In this episode, Don and Rob are joined by Jack Ward of the Sonic Society podcast to talk about Jack’s experiences hosting the Internet’s greatest audio drama showcase for over a decade and the thrills and frustrations of being an audio drama producer in the podcast age. Slap on your Podjectors and Flip the switch to join us in this, the 15th episode of the Department of Nerdly Affairs!
I recently paid a visit to the Sonic Society’s Sonic Speaks podcast to talk with the incomparable Jack Ward about the history of my podcast- Kung Fu Action Theatre. In the interview, we talk about how I got into podcasting, my experience running KFAT, and my eventual decision to stop doing audio drama. Along the way, we discuss writing and the transition of going between being an audio dramatist and a prose fiction writer, and the challenges that come with learning to tell stories in audio before you’ve mastered prose.
It was a fun chat, and I hope we can do it again sometime. It made me think a lot about the differences between writing for audio and prose that I hadn’t considered, and I think I too learn from the exploration. If you’re planning to do Audio Drama, or make the jump from Audio Drama to fiction writing, it would definitely be a good one to listen to.
Every Autumn my college puts out a call for new course ideas for the arts department, with the intent that these course will be taught the following September if there’s enough interest by students. I tossed my hat in the ring this time, and the results were just released!
I’m the new course designer (and presumed teacher) of Scriptwriting for Mixed Media (working title) at Fanshawe College in Fall 2012.
It’s going to be interesting, but I’m really looking forward to it. Thanks to my time spent doing Audio Drama I’ve gotten to think a lot about scriptwriting over the past five years, and I look forward to sharing some of my thoughts and ideas with students next September. The fun part is that I’m not going to just do audio and video scripts, but Comic Book scripts as well. (Hence the “mixed media” portion of the title.)
All I can say is- Celtx is going to be a godsend! (Like it wasn’t already! Thanks Jack!)
This week I did a little guest hosting on the Sonic Society podcast, filling in for host Jack Ward. It was especially cool because I got to introduce a new audio drama group, Lifehouse Theatre on the Air, doing a great presention of my favorite novel- The Count of Monte Christo. My part in it is pretty short, but it was still fun to sit in the command chair for once! Thanks Jack!
For those few who aren’t familiar with it, the Sonic Society out of CKDU in Halifax, Nova Scotia acts as a showcase for the best in modern audio drama. Each week Jack Ward and Shannon Hilchie show us how the Audio Drama form is not only still very much alive, but thriving in the internet age. They’ve been doing it for many years now, and each summer when CKDU is on hiatus they do a special internet-only program.
This Summer, Jack came up with the idea of inviting existing modern groups to do re-creations of some of our favorite OTR (Old Time Radio) shows from the classic age using our regular actors. In my case, I found a script online for an episode of the Sherlock Holmes OTR show that aired from 1939-1947, and being a Holmes fan I decided to produce it. These were “original” stories, as they ran out of classic Holmes stories pretty quickly, so it’s one I figured that most people had likely never heard. After a quick (and quiet, since this was a “secret” project) session of casting I put the show together and it hit the web today. Enjoy!
Radio Drama Quotes from Radio Tales of the Strange and Fantastic
“Anyone who’s ever listened to radio drama will testify to the fact that a play you hear will (remain) in your mind – twelve years later you’ll remember it vividly. And the reason you’ll remember it vividly is because you’ve done the work… it lives in your imagination.”– John Madden, Director, NPR Star Wars audio dramas
“What secret ingredient does audio theater possess that makes it so seductive…? The answer…lies not in a special ingredient, but in the lack of one. Audio is blind. Audio is the most intensely visual of media precisely because of its sightlessness.”
– Yuri Rasovsky, The Well-Tempered Audio Dramatist
“I still think radio is probably the greatest entertainment medium ever invented. It made the audience work, and I think television audiences don’t have to work—that’s why they fall asleep half of the time.
“…what makes radio really exciting is the all-round creativity of it. The writer creates the original, then the director creates the ambiance for the actors, and the brilliant technicians who manipulate the tapes, dials, sounds and music create the atmosphere. But the most creative of all participants in the joys of radio are the listeners, the audience….The listener is set designer, costume designer, make-up man, and even the casting department. They ‘see’ the characters they hear, then put them into the drama quite literally, in make-up, into the set, the wardrobe, even the mood and atmosphere.”
– Vincent Price, 1970 interview
“Science fiction is perhaps the most important audio theatre genre in the 21st century and if one includes the related genres of horror and fantasy, these works of creative imagination, technical prowess and infinite possibilities are the most entertaining artists in this field have to offer.”
– David “Mark Time” Ossman, Firesign Theatre
In honor of the Leviathan Chronicles reaching its season finale, I decided to make a point of giving it a listen and checked out the first Chapter. I don’t listen to as many new shows as I used to, and what I knew of the premise for this one didn’t interest me much. The moment I hear the world “immortal” in anything these days it gets the same reaction that the word “vampire” does- “ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”. It’s like RAID for my interest- kills it dead!
However, now that I’ve given it a listen, I have to say that is one sweet piece of audio engineering! Really, it’s easily one of the best engineered things being done in audio drama right now- just gorgeous. Story-wise it’s tough to say based on one episode, especially since the first episode feels like Tom Clancy wrote it, but with a twist. Tom Clancy’s dialogue is awkward and wooden, but his narration is usually pretty solid if not fancy. Here, the narration is awkward and stiff (typical newbie AD writer issues with the narrator describing sounds to us, and giving us a lot more information than necessary- issues that I expect gets corrected later on after he got some feedback) but the dialogue is really solid and flows well. The acting is also good, and the actors well chosen for this roles.
I have to say, I’m intrigued by it, and it’s definitely getting a spot on my iPod playlist for the next couple weeks while I catch up. Not sure if I’ll like it or not once the actual story kicks in (we’re still in the introduction by the end of Chapter One), but it’s got my attention so far! (Which is more than I can say for a lot of AD after their first episode.)
Well, it’s finally happened. Audio Drama Review has gotten around to setting its sites on me and Kung Fu Action Theatre. I have to say I’m pleased with the review overall, and consider it a very fair and balanced one. Go take a look when you have the chance.