a producer is:

…the person responsible for finding and launching a project; arranging financing; hiring writers, a director, and key members of the creative team; and overseeing all elements of pre-production, production and post-production, right up to release.

While in audio dramas, often the one referred to as the “producer” is the person who simply makes the show. With less staff to supervise, and often a simple or absent budget to allocate, the Producer might be the only person other than the writer and actors who is involved in a production.

Other jobs that might be done by the producer, or by the writer, or might be handed to another person include:

Casting director: puts out audition notices and chooses the actors who will play the roles.

Art Designer: makes cover art, creates character pictures, makes web avatars and banners, designs advertising art.

Marketing director: puts together press kits, reaches out to media outlets for coverage, writes ad copy, places ads, runs funding campaigns.

Tech support: makes websites, chooses upload and RSS feeds, makes sure technical issues are dealt with.

Then who is the editor, sound editor, and/or line editor? The one who edits the script? Well, sometimes there’s a credit for a script editor, but usually the sound editor is the big job – the one who spends the most time on a show …and gets the least credit.

The sound editor of an audio drama spends roughly 20-30x more actual work-time on a show than anyone else in the process.

[Rule of thumb: every minute of unique time in a show takes an hour of work from a sound editor. Might be more or less, but this is a general estimate.]

And one big title I’ve overlooked?

The Director.

This is an interesting one, since in theater a director’s job is to have a vision for how a story plays out, and to guide actors through the process of making their actions and expressions fit into and move that vision forward.

So when, exactly, do they do that?

If a group holds a table read of some kind (live or via zoom or some other platform) the director can put in their two cents there. If not, the director can talk to each actor about their character, or read through their lines with them.

But often, there simply isn’t a “director” (in the technical sense) for a show, and the job falls once again into the purview of the sound designer – the one who chooses which line takes to use and what sort of sound will back them up; what pacing the show will have, and where the crescendos will come.

Having a well-written, competent script helps a lot too. A script should fully inform the actors as to their characters (apart from one line type, obviously, who may or may not have any depth), and give them all the information they need to know as to what each scene holds for that character.

Just trying to straighten out a few things.

My own personal preferred title is “diva”, which means (to me) “basically does everything”.

Published in: Uncategorized on November 20, 2020 at 11:59 am  Leave a Comment  

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