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219. How Did GAP Digital Turn Left Behind Into Cinematic Audio Drama? | with Todd Busteed

Based on the best-selling novels, here’s how GAP Digital and Tyndale House Publishers presented the dramatic audio edition of Left Behind.
Fantastical Truth on Jul 2, 2024 · Series: · No comments

It’s not an audiobook. It’s also not a movie series. Directly between these lies the medium of audio drama, such as 144 episodes about the end of days. Based on the best-selling novels, how did GAP Digital, working with Tyndale House Publishers, proudly present the dramatic audio edition of Left Behind?

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Mission update

Concession stand

  • If you prefer an end-times debate, you can go to episode 216.
  • The Left Behind audio drama is often badly confused with audiobooks.
  • This is a high-production, cinematic streaming series with one quirk.
  • You bring the pictures because radio drama is a theater of the mind.
  • And indeed the drama can be very intense, often more than the books.
  • Finally, we’ve spoken with Chris Fabry, who adapted the series for audio.

Todd Busteed, profileIntroducing guest Todd Busteed

Todd Busteed founded GAP Digital, a Chicago-based audio drama studio. From 1999 to 2004, Busteed directed and produced Left Behind: The Dramatic Audio Series, created by a team of writers, actors, musicians, foley artists, and sound engineers. GAP Digital has provided production engineering for many productions, including Adventures in OdysseyFocus on the Family Radio Theatre, and VeggieTales. Meanwhile, Todd lent his voice to the entire Bible (NLT) and many other audiobooks. He is a regular announcer for nationwide events and races.

Life before Left Behind: biblical truth and fantastic imagination?

  • GAP Digital origin, Wheaton studio, work with Adventures in Odyssey

1. How to assemble a Left Behind Adaptation Force

  • Todd shares his experience with audio engineering and the LB series
  • The initial pitch for a Left Behind audio drama to Tyndale House
  • Original expectations and recruitment of actors, music, engineers

Twenty years ago, GAP Digital released the final twelve episodes of Left Behind: The Dramatic Audio Series.

2. Heralding the end-times from the eyes to the ears

  • Left Behind production challenges, especially when the books went big.
  • “Faster, faster, you fool!” Going from one drama a year to two of them.
  • Conversion scenes, turning sermons into “podcasts,” sensitive subjects.
  • Disaster theater! Providential plagues call for special audio effects to “show” world wars, earthquakes, hailstorms, comets, demon locusts.
  • (Stephen himself, as an early fanboy, “consulted” on sound effect ideas.)
  • This started a spinoff series, The Kids: Left Behind; we’ll explore that next time.
  • Next: fan reception, killing Antichrist, planes, guillotines, Armageddon
  • Finally the return of Jesus in Glorious Appearing (adapted by Darby Kern)
  • Adding a narrator, casting Jesus, voicing Satan, and intro to Millennium

3. Legacy of Left Behind: The Dramatic Audio Series

  • GAP Digital created 144 episodes, 12 episodes per original novel.
  • The studio also produced a drama of Left Behind prequel The Rising
  • End of an end-times era, on to other pre-pre-Tribulation missions

Com station

  • Which do you prefer, audiobooks or cinematic audio dramatization?

Next on Fantastical Truth

Some Christians think that in an end-times Rapture event, young children automatically go to Heaven. But what about older kids? Such as teen rebels who disobey parents, won’t go to church, and reject Jesus? Left Behind: The Kids explored the exploits of the Young Tribulation Force, and was adapted for its own fantastic dramatic audio series by our next guest: Darby Kern.

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Fantastical Truth

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