Greg Weisman, creator of the beloved Disney series Gargoyles and a guest of honor at local sci-fi & fantasy convention CONvergence going on four times now, is turning his Young Adult novel, Rain of Ghosts, into an audio play. This is a new way to enjoy YA fiction, and it’s pretty exciting. The project is currently the #1 most funded young adult project on all of Kickstarter. The voice acting has been completed, but to finish the post production he is asking fans to help.
So, what is an audio play? It’s exactly as it sounds—a play, but performed only for your ears. Instead of producing a run-of-the-mill audio book, Weisman has brought in a full cast to tell the story. It’s sort of like a cartoon, but the animation happens in your imagination. Actors who provided character voices in Gargoyles, Young Justice, The Spectacular Spider-Man, and Star Wars: Rebels bring the world of Rain to life. There are sound effects and over 4 hours of original music that has been written just for this novel.
The cast for this play is star studded with Weisman having brought friends old and new to the project. Featuring Edward Asner (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Gargoyles), Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gargoyles, Young Justice), Brent Spiner (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gargoyles, Star Wars Rebels), Steve Blum (The Spectacular Spider-Man, Star Wars Rebels) and many more, this cast is stellar and you know it will be well acted. Dynamic Music Partners have composed over four hours of original music. They are the the composers of musical scores for Batman Beyond, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Young Justice, and much more.
Rain of Ghosts is a young adult novel that follows a young girl, Rain Cacique, and her best friends, Charlie and Miranda, as she discovers she can see and communicate with ghosts. Rain lives on a small island in the Prospero Keys, called Ghost Key’s by the natives, that is near the Bermuda Triangle. Her life is simple until the Dark Man appears. He is on a quest to reveal the mystery of Prospero Keys. From there, Rain and her friends enter a world filled with ghosts, mermaids and vampires—a world that is only found at the edge of the Bermuda Triangle.
Imagine listening to this wonderful story unfold on a quiet evening by a fireplace (or a fireplace app if you don’t have a fireplace). The voices of the characters brought to life by wonderful actors that you have known forever. The sounds of a jungle, the patter of rain, help you feel like you are there on the island with Rain and her best friends, the music helps further submerge your senses and visualize Rain as she finds herself and her destiny. You’ll close your eyes and follow along with an adventure.
As I write this, the Kickstarter campaign is just under half-funded with 19 days to go. The rewards for participating in this kickstarted are pretty cool and fairly offered. A copy of the audio play is just $25.00. At $60.00, you get the audio play script and three exclusive Rain of Ghosts digital art prints. One is by comic book artist and Minnesota local Christopher Jones. (You can read about that on Jones’s Blog.) If you pledge $100.00, you the a 6-CD set signed by members of the cast as well as the soundtrack. Donate $500.00 you get your name read in the credits, as well as the having Marina Sirtis and Brent Spiner’s autographs on the 6-CD set, or you can have Brent Spiner record your voicemail message for you. Talk about a rare opportunity. As with most Kickstarter campaigns, the more you donate the more you get and the lower-tier rewards are be included in the higher tiers unless otherwise noted.
I was lucky enough to be able to ask Greg Weisman a few questions about the audio play and the story.
Kelly Starsmore (TCG): What about this story made you decide to do it as an audio play
Greg Weisman: For better or worse, I tend to fall in love with my own characters, so I really wanted a chance to hear them brought to life by the incredibly talented actors I work with in this business.
TCG: What has been your favorite part of creating the audio play so far?
Greg: The recording sessions were all tremendously fun. Nearly all of the performers are good friends of mine, so we just had a blast hanging out, and bringing the Rain of the Ghosts AudioPlay a step closer to reality.
TCG: How long did it take to convert the novel to the audio script? Was there anything you had to omit that you regret?
Greg: It took hours and hours, but the script is unabridged, so there’s nothing omitted.
TCG: Are there any themes from your past works that you incorporated in Rain of the Ghosts?
Greg: Well, diversity has always been a priority for me. I want my media to reflect the world I see. So Rain is a young female lead of color. Specifically, she’s descended from the indigenous Taíno people who were the pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Caribbean. This isn’t just me throwing in diversity for diversity’s sake, either. Rain’s heritage is essential to her character and to the story.
In addition, Rain’s best friend Charlie Dauphin is Black African-American. Her new friend Miranda Guerrero is Hispanic. And, in general, Rain of the Ghosts (both the book and the AudioPlay) and its sequel, Spirits of Ash and Foam, are full of a diverse array of characters in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, age, and sexual orientation. We even include the living-challenged.
TCG: Do you have a release date for the next Rain of Ghosts Novel?
Greg: Not yet. The third book, Masque of Bones, hasn’t yet been ordered by the publisher, but we’re hoping the AudioPlay will bring attention to the entire property and put us over the top, so that St. Martin’s Press won’t be able to resist.
TCG: Last year you attended CONvergence in Minnesota as a guest for the fourth time, could you tell me some of the highlights of your time?
Greg: I love CONvergence. It’s such a great con. We did a whole bunch of great panels and events, but it’s hard to beat the Greg Weisman Fancy Bastard Pie Contest. Mostly, because I love pie.
Well, on top of how awesome and unique the whole thing sounds, who wouldn’t you want to donate to a project that is done by the guy who named his pie-judging alter ego Fancy Bastard at CONvergence?
Click here to check out the Kickstarter page for the Rain of the Ghosts Full Cast AudioPlay.