Writing By Ear

As much as I understand the idea of writing for—and with—your artists in comics, it’s kinda funny how I’ve had to re-learn a very similar concept for voice actors.


I was working on a super secret freelance project late last year, which I can finally reveal was a script for the pilot of a new Audible series, Virtual Insanity. The pilot was expertly edited by my Ghost Maps partner-in-crime, Kyle Ong, and features a fantastic cast, including my old friend, Cassandra Spykerman.

I’d already learned very early on with Ghost Maps that, while some of my scripts might look fine on the page, if any of it doesn’t sound right to our narrator when he’s reading it out, it just won’t work. So, almost from the start, Kyle and I have made sure that our voice talent knows he has the freedom to discuss and change lines with us.

Now, maybe it was because I was so caught up in one of my first freelance storytelling gigs, but it somehow didn’t occur to me to write Cassie’s part in Virtual Insanity for… well, Cassie, a person whose voice I’ve known for more than twenty years. We did a technical test recording, using an earlier draft of the script, and it was clear that some of the lines just didn’t fit her personality.

I rejigged the script, which not only worked a whole lot better, but also warmed me up for a more collaborative recording session with her and the rest of the cast, whose feedback helped inform the version that you can hear on Audible right now.

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