Thursday is podcasting day at TVWriter™, and, come to think about it, everyday here is pretty much a marvel, or even a Marvel.” So what could be more appropriate to share than this podcasting meeting of “Fantastic Minds?” (Not a comic fan? Keep reading anyway. You’ll get it.)
by Bob Raymonda
In late 2019, Marvel and Stitcher Premium partnered to release MARVELS, an adaptation of the beloved Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross graphic novel in time for its 25th anniversary. Instead of relying on a regular stable of Hollywood writers and sound designers, they enlisted the talents of veteran indie-podcasters Paul Bae (The Black Tapes, The Big Loop), Lauren Shippen (The Bright Sessions, The AM Archives), and Mischa Stanton (ars PARADOXICA, The Far Meridian) to create a brand new adaptation to celebrate the occasion.
As I was researching for my review of MARVELS, I had a chance to speak with Bae, Shippen, and Stanton by email about each of their individual impacts and experiences in working on the series together.
Bob Raymonda: The performances you were able to pull out of this entire cast are incredible. I was particularly struck by the work in episodes 1.6 (“Warheads”), where Marcia Hardesty’s monologue segues directly back and forth to the action of the Mutants for Peace protest. Did you direct the monologue sections separately from the action and assemble them in postproduction, or were you able to work through both naturally?
Paul Bae: Thank you! Lauren structured that scene beautifully. I love how she already knew how it would sound given her experiences working with Mischa and general familiarity with how I’ll direct the actors. I had AnnaSophia Robb do the monologue separately in Stitcher’s studio. We did the whole thing once or twice through and then took it again block by block to give me lots of choice in takes. The initial once-through was our “recorded rehearsal” that I like to do just in case we capture an incredible first performance.
BR: Your work on shows like The Big Loop and The Black Tapes feels at times more intimate than something like MARVELS, which included several massive set pieces with a lot of moving parts. Was this your first time working with a larger cast all together in the room? How different did it feel from your previous work?
PB: This was the largest cast I’d ever worked with but Mischa set up the recording studio in such a way to not only maximize our acoustics but [also make] me comfortable in that room, given that I like to be in the recording space with the actors instead of in the booth with the board. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how I’d like the experience of working with such a large cast, but excluding the loop cast recordings [in which 8–10 actors record in a ring of microphones], we rarely had more than 4 or 5 actors at once, which is similar to The Black Tapes. So I was comfortable….