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Writer's Meeting

Wednesday, May 10, 2000

After driving for 1200 miles (over two days) across the United States, I finally arrived at Focus on the Family to no small amount of rejoicing and relief on my part. Pikes Peak glared at me across the valley—shimmering and radiant in the dazzling afternoon sun.

After briefly packing a few "necessities" (scripts, ideas, pencils) into my backpack, I marched up to the front door of the Focus building, guessing that the one with the flags out front was the one I was supposed to enter. A woman at the front desk (which could be called the "security gate") asked who I was there to see. I stumbled over my words, but managed, "Mark…Mark Drury."

I went to use the bathroom and when I came back, they were standing there. Mark Drury and Dave Arnold. There was no doubt about it. I had seen their pictures and these were the two men I had heard about for many years. After shaking hands with these two (I was thinking...okay...they are real...), Mark took me up to the room where the writers worked…where they actually worked. I was introduced to Al Janssen, the executive producer of the previous season. Then we headed to the writer’s meeting.

As we walked to the door, Mark announced loudly, "Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Nathan Hoobler." In rapid succession, I shook hands with Kathy Wierenga, John Beebee, Marshal Younger, and Paul McCusker.

We sat down, but I felt too in awe to speak for a bit.  The team discussed a few of the ideas for fall shows and then headed down for a "screening" of the final show of the spring season. I met Rob Jorgensen, Jonathan Crowe, and others and then all quieted for the episode. It was recorded live at the National Religious Broadcasters convention in February. Twenty-five minutes later, the show ended and everyone discussed what had worked and what hadn’t.

Week 2

Monday, May 15 to Thursday, May 18

My first full week at Focus was a busy one for the AIO writers because they were finishing up the first four scripts to be recorded.  I was able to read over these and suggest changes or modifications, though they were always quite minor. 

One of the coolest things about where I work is that its right next to the file of AIO scripts.  They have kept every single script from all the past AIO shows (I think...).  Just looking through those files is a bit overwhelming.

Friday, May 19

Coming this fall at the Welcome Center at Focus on the Family will be a recording studio in which kids will get to be a part of an Odyssey episode. They'll interact with the previously recorded main AIO actors via headphones. At the end, their parents will be able to take home a CD with the child in an Odyssey episode as it were.

Today I got to be part of a test of that idea in "Studio A" at Focus on the Family. (This is the studio where the main Focus braodcasts with Dr. Dobson are recorded.) The team brought in a few kids to play parts in a script while a few of us pretended to be AIO characters (I got to be Tom Riley and Eugene Meltsner). The kids seemed to really enjoy it.

After the little test, we talked about what would work in a setting like this and what didn't go quite as well as we thought it might. Overall, this sounded like it will be a popular attraction at the Welcome Center!

Week 3

Monday, May 22 to Tuesday, May 23

Most of my time on these two days was spent creating a database of all the past Odyssey shows with episode number, weekend air number, daily number, most recent weekly airing, most recent daily airing, international airings, and even segment lengths.  While on one level, all these numbers were rather mind-numbing and monotonous, I also learned some interesting things while wading through the figures.  I had no idea that Odyssey even aired internationally before.  Now I know that it airs on 100 stations weekly and 70 stations daily and that the international segments contain the scenes cut from the U. S. versions.  These scenes are put back in the tape and CD versions of the shows, but have to be cut for time from the U. S. radio versions.

Also, did you know that The Imagination Station has aired six times on the weekly broadcast, far more than any other episode?  And did you know that Malachi's Message, Part 3 was the longest single show in AIO history (on actual released radio time).  Amazing Grace was the second longest.

Wednesday, May 24

Today I got to finally get to see something I had wondered about for a long time...a foley session!  Dave Arnold and Mark Drury were working on a Radio Theatre program and they were kind enough to let me sit in (though they may have wished they hadn't!).

For the unintiated, foley is the creation of the live sound effects that accompany a show.  They generally don't include things like opening doors or, say, gunshots.  Those would be taken from a sound effects disc.  Instead, they include the sounds of people moving around or the sounds of footsteps.  For example, when you hear a chocolate soda moving around on the counter at Whit's End, that would probably be the foley artist's work.

Much of the foley for Radio Theater is done in the foley room in the back of Dave Arnold's studio.  To create the sound effects, the room needs to be completely quiet.  Any extra sounds in the room could end up in the foley tracks of the show.  So if you ever sit in on a session, it's very wise not to laugh out loud.  Boy, those microphones are sensitive!

When they are working on foley, Dave and Mark actually pretend to be the characters on the already recorded voice tracks.  (They listen to the voice tracks via headphones.)  I just seemed to get a continual chuckle out of watching the two of them silently mouth the words being said by other characters and interacting with each other to get the proper sound effects.  (But don't laugh...it ruins the take.) 

Thursday, May 25 to Friday, May 26

These two days I worked on an actor listing of the people who have been voices on AIO in the past two years.  It's quite a list of talented people!

The first recording sessions for Adventures in Odyssey were held in Burbank early this week and we had a meeting to talk about the things that really worked at the sessions and the things that needed to be tweaked.  The sequence of recording the shows is very important for both the actors and the directors and producers.  Scheduling shows in an order that are very heavy on a certain character can be very tiring for the actor or actress.

I spent a couple hours in the afternoon on Friday in Rob Jorgensen's studio, which is filled with microphones from the golden days of radio.  He was working on finishing up episode changes and formatting for the upcoming album release.

Week 4

Tuesday, May 30

Today I got to read through some of the hundreds of letters sent to the AIO team.  There were just a couple of negative letters, but 99% expressed great appreciation and love of the program.  Of all the recent episodes, 440: I Slap Floor has gotten by far the most mail, with everyone asking that nagging question, "What does it mean?"  There were also a lot of letters with punchlines for the joke in 120: Pranks for the Memories.  Some of the most touching letters told about how AIO had changed a person's life or how a particular episode really spoke to them.  

Wednesday, May 31

I worked on a variety of things today, from some trivia and interviews for the Official site to listening to and analyzing the AIO shorties.

During the afternoon I read through Marshal Younger's novelization of the next AIO video The Last Days of Eugene Meltsner due out this fall.  I think that most radio fans will be happy with the video series (or at least more happy).  Marshal's novel shows his depth of knowledge of AIO characters and his drama and writing skills.

For the last two hours of the day I joined Jonathan Crowe (my apologies to him for misspelling his name for a year and a half) as he worked on modifying the shows for the newest album coming out in August.  It was incredible to see the amount of time and skill that went into the tiniest moments of Odyssey production.  Jonathan spent a lot of time getting a certain transition in Mandy's Debut to sound just right.  The care and precision in the production engineer's work was a bit intimidating to watch.  

Thursday, June 1 to Friday, June 2

Through these two days, I worked on a few different projects (which seems to be a theme for my position this summer).  I sat in on a playback of a Radio Theater show, was part of a script read-through (to check scene times), worked on some possible ideas for future AIO "filler" segments, updated the AIO episode database, and had ate at Whit's End for lunch.

Week 5

Monday, June 5

It was another day full of a variety of work.  It began with playback of the Radio Theatre show of which I sat in the foley session for.  It was fun to hear the scenes and remember what props had been used to create the background sound effects ("Oh, I remember that book being thrown!").  I listened closely for my shoes that were used in one scene, but couldn't quite hear them.

Another project for the day was working on the "Odyssey Scoop" for the October Clubhouse Magazine.  If they use my article, I think it will be my first article ever published in a magazine.  The team has to write those articles way in advance so it's good to be able to know what the season holds.

The rest of the day consisted of working on ideas for an upcoming BTV, another script read-through, and working on some ideas for additions to the Focus on the Family Welcome Center.  Watch for a report coming soon about the new stuff in the Welcome Center.  They would make any Odyssey fan excited!

Tuesday, June 6 to Friday, June 9

Most of Tuesday and some of Wednesday was spent updating the rather immense Odyssey production database.  This time it was inputting the "outcues" for each of the three segments of every episode.  In the early days, the outcues were often something like: Chris: "Is the Barclay family all right?  Find out when Adventures in Odyssey continues, right after this.", while in the newer shows, it's usually a character saying something like, Whit: "...turns out, your honor, I actually was speeding..."  Additionally, most of the outcues ended with "Music Out," meaning that music filled out the cue.  It was further interesting to find the few shows that didn't end with Chris's trademark, "...hoping you'll join us again next time for more Adventures in Odyssey." (MUSIC OUT).

By the way, do you know which two episodes the above quotes are from?  If you can't remember (or you want to check your answer), highlight the text below.

First outcue (Barclays): Family Vacation, Part 1
Second outcue (Your Honor): Faster than a Speeding Ticket

Another project I worked on over these days was compiling some "tidbits" and behind the scenes information for the Official Site similar to those fun facts found in the Complete Guide.  I "interviewed" the writers and production engineers about their shows and found out some great trivia.  For example, did you know that Miss Hamer in Changing Rodney was named after a friend of writer Kathy Wierenga?  Or that The Buck Starts Here was originally titled "The Parable of the Entrepreneur, the Sock Shooter, and the Ditch Digger"?  Or that Kathy's favorite kind of cake is Choca Mocha?  Watch for these and a bunch more coming soon to the Official AIO site.

On Thursday afternoon, I looked through the storyboards for The Last Days of Eugene Meltsner.  The storyboarding process consists of still drawings of what the animation for each shot in the show will look like. It also allows the animation team to plan out camera moves, character movement, and dialogue.  The storyboards for Last Days were a few hundred pages of detailed drawings, notes, and directions.  I'm looking forward to seeing how the final product will compare to the storyboards.

Week 6

Monday, June 12 to Tuesday, June 13

The compact discs for all of the CDs that come out in AIO albums are burned from one set of "master CDs".  Today I was able to listen to these CDs before they went to duplication just as a final "check" to see if there were any noticeable sound errors that could be corrected.  There are a number of things changed between the broadcast version and the retail version of a show.  For example, the end of the show doesn't include a "write to us" section with address.  Furthermore, on two part shows (like Passages), the "next time on AIO" and "previously on AIO" are removed.

In the course of these two days, we also had a casting meeting where we talked about which actors would work best for parts in the upcoming July recording session and we had a read-through of one of John Beebee's scripts.  (It's gonna be great!)  I worked on polishing my article for Clubhouse magazine under the watchful eye of veteran Odyssey Scoopster Kathy Wierenga and finished up a few tidbits for the Official Site.

Wednesday, June 14 to Friday, June 16

Have you heard of the Adventures in Odyssey Writer's Bible?  It's 95 pages of resources for Odyssey Writers.  It contains character histories, the Odyssey Yellow Pages, and even acceptable expletives for use in Odyssey.  The grand work has been compiled by Marshal Younger and John Beebee and it is a monster to behold.  Over a few days, I worked to put this information into a webpage-based format so all that information will be easily accessible to the Odyssey team.  The main purpose of the Writer's Bible is to keep continuity in the series.  It's sometimes hard to keep track of some tiny character traits when you've had almost 450 episodes.

Week 7

Monday, June 19 to Tuesday, June 20

On Monday, John Beebee and I listened to the voice tracks of his two-parter that will begin the fall season.  Rob Jorgensen had edited these together and it was another interesting step in creation process as we got to hear how the voices adapted the script.  The show didn't have any sound effects yet, so it was just the sound of the actor's voices.  It helped show just how much the sound effects and music add to an Odyssey episode.

We did another read-through of an Odyssey show that will be recorded in the next session.  It's been great to see how much creative discussion goes into each Odyssey show and how much the debating and "talking through" process helps the shows. One part in the show has proved to be particularly difficult casting-wise and John and I have spent a lot of time looking through actor lists to find just the right person for the role.

Wednesday, June 21 to Friday, June 23

These days consisted of more work on scripts, read-throughs, and casting decisions.  It seems like this is the sort of thing that often happens in the couple of weeks leading up to the recording session.  (The next recording session is July 10 to 12, where five Odyssey programs will be recorded.)

Week 8

Monday, June 26

Today began with another read-through of a script for the next session.  The production engineers participated in this reading and they had a lot to add, especially about the plausibility of doing sound effects for some of the more visual scenes, but also for the show in general.  

Casting continued for some of the upcoming shows.  There are a few "new" kids in the upcoming shows and it's sometimes difficult to find a voice that we know will work and one that people will not immediately recognize as another character.

Early in the afternoon, the whole team gathered together to hear playback of the first show finished for this fall (although it won't be the first to air).  The show was a slice of life show by Marshal Younger and it was the first time I got to hear a final product of a show after seeing some of the "behind the scenes" things that went into producing it.  The production engineer and sound designer for the program was...Bob Luttrell!  That's right!  After a five year hiatus, Bob Luttrell will be working on AIO programs again.

Toward the end of the day I read through the book version of the upcoming AIO animated video, based in part on the AIO episode 415: Gloobers.  See if you can follow this.  John Beebee based the episode on a dream his son had.  The video was adapted from the radio episode.  And Marshal Younger wrote an adaptation of the video for a book.  I, for one, am wondering if Marshal may begin to dream about video games and begin the whole process over again.

Tuesday, June 27 to Wednesday, June 28

It may sounding familiar to everyone by now, but I primarily worked on read-throughs and casting today. Sometimes casting can involve guess-work or a lot of research to find just the right voice to play a part.  Other times it almost feels like desperation, but the end result is worth the effort.

Rob Jorgensen is currently working on the Imagination Station adventure that will kick off the season (to use the colloquialism).  To keep continuity on how the Station sounds in each episode, Rob asked me to find some episodes with doors in the Station closing and a few other distinct effects so he could make them sound similar in the upcoming episode.

On Wednesday, I attended a meeting of some of the people in charge of brand management, where the primary topic of discussion was the Odyssey art.  The history of the Odyssey "look" was discussed, along with just how the art would look in the future.

Thursday, June 29 to Friday, June 30

Over these two days, I worked on writing some summaries for the Official Site and worked on some Discussion Questions for the site.  Writing Discussion Questions is harder than it occasionally sounds.  You have to get in the "spiritual mindset" of writing the questions and you also have to recall the episode in detail so you can decide what is worthy of a discussion question.  Furthermore, you have to think about what would be especially significant for the Odyssey age group.  Since I only wrote the questions for a few episodes, it gave me a better appreciation for the people who wrote hundreds of them for the Complete Guide.

Additionally, I did some research for a possible upcoming episode that delves into a couple character's pasts.  The research was mainly reading through scripts and listening to episodes to recall what exactly has been established about the period of these people's lives that will be explored.

Another of my tasks has been reading a few of the AIO scripts that people have sent in.  If you are thinking of sending a script and wondering if anyone reads them, wonder no more!  Every script is read and considered. 

Week 9

Monday, July 3

Finding new voice actors is at times a challenge.  To bring in some "fresh talent" to complement the great voices that we have right now, we're having auditions at the recording session next week.  We lined up people who had been recommended to us and some people who had sent in demo tapes.

At another read-through today, the team read over some "wraps" for the upcoming shows.  These consist of what Chris will say at the end of the program and a promotional sentence for the program.  Writing wraps sounds like a "no-brainer" to the uninitiated (which was me until today).  You just grab a related verse from the Bible and re-emphasize the lesson of the show, right?  Not quite.  The wrap is where the show should come all together and writing the wraps are often when the team realizes just exactly what is the lesson of the show.

Wednesday, July 5 to Friday, July 7

Much of my time over these few days was spent getting ready for the recording session next week.  I called actors to confirm their dates of their sessions, worked on scheduling auditions, mailed a few scripts to performers, and read through scripts and wraps one last time.  To get a script formatted for an actor, it's important to make sure that lines don't "run over" from one page to another.  You don't want the actor to have to turn a page (which usually makes a sound) in the middle of their line.

On Wednesday, we listened to the near-completed version of another episode for the fall season.  It has been strange for me to see how differently I hear a show after I've looked at all the various stages a script goes through.

Other projects during these days included working on another Odyssey Scoop for Clubhouse, and starting to outline a new script for a possible upcoming episode.

Recording Session

Monday, July 10 to Wednesday, July 12

The recording session is one of the most exciting and rewarding yet nerve-wracking steps of the AIO process. If a script has problems, you can write another draft. If you have a bad foley session, it’s usually possible to go back and work through another bit of foley. While mistakes in a recording session are sometimes correctable, it’s often extremely time-consuming and expensive. A lot of things need to happen in a rather limited amount of time at the recording session and the time pressure is felt here more than nearly anywhere else.

My session experience began by flying into Burbank from Colorado Springs. The crew headed to Katie Leigh’s for dinner and Paul Herlinger soon joined us soon after. It was a lot of fun to get to see the actors in such a casual atmosphere and just have fun before the "work" began.

Monday morning began what would be a rather hectic week of recording, auditions, and what seemed to be a lot of running back and forth (for me, anyway). The Marc Graue studio where Odyssey is recorded has a kitchen area where all of the actors hang out when they’re not in the studio. It was where I got to meet and talk with most of the actors. I usually asked for a signature in my Complete Guide and found out that many of them had seen the website.

Each day at the studios has two four-hour sessions and each session is used to record one twenty-five minute broadcast. Once all of the actors were together, Monday’s first session began with a read-through of the show in the kitchen. It was great fun seeing what had previously been just words on a page burn with energy from the actual characters. It honestly felt like a bunch of old friends getting together. One of the neat things about this show in particular was that it brought back some of the actors from episodes long ago, including the guys who played Lawrence Hodges, Curt Stevens, and Digger Digwillow.

The studio is set up with two rooms. One is the room where the production engineer, director, and anyone who wants to be in the peanut gallery sit. It contains all the controls of the incoming sound, like the faders and the DAT tape machines (which record the voice tracks of the program). The other room is the one where the actors perform. It has six microphones in a half circle pattern. There is a large pane of glass between the two so the director can see the actors and, well, direct them. The rooms are sound-proof, so the people in the "director’s room" can hear everything that happens in the "actor’s room" (it’s another one of those places you don’t want to burst out laughing in the middle of a take), but the actors can only hear what happens in the director’s room if someone there pushes the "talkback" button.

After the read-through, the actors in the first scene went into the studio and (after checking the microphone level) did another practice run. Generally, the production engineer has one tape that they run during each of the takes and one tape that runs continually through the entire session (as a backup). Following the final practice run, it was time for the first take! With tapes running and everyone watching, director Paul McCusker said, "Take one, rolling," and Katie Leigh and Walker Edmiston began their dialog.

It seems to be the general AIO policy to do a practice run and two takes with each scene. If there are any problems or lines that an actor or director wants to do over again, they’ll sometimes go on to a third take or ask the actor to just re-do that line. Since the director is ultimately in charge of the show, the director and production engineer will often briefly discuss points about the script or the performance and then the director will relay the instructions to the actors. Both the engineer and director are watching for things like "pops" in a microphone (like when your voice pops when you say a word that starts with "p") and the sound of rustling paper as script pages are turned. Occasionally two different versions of a scene or line will be recorded and the engineer and/or director will decide which take works best later.

During a few of the scenes, I filled in for a character that was not cast at the time of recording. Since someone else would replace my voice later, it was important that I didn’t overlap the other actor’s lines. If I talked at the same time that they did, it would be impossible to get rid of my voice (or nearly impossible, anyway).

The second session of the day (and the first session of Tuesday) was John Beebee’s first show directing and it was his two-part musical show. The show is a wacky, zany (almost "Gifts for Madge and Guy"-like) kind of show and the actors had lots of fun both in the read through and in the studio. Many times the people watching the session would break out laughing because the actors were having so much fun working through their lines and ad-libbing funny responses. Some of my jobs during this time included getting water for tired throats and notifying actors in the kitchen that their scene was up next. John Beebee looked like he was having lots of fun directing, especially when he got to stand up and direct the singing of the songs.

On Tuesday one of my other jobs was working with the AIO auditions. We were auditioning mainly kids for the show and we had nearly twenty come in to try out. The first thing we would do in the audition would be go into a second studio and do a "cold read," meaning that the auditioning actors would read off a script they had never seen before, just to see how well they could do on their first try. Next we would stop and talk about the character for a bit and then read through the script again, usually with more feeling since the actor understood the character more thoroughly. I fully enjoyed interacting with the actors, especially the kids who tried out.

The afternoon on Tuesday in the second studio the time for "wraps" with Chris Anthony. I had met Chris earlier (she did a spectacular job on a few of the parts in the musical), but to watch her lending a voice to those words we all know and love was a different experience. "And I’m Chris, hoping you’ll join us again next time for more Adventures in Odyssey."

Wednesday was actually a rather relaxing day (for me, anyway) compared to the rest of the week. We only recorded one show instead of two and the show only had about five actors instead of the many we had for some of the earlier days. The show was Kathy Wierenga’s directing debut and mainly involved the kids of Odyssey.

The sessions ended a bit unceremoniously with straightening up the studio and gathering everything up before heading out the door. The sessions were an incredibly educational and all-around fun experience. I can’t wait to go back someday.

Week 11

Monday, July 17 to Friday, July 21

One day this week, I joined Rob Jorgensen and Jonathan Crowe as they headed to a local park to record some sounds needed for the season opener on AIO.  The scene involved two people swinging and was a bit too complicated to do in a studio.  Rob, the production engineer for the episode, decided to record the effects live.  We took some portable DAT tape machines and a big concave microphone to a park with swings to record the effects.  Rob put on on his headphones and listened to the recorded voice tracks of the characters while he pretended to be one of them.  Jonathan held the microphone and I had the other DAT machine (the one that was recording all of this).  Jonathan and Rob then switched up and Jonathan pretended to be the other character will listening to the voice tracks.  It was an enjoyable little recording (including the rather odd looks we got from passers-by).

Another "big" event of the week was a brain-storming session on the cover for Album 35.  That's right.  It won't be out for a long time, and we still had to decide something for the "mock-up" cover.  (Sorta like celebrating Christmas a year early, I suppose.)  We began by making a list of some of the action scenes from the upcoming album and then picking a few which would be representative of the contents.  Then we sketched out a few ideas on the marker board of possible covers and finally decided on one (at least for the time being).

Other highlights of the week were working on my own script and reading through another couple episodes.

Week 12

Monday, July 24 to Thursday, July 27

This week I got a chance to see two things that have been talked about as "upcoming" for a while...the season opener to the radio series and the next entry in the AIO video series.  The season opener to AIO is a two-part Imagination Station adventure written by John Beebee, directed by Paul McCusker, and engineered by Rob Jorgensen.  It features some epic moments, which are accompanied by epic music by John Campbell and epic sound effects by Rob Jorgensen.  It was also fun to hear the "swing scene" in the episode after seeing the sound effects "performed" and recorded.  The episode was originally titled "Believe It or Not" and was written for the longest time with both Nick Mulligan and Aubrey Shepard in the Imagination Station.  Due to a schedule conflict, Chris Castille (Nick) wasn't available for the recording sessions, so the show was re-written to take the Nick character out of the show.

The latest AIO video is a combination of a slightly different animation style and a story full of action.  This AIO video knows a little more about the AIO radio series, such as the fact that Bernard and Eugene are distantly related.  The video also features a new computer animated introduction.

Week 13

Monday, July 31 to Friday, August 4

Any time a recording session begins to draw closer, time pressure tightens.  This week included a lot of working on getting ready for the next recording session at the end of August.  Listening to audition tapes to see who might be able to be used in the future, more read-throughs of shows, and casting meetings are all a part of that process.  Occasionally, some of the established actors for specific parts aren't available.  There are two options when this situation comes up.  You can cast someone else in the role or write the character out of the script.  

Another project and topic of discussion this week was the potential writers for Adventures in Odyssey, people who express interest in writing or actually send scripts for the show.  We are working on putting a system in place so we can easily assess writers who want to work on the program.  Submissions from first time writers range from full Odyssey scripts to outlines to work they've done for other mediums.

Week 14

Monday, August 7 to Friday, August 11

My second-to-last week working at Focus on the Family this summer was much like many of the others, doing a variety of activities that make up the Odyssey "process".  There were read-throughs, a couple show playbacks, and discussions of aspects that shape the Odyssey picture.  As a team, we generally read-through a script as soon as the writer is finished with the first draft.  The writer gets notes, works on a second draft, and then we get together as a team and talk about the next draft.  Sometimes aspects of the script are debated, from plot points to punch lines.

John Beebee and I listened to a voice track playback of his upcoming two-part musical.  (Rob Jorgensen engineered, edited, and will be producing the final show.)  The show was just as hilarious as it was in the studio and Rob even found a very places where ad libs or jokes by the actors could be incorporated into the show to make it even better.  The next step for the show will be to get the music for it from John Campbell and then Rob Jorgensen will produce all of the sound effects that make Odyssey shows so great.

Another topic of discussion has been the album covers for future AIO collections.  It's difficult with a franchise as diverse as Adventures in Odyssey (videos, books, audio, etc.) to find a style for each medium that separates it from the others, but also keeps within the franchise look and still appeals to kids.  Compounding some of the difficulty is the number of different looks AIO album covers have taken over the years.

Other projects this week included writing the December 2000 Odyssey Scoop Clubhouse article and working through a skit for a future AIO show.

Week 15 and Writer's Meeting

Monday, August 18 to Friday, August 18

The last week of my Focus internship was a bit bittersweet for me.  I looked forward to the writer's meeting and enjoying my last week, but I also hated to leave.  I had a lot of fun this summer, but I also learned so much in the process.

The writer's meeting was even better than last time, for me, anyway.  This time I was able to really be a part of the discussion since I was "up" on all of the storylines and scripts.  The meetings started with a retrospective on the upcoming season, detailing how we thought the shows had gone so far.  Then we talked about specific shows coming up, what the future of various characters should be, and how we wanted the new storyline to play out.  We even read through the video script for video number 16.  (Hint: Connie, Eugene, Dylan, and Whit will get to go to a foreign land.)

Now I'll answer a few questions from the audience.

What was your favorite part about working at Focus?

I think I enjoyed the read-throughs most of all.  Just sitting and talking for hours (and I do mean hours) about an Odyssey script was a lot of fun for me.  (It probably was more fun since most of the time, we were talking about other people's scripts, not mine.)  I think I also started to understand better how they work the lesson into the scripts after being in the read-throughs.

Did you write any shows that will be used for Odyssey?

I worked on a skit for a BTV that's coming up.  I wrote a few other episodes also, but I don't believe that any of them are "written in stone" on the schedule as the colloquialism goes.

Did they use your voice in any Odyssey shows?