There’s a thread going on over on the Audio Drama Talk forums about “Breaking out”- that is, finding a larger audience with audio drama. The thread starter seems primarily concerned with audience, and trying to improve your show by interacting with your audience. Here’s my own reply to the topic…
I guess the question then becomes- which audience do you listen to?
Let me give you an example- over on the Voice Acting Alliance website the audience there are mostly teens and in their early 20’s. They have a finished projects section, and people put their audio dramas in that section to be viewed and commented upon like anyplace else. If you put something anime/fan/video game related into that section your hits will instantly skyrocket as they trip over themselves to check it out. If you put something more traditional or original in that section that doesn’t meet those criteria it will generally sit there unless you’re a forum celebrity and then it will also jump up.
Pendant stuff, Darker Projects stuff, it doesn’t matter- the kids will turn up their noses at it and ignore it no matter how well produced it is.
However, if you were to take the stuff they trip over themselves over and put it on this forum it would sit here like Pendant or DP stuff does there. Different audience, different tastes.
One of the good/bad things about the internet is that it’s allowed people with diverse tastes to find each other and form communities around their tastes of choice. (Just like this one.) This is good because it does allow people like you and I to talk and discuss things we might never otherwise be able to discuss. (Such as this very topic.) It’s bad because it’s also made everyone specialists into their own thing who rarely pop their heads up to look at what’s around them anymore. Even on this very board, there are probably sub-groups who only frequent certain sub-forums and pretty much ignore the others.
So if I make a show now- who do I write to? Someone might say “write to a general audience”. But what is a general audience now? Can anyone tell me? Is a general audience those kids on the VAA? Is a general audience sci-fi fans over on their forum of choice who just want more of their favorite show? Is it the housewives in the knitting forum? The farmers on the Agriculture Today message boards?
Tell me, because I honestly don’t know.
So I produce my shows for myself based on what I think a good show should be and try to advertise to a wide audience in hopes that the people who would like it will have a chance to find it. I try to write for (theoretical) people who would like the things I do and hope that there’s enough of them out there to count as “an audience” by whatever my personal standards are.
So far, I seem to be doing pretty well and my audience is growing monthly so I’m happy with it. (Oddly enough, since these forums came I’ve noticed a real spike in my numbers! Thanks again Crash!) It’s not 20,000 a month or anything, but it is enough to keep me producing and know that I do have an active (if diverse) audience of people who enjoy my work.