Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bradbury 13: The Man Behind the Magic

If you dream the proper dreams, and share the myths with people, they will want to grow up to be like you. –Ray Bradbury

In the spring of 1984 thirteen radio dramas based on stories by Ray Bradbury were aired on NPR. These radio drama were produced at BYU on a budget of $120,000. The series received a Peabody Award {for excellence in radio broadcasting} that year, as well as two gold CINDY Awards. The genius mastermind behind this was Mike McDonough.

{Mike McDonough (left), Ray Bradbury (center)
Photo courtesy of Phil at
Ray Bradbury & Media
©Mike McDonough}

Bradbury 13 began with low or no-budget dramas of three of Bradbury's stories, recorded by McDonough and his classmates and teachers at BYU. Several years later, he received a grant from NPR and produced a series of thirteen episodes. He wrote each of the scripts himself, utilizing as much of Ray Bradbury's original dialogue as possible. He translated the narrative into dialogue and sounds to preserve Bradbury's work. He engineered all the sound organically himself, only using a synthesizer to make the sounds for the time machine in A Sound of Thunder. And he had original music scored for the series, with multiple tracks which he used together and separately to make each episode unique. The result was an amazing collection of stories told through sound and drawn out in the imagination of the listener.

He has gone on to a very successful career as a sound designer in television and movies. And just because I'm a bit of a Trekkie, here's a little clip of one of the movies he worked on.

• His credits include Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection and Demolition Man.
• Was only 22 years old when he wrote, produced and directed the Bradbury 13 series.
• Recorded and manipulated all the sound effects for the Bradbury 13 series himself.
• His motto is, anything for a sound.
• Is currently Senior Sound Designer with Carbine Studios in Aliso Viejo, California.

Thanks, Mike, for making the world a little more beautiful.

No comments: