The Earth in Anarchy – Excerpt from Chapter 12

“Oh, this is all raving nonsense!” he cried. “If you really think that ordinary people in ordinary houses are anarchists, you must be madder than an anarchist yourself.” Enjoy this excerpt from Chapter 12, “The Earth in Anarchy.” Chesterton tells the tale of a town seemingly rising up against what is good and right in the name of anarchy. You’ll have to read the book to see how it turns out.

What did you say?

Gabriel Syme: Rebellion Into Sanity

Sound Effects Editors Needed

I’m looking for help with Sound Effects editing – the work is being completed in Adobe Audition, which would be the easiest way to collaborate.  Open to ProTools artists, however, it will be more difficult to collaborate.

The project is in a rough edit stage, with all the pieces in place, but it needs a lot of detailed work to add in sound effects and begin to pre-mix all the dialog elements. If you have access to FX libraries, even better. This is a volunteer production, done for the love of audio drama, great literature and creatively fulfilling projects. The performances in the piece are excellent, and its a joy to listen to.

If you’re here visiting, and you’re interested in this piece, reach out and help – email,


Andrew Wahlquist (Director/Producer)

P.S. – Unrelated to my project, there is now a film out there in film festivals, a contemporary adaptation of the book, staring Francois Arnaud. The trailer can be found here:


Tearing Away the Mask of Hell

As Sean Fitzpatrick points out in his insightful article in Crisis Magazine, GK Chesterton pulls a reversal on one of the detective genre’s most common tropes.  Whereas most mysteries in the end unveil the seemingly good person to be the evil murderer, The Man Who Was Thursday instead “tore away the mask of hell only to reveal the face of heaven.”

Without giving away the plot, there are a number of dark fears that Gabriel Syme must face in this nightmare, the fear of miracles, the fear of science, the fear of nature, the fear of the masses, the fear of death.  What he discovers is that much of that which we feared was out of ignorance, and once its true nature is revealed it, it is not our enemy, but an ally.

Read the full article at the link below:

Navigating the Stereo Spectrum

I made an important discovery recently, one that will turn upside down my initial conception about how to control who speaks from where along the stereo spectrum. Meaning, how far to the left or to the right a character speaks from in the stereo mix.

But first an update. If you have checked back to this website over the past couple years, you’ve seen that the blog has been dormant. It is true, what they say, that you can’t serve two masters. I serve four myself. The one that takes up most of my online time is the Downey Arts Coalition, an effort I’ve taken on to revitalize the arts and culture scene in my hometown. The others being work and family.

That’s not to say that The Man Who Was Thursday isn’t going anywhere, it is. Working with other (unpaid) editors did not turn into anything productive. After all, it is my creative ambition to tell this story, and thus is my burden to do the work, in the absence of paying professionals.

In small increments the project continues to move forward a little bit at a time, and in another year there may be some better news that includes releasing some episodes.

Back to the stereo soundscape. The entire project was “blocked” for audio, to borrow a theatre term. Blocking is the way that actors move about the room during a scene. Actors who are entering or exiting, or talking from across the room, are recorded further away from the microphone. The actors move throughout the stereo spectrum left to right depending on the action of the scene.

My initial conception about an audio play is that it might work similar to shooting a film. Where you place the actors in relation to the camera, as well as where in the frame they land conveys certain subtle cues to the audience as to how they feel about a character or a situation. For example, if you want a character to feel trapped, you place them in the center of frame with two others around them, blocking them visually from the left and right sides of the screen.

It’s also suggested that each side of the screen frame has an assigned emotion to it. Because our culture reads from the left to the right, the eyes will often start scanning the filmed image from left to right. The left side therefore may have an instable feeling, and the right side of screen has more strength or confidence, because your eyes naturally land and rest there.

Going on this, I would do the same for stereo audio. The characters would either be on the left or right based on their ability to be in control of the situation in the scene. If Gabriel is challenging someone, he begins on the left ear, then slowly ends up more on the right ear as he gains the upper hand.

I often listen to what scenes I’ve put together in the car, as I spend a lot of time commuting, and a car is the primary venue for listening to podcast audio. What I realized is that listening to an audio podcast is often a solitary, personal experience. Your subconscious can handle the driving and allow your mind to become absorbed in what you are listening to on the radio. This works for The Man Who Was Thursday because the audience literally is in the head of Gabriel Syme from the first moment, as he tells the story from his perspective.

Point of view or perspective in this case becomes the overriding language of how the audience listens. In your gut, at least in America, I think that we put ourselves in the shoes of the character on the left. That’s obvious in the car, as the driver’s side is on the left. Putting the sound of the main character on the left helps the audience feel like they’re in his shoes. A person approaching on the right sounds foreign, especially in the car, as we’re used to the left speaker dominating over the right.

This will take some careful consideration at the mixing stage, where my initial plan is to listen to how the characters move across the stereo spectrum as we recorded it, then match it as I add in the two shotgun microphones (typical film-shoot boom mics) that help isolate the individual voices.

If I want someone to sound further away, I raise the volume of the stereo room mics, and lower the shotgun mics. If a close, intimate scene is needed, I can drop out the room mics and stay with the shotgun mics.

I’ll post some examples soon to illustrate.

Thanks for sticking with the project!

A new team of editors

It’s no secret this project had a rough 2011 with little progress, but now a new small team of editors have asked to join the team and help get this done, an unexpected new year’s gift. Time to get organized!




There is a lot to do still.

Easter and Conversion

I hope you has a wonderful Easter. This weekend I celebrated with a long time friend of mine who was officially received into the Catholic Church. Like myself he was raised Baptist and generally moves in Protestant circles, though recently we have formed relationships with some like-minded Catholics.

The schisms between Christian churches has long fascinated me, especially as I see many of my generation get tired of dogmatic and doctrinal arguments that get away from the central message and purpose of the church. The friends I see most often don’t pay a lot of attention to these divisions. Perhaps there are changing attitudes among my generation. We were raised on stereotypes and generalizations about competing denominations or sects, but when you take the time to enter into friendship and community with people of other churches we’ve discovered how blinded we were by our pride.

GK Chesterton famously “converted” (an imprecise term) from the Anglican Church and was received into the Catholic Church in 1922. He wrote a book about it, as well as this poem that he came up with after receiving his first Communion.


After one moment when I bowed my head
And the whole world turned over and came upright,
And I came out where the old road shone white,
I walked the ways and heard what all men said,
Forests of tongues, like autumn leaves unshed,
Being not unlovable but strange and light;
Old riddles and new creeds, not in despite
But softly, as men smile about the dead.

The sages have a hundred maps to give
That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree,
They rattle reason out through many a sieve
That stores the sand and lets the gold go free:
And all these things are less than dust to me
Because my name is Lazarus and I live.

–G. K. Chesterton–

Anachronistic Language: Irritated vs Pissed

When I first started adapting The Man Who Was Thursday it was in 2002, and my original notion was that the story was “ripe” for updating into a contemporary settings, especially since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the world was wondering the same question:  Why does God allow things to randomly blow up?  Plus, I could recast the “anarchist” into our modern term for it: “Terrorist.”  Of course, it also had to be a movie, since I’m a filmmaker.  So the screenplay contemporary adaptation began.

However, two things happened:  First, I fell in love with Chesterton’s witty banter.  Second, I’m not that good of an adapter, judging by the fact that when I can’t think of anything original to add, I simply transcribe what dialog and action is in the book into screenplay format.  What I ended up with was an unusual hybrid:  an old-fashioned story with old-fashioned dialog that was trying to exist in today’s world.  Another thing happened while I did that, however.  I was still attempting to change the way people talk in the book to be a little more fluid and use phrases and words that we’re a little more used to today.  So there were a number of things in the dialog I changed in the name of “updating” it.

As the years passed, I couldn’t let go of the original period setting in turn-of-the-century London.  Plus I like the way the characters spoke, and I wanted to keep all of that great Chesterton dialog.  As I approached the book to become this radio play, I started from two sources that I kept open on my computer as I wrote:  The text of the book, and my contemporary film adaptation.  I decided to meld the two, taking what I liked about my adaptation, and bringing it back into the original time setting.

Here is a line that I decided to keep in the radio script, even though it was modern usage of the words, and would never have been spoken at the time:  Lucien Gregory says, “You have pissed me off, and I don’t usually get pissed!”  “Really?” asks Gabriel.  “Not too often,” replies Gregory, timidly.

“You have pissed me off” [click to listen]

Needless to say, this line caused a minor mutiny in the recording session.  They didn’t buy it, and said it pulled them out of the time period.  I argued for it.  To me, anachronistic language doesn’t matter a whole lot.  The purpose of the piece of art we’re making is to entertain the people of today, not to impress some historians with our accuracy.  You see this approach all the time.  My wife and I watched a wonderful translation of Moliere’s Tartuffe by Richard Wilbur that used all kinds of modern references an plays on words in order to make the English translation rhyme properly.  Though for the record, my wife agrees with Jacob and Eric (who play the parts).  “Pissed off” is just too colloquial slang to make it work in this case.

Here is what it became, and I do think it has a laugh of it’s own:

“You have irritated me” [click to listen]

Chime in in the comments below if you like the “before” or “after.”  Oh, and you might be wondering what the original Chesterton dialog was.  Here it is:

“Mr. Syme,” he said, “this evening you succeeded in doing something rather remarkable. You did something to me that no man born of woman has ever succeeded in doing before.”


“Now I remember,” resumed Gregory reflectively, “one other person succeeded in doing it. The captain of a penny steamer (if I remember correctly) at Southend. You have irritated me.”

“I am very sorry,” replied Syme with gravity.

There is still quite a bit of editing to go, so I apologize for those who are waiting to hear something.  Stay tuned.


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