“The Old Testament” a $5 million audio drama

Sales expectations are high for the audio drama of “The Old Testament,” budgeted at $5 million, that’s currently in production by the Falcon Picture Group and Cerny American Creative.

Set for an October release, it follows the success of their earlier “The Word of Promise” a 25-hour, 20-CD production of the New Testament that’s already sold 450,000 copies at a retail price of $49.99.

“The Old Testament” features a cast of almost 700 voice and will run over 80 hours. Falcon’s Carl Amari is producing and JoBe Cerny is directing at his Illinois St. studio.

The cast includes Jon Voight, Malcolm McDowell, John Rhys-Davies, Max Von Sydow, Gary Sinise, Jason Alexander, Joan Allen, Marcia Gay Harden and Richard Dreyfuss.

“It is a massive undertaking,” says Cerny sound designer Craig Lee, who has worked on both projects for the past three years.

The project is marked by a faithful attention to details and respect for the material. The script was written by two priests, with a theologian on call for all recording sessions to provide insights into the scripture for the actors.

“They laid it all out like a radio play script,” says Amari. “But did not take out or alter a single word, except if it said ?he said’ or ?she said.'”

“What’s exciting to me is taking all these film techniques and applying them to audio drama,” says Lee, who’s worked on indie films. “When the music, voice work, and sound effects and Foley work are all put together, it really packs a wallop.”

Managing a team of three engineers working in Pro Tools, Lee hopes to have the mammoth project complete by July. The sheer amount of material poses many technical challenges.

“There are so many different fragments to piece together,” says Lee. “It’s hundreds of gigs worth of sound to edit. It’s given me a totally different appreciation of the Bible. I can quote scripture now!”