I knew that when I took the Radio Performance and Production class, I would have to do a radio show. I thought long and hard about what kind of show I wanted to create, and came up with a crazy idea of doing an old-fashioned radio drama. The scripts for radio I looked at had all been done many times. So I thought about what I would like to hear, and came up with the idea of doing Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” for radio.
The hardest part of producing these radio dramas is coming up with the script. For the first show, I found a screenplay someone else had written and modified it myself. For “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay” I went right to the books and developed my own story. It was hard to determine which parts should be omitted, and which leave a good narrative.
The next step was to hold auditions. There are very talented people here at SLCC. When Juliette Cross came in for her audition, she had “The Hunger Games” book in hand. The auditions were recorded and then later cast solely on what the voice sounded like.
“I’ve not done any voiceover work before, so this was interesting and deftly experience,” says cast member Scott Garner. “I’m incredibly honored to been chosen to voice the role of Peeta – I like his character a lot. It’s really interesting to see the standard gender roles be reversed in ‘The Hunger Games,’ where Peeta is effectively the damsel in distress and Katniss is the big macho hero – I really enjoyed watching his character develop as the story progressed.”
My favorite memory of “The Hunger Games” was the cast interactions. Everyone got along and would tease each other about mistakes in the script and using the wrong voice for a character.
“My favorite moment was at the second rehearsal for ‘Catching Fire’ and one of our cast members who played Finnick, wasn’t there and so I took over and played Finnick. I have my deep, sensual, sexy voice. Then later, when the cast member actually showed up, I was instructed to teach the cast member what I just did. It was really funny teaching [him] to be sultry and sexy,” says Connor Thompson who played President Snow.
“Cato and Finnick have definitely been my two favorites. They are two completely contrasting characters, and so I really enjoyed playing Cato. I could play this evil maniacal competitor in the games. But with Finnick, I really love the character of Finnick. It’s been really hard for me to grasp being the sex idol in the series,” says cast member Greg Carver.
“I think my favorite moment was I was talking to Greg about Finnick and he was struggling so hard to get that sexy voice down. We worked about an hour trying to get it down until he finally got it,” says Thompson.
The actors have wrapped their part, but will not be forgotten. Their voices will live on in the “The Hunger Games Radio Drama.”
“I like doing this as a whole but at the same time I’m kind of glad that it’s like over,” says cast member Juliette Cross. “It was fun – I liked doing a bunch of different characters. That was helpful for acting; being so many different people having to switch in and out of character.”
“I think that my favorite part of recording so far has to be employing my voice to do different characters. I feel really good on working on my range,” says Matthew Richardson, who voiced characters including Thresh and Castor. “I am really thankful to be in a huge cast with these people.”
“My favorite moment of this whole project is probably ‘Catching Fire’ in the arena just bringing out more characters like Johanna and Finnick, and really getting to know them,” says Kristen Aoki, voice of Katniss. “It’s been really nice bringing those characters at the spotlight.”
While the acting part is over, the time consuming part of mastering has just begun. Mastering is when our talented sound engineer, Daniel Espinel, adds sound effects and brings sounds of the story alive.
I am grateful to the many talented people who helped me make my crazy idea a reality. All of my actors and those who wrote original music for the production are what made this production. This project crossed four departments of our college: Communication, Theater, Film and Music. When you have so many talented people come together, magic can happen.
So now that you know the story behind “The Hunger Games Radio Drama,” please tune into radioslcc.com on Mondays at 4 p.m. You can also listen to the podcast on radioslcc.com. I can’t wait to see who will do the next radio drama – will it be you? Remember that real hunger is not a game; donate to your local food bank. May the odds be ever in your favor.