Today, the first half of my conversation with Nick Martorelli, the executive producer for Penguin Random House Audio’s version of The Empire Strikes Back’s 40th anniversary short story celebration. Punch it!
What follows is the full list of questions I had for him, and I think we got to all of them, though not necessarily in this order:
Aside from the source material and the stories themselves (naturally), how was the process of doing this audiobook different from the previous From a Certain Point of View audiobook?
How does the preparation for an audiobook of short stories differ from the preparation that goes into a novel?
How has the current public health situation changed your production process?
Can you talk a bit about the casting process, as far as how and where it fits into the whole project process?
Some folks, like January LaVoy and Marc Thompson, are well known to Star Wars audiences, and have “strong suits,” as it were, based on their previous Star Wars narration experience. How do you balance your casting decisions between leaning into those strengths versus applying their talents in fresh ways?
Dion Graham is an experienced narrator doing a Star Wars project for the first time, and the similarly experienced Soneela Nankani is doing her second, after Lando’s Luck. (Emily is comparatively new, too, of course, but with more recent appearances.) Can you talk a bit about the considerations for bringing in narrators who may well be unknown to a Star Wars audience?
Jon Hamm is, of course, an accomplished actor, but doesn’t do a lot of audiobook narration – this is only his fourth PRH Audio credit, and half of those are Star-Wars related. What does he bring to the table for you, from your own experienced perspective?
I’d love to learn about the process of adapting Older’s “STET!” for an audiobook, because it’s so unique on the page.
Do you have personal favorites among the stories in the collection? Or any stories that affected the way you think about Empire as a whole?
And here are the links mentioned at the end of the conversation!
Nick on Twitter: https://twitter.com/nickmartorelli
PRH Audio: https://penguinrandomhouseaudio.com