SilmFilm: The Adaptation: The Audio Drama

Octoburn

Active Member
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A (not entirely) brief preface.

I have loved the Silmarillion from the first time I read it. It is something altogether different than anything I have ever read. Even vastly different from the Bible to which it is often compared. The first copy I owned (the silver paperback with the Anime-style Feanor on the cover) literally fell apart at the seams within a couple of years, mostly from cross-referencing the index/genealogies/maps with what I was reading. And I still have it somewhere, for some reason (the spine, I laminated and made into a bookmark.) Shortly after it fell apart, a friend of mine found a first American edition hardback in a used bookstore, which I shall cherish forever.

Having fallen down the Tolkien-rabbit-hole (and still falling) by way of the LotR movies, not long after discovering the Silmarillion, I started imagining how it could be adapted. My first instinct was movies. I thought, you could make 4 really great movies, and hit most of the high points of the story, if you did what Tolkien called the Great Tales (Beren and Luthien, Children of Hurin, the Fall of Gondolin, Earendil/War of Wrath)

Then I realized that CRT would never allow that to happen. Around 2012 or so, I ran into a bit of an oddity, to me anyways, in a Barnes and Noble. The Illustrated Edition of the Hobbit... which is very little "illustrated edition" and very much a Graphic Novel. This led me to inquiring with an editor at Harper Collins about the possibility of a Silmarillion Graphic Novel, which was quickly shot down. That didn't stop me from spending countless days outlining my grand Silmarillion Graphic Novel series, and writing a few scenes for pitches. One of those scenes actually got me a comic writing gig though, so I suppose it wasn't all a waste.

After reading a lot of online discussion about the Silmarillion and the potential ways to adapt it, I ran across a site called the Silmarillion Series, which was a vast online outline of 10 seasons that covered from the Flight of the Noldor to the Lord of the Rings. This in turn, led to me believing that the best route may be television (though I still see the merits of Graphic Novels as well) and I made my own outlines for a television series, of 8 episodes a season. The endeavor led me to see that there are stories outside of the Great Tales that deserved to be told in full (rather in flashback, as I had planned with my Great Tales Graphic Novels.)

All of that ultimately led me to find SilmFilm and get involved here a little over 2 years ago. Which has, in turn, shown me the narrowness of my scope even with that previous exercises in creativity, making everything in the Silmarillion even more relevant.

So naturally, when I began to get involved here, I started thinking about the Graphic Novels again. I still believe this may be the best medium for the Silmarillion to be adapted. But, with no chance of legal publication, I knew no artist was going to do this amount of work for free (and I wouldn't expect them to.) And then, over the last year and a half or so, I have started to form another idea: audio drama. Since July of last year, Audible has released two "Acts" of the Sandman, adapted from Neil Gaiman's comics. I absolutely love those adaptations, and Marvel also started releasing a series of podcast audio dramas called Wastelanders (which are pretty good, but not nearly on par with the Sandman stuff.) So I started thinking about the idea of doing SilmFilm as an Audio Drama. This would obviously have to be done with no intention of monetizing it, without being shut down. And I still fear it may be shut down even without any money changing hands.

I think the Silmarillion lends itself very well to the medium, as much of Tolkien's writing could be incorporated by a narrative voice (if you've listened to the Sandman, this is one of the highlights of it for me; hearing Gaiman read his own prose and/or comic descriptions that were never published) as well as leaving room to expand as SilmFilm has and incorporate Tolkien's own dialogue as well as our own invented dialogues.

The main issue to arise will be voice casting. Not many want to work for free.o_O (Understandably so.) So the only way it would work is if we have a couple dozen good voice actors among the boards who don't mind working for free. lol.

I would love to work on it, and could likely do the majority of the writing and audio editing.

I would, however, likely make a few changes from the SilmFilm norm, mostly the structure of the frame story. Namely that it would probably be similar to what Tolkien intended (Sam telling the stories to his kids, with others stopping in to tell parts of the story.) rather than the stories we are doing now as frame narratives. I feel that the current way we are doing it would be less effective in the audio drama format.

Is this a project worth pursuing, or just another pipedream?
 

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kanji_d

Member
My god, this sounds incredibly fun. I'm an amateur actor and have access to a good microphone and audio editing software. I'd love to help with writing, and if it matters at all, I have Adobe Audition. We can easily incorporate the SilmFilm score.

I guess my main question at the moment is, what might the pilot episode be? We don't have the full Ainulindale score, which would be incredibly important if we were to do that episode, but I'm sure there's others. Perhaps the Trial of Morgoth or the Burning of the Ships? Those are light on the action so we wouldn't really have to worry about that.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
A (not entirely) brief preface.

I have loved the Silmarillion from the first time I read it. It is something altogether different than anything I have ever read. Even vastly different from the Bible to which it is often compared. The first copy I owned (the silver paperback with the Anime-style Feanor on the cover) literally fell apart at the seams within a couple of years, mostly from cross-referencing the index/genealogies/maps with what I was reading. And I still have it somewhere, for some reason (the spine, I laminated and made into a bookmark.) Shortly after it fell apart, a friend of mine found a first American edition hardback in a used bookstore, which I shall cherish forever.

Having fallen down the Tolkien-rabbit-hole (and still falling) by way of the LotR movies, not long after discovering the Silmarillion, I started imagining how it could be adapted. My first instinct was movies. I thought, you could make 4 really great movies, and hit most of the high points of the story, if you did what Tolkien called the Great Tales (Beren and Luthien, Children of Hurin, the Fall of Gondolin, Earendil/War of Wrath)

Then I realized that CRT would never allow that to happen. Around 2012 or so, I ran into a bit of an oddity, to me anyways, in a Barnes and Noble. The Illustrated Edition of the Hobbit... which is very little "illustrated edition" and very much a Graphic Novel. This led me to inquiring with an editor at Harper Collins about the possibility of a Silmarillion Graphic Novel, which was quickly shot down. That didn't stop me from spending countless days outlining my grand Silmarillion Graphic Novel series, and writing a few scenes for pitches. One of those scenes actually got me a comic writing gig though, so I suppose it wasn't all a waste.

After reading a lot of online discussion about the Silmarillion and the potential ways to adapt it, I ran across a site called the Silmarillion Series, which was a vast online outline of 10 seasons that covered from the Flight of the Noldor to the Lord of the Rings. This in turn, led to me believing that the best route may be television (though I still see the merits of Graphic Novels as well) and I made my own outlines for a television series, of 8 episodes a season. The endeavor led me to see that there are stories outside of the Great Tales that deserved to be told in full (rather in flashback, as I had planned with my Great Tales Graphic Novels.)

All of that ultimately led me to find SilmFilm and get involved here a little over 2 years ago. Which has, in turn, shown me the narrowness of my scope even with that previous exercises in creativity, making everything in the Silmarillion even more relevant.

So naturally, when I began to get involved here, I started thinking about the Graphic Novels again. I still believe this may be the best medium for the Silmarillion to be adapted. But, with no chance of legal publication, I knew no artist was going to do this amount of work for free (and I wouldn't expect them to.) And then, over the last year and a half or so, I have started to form another idea: audio drama. Since July of last year, Audible has released two "Acts" of the Sandman, adapted from Neil Gaiman's comics. I absolutely love those adaptations, and Marvel also started releasing a series of podcast audio dramas called Wastelanders (which are pretty good, but not nearly on par with the Sandman stuff.) So I started thinking about the idea of doing SilmFilm as an Audio Drama. This would obviously have to be done with no intention of monetizing it, without being shut down. And I still fear it may be shut down even without any money changing hands.

I think the Silmarillion lends itself very well to the medium, as much of Tolkien's writing could be incorporated by a narrative voice (if you've listened to the Sandman, this is one of the highlights of it for me; hearing Gaiman read his own prose and/or comic descriptions that were never published) as well as leaving room to expand as SilmFilm has and incorporate Tolkien's own dialogue as well as our own invented dialogues.

The main issue to arise will be voice casting. Not many want to work for free.o_O (Understandably so.) So the only way it would work is if we have a couple dozen good voice actors among the boards who don't mind working for free. lol.

I would love to work on it, and could likely do the majority of the writing and audio editing.

I would, however, likely make a few changes from the SilmFilm norm, mostly the structure of the frame story. Namely that it would probably be similar to what Tolkien intended (Sam telling the stories to his kids, with others stopping in to tell parts of the story.) rather than the stories we are doing now as frame narratives. I feel that the current way we are doing it would be less effective in the audio drama format.

Is this a project worth pursuing, or just another pipedream?
I'm definitely interested in following the attempt, but I am full up on side projects at the moment. I could conceivably do the odd voice recording without upsetting the applecart too much, though.
 

Octoburn

Active Member
My god, this sounds incredibly fun. I'm an amateur actor and have access to a good microphone and audio editing software. I'd love to help with writing, and if it matters at all, I have Adobe Audition. We can easily incorporate the SilmFilm score.
My main fear is not being able to come up with enough voice actors to fill the hundreds of roles involved in SilmFilm. I have some (highly) outdated audio editing software I've had for many years now. Yours would likely be worlds better.:D We'd have to ask Phillip Menzies about the score (as I would also ask of everyone here to go forward using some decisions made by individuals or by the Project as a whole.)

I guess my main question at the moment is, what might the pilot episode be? We don't have the full Ainulindale score, which would be incredibly important if we were to do that episode, but I'm sure there's others. Perhaps the Trial of Morgoth or the Burning of the Ships? Those are light on the action so we wouldn't really have to worry about that.
I would still try to stick with this decision, to use the Ainulindale. We don't necessarily need the entire Ainulindale to do the episode. We don't really need to have a 90-minute Ainulindale score to tell the story. One decision I did dislike was how the first episode is structured. If the pilot, as written, aired on television, anyone who watched it would expect it to literally be The Adventures of Young Aragorn. My pilot would likely be the first two episodes combined, with a more audio-friendly frame story involving Sam and his children that is not really a narrative and more Princess Bride-like, sans the frequently made intrusions.

I'm definitely interested in following the attempt, but I am full up on side projects at the moment. I could conceivably do the odd voice recording without upsetting the applecart too much, though.
Anything would help. As I've said, finding enough unique voice acting to fill a cast of hundreds would be quite a task for an actual production, much less for a fan-made, not-for-profit project, could be a major issue. I'm originally from Texas and have lived in the Appalachia for 20+ years now, and I am not an actor, so I sound very American, and any attempt at across-the-pond-English sounds too much of satire for me to actually record it and be taken seriously.
 
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Haerangil

Well-Known Member
If we could make proper storyboards there would be the possibility of something like a slideshow movie or something...

I wanted to keep myself that option open once i'm at the hospital
 

Phillip Menzies

Moderator
Staff member
I don't know if I am the only person thinking this but, I think that the first thing you need to decide is if this project comes under the banner of SilmFilm or not. If so then it needs to follow the outlines that the hosts (producers) have set out. It would then be able to be featured in the podcast as some of the creative work that contributes to the SilmFilm project as a whole. I understand your reticence to use some of the earlier material and I am aware that the first seasons are a bit clunky in places and by no means perfect. I think that many early episodes would have difficulty seeing the light of day as proper TV episodes. The script team will also attest to the fact that sometimes it is difficult to work within what is decided in each session, but that is the reality of SilmFilm. The good news is that there is always room to negotiate with the hosts as Nick and Marie have done on many occasions. I think what I am trying to say is that I have reservations about making changes to what has been decided in sessions such as the frame story. I have often found ways to incorporate my own ideas when they are in areas not discussed by the hosts and in the early seasons the scripts are often still in very broad outlines and there is scope for putting your own take on some things. Another strategy rather than altering may be to leave things out so you could opt to leave out the frame rather than altering it.

If you decide to be a part of the project then you need to find a way to work with the host's decisions. If you decide not to be a part of SilmFilm then you may not be able to rely on some of the resources from the project although some people may choose to assist.

Speaking for myself, I already have lots of fingers in different pies and I am running out of fingers and the yummy pies keep on coming. I would have limited capacity to score for whole episodes especially if you are planning on starting from the beginning which would be a huge undertaking. And speaking of starting from the beginning, I have stated many times that the Ainulindale is the overture and it cannot be written before the other source material is composed. I am still working on the Ainulindale and will finish it in time so if you wanted to use my music, that might not be the best place to start. Why don't you try dipping your foot into the current season or the one just completed and test the waters with some individual episodes or just the “A” plot rather than a whole episode and rather than altering details decided on by the hosts.

If it gains momentum aim for higher, but decide if you are in or out of SilmFilm first.

You might also want to touch base with Jordan Rannells the creator of the Music of Middle earth Podcast. He is doing some wonderful work in the area of audio adaptation of Tolkien’s works. He may have some tips or you may be able to work collaboratively with him on some of his upcoming projects.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Actually DOING an audio adaptation is a major major big thing! We should't ever lie to ourselves and think that such a professional project would be easy to do by a small group of volunteers.It would in any case be an entirely new great project, not just a by-the-way sideproduct of silmfilm.
 

Octoburn

Active Member
I don't know if I am the only person thinking this but, I think that the first thing you need to decide is if this project comes under the banner of SilmFilm or not. If so then it needs to follow the outlines that the hosts (producers) have set out. It would then be able to be featured in the podcast as some of the creative work that contributes to the SilmFilm project as a whole. I understand your reticence to use some of the earlier material and I am aware that the first seasons are a bit clunky in places and by no means perfect. I think that many early episodes would have difficulty seeing the light of day as proper TV episodes. The script team will also attest to the fact that sometimes it is difficult to work within what is decided in each session, but that is the reality of SilmFilm. The good news is that there is always room to negotiate with the hosts as Nick and Marie have done on many occasions. I think what I am trying to say is that I have reservations about making changes to what has been decided in sessions such as the frame story. I have often found ways to incorporate my own ideas when they are in areas not discussed by the hosts and in the early seasons the scripts are often still in very broad outlines and there is scope for putting your own take on some things. Another strategy rather than altering may be to leave things out so you could opt to leave out the frame rather than altering it.

If you decide to be a part of the project then you need to find a way to work with the host's decisions. If you decide not to be a part of SilmFilm then you may not be able to rely on some of the resources from the project although some people may choose to assist.

Speaking for myself, I already have lots of fingers in different pies and I am running out of fingers and the yummy pies keep on coming. I would have limited capacity to score for whole episodes especially if you are planning on starting from the beginning which would be a huge undertaking. And speaking of starting from the beginning, I have stated many times that the Ainulindale is the overture and it cannot be written before the other source material is composed. I am still working on the Ainulindale and will finish it in time so if you wanted to use my music, that might not be the best place to start. Why don't you try dipping your foot into the current season or the one just completed and test the waters with some individual episodes or just the “A” plot rather than a whole episode and rather than altering details decided on by the hosts.

If it gains momentum aim for higher, but decide if you are in or out of SilmFilm first.

You might also want to touch base with Jordan Rannells the creator of the Music of Middle earth Podcast. He is doing some wonderful work in the area of audio adaptation of Tolkien’s works. He may have some tips or you may be able to work collaboratively with him on some of his upcoming projects.
First, thank so much for any and all advice! I know you've been involved here almost from the beginning.

Secondly, I am absolutely in as far as SilmFilm is concerned. The only major change I would want to include would be the frame narrative. And I believe that the hosts would agree with me that the narrative-driven type frame wouldn't be as suitable for the audio drama as it is for the television series. This would be compounded if we decided to go with more, shorter episodes. Most of the audio drama stuff I've listened to has been in the half hour range (Wastelanders has 30ish minute episodes while Sandman's chapters usually fall into the 30 minute range, with the occasional hour long chapter.) but that's a different discussion altogether.

As for the beginning place, I would still want to start at the Beginning. As I mentioned before, I always wanted to start around Feanor's rebellion, but after listening to SilmFilm, I cannot imagine doing that now. There's so much to miss out on. And yes, we don't, and likely won't have an actual Ainulindalle score, but I'm sure theres a way to work around the story without it.

As you mentioned, many of the early outlines and such are pretty rough. They weren't even intended to be written from. Most of them are filled with as many questions as answers. I'm absolutely not saying I could do it better, I'm just saying that how its laid out for the television series wouldn't 100% work for the audio drama, in the same way the Silmarillion, as written, wouldn't translate 100% to tv very effectively, without adaptation. Every medium has strengths and weaknesses that you adapt to.
Actually DOING an audio adaptation is a major major big thing! We should't ever lie to ourselves and think that such a professional project would be easy to do by a small group of volunteers.It would in any case be an entirely new great project, not just a by-the-way sideproduct of silmfilm.
Without a doubt, it would be a huge undertaking.
 

kanji_d

Member
I don't know if I am the only person thinking this but, I think that the first thing you need to decide is if this project comes under the banner of SilmFilm or not. If so then it needs to follow the outlines that the hosts (producers) have set out. It would then be able to be featured in the podcast as some of the creative work that contributes to the SilmFilm project as a whole. I understand your reticence to use some of the earlier material and I am aware that the first seasons are a bit clunky in places and by no means perfect. I think that many early episodes would have difficulty seeing the light of day as proper TV episodes. The script team will also attest to the fact that sometimes it is difficult to work within what is decided in each session, but that is the reality of SilmFilm. The good news is that there is always room to negotiate with the hosts as Nick and Marie have done on many occasions. I think what I am trying to say is that I have reservations about making changes to what has been decided in sessions such as the frame story. I have often found ways to incorporate my own ideas when they are in areas not discussed by the hosts and in the early seasons the scripts are often still in very broad outlines and there is scope for putting your own take on some things. Another strategy rather than altering may be to leave things out so you could opt to leave out the frame rather than altering it.
I think this is definitely a very important concern. I think it could work out well either way, but an advantage of being a SilmFilm spinoff is that we have a lot of materials already available. But if we are to cooperate with SilmFilm, then it would be rude to change elements of the stories without permission. I don't disagree that it might be (regrettably!) important to alter the frame story for a new medium, but if we're a spinoff then that's not the sort of thing we can just change on a whim.

And speaking of starting from the beginning, I have stated many times that the Ainulindale is the overture and it cannot be written before the other source material is composed. I am still working on the Ainulindale and will finish it in time so if you wanted to use my music, that might not be the best place to start. Why don't you try dipping your foot into the current season or the one just completed and test the waters with some individual episodes or just the “A” plot rather than a whole episode and rather than altering details decided on by the hosts.
Phillip has a lot of good points regarding the Ainulindale, and I think generally that episode just wouldn't work well for a pilot (by pilot here I don't mean a first episode - I mean a proof-of-concept episode). That is why I proposed using a different episode first, something important that isn't the Ainulindale. The fact is that an audio drama means the music is even more important than a TV series, and since, as Phillip says, the Ainulindale is dependent on everything that happens after, we have to incorporate all the later elements into it. I really can't see any way of doing an Ainulindale episode without the Music itself - it's just too important, not just to the episode but to Tolkien's whole cosmology.

As an alternative episode, I propose (as I did before) the Trial of Morgoth (SilmFilm's S2E8). It has most of our major Season 2B characters, and I think it's overall very conducive to the audio setting. Other proposals are much appreciated.

This would be compounded if we decided to go with more, shorter episodes. Most of the audio drama stuff I've listened to has been in the half hour range (Wastelanders has 30ish minute episodes while Sandman's chapters usually fall into the 30 minute range, with the occasional hour long chapter.) but that's a different discussion altogether.
As a counterexample I'd point out that later releases of the BBC LOTR series have used hour-long episodes. Though it was, to my knowledge, originally broadcast as half-hour episodes, hour-long episodes are fine! Also, we're not writing for the radio anyway, so it's not like we really have a time limit on our episodes (nor do I think we should impose one. SilmFilm has one because it would be theoretically broadcast in a TV slot, but we don't need to give ourselves that same restriction).

Either way, if we're writing half-hour-long episodes, I can't see any reason why it wouldn't be better to ditch the frame entirely rather than write a whole new one. I like the frame, don't get me wrong, but I'm not sure that five minutes an episode (possibly less) is enough to properly contextualize the main story, which is the whole point of the frame.
 

Octoburn

Active Member
I think this is definitely a very important concern. I think it could work out well either way, but an advantage of being a SilmFilm spinoff is that we have a lot of materials already available. But if we are to cooperate with SilmFilm, then it would be rude to change elements of the stories without permission. I don't disagree that it might be (regrettably!) important to alter the frame story for a new medium, but if we're a spinoff then that's not the sort of thing we can just change on a whim.
Agreed 100%. If we were to carry the SilmFilm name, it couldn't be without the endorsement of SilmFilm itself.

Phillip has a lot of good points regarding the Ainulindale, and I think generally that episode just wouldn't work well for a pilot (by pilot here I don't mean a first episode - I mean a proof-of-concept episode). That is why I proposed using a different episode first, something important that isn't the Ainulindale. The fact is that an audio drama means the music is even more important than a TV series, and since, as Phillip says, the Ainulindale is dependent on everything that happens after, we have to incorporate all the later elements into it. I really can't see any way of doing an Ainulindale episode without the Music itself - it's just too important, not just to the episode but to Tolkien's whole cosmology.
Music is very important to audio drama, yes. However, I do believe that the story of the Ainulindalle could be told without The Music. Tolkien's prose, with some themes weaved in could more than suffice, I believe, if done right. I also feel that it might be impossible to do justice to what The Music should be, with lowercase human music. Keeping The Music as something that is never actually heard is almost preferable, in my opinion. But, this would be very experimental and would take quite a dab hand to get right. I do understand the hesitation, though.

As an alternative episode, I propose (as I did before) the Trial of Morgoth (SilmFilm's S2E8). It has most of our major Season 2B characters, and I think it's overall very conducive to the audio setting. Other proposals are much appreciated.
This would be a good place to start. I mentioned initially that in one of my iterations of a series, the pilot would begin with Melkor's release and the creation of the Silmarils. Definitely not opposed to this.

As a counterexample I'd point out that later releases of the BBC LOTR series have used hour-long episodes. Though it was, to my knowledge, originally broadcast as half-hour episodes, hour-long episodes are fine! Also, we're not writing for the radio anyway, so it's not like we really have a time limit on our episodes (nor do I think we should impose one. SilmFilm has one because it would be theoretically broadcast in a TV slot, but we don't need to give ourselves that same restriction).
Yeah, I wasn't suggesting we should make episodes half an hour, just that in some cases it may be justified. Some claim that podcasts that run over 20-30 minutes start to lose their audience at that point. (Luckily not the case at Signum/Mythgard, where we rarely come in under 2 hours) Although I personally prefer longform podcasts and audiobooks. I have no problem with episodes running an hour or more.

Either way, if we're writing half-hour-long episodes, I can't see any reason why it wouldn't be better to ditch the frame entirely rather than write a whole new one. I like the frame, don't get me wrong, but I'm not sure that five minutes an episode (possibly less) is enough to properly contextualize the main story, which is the whole point of the frame.
Oh yeah, with half-hour episodes, a frame would be next to useless. Another good reason not to go to the shorter episodes.

Overall, I'd be willing to go with the notion of creating a script and possibly production of 2.08 as a proof of concept, even with the current frame, if the hosts will not relent that. But I do still feel that the best place to start is the beginning, if we were to actually go "into production." It may be a bit controversial and would take some creative workarounds, but I believe telling the story of the Ainulindalle is too important to skip or force into a flashback.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I think Phillip raises a good point. Are you interested in making an audio adaptation of the Silmarillion, or are you interested in taking the Silm Film materials and adapting them to an audio production? It sounds as though you are pretty enthusiastic about starting with Silm Film. I think I was a bit surprised that you expressed interest in using Silm Film, but immediately stated that you would discard the extant pilot script and season 1 Frame. Naturally, Silm Film is not a finished product, and how to handle certain issues might be handled differently in an audio recording than in a television show. But ultimately, you would have to discuss your intentions with Corey Olsen to reach some understanding of how your project would relate to Silm Film.

We have staged dramatic readings of several of the episodes of Silm Film so far. Others would be too difficult to pull off until your project is more developed.

For instance, a table reading of Season 4 Episode 6 (the captivity of Edhellos in Angband, and Thuringwethil revealing that the burning of the ships was done by the Noldor to Círdan) was possible because only a handful of characters carried most of the scenes - you need Círdan and Thuringwethil in a Noldo guise, and you need Edhellos and Angrod. If you excise the C-plot and the Frame, all that would be left would be a few incidental side characters who interact with these main four characters.

Contrast that with the opening episode of Season 4, where we are introducing all of our characters for the Season. There's something like 22 speaking roles in that script, and there are debates between the 2 camps of the Noldor and the rescue of Maedhros from Thangorodrim with Thorondor, and Morgoth makes an appearance....it would be a lot to coordinate, and it would be a lot more difficult to 'trim it down'.

I don't think that starting with a manageable episode precludes the possibility of going back later to tackle earlier, more challenging episodes. You can have every intention of doing an Ainulindale episode, but that doesn't mean you need to start there. And if the Frame is one of the sticking points, Season 1 is not the place to start; that season relies on the Frame in a way that later seasons do not. You could begin at the beginning of Season 2, with the awakening of the Elves, if you wanted to.

If you want to stick to 30 minute episodes because they are more manageable, it would certainly be possible to split each episode into a 'part 1/part 2'. So, while Silm Film has 13 episodes each season, your audioshow would have 26. Most of the episodes have a fairly clear break at the midpoint, so that might work. Alternatively, you could try to condense the material down to a 30-minute block.
 

Octoburn

Active Member
I think Phillip raises a good point. Are you interested in making an audio adaptation of the Silmarillion, or are you interested in taking the Silm Film materials and adapting them to an audio production? It sounds as though you are pretty enthusiastic about starting with Silm Film. I think I was a bit surprised that you expressed interest in using Silm Film, but immediately stated that you would discard the extant pilot script and season 1 Frame. Naturally, Silm Film is not a finished product, and how to handle certain issues might be handled differently in an audio recording than in a television show. But ultimately, you would have to discuss your intentions with Corey Olsen to reach some understanding of how your project would relate to Silm Film.
I agree with everything you said, outside of being surprised that I would "discard the extant pilot script and season 1 frame." Not exactly true. Last I checked, the "extant pilot script" was unfinished. There is an outline, which I definitely intend to go by.

I don't think that starting with a manageable episode precludes the possibility of going back later to tackle earlier, more challenging episodes. You can have every intention of doing an Ainulindale episode, but that doesn't mean you need to start there. And if the Frame is one of the sticking points, Season 1 is not the place to start; that season relies on the Frame in a way that later seasons do not. You could begin at the beginning of Season 2, with the awakening of the Elves, if you wanted to.
I am absolutely not against this, as stated above. Doing a more manageable episode as a proof of concept is fine. But I feel that after a "greenlight" it should start at the beginning. Jumping back and forth in the timeline, for the sake of doing the most manageable episodes first, is a logistical nightmare, on both writing and voice acting fronts, to make it make sense. This story is meant to be told linearly, and I believe it should be.

Ironically, seasons 1 and 2 are the ones I really like the frame, and could see them mostly working in audio drama form. After that, they get too "actiony" for how I think this would look in Audio form. That is not an insult to the frame stories or SilmFilm, it absolutely works in television form. A couple of shows (Once Upon a Time and This is Us are the two that pop into my head right away.) do this really well to cross-connect themes between two stories. I just feel that the more actiony stuff would distract, and possibly confuse, from the main story in this format, rather than accentuate as it does in television. Another reason that I, personally, would like to change the frame story in this adaptation, is for cast purposes. the rotating cast of characters in the SilmFilm frames is awesome, but I believe that it could be too much for an audio adaptation. On the other hand, having a hobbit-centric frame would pare down the extra voice cast needed for only the frame quite a bit. Plus, Hobbits. :D

If you want to stick to 30 minute episodes because they are more manageable, it would certainly be possible to split each episode into a 'part 1/part 2'. So, while Silm Film has 13 episodes each season, your audioshow would have 26. Most of the episodes have a fairly clear break at the midpoint, so that might work. Alternatively, you could try to condense the material down to a 30-minute block.
I'm not all that convinced a 30 minute runtime is needed. I'm all for hourlong (and over) episodes. The half-hour format was just a suggestion based on how many audio dramas have worked. But I feel the reaction is that it basically creates more problems than it solves, so it shouldn't be constrained to a time at all.

Finally, this would be an adaptation of SilmFilm. In much the same way SilmFilm is an adaptation of the Silmarillion. Different mediums require different storytelling styles. This wouldn't be actors reading the lines and a narrator reading all of the stage direction from a television script. That just wouldn't be good. In the same way that filming the Silmarillion page-by-page without alteration wouldn't be that good. I LOVE SilmFilm, the work that has been done is amazing, the people working on it are amazing. I love the adaptational decisions that have been made, and I feel the story should be depicted in some way outside of teleplays. I have zero intention of doing this, or changing anything without at least the Showrunners' approval.
 

kanji_d

Member
So it seems we're beginning to approach a vague consensus, so I'm going to try to summarize some possible next steps:
  • Propose the project as a SilmFilm spinoff
    • If this is approved, we request a change in the frame story (I do agree that the S3-5 stories aren't especially conducive to audio format, though we may want to come up with something a little more similar to them anyway)
    • If not approved, we can try to go on our own.
  • After the decision regarding the spinoff is made, we can start development on a script for a proof-of-concept episode (possibly 2.8, possibly something else). <digression> This requires a lot of discussion on its own as to style, but I propose we model it after the BBC LOTR audio drama generally (aside from the frame). </digression>
  • After the script comes together we can enter production on this episode. One of the issues here is of course finding actors (distinct voices would be very helpful generally). This will take a while either way.
  • And, if that is all successful, we can attempt to go "into production" on Season 1. I've come around to the idea of trying to work around the Music (as Octoburn implied earlier, is the Music even representable in a way humans can comprehend?).
I think this is probably the best way to go about things from where we are now.
 

Octoburn

Active Member
So it seems we're beginning to approach a vague consensus, so I'm going to try to summarize some possible next steps:
  • Propose the project as a SilmFilm spinoff
    • If this is approved, we request a change in the frame story (I do agree that the S3-5 stories aren't especially conducive to audio format, though we may want to come up with something a little more similar to them anyway)
    • If not approved, we can try to go on our own.
  • After the decision regarding the spinoff is made, we can start development on a script for a proof-of-concept episode (possibly 2.8, possibly something else). <digression> This requires a lot of discussion on its own as to style, but I propose we model it after the BBC LOTR audio drama generally (aside from the frame). </digression>
  • After the script comes together we can enter production on this episode. One of the issues here is of course finding actors (distinct voices would be very helpful generally). This will take a while either way.
  • And, if that is all successful, we can attempt to go "into production" on Season 1. I've come around to the idea of trying to work around the Music (as Octoburn implied earlier, is the Music even representable in a way humans can comprehend?).
I think this is probably the best way to go about things from where we are now.
I can get behind all of the above.

2.8 probably isn't the best episode for a proof of concept. I was looking at it, and there's probably 30-40 characters in that episode. All of the Valar and most of the Noldor, as well as some Teleri and other supporting characters. Could be tough to get that many voices for the initial episode.

As to style, I have not heard the BBC LotR audio drama, but I would highly recommend the Sandman Audible production. If you dont have Audible, I believe that you get one free credit with a one month free trial. I'm not pushing Audible on anyone, I just think these productions are phenomenal. I will try to find the BBC audio drama myself for that purpose.

EDIT: found it on Audible. Will start it tomorrow.
 

kanji_d

Member
2.8 probably isn't the best episode for a proof of concept. I was looking at it, and there's probably 30-40 characters in that episode. All of the Valar and most of the Noldor, as well as some Teleri and other supporting characters. Could be tough to get that many voices for the initial episode.
True that. Lemme search through the episode catalogue to see if anything stands out as significant but also doable. Is there a complete list of episodes anywhere?

As to style, I have not heard the BBC LotR audio drama, but I would highly recommend the Sandman Audible production. If you dont have Audible, I believe that you get one free credit with a one month free trial. I'm not pushing Audible on anyone, I just think these productions are phenomenal. I will try to find the BBC audio drama myself for that purpose.
The BBC drama is, imho, the best adaptation of LotR yet. I'll see if I can find Sandman but I don't have much room in my schedule to listen to it unfortunately.
 

Octoburn

Active Member
True that. Lemme search through the episode catalogue to see if anything stands out as significant but also doable. Is there a complete list of episodes anywhere?


The BBC drama is, imho, the best adaptation of LotR yet. I'll see if I can find Sandman but I don't have much room in my schedule to listen to it unfortunately.
All the episode outlines can be found here:

 

kanji_d

Member
I do have that folder, but it's unfortunately slightly incomplete. Thanks though.

Been looking for other episodes - the Rebellion of the Noldor (3.1) is promising but it too is rather character-heavy. I'm hesitant to do Season 1 material as that is from a period when the scriptwriting team hadn't quite figured everything out yet. Season 2 in general has a lot of characters every episode, switching between the rapidly-growing Noldorin population and the Teleri-later-Sindar. Season 3 is a little heavy on the action (the Burning of the Ships - 3.8 - could work but again, both Feanorians and the descendants of Indis makes a lot of characters). Season 5 also has lots of characters to keep track of. I'm thinking something in Season 4 then. A lot of these have several characters but I think it's few enough that we can make it work. The most significant are 4.1, 4.2, 4.7, 4.9, and 4.13, but I'm actually leaning towards 4.3, which focuses on the beginnings of Noldor-Sindar relations and the problems of the defense of Hithlum and a possible assault on Angband. It's got a couple of side characters but it's mostly Galadriel, Maedhros, Fingolfin, and Celeborn, with appearances from the other Noldorin lords, Thingol and Melian, and our Sindarin representatives.
 
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