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February 9, 2024

A Day in the Life: Production Manager

February 9, 2024
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Meet the Team: Production

Hello! My name is Joseph Marsh, and I’m the Production Manager for The Merry Beggars. I oversee the recording process and make sure everything goes smoothly. But I’m just a small part of a team - on a recording day, we have a director, a board operator, and up to 12 actors! Take a look inside my day to see  what it takes to record one of these audio dramas. 

I'm the one in the back, behind our incredible St. Francis, Demetrios Troy.

A Day in the Life

7:00 AM To the Grocery Store! Actors need snacks - including bagels, carrots, and granola bars - to keep them energetic and motivated through a recording day. 

7:30 AM Arrive at Studio I connect with Matt, our Board Operator, about the schedule for the day. It’s a smaller cast, so we’ll be rearranging the studio to give our actors a little more elbow room. 

7:30 - 8:00 AM Set-Up This includes a bunch of smaller tasks to make sure the day goes splendidly - printing daily calls and scripts, setting out signage, and making sure everyone’s travel is smooth and safe.

8:00 AM Actors Arrive Today, we had actors traveling from Atlanta, Texas, Michigan, and Wisconsin, as well as local Chicago actors. 

8:00 AM - 8:30 AM Final Preparations From here, I discuss the plan for the day with the director and actors. Today, we’re recording Saint Clare of Assisi, and so our actors will be working in an Italian dialect. 

The Production Team hard at work.

8:30 AM Actors Enter the Studio! Earlier, Matt and I set up the high-end microphones and sound-dampening equipment we use to get the quality of audio you hear every week. Once actors enter the studio, we tailor our recording levels to their voice. Once we’ve set these levels, it’s time for … 

8:30 AM - 1:00 PM Recording! During this first block, we record three episodes. During each take, I’m marking down how many takes we record and which takes we want to use in our final show. We record scene by scene, taking breaks between episodes, until - 

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Lunch We have lunch provided from the wonderful Relevant Radio Cafe. A home-cooked meal is just what these hard-working actors need to finish the day strong! 

1:30 PM - 2:00 PM Interviews No rest for the famous! During the second half of our lunch hour, I pull actors aside to record interviews based on the day’s saint. Stay tuned for some more of these behind the scenes videos! 

2:00 PM - 5:00 PM Recording, Part 2 We saddle back up again and finish off episodes 4 and 5, as well as any other material we might have missed over the course of the day. 

The Cast of Clare of Assisi.

5:00 PM Wrap! Once we finish episode 5, we thank our actors for their awesome performances. As they filter out, we’re always awed by their artistry and work ethic. 

5:00 PM - 5:30 PM Tear-Down and Passing the Baton Now that the talent is gone, the production team quickly wraps up the green room and studio. Once we’ve cleaned up, Matt uploads the recorded audio to the cloud and I send the final marked script to the audio assembler.

5:30 PM All Good Things Must Come To An End At 5:30, the production team parts ways, looking forward to another day of production tomorrow. We typically record in bursts - 2-3 shows per week every 2-3 weeks. Now that the post-production team has the recorded audio, they’ll add music and effects and take out any hiccups. After about 7 weeks, we upload the final show on!

I’m so blessed to be able to bring The Saints to life. It’s a gift to be able to work with such talented actors, directors, and sound designers on these stories! I hope you enjoyed getting a small glimpse into some of the moving parts of the production process. Stay tuned for more Behind-The-Scenes content in future blog posts!

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