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  • Scott Carter Cooper

Moonlight – Editing/Sound

Audio theatre lives in the mind of the audience. The artists have to rely on only sound to evoke images and tell the story. But how much is too much, and what exactly does the audience need to experience the piece fully?

That’s the question that has to be answered in the editing process. And as with everything, the challenge for me is always paring away, giving just enough without overburdening my audience. I said in my previous post that “Stoned” was deceptively complex. But with “Catching Moonlight” the editing went to a whole new level. I didn’t just take lines from different takes to weave the episode together. I didn’t just patch together different parts of a single sentence. In “Catching Moonlight,” I actually pieced together a single word. The actor gave her best take of a line reading just as I coughed on the final syllable of the third word in the sentence. I went and found a similar take out of the four line readings she’d given me and surgically extracted that syllable and spliced into her reading. You can’t tell.

For this season I had three pieces of music, each about a minute long. Yet there were times when I needed only twenty seconds, and other times when I needed four minutes. The trick I found was to excise a section that has the strongest downbeat and copy and paste as needed. With this project it was easy because all three music pieces represent the wheels of a train in motion. The patchwork isn’t perfect, but the dialog covers any tiny seams and the actors are so good they distract from any flaws in my work.

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