As I mentioned in the first article of this series, I hope to cover, from a high level, the things I do to launch a new audio drama from beginning to end. As of this writing I have launched 11 shows (14 if you count the educational podcast Evolution Talk and a couple others) and it doesn’t take me long to get things moving. I love every step of the process (except one – which I’ll get to in a later post) and the steps I take serve me well. But before any of that can happen it starts with an idea.
When I first conceived of the show The Behemoth I was on an exercise bike at the gym. I’d been involved in podcasting for a couple of years (educational shows about philosophy, evolution and the paranormal – all subjects I love) and consumed podcasts voraciously while running, driving to work, or doing things around the house. Shows like RadioLab and This American LIfe were among my favorites at the time. I also loved audio drama. Audio drama makes up a large percentage of what I listen to today and back then it was Jonathan Mitchell’s The Truth , The Black Tapes and Limetown. I’d grown up listening to old vinyl recordings of The Shadow and Inner Sanctum. A writer friend of mine, the author Christopher Gronlund, has a short fiction show called Not About Lumberjacks and he helped to gently push me back into fiction which, for me, meant audio drama. I’ve also had some experience in theater and music production and felt in a decent enough position to give it a shot. Shows like the Audio Drama Production Podcast became essential listening and the hosts were always gracious and willing to provide advice when asked (thanks Matthew and Robert!).
I’m giving you this background information to say that you don’t need experience in audio drama production to produce your own show. A passion for writing, patience, and a strong desire to add to the creative force that is today’s audio drama is all you really need. We all come at this with a set of unique skills and you’ll be able to draw on those to your advantage. Those you don’t have you’ll be able to develop. I promise. I’m living proof.
So back to The Behemoth. I had the concept and a strong visual of a ‘large, lumbering beast’ walking slowly across the country. I also had my main character, Madyson. I’d actually had the character of Madyson in my head for a very long time but never found the right vehicle for her. This was it. It was now time to decide how I wanted to tell the story. Would I tackle it with a large cast and multiple actors? A small cast with a few actors? Fortunately I’d worked with voice artists for my shows Evolution Talk and Strange Encounters so I knew where and how to find them (I’ll talk about this later). But how many did I need? As this was going to be my first show I felt thay it would be best to start small. I would go with a single voice. A narrator. Along the way I would supplement her voice with some smaller roles (such as Madyson’s mother), but focusing on Madyson and her story, as told by her, would be the way to go.
That’s the first decision point in your journey from idea to execution. What is your story and how do you want to tell it. I chose to start small but you can certainly opt for a larger production. I’m here to help if you have any questions 🙂
Other Posts in this series:
- Birth of An Audio Drama 013: Recorded Lines
- Birth of An Audio Drama 012: Read-through
- Birth of An Audio Drama 011: Recording
- Birth of An Audio Drama 010: Voices
- Birth of An Audio Drama 009: Cover Art
- Birth of An Audio Drama 008: Drafts
- Birth of An Audio Drama 007: Format
- Birth of An Audio Drama 006: Framing and Narration
- Birth of An Audio Drama 005: The Discovery
- Birth of An Audio Drama 004: The Project
- Birth of An Audio Drama 003: Evernote
- Birth of An Audio Drama 002: Listen
- Birth of An Audio Drama 001: Plan
- Birth of an Audio Drama – A Very Brief Overview
Image: Madyson from The Behemoth by Nils Nihils