And so, the final promotional ~thing for our summer music festival anthology, Summer Crush ended last Sunday! It came in the form of three video recordings, excerpts from each of the three short stories–Jay E. Tria’s You Only Need Reminding, Almost There by yours truly, and Six de los Reyes’ Ocean Eyes–read by two people we love, Gio Gahol and Gab Pangilinan.
It was 8:30 am on a Sunday when Six, Jay, and I met at a Starbucks somewhere in Makati. The nocturnal creatures that we are, we needed something to kick us awake, therefore the coffee fix. We also got Gio and Gab coffee and snacks before proceeding to the day’s recording venue (for which we thank Jay~). Frankly, I wasn’t worried or anxious about the recording; I was excited, but if it didn’t show, it was only because I was running only on a few hours of sleep (as usual).
I was excited because:
- …this was the first time I put together a “live reading” recording session, for a book I wrote together with two other awesome authors,
- …this was the first time I get to work with Gio and Gab for a “secret” project, and;
- …basically there were a lot of firsts involved in this small project. That’s already a lot to get excited about.
And so, the process went like this:
Jay printed out our “scripts” for the day. Each of us chose a three-page excerpt from our short stories, but unlike Mina’s process when she picks out scenes for even live readings, we didn’t choose excerpts per act. We simply chose what we wanted Gio and Gab to read (it’s basically some form of wish fulfillment, if you may), had it printed, and gave it to them that morning.
I had fun briefing Gio and Gab because they remember ~things they have read before. Like how Gio had read Isaiah from Six’s Just for the Record before for the #romanceclass podcast, and how Gab had already read as Fi from Scandalized during last year’s MIBF. It also made me happy that they thought the Summer Crush collaboration was cool, and pretty much squealed inwardly when Gio pointed out that this was our version of the Marvel universe. HEH. (It is. We even have a post-credits scene and everything, and I told him that too.)
Every time #romanceclass has an event like April Feels Day or Feels Fest, the live readers are called in hours earlier to rehearse their readings. It was the same that day, only, we only had around three hours to do everything from briefing to rehearsal to recording. The actors only did one run-through for each reading. We paused several times to clarify certain things, like who says what line, or how to say a certain term (Almost There had Korean words–that they both nailed, by the way). Sometimes we paused because Gio would laugh over something. Sometimes they’d continue reading the thing while we, the authors, flailed in the background. Because feelings.
Gab had a trusty highlighter with her, which was great because she had to read all the narrations (Gio was so happy about that) and she needed to mark a lot of stuff. Gio only used a pen, LOL, the live reading expert that he is. 😛
While Gio and Gab rehearsed, I set up my phone on a baby tripod on the table and took test shots. The room we rented was rather big, bigger than The Study at Enderun where Gio and Rachel recorded the first batch of #romanceclass podcast episodes, so the reverb was a bit overwhelming. To solve that, we pushed the table to one side of the room (we rehearsed somewhere in the middle) and used Six’s phone as an audio backup. It was great, because we now have a separate audio file we can use for various things.
Like ringtones. LOL.
The plan was to get the camera rolling, have Gio and Gab read up to the end of each excerpt, and take a short break. For the sake of the authors, LOL. If there were any major mistakes, we’d do a retake, I said, but luckily, we didn’t have to do that. We started rolling at around 10:40 and finished 30-ish minutes later, chika included. Really quick, right? We even had time to let the two sign some books after the recording while we talked about things like ketogenic diets, travelling to La Union to read Summer Crush 2 (LOL GIO PLS), mountaineers and the possibility of a #romanceclass story about them, and other stuff better narrated in person.
Gab had to leave shortly after the recording because it was Godspell‘s closing show that afternoon. Gio had other plans too, but he was able to stick around for a bit more before Jay, Six, and I had to depart for a long lunch–where we processed all our feelings and fangirled both Gio and Gab like there’s no tomorrow.
the Summer Crush recording edition
Everything becomes easy/easier when you trust the people you work with. Writing the book with Jay and Six was one thing; entrusting the characters to Gio and Gab was another. We were in La Union when I suggested the idea of recording Summer Crush excerpts with Gio and Gab, and while the idea was hazy at the time, both Jay and Six said yes to it anyway (because the answer is always YES). I guess the only “difficult” thing about this project was setting a date because both our live readers are very busy people! Beyond that, everything went smoothly. Both actors were pros. They didn’t even need a lot of direction, to be honest. All they needed was a little backstory, a quick rehearsal, and off they went, becoming the characters we wrote. <3 How.
- Recording audio is tricky in a huge room. I need to remember this. For next time. Unless of course we get ourselves some special equipment next time, which I highly doubt. 😛 A girl can dream, maybe?
Try, try, try. After experiencing this firsthand, I’ve fantasized about doing the same thing for my other books. (Oh if only it rained money!) Yes, yes, audio books (or video recordings like this) will cost a fortune to produce, but maybe there’s a more cost-efficient way and I just haven’t figured it out. I also want to try having more than two people record a scene, because hey, that’s going to be fun, right? Banter and such? The actors might need a bit more time to rehearse but that’s not even a problem. I love rehearsal. 😛 (Maybe I should start buying lotto tickets soon. Baka sakali, chos.)
Oh, and yeah. I really REALLY want to try composing music because REASONS. Because how wonderful would it be to hear Gio or Gab or any of our live readers actually sing the songs in our books? Just thinking about it is making me so happy.
- Exploring new things is fun. And educational. Summer Crush has so far become a huge collaboration and I am loving it. What started out as a silly idea we bounced around among us is now officially a full on “production number,” it’s actually pretty overwhelming. Are we going to do it again? ABSO-fucking-LUTELY. When are we doing it? Not anytime soon, because we’re “parting ways” for the meantime and minding our new manuscripts. HAHA.But you can be sure that even if there will be no Summer Crush 2, there’ll be something else. Because apparently, we have erased the word “if” in our vocabulary. We only use “when” now, and we don’t know yet what we got ourselves into. What we’re sure of, though, is we’ll work pretty damn hard to make it happen. <3
Many, many thanks to Gio Gahol and Gab Pangilinan for agreeing to record the Summer Crush excerpts for us. To those who have signed up for the FREE gift we offered Summer Crush ebook/paperback buyers from April 9-May 20, please don’t forget to check your inboxes. You should have received an email from me last Sunday night, May 28th.
If you haven’t received an email, please let me know ASAP. You can comment here or email me at email@example.com.