CygnusWithTypeAs many of you know, by and large, we use this scrap of cyber real estate to share the latest radio and TV spots we’ve worked on, info on the comings and goings of voice-over actors, or to posit something pithy about new audio techniques we might be scoping out.

While that’s our bread ‘n butter, it isn’t all we do…

So, occasionally we like to share some of the other things that occupy our time behind the glass here on the twelfth floor of The Plymouth Building, downtown Minneapolis.

Good causes that benefit kids and families rank high on our list of things with which we like to associate ourselves. About a month ago we got a call from The National Institute on Media and The Family, an organization dedicated to (amongst other things) reducing “screen time” for kids. No, they’re not advocating censorship, the elimination of the idiot box, or collapsing the web but, – they do believe in helping families make healthier media choices. (So, if you’re 12 and reading this – go read a book or something…)

‘Course, this is easier said than done. Once you pull the kids away from the screen,…great, what then? Enter something called, Alternative To Screen Time Products and a group of talented storytellers called Cygnus Storytelling. They live the mantra, “whoever tells the stories, defines the culture”. Their idea, in collaboration with the National Institute on Media and The Family, was to create a CD of wholesome stories that could be listened to, repeated and played with by families with young children. So, instead of just piling one’s progeny into the MiniVan, i-Pods and DVD players in tow, families could now have the opportunity to share time together listening to and interacting with each other in a creative and inspiring atmosphere.

The CD, entitled, “You Tell A Tale – Stories Told Through You”, was a joy to record, produce and edit because of the different dynamics that were involved in capturing these artists, – artists who were naturally conditioned to the stylings of working live on stage – not in a voice-over booth. The final product was a collaborative effort as all the actors had to adjust to the idea of not projecting their voices as much, having to work from the frame of a basic script, and learning to meld, consistently, one performance to the next if they made a mistake from take to take. And, from our standpoint we had to leave a lot more air in the reads – which we never seem to be able to do when working on TV and radio spots.

Thanks must go to the actors, Tina Rohde, Kevin Strauss, Colleen Shaskin, Mike Mann and Jennifer Strauss for their dedication and willingness to toss familiar ways (in the booth, anyway) in favor of learning to tell their stories in a new way.

Sometimes we are all both teacher and student.

Here’s, The Three Bear Rap, a sample from the disc that shows how a story can morph and become one’s own with just a little ingenuity.

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