Audiovisual Cultures episode 112 – Mercury Theatre Podcast with John Badger automated transcript

hello and welcome to audio visual cultures the podcast explores different areas of moving image and audio based production with me Paul up there I'm delighted to be speaking this time with John Bottcher of mercury theater podcast and audio drama anthology of stories written and directed by John we'll be talking about those aspects as well as sign design and working with voice actors as well as the storytelling process for thirty minute standalone dramas across different genres huge thanks to our listeners and our marvelous patrons over at Petri on dot com forward slash AP cultures if you would like to see the full video recording of my chat with John sign up to our behind the scenes here your support means I can make continual improvement state issue and it gives me such a basic knowing the work is being acknowledged and valued and appreciated another way to help is sharing this episode with your friends and spacing Assabet on social media thank you so much and enjoy this episode John Thatcher it is great to me she I am really looking forward to learning more about mercury theater podcast but first of all I have very warm welcome to the official cultures I feel the heat from here even though we have the the snow coming soon it is nice to be warmly welcomed I appreciate that's nice cast John hi are you to say and where but sorry I am fantastic and partially because I live in North Carolina and the United States of America we succeeded we won right but now it's a it's a beautiful location like %HESITATION I'm in the the Blue Ridge mountains so I get the the view of the mountains and we're about to get snow like I said and it's just I really like I've lived all over the US and I finally found somewhere that I can call home %HESITATION so nice to hear the snowflake a not so nice right to stars I've interviewed a few audio drama producers before and that's something I'm really enjoying learning a lot more bites so it's pretty great to have you on you know I've been learning a lot of fights the processes of writing audio dramas and the processes of directing them and that in particular I've been really enjoying expanding my knowledge on sign design I think that's a really fascinating part of this I've got a background in some studies and found analysis and that is her relation and not subject area is sign design focusing on audience Humm has such a lovely way of learning much more about it you know so that's something I would love to get in to it he later but can I just firstly Askey state campus and move if you give us some details about each mercury theater podcast and your work making it absolutely it's one of one of my favorite topics of all time so I I'm not not shy mercury theater podcast is an anthological audio drama so anthology meaning that every episode in and of itself is a story so your no matter where you start listening in mercury theater podcast you can start one that I made last month or one that I made last year and you're going to get just as much out of it as anybody else would because the story is depending on the episode it might be thirty minutes long and you start the story in the beginning of the episode and eat the story ends at the end of the by mercury theater podcast is completely done by us and the only exception is I get I get my sound effects from online for the most part but I just got myself a microphone so that I can make some of the some of the Foley artistry and I can do that on my own and it's a nice shot gun Mike can I get so ecstatic about some of the equipment that we buy and mercury theater podcast is completely done remotely in their heads I'll be over here and we'll meet on discord and we'll watch the the other actors and will recorder selves individually and will go through the episode so we'll spend a couple hours recording an episode and because were on discord and were able to record in real time that makes it so it's a much better final product because most of acting is reacting and with such a way that a lot of audio dramas are created they're not done as much in response they're just reading their lines and then they're sending in all of their lines and then somebody has to chop it up and then they get certain it's cohesive as much as possible you know one might have more of a route read and then another one might have more of a an emphatic read so you're having these different conversations that yes they work on paper but they don't actually work in feeling like it's a conversation so with discord it makes it so that I'm able to have everybody will react to one another and it makes for a much better final product if if I don't say so myself in there pretty crisp I have to say I've been listening and the sign is really crashed at you've got different points of audition you've got mace ments coming straight you've got different locations changing locations while people are made things very spaces and having cover and you can really pick up really well so he asked to hang off so you mentioned television or movies and the sound design of that it's very much the same process but as an audio drama the listener only has the ability to base it off of dialogue and sound effects and there is no visual component and that has some drawbacks but at the same time it gives a lot more freedom on my end and on the listeners and I've been finding this to be pretty consistent thing with books for instance so you might read the Harry potter books are you might read the lord of the rings Bucks or anybody and then you watch the movie adaptation of that what you read and once it goes on television on the screen then it confines what your imagination has because you see it you hear it and you know at that point really only you can just imagine what it smells like I guess at that point but with audio drama you don't have to worry about so much the the visual element because the listener gets to design what that circumstance looks like so they're imagination takes another step that they would be able to in a book but they have the sound design that helps them get drawn into the circumstance but they can build whatever else elements yeah and that the love they sing as well as you can decide what people look like because I think with some in television for example diversity can be a big issue and saying C. seventy and when it's full he says and it signed a fax you can imagine more %HESITATION what way will select for example yes so I am actually in the process of auditioning for another series that I'm making but in the process I'm realizing these people have faces right but they only have faces to me as somebody who's working with them now the listener will be able to ultimately listen to the this series and they can figure out whether she has blonde hair or you know if she has her at all there all these different elements that people can design for themselves but with working with social media I'm finding that it's requiring me to get some that visual elements right so I'll have the series but also promote the actors themselves so that might be a little bit disheartened because I mean how many podcasts do you listen to and you just assume what they'll look like or or radio show I don't know if you've ever heard the term a show prairie home companion but that was a show that was on in P. are all the time only every %HESITATION Saturday night right and I've listened to it and I create a mental image of what the main actor garrison Keillor looks like and then I saw a book that he had written on my side the cover photo and I was like oh no it's incredibly disappointed that's the first thing that was the glass shattering moment for me and I was like but it didn't remove that magic of what they are accomplishing it just's an obstacle there is in merry he didn't expect that fiesta go without voice or something we'll also and if I spent a couple years listening to him and I didn't have a face to make a an actual picture then it's it's different but yeah you do the same with a bunch of voice actor it's more with other podcasts and then you realize what they look like then and it kind of breaks that that image for you but you can go back to imagining whatever it is that you wanted them to look like especially as voice actors because they are after all acting in C. mentioned it's an anthology series so every story Stephan mangy find that real challenge writing a different type of story every time no both those are all of that is there are benefits to writing an anthology and that if I just feel like writing something if I just come up with an idea I can make it into an audio drama and I don't have to worry about it lasting a whole season or multiple seasons I can write something and it be thirty pages long and then once that's done it's done so I can have this whole whole process of of going through the wanting to make something to making it putting out there and then going back to something else and if I look at all of I probably have ten different episodes that are in the works of being written right now but I might come up with an idea tonight and then write an entire episode before I put any of those other ten out because it's something that I can do whenever I want to but the drawbacks there are drawbacks to writing an anthology in that the listener can get engaged with the storyline for that thirty minutes of an episode by day you don't feel attached to that character or any of those characters right so I'm in the process of creating a series that isn't a logical you can listen to episode one two three four five and on on and then every episode you don't know this but you're becoming more attached to the characters and then when a character does something that you disagree with you can be disappointed it with that person right but with an anthology and only thirty minutes minutes investment your not as inclined to be disappointed so there are drawbacks to writing an anthology but it's certainly not the ability or the inability to come up with more stories I'm not short on content it's just a I'm short on time that's what I'm short on answers saying do you think it's a grind for experimentation because maybe more so so than in traditional tax publishing you have a bit of the way to the I suppose make some mistakes or things if you realize that things maybe don't work so well and then you can figure out how to you it just sayings or tweak things or you think will my strength sinus pain this is part of it these are parts where right I need to hone my skills in these parts you know it's different aspects of that you do you think that you have that freedom of experimentation a bit more if I didn't listeners don't go back to episode one of mercury theater podcast so I've actually been referring to mercury theater podcast as my playground and I can do that experimentation at first I didn't know what I was doing at all I really just wanted to get into voice acting and I figured making a podcast would be an opportunity to do that and if any listeners have been have listened to mercury theater podcast all knows that you probably don't even recognize my voice at all and is because I'm not on here as much and the reason why is because I found that my passions actually were more in tune with the stuff that I wanted to pawn off on other people like the directing and the writing and the sound design all of these things that I got really excited about and the voice acting is something that you know I will make an appearance every so often I'm kind of like I refer to myself as sometimes the the Stan Lee of audio drama in the end and I'll show up every so often yeah the experimentation is something that if it wasn't for experimentation I certainly wouldn't be where I am now and working on a series as well and because I've been able to experiment with mercury theater podcast I can find out what my capacity is what I can and cannot do now I can put this into an audio drama series and have have it so that you're not going to have a really big difference between episode one and episode three which with mercury theater podcast you would be able to notice the night and day difference between episode one and episode three but between the episodes my ten and thirteen there isn't as much of a of a jump because I'm down I'm now to the point where I can hone my skills you mentioned there that because you try and keep them quite tight to thirty minutes and they're different story every time there's not necessarily that much space to flush out your characters it's not something you work on with the voice actors a senior you you write what needs to happen for your lost and to they help you flashlight the characterizations but Mario I did some work for you the characters aren't incredibly fleshed out but with the episodes that have fewer characters you can get to you understand their reasoning more so I have an episode that I'm recording tomorrow that it's just two people and those two people you get to understand where they stand with their perspectives right and there's an episode of one that I actually am I'm still very proud of one of the first ones that I was really proud of was D. N. for Denver International Airport and that was a really fun one and the reason why one of the reasons why is because there are essentially two characters and one leads the other one and explains a bunch of stuff and you get to understand what what's going on so with the voice actors will do essentially a cold read and get to find out what their characters are doing what they're trying to accomplish but as I don't go so far as to say okay this is who your character is this is your motivation not all the time so now there are certain times when I will say for a certain scene okay so your character is being elusive so be elusive but at the same time like telling whatever right so it's seen my scene at that point but where is the series and this is one of the most exciting parts about making the other series is that we'll go through the entire first season and everybody will understand who their character is and what their goal is and you know they'll have those character arcs that I I don't have the ability to with the anthology if you're enjoying the show and would like more information straight to your inbox head over to audio visual culture style wordpress dot com linked in the show notes and sign up to our mailing list I was wondering as well abrasion on rent the kids from the episodes I've listened to you and then scrolling dying three a lot of them you're touching on a lot of different genres I think you know there's some crime there's mystery there's smithy thriller there's historical drama you know there's lots of different kinds of stories being told is it again an exploration of what's your water the possibilities of genre and what you can accomplish and not in thirty minutes you know what how do you feel about that so for me I really enjoyed being able to do that because it is whatever it is that I I want to at the present time but with you know a lot of anthologies they'll stay thematic rain so they might have a horror theme so all of the stories are different but they still fall on that or aspect same with with any theme for an anthology but with mercury theater podcast it's just completely different every time and some more listeners might not love an episode right but they'll be able to skip off to the next episode and really enjoyed that episode now for me I'm just writing whatever comes to my mind right so I'm using this again as my playground and getting familiar with the process but at the same time also figuring out what it is that I enjoy writing and I do have some very old time radio investigation kind of episodes or some you know like you said there are all these different themes bye I'm finding that I enjoy a certain type of writing but at the same time I'm not held to like I would you can't put mercury theater podcast in a box that's one of the things that I like about it but the same time I know that there are probably listeners who listen to the F. as in not knowing what they're going to get they find that they're not as inclined to listen to the next episode I mean at the end of the day it's my podcast and that is the bottom line of indie podcasting is I can do whatever I want that's the point of this yeah that's really really interesting because I don't know how much freedom writers here maybe in more industrial settings in terms of writing for media and somebody so for television example there may be just hired they have to do it I have to J. M. so it's really ready and saying that you've called freedom to make this decisions but also it's the creative impulse really I think is what you're exploring as well and also from the from the sound designer perspective I'm actually giving myself an extra challenge as opposed to making it somatic say for instance television show so %HESITATION have you seen the show house no but I know of it okay and I just picked house out of it as in no reason there is for instance they have their set right at the studio they have their status and then they can go there are several different levels to the set but how much it costs to actually produce it is much lower because they only have to work within that set right not every so often they'll go off location and then go do something else but that's a very far and few between but with you know to a much smaller extent with sound design so with sound design I have to create a scene right for the listener so I might have like birds chirping in this outdoor setting but I'm I also have another setting where there is a vacuum cleaner running in and I have all these different sound effects but if I have a series then I don't have to work so much on the bird sound effects I can just work on the vacuum cleaner sound effects because every so often you're going to run into that vacuum cleaner like as you're going through I'm just again pulling things out of the hat but that sound is lying is much much more freeing with mercury theater podcast but it's also something that you have to do a lot more investigation to get those sound effects and everything and that's one of the things that I'm excited and and I also bummed about with universe twenty five the upcoming series is that I I can have some consistency and I don't have to draw from all of these different places for all of the sound effects it's going to be something that there's going to be this it's the matic I know I totally just ramble there but you know it was great because %HESITATION that's the sort of thing I mean really open to learn about it actually because when you're when you're saying that I think especially with the location changes because I listen to your most recent episode and it's a bit of a murder mystery and Sam you know their investigators Sir there's that scene where two investigators I think are having a conversation as they walked through a corridor so it's quite accurately and there's actually six steps and then they answer the office of another character and then suddenly date signed as much more soft and there's no wacko anymore you know so it's small things like that help you imagine they're setting and help you visualize right the kind of the location you know as you're you're not saying very clunky dialogue of going well let's just go into this room nice LA and adding the signed a fax do you got for you which is a very show don't tell thing and send them that as well so it's a very lesson don't tell saying it as what you're doing in your sign design I love that show don't tell I'm I know that that's you know you didn't just make that up but that's so so very much what I do I do if you listen to the audio dramas of yester year right now I know that in the U. K. they have they've consistently haggling BBC four has been the audio dramas right and you guys never stopped we kind of jealous of that but with audio dramas there are a lot of that say oh he has a gun or there's one I think it's from the show %HESITATION have gun will travel which is one of those really old shows but they're supposedly in the scene there are people in a car and they're being haunted by some woman right or like chase by someone then and one guy says he's when is that ever going to be dialogue at least in real life like winds anybody going to say that and I try to make sure that everything that is said in mercury theater podcast is stuff that's likely to actually be sad sometimes in that same episode there is like for instance the one of the girls vapes right and you hear it by this then he refers to like don't paper on me right this is stuff like there's no audio cue but there's also that dialogue reinforcement of what it is that you just heard but it's not Hey I see that vaping your hand you should probably put that in your pocket it's dialogue that I I intend to make so that it sounds as realistic as possible there's nothing worse than audio drama than having to link having made get yourself re engaged to audio drama that because they're saying stuff that just wouldn't actually be set in war I love this so that he can see and creates M. some eight takes as well and some just chatter amongst your cast out with you and your cast and the production process and it's quite revealing but it's also quite fun why why do you say to those going back a little bit and the couple minutes of and that is that there is at the end of in the credits right all of the people say their own name and their character and you get to hear what their voice actually sounds like because sometimes they'll do something that that is totally different than their actual voice it's far and few between but it is fun to listen to so going back to the episode B. E. N. that one there is a voice actor Angelo Cruz who has an on Nazeem voice what an amazing voice he plays the role of probably somebody it middle aged man he's twenty one one in the episode but he has such a deep veering crest vocal it sounds amazing but when he says has so and so I'm Angelo careers and then you hear what they actually sound like great and then going into our takes the reason why I did that was actually partially because one I wanted people to know what they sounded like but also it's an homage to the show let's pretend that was also an anthology back in the day I listen to that as a kid absolutely love that and they would say I I always remember civil trend was one of the the consistent voice actors on there so they would say there is their name but with the out takes I enjoyed out takes and I just find highlights within that and I'm already having to work with those outtakes regardless so I figured I just put them at the back of this the episode and then find my favorite ones and then put those in there the favorite ones that I can put on there yeah okay %HESITATION mercury theater podcast is actually designed to be listened to by children in addition to their parents I say that it's it's written or created for adults and then edited with kids in mind right I found that family friendly usually means that it's for the kids but parents might find something that might be enjoyable about it and I kind of went the other way around and made it so that kids can listen to it and not be offended but it's really to get the adults happy about it there's some people who just don't like swearing and a lot of stuff they rely heavily on swearing as the way that they put out stuff but I I don't like to do that not with our universe twenty five is gonna be a little bit different in that regard it's going to be much more adult centered so university five what might people be able to expect from not woody planning for that one then can you tell us yet yeah there are some friends who thousand years in the future these friends find an artifact that was from a thousand years prior which if you do the math it's about right about now it was it was left by Dave finds that it goes against what they have come to understand as reality and they use this artifact and try to spread the information that the artifact represents that's kind of a jumping off point it's gonna be a lot of fun some people think of it as probably science fiction but it's not really meant to be science fiction it's kind of just I've been trying to put some what it's like and I realize that really I can't find a whole lot of stuff that it's very much like now like Fahrenheit four fifty one is a book that I've been told might have some similarities and there are some other %HESITATION have you ever seen breaking bad okay right yeah it'll have some breaking bad element to it but in that group getting attached to the characters right and then you're wondering at what point do they devolved into when you stop being their friend right and there's a lot of emotional investment that I'm I'm hoping to accomplish with this but at the same time you know asking questions that people are dealing with today and I'll have to leave it at that there's just so much the that's going on with it I'm so excited about it but I don't really know how to I haven't actually tried to put it into words in that concise elevator pitch what it is but I don't have to yeah yeah so do you have an idea when you'll be able to release that one then so we're in the casting process right now and because it's going to be a lot easier to actually create the sound design it'll be a lot faster of a process but at the same time I'll still be putting out mercury theater podcast and have to record it can and doing all of the recording next month but with the snow storm it might actually put us into March and it'll probably be out in may I'm thinking but don't hold me to it could come out in August or November is a well whenever whenever it's ready weekend read twenty two we can based whatever every great I'll really yeah well good luck with the production of it signs and treating thanks if nothing else it will be intriguing I'm loving the writing of it partially because it is a series right and I can go from episode one that'll be pretty mild and then index celebrates as the series goes on but at the same time I can write stuff and I can write theory into stuff that happened or will happen with the environment with the characters and their stuff that still I wrote something a couple days ago and like that would be amazing you know because I've already written it but I realize that their stuff that has the potential of being before all of it even starts that would completely change the environment that's going on so I kind of accidentally blow my own mind maybe the listener won't be as excited when they find out about it but you know for me as a as a writer it's so fun to be able to excite myself and to find find stuff that still still really interesting and %HESITATION with mercury theater podcast it's only thirty minutes and now granted if you look at the thirty minute episode of mercury theater podcast and sometimes is like twenty three minutes or whatever for each minute of final product you're looking at about a page of dialogue but with with a screenplay for a movie it's actually going to be kind of the same but most of the only probably half of the writing is actually into explanation as to the screen like where the camera is like it's panning over the city scape or whatever I don't have that ability as an audio drama creator so if you actually put the dialogue of my episodes to the dialogue of a movie it's certainly not one to one and it's much higher be much closer to like %HESITATION probably a fifty minute creation as far as dialogue to like if it was a movie it would be about the equivalent of fifty minutes but it's something that I found interesting when I was a I don't know if you ever do this but if you look at the screen play of a moving as you're watching the movie and like reading along with the dialogue and seeing all of the stuff I was surprised at how short those water and I have now written with universe twenty five something that's longer than this and it's actually going to be probably two and a half hours of season one that's a fun thing to be able to look at before I actually put people in front of a microphone something to look forward to then on the on the audio drama sphere and we're curious if I cast it's a monthly afterwards so %HESITATION keep mind listening to that of course I do enjoy the variety of not have to say you're really getting into the different stories I was just thinking as she heard her talking there is files that you know you mentioned that you record everything remote they so I mean that's has worked right fairly well over the past couple of years I'm guessing this is something he started during this some strange time that we've been in for the past couple of years purposes something you retain before I did actually started this during Copeland so I was actually my %HESITATION my wife was on was on holiday as you would say and she was across the country visiting family and I was bored and I figured I could just redesign my my spare bedroom so I did that and she came home and she was not happy nobody's ever in here by R. awhile for sure he has so I made it so there is a soundproofed areas that I'd be able to do recordings that's not where I am right now but it's it's over there I should probably be more respectful of people every so often %HESITATION and do that yeah so I did that but with with the other voice actors most of them actually are in theater and they were kind of missing the that theater experience so I kind of unintentionally made myself a conduit that people could actually find themselves doing something that they enjoy doing and it's a lot of fun to actually make an episode of mercury theater podcast but you know that's one of the things that I'm going to be changing with universe twenty five is that I'll actually have that one and that one will be in person as opposed to being virtual and that's going to be I'm so excited about that process because it'll be more of the same but at the same time it's something that's different and people can respond to each other's like visual element even though the listener isn't going to see that visual they're going to hear there's more excitement when people are standing up in front of a microphone as opposed to sitting down in front of a microphone and to break that glass people might have so mercury theater podcast is mostly acted sitting down and I want people to get when physical grain so instead of a running scene that sounds like this they'll actually get involved in the long run in place without lifting their feet if that doesn't get confusing too much in that physical element is going to put it to yet another level and funny enough so mercury theater podcast has been I don't know if you're familiar with the audio verse awards but a bunch of audio dramas will submit an apposite of various two audio verse awards and then they will don't judge it right there were over seventeen hundred applicants for this year in audio first awards and we actually got nominated amongst the top ten for vocal directing gradient yes and I again that goes back to people having somebody to respond to if you listen to a bunch of audio dramas you'll realize that the conversation is stilted and I try to eliminate that as much as possible but if I can do that with being virtual how much more so can I do being in person so I'm excited about that the funny thing is I have no no directing experience whatsoever before all of this well take it yeah episode one hundred of our podcast was wastes both of them more and he said an audio drama producer right now away and does a lot of Toorak saying I'd recommend seat actually to listen said my top with him because he talks a lot about exactly what you just been talking about it and working in space with doctors so that they're actually standing around in a circle and they're interacting with each other and trying to get performances side of people actually getting in T. embody that performance you actually walk across and then shut something up that guy because it's not coming up with you pretending to date just actually doing it you know what that sort of stuff so he's really a sell to us and she's very very experience so that men actually should write a book and I've seen a lot of his post so we're in actually a couple of the same groups on Facebook he puts out a lot of information essentially the the author of today's audio dramas KC Wayland wrote the book bombs always beep and that guy is amazing well as I actually had the ability to have a conversation with KC Wayland and there's an episode of us talking it's just that being willing to learn and being willing to change your actions accordingly because sometimes somebody will get a bad habit and then they'll stick to it and if somebody is able to say Hey you should probably do this maybe do that and then if you do that then you have the potential of growing violence the best way to make no progress is by doing the exact same thing that you've been doing I've read bombs always beat cover to cover probably three times it has a bunch of highlighting and a bunch of notes that I've put on there I actually need to read it again because I've gotten to add another level and it's something that no matter where you are in the production you can always learn more from it his book was actually probably an eighth the size that it probably should be because there's so much more information that could be given but I can't imagine somebody would want one backhand but being like it's a really really good resource but Bo Lamar should should write one as well yeah really informative there's a lot of free tickets this was an advice you can take it as a price and and not upset it did for them and I just mine's just filled with and pets not to hate this creates a be a lovely saying it's something else that's never gonna happen I don't think that if the I love the idea to stay if you ever K. it would be the like says life recordings I think with mercury theater GM he ever thought of thoughts that may be a far off future saying you are you can have a say in a pub or something or I remember I said that if an audience even a small one and have your actors in the same place yes and because I know they're all all over the place but just sent in a dream scenario you know base it's a fun thing to say would be to have like a life audience I receive with your actors a very fun yeah so I mentioned home companion little bit of go home companion was one of those shows that I believe they traveled and they would go to different theaters and they would have their performance and every week is something different but they had some of this definitely some of the same elements and there's one this gauge that they were just there to go back to and I was Dino are private right I really really enjoyed that because you get the sound effects and everything like the shoes the people walking there was somebody that was a Foley artist he had issues in his hands and he was making those walking sound effects and then you have on the door creaking and all that stuff all of that stuff is on stage and there are these these voice actors who are doing all this stuff every week if I could I absolutely would the problem is there isn't enough time in the day to get all of the stuff that I want done so an episode of mercury theater podcast if you go back far enough you can like D. N. or Nikki sketch and those those episodes really early on those were actually taking me about a hundred twenty hours to produce in sound design that's not even including the acting and the writing that was just the sound design it's a lot of time now and this time M. as progress as I've honed my skills I can now get an episode thirty minute episode done in about thirty hours so if you think about that I'm touched me about an hour and minutes which is still kind of a lot but in addition to that I'm also doing the universe twenty five which is a series of %HESITATION now tack on another I think it's going to be about eight episodes in tack on another eight episodes or sounds a hundred fifty pages or something yeah it's a hundred fifty pages to add on to that put in a live setting there is not enough time in the world take him to get all that stuff done but if I had my what I I've heard referred to as my druthers right if I had my druthers I would actually get to the point where I I can pass mercury theater podcast on to somebody else and say this is yours take care of it right I would still have some say in say maybe try something different or whatever but I definitely would see myself having hands off thing with that but fixating on stuff like universe twenty five and potentially going into live I've definitely even scouted out a really small community theater I was like Hey that would be a place that if once a month or something that I would have like an audience and have people interacting with the voices that would be a lot of fun yeah nice maybe some day yes there is a there is not enough time in the world I just I'm just I just had a little Mandarin my imagination there no I love it and this is actually a conversation that I've heard and I've had this now on a on a few occasions and it's because it is a really good idea it's just it's the implementation and right getting all those elements to work and currently in this environment there's fully artistry that I want to do I want to make it so crowd work but the problem with the crowd work right now in this world is it's hard to do because one you're either risking people's health more two you're getting the muffled masking and everything or you know go the step further and goes for a third and then you have maybe a hundred people in front of a hundred different microphones are one microphone and just have them kind of cycle through but that's not going to have the same element that a crowd would you're getting just that really small again going back to acting and reacting in a crowd of people are using other people as they're gauge for how excited or how mellow they need to be if I had a crowd I would be able to do that but want to get rid of this whole code thing I mean I and then be able to get people back into our room and not have to worry about masks muffling the sound that they would be giving otherwise it occurs to me that I hadn't asked G. as there is significance to the mercury theatre %HESITATION I was a really big fan of old time radio most of everything they do one way or another is an homage to previous endeavors and Orson Welles have you ever heard war of the worlds the audio production so that was done by Orson Welles and now is mercury theatre on air so he had his theater which was mercury theatre and then they would also do the audio dramas so it's an homage to Orson Welles and his works very nice love it is there anything we haven't touched on that you ready open to talk about eight I want to talk about all things I could DO IT %HESITATION drama for ever and ever and ever and still want to go to the next person and still do the same thing I love the whole process just everything that's involved with that but now I think that all of the %HESITATION all of the stuff we went over do you have any other people's idea dramas that you listen to that you think people should know about anything oh my goodness yes okay kind of self serving but if you go into mercury theater podcast and go into the with the extrapolations their interviews that I've had with a bunch of audio drama creators I have spoken to like I said to KC Wayland I spoken to governor eller Vienna he created while three fifty nine and unseen but it's the any audio dramas I'm the most excited about because it's people who are like me who don't have they're not working with the highest names impacting right SO Casey Whalen he cheats he's able to work with Laurence Fishburne and with lavar Burton and all of these other actors that the in the drama of creators aren't able to but they're putting out stuff that they're extremely passionate about and the first one that comes to mind is the vanishing act and that's amazing definitely an adult audience but fun adult audience that's amazing then the call of the void that's the audio drama as well and I've spoken to both the producers from both of those and there are a few more I actually have on my website a list of audio dramas that people should listen to you and they are definitely among them but I love audio dramas people because they're excited about being able to put out something that I'm also excited about putting them but they have their own unique styles and you know with the vanishing act that was done mostly remotely for the second season but for the first season they put it or or the second half of the first season they did remotely but they still did it in such a way where is kind of live by it they have theater backgrounds and then call of the void they actually know the vanishing acts people and I did not know this but as they meet all of their %HESITATION stuff they did kind of that's what I was telling you is stilted and and you know they would have their their dialogue and then somebody else is dialogue just keep on putting that but they did it in such a way that they were able to have somebody respond to them right so they were able to use the other people's mannerisms so that it that it was all cohesive and all these different directing processes that are that are going on right now with you because of it being a thing it's really creative how how people are coming out with content and not losing what they built okay great just some not then so those are a few things we can put in the show notes and links take you wanna say about your website and any socials you want to point people towards sure so first and foremost the website and all of the socials and everything and you can contact me if you wanted to %HESITATION via email that's on there so me personally I'm John S. badger on Twitter or I am all the socials you can find mercury theater podcast on Twitter Facebook just it's actually a really big time stock is all the socials I I'm sure you can use all about it it's like somebody else will get on there for fun and I'm just on there to to get the word out let people understand what it is that I'm I'm doing but at the same time not being like a salesman right it's five but yeah %HESITATION mercury theater podcast dot com mercury's deter deter spelled either way I got both of the domains and things it is spelled are easy if you were wondering about the actual spelling I did it the right way yeah they say it's a thought okay %HESITATION very casual John Barger and has been such a pleasure I've really enjoyed our conversation I hope you got something out of it SO I'll spend really great to see your enthusiasm is welcoming sherry Spencer enjoyable yeah the enthusiasm isn't something that's going away anytime soon I got into this about a year and a half ago and got really excited about it and as time has progressed I've only got more excited about it it's just now I'm figuring out a lot more of the old one people don't like to geek out a whole lot but still like okay it's a podcast but it's not it's it's an audio drama it's like yeah yeah is on a whole other level podcasts can be pretty accurate to me have to force was pretty good ones this one this is a great way yeah it's putting thirty hours of post production and to adjust to admins on the facts and everything just take people out of their head space and put them into a storyline ends thank you so much for sharing all of that with this this is exactly the place to come if you want to get going to bite stuff we love a whole heap a kicking I John audio visual culture so you're welcome back anytime thank here it's been an absolute pleasure really has been

Audiovisual Cultures episode 78 – Audio Production with Jack Bowman automated transcript

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hello and welcome to audiovisual cultures podcast with me paula blair i’m really delighted this time to be joined by audio drama and podcast producer jack bowman and he’s going to tell us all about his pretty extensive career in all things audio production so i’m really really looking forward to this one thank you so much to all our amazing patrons all our lovely lovely members on forward slash av cultures your support is so very valued if you would like to join the membership if you’d like to join the pod you can check that page out and look around our tiers the different things that are on offer for each tier what benefits you get and have a think for as little as a pound a month you can access loads of extra stuff so please do check it out because it really helps the podcast keep going and keep improving and all that sort of stuff so um as well as that just before we talk to jack uh just thanks as well for everybody who’s been engaging on social media and even if you’re not following but you find us and you’re engaging somehow hello and welcome please give us a follow you can check us out on uh on facebook and twitter as av cultures or instagram as av cultures pod and i’ll be back at the end with some other ways of being part of the conversation getting in touch always looking for guests really happy to hear from from people and a big thanks to jack as well because he reached out using which is a website where podcasters and podcast guests can find each other it’s a bit like a dating site but for nerdy like being on podcasts so if you’re one of those people uh please do get in touch it’d be lovely to hear from you i’m really open to all sorts of ideas anything that could be vaguely in the ballpark of audio and or visual culture i would love to hear from you so i really do hope to hear from you soon okay so i’ll be back at the end with a few more bits and pieces but for now please do enjoy this chat with jack i’d really love to welcome audio drama and podcast producer jack vogman hello jack how are you doing this evening i’m really well thank you how are you doing i’m fine thanks yeah so jack you have got a really extensive career in audio production in many different roles and hopefully we’ll we’ll unpack quite a lot of that as we chat tonight but um i was wondering if you would be able to just give us a bit of an overview of your career and anything you want to highlight any specialisms you want to focus on okay so i graduated um from university in 2000 and i started a career as an actor um 20 years ago now and from there um i had i actually had two three good years working um as work began to dry up someone recommended to me i was a stage actor primarily and someone said uh you know if things aren’t going your you know things aren’t going your own way make your own work so okay cool we thought all right i’ll do that and i went off to write my uh writer stage play uh for me a little two-hander called frozen which ended up being performed at the et cetera theater in north london in camden and at the same time the day job was working at the london dungeon which had a phenomenal actors company at the time a lot of really talented people in there like matt berry was there and ben whitehead and also in that company at the time was um mario ranika temple who was a massive massive fan of voice acting and audio plays um and she came to see the play and she had had this idea about us you know as a little collective just kind of getting together creating our own content and just putting it on the internet through a website for people to download through mp3 and this was the exciting new medium as it was then known at the time as online radio yeah that’s how far back it goes and and and then in the year or two basically we were creating scripted podcast content uh which people could come to the wireless theater was the company still is and people could come to that website pull down his plays and walk away and that was my first foray basically falling into writing so i ended up doing adapting that first stage play for them uh a few months later we got a call from timothy west of pinellas scales they were looking to do something with the company so i was asked to pitch and write a bespoke piece for two of the biggest theatrical actors in the land no pressure second second play second play as a writer um and then from there um it just fell into a groove of uh writing little bits of pieces for them 3d horrify and that’s when we uh got we pulled an old idea of mine at the draw which was uh spring hill saga which i’ve actually written back in 2000 so i’ve been sitting there for a few years along the way um because my acting career had a little bit of a jump start again didn’t last long and the answer would be obvious in a second was uh i was doing a play and we were all having such a terrible time i literally just turned around and said you know what i think i could direct better than we’ve been directed right now uh three weeks later he popped a script and we in box to direct spook squad with uh david benson in it so literally it was like okay challenge accepted there’s your script off so i had to learn how to cast schedule um find the time to you know learn on a job and how to direct play and then that was my first foray into learning how to work with engineers editors post-production sound design um at which point uh spring hill started became a thing and that’s where then was effectively a joint producer so i it seems like i kept getting moved sideways and up a little bit along the way um so that started basically yeah i went from actor who just wrote on the side to audio producer in about three and a half years and every every step of the way learning on the job because i hadn’t gone through any formal training or any sort of media courses or anything like that no broadcast training and that was ten years uh at wireless and then we got to 2017 when they asked me to move over to work audible uk which was studio managing and producing some of the long-form multicast dramas like murder on the orion express and the darkwater bride and arabian arabian nights and towards the end of 2018 this is where um this kind of probably gets relevant for anyone interested in podcasting um i got a phone call from uh dagas media fred greenhouse and the uh late great bill dufrese and they like started telling me about how the podcast market in the us has started to explode and there was a massive upswing of interest in scripted podcast uh drama and fred fred had been doing it as long as i had he actually started at the same time and bill dufrese was a veteran working with like people with dirt mags right back to the you know like i think the early 1990s of bbc radio 4. so they they all they had a kind of understanding of the culture of audio storytelling here in the uk and originally we were looking at an idea about how we could team up and do something together but what eventually ended up happening was that i joined daggers for two years and we were developing um and we still are we would have had a series uh in production this year and not the dreaded bug got in the way um but uh yeah there was a case of actually then moving into kind of international uh production and how to coordinate projects between two continents and different time zones so we produced a pilot there um and that led on they were impressed enough with the the draft uh fred and i had worked together on this pilot called wholesale solution and they were impressed enough to say look uh you’ve actually been off this rather exciting gig to create a trans media storytelling experience called uh expeditionary force home front uh which was actually gonna be uh it’s a book series and the books are narrated by the great rc bray um but what they wanted to do was insert an audio drama between two of the books so we spent about a year working on that um and that did incredibly incredibly well and that’s roughly the point where then um bbc studios then approached me and i became a production consultant for them uh for nine months as a joke i did nine months and four months contract and just uh just somehow i’ve ended up you know going from just not just like a me a producer but um someone who’s been thrust into the heart of all these different networks and platforms and the scripted podcast space and you know the advances and changes that are going on so it’s it it’s you know not quite sure how but i kind of ended up in this very blessed position where um you know i get called on by a lot of companies to help their scripted audio content do a lot of matchmaking between content creators and platforms now as well so um i’ve sort of ended up uh being a consultant and particularly for the us as well so you know no no it believes me the future historians this is recorded in the year 2020 and for the record i got to the us twice this year so um so yeah that’s that’s kind of like you know every everything i’ve kind of done along the way and just just to say it’s it’s pretty much in the last 15 years uh in america let’s say oh you’re a podcasting veteran it’s like i’ve just been doing it a long time and learning as i go and just just watching how the the market is changing and particularly how scripted podcast fiction is now becoming its own thing which is the most exciting thing thank you for that overview that’s brilliant jack um yeah there’s a lot there to try and try to get into but yeah i was really wondering about that media landscape and there’s a lot of scholarship now trying to figure out where does podcasting belong is it something with radio is it between radio and tv and film or those kinds of things but it was really interesting about you mentioning transmedia projects and you know um i was watching a lot of the trailers almost for the audio plays that you’ve been doing and then there’s something slightly cinematic about those but it’s really just for the the teaser trailer you know and yeah so i was wondering if you had any observations about because you’ve been with podcasting before it was even called that you know really from the start you know what what observations you had about the media itself is that the polite way of saying i’m old not at all not at all so um yeah so i think one of the things that we we worked out quite early on and i was quite passionate about was uh because we initially had this label of online radio and a lot of our media tradition in the uk in particular was because of bbc content you know that has carried on whereas in the us kind of scripted uh dramatized radio fell away the end of the 1970s um because of you know that association that this kind of form of storytelling is the kind of thing you would hear on radio 4. i think it has taken an awful long time for people to realize that um podcasting is a different form of storytelling it’s not just a different form of delivery for the audio content so um i use uh an example that um if you if you were to put out a radio plate as a producer you were desperate for one letter to come in to the bbc or um cbc or wherever and it’s the listener who says i was in a hurry i drove to the supermarket and uh i had to be in that store by eight o’clock i turned on the radio and i listened to that play and i couldn’t get out of the car until it was finished we all know this story right now with podcasting you know that means that basically what that listener is saying is that whether it be music or scripted uh dramatization or radio plays um they’re effectively got a bias to treat the sound they’re listening to as um as potentially as wallpaper is noise rather than something to engage with the big difference with what uh scripted audio podcasting is that the second any listener picture podcast 99 of the time they’re going to use a pair of headphones they are challenging you to get into their ears and into that uh that imagination of this and that is where i think the last year or two you start to see people wake up and realize that it’s not just a different delivery method it’s a different form of storytelling and in my book yes you could say is it is it radio well i say some of the traditions for the storytelling yes come from radio is it between pog is it you know between audio and television i don’t think so and there’s a i think i’ve got a a good business argument why it’s not okay if you look at what’s happening in the us i think what it is is it’s a complete inverse of the old radio play it’s something that demands to be intimate listen to immersive um and you know with with some some radio and you know some radio plays and some audio performances it’s pushing the story out at you but i think a brilliant podcast story is actually saying come here it’s it it i think it goes back to sort of our campfire tradition that makes sense of like i’m going to tell you a little story now and i think that’s starting to make people realize that they need to you know rethink things like sound design the way the story is structured um because you know it’s taken a long time for people to realize that you know particularly they come from a radio background that an episode doesn’t have to be say for example 22 minutes and 14 seconds long because that’s a radio four slot and it can be as immersive and as expansive as you need it to be but it’s hard the story the storytelling has to put you in the middle of it so that’s that’s why i would argue podcasting has and you know someone is listening to this uh podcast now even though this is uh you know conversational podcast it’s not scripted in any way they are demanding that we engage them enough yeah to be to be pulled in um and that that’s what i think it is and i tell you why i don’t think it sits between podcasts uh sits between being something that’s almost television or almost film at the minute there’s a lot of experiments going on in the american market where people are going oh we’ve got this tv show we can’t quite get it off the ground or we don’t want to spend three four million dollars developing it so we’ll turn it into a podcast we’ll just put some sound effects on it and push it out and that doesn’t work so that tells you that the language uh of television cannot easily convert to audio if you just like dramatize the scripts and put some bells and whistles on top so it is its own unique its own unique art form in that way so yes there’s plenty of crossover and i think the one the one point where that is valid is there i certainly think because of the way podcast storytelling works you’ve got to remember it’s in its infancy as well there are things we can draw from film production which are valid there are things we can draw from television production which are valid because it’s all very very experimental right now but in terms of what it is it’s absolutely 100 its own form of storytelling

that’s a fantastic answer thanks yes um that’s because i’m old um not at all um no i was just thinking because we’ve we’ve had oral forms of storytelling for longer than we’ve had written language so it makes sense that we would keep circling back to those forms in some way and now that we can make them in this way and circulate them and it can be pretty instant you know we can they can just be released as soon as they’re ready pretty much and almost anybody can hear them you know there’s something really special about that i think yes i mean that’s the thing i always this is another thing as well like um with television or film or theater you know you always wanted to play to the crowd or play to the gallery or play to the largest possible audience or demographic with podcasting what you’re actually doing is you are after a listener a single listener who connects with your material what hopefully will happen is that you’ll have one million a listeners if that makes sense that you know there’s there’s a million individuals out there who are individually connected with the storytelling and um that that’s a really lovely thing when it happens but you know as a you know it literally just does demand focus on one person to listen and be engaged rather than say this is this is something you know six people could listen to at the same time or something like that in a in a room i think one thing i like about audio whether it’s radio or podcasting is i can do something you know i can i can be doing something else you know so i’m listening and i’m concentrating and i’m engaged but i can be doing something else that doesn’t take much concentration you know so i can do embroidery or something like that because that’s what i’m into um but do you know what i mean so it’s something you can be doing actively something else with your hands while you’re going what’s gonna happen next you know and and that’s the other thing to say as well it’s the headphones that i think are are that link i mean um there’s you know there’s a few podcasts that i have sort of played over over my speaker just because i couldn’t find my headphones and i’m desperate to listen to them uh i was like that with uh the missing crypto queen sounds which uh non-fiction if you haven’t listened to that one do it’s just like a stun a stunning uh piece of uh journalism and the dropout actually as well which again is a non-fiction but when i when it comes to my scripted content i need to put these headphones on and direct just you know i’ve been listening to sam at my dirt mags recently and it’s just like headphones on in the dark take me into this story because you can almost see it the the the signs and the design design of it i was listening to quite a few samples of of you of work that you’ve been involved with on your website today and i was listening to i listened to the first episode of the spring heal saga and you know and yeah i could it was the signs of 1837 london were just making me see in my mind those things you know and almost smell it you know and it transports you and your imagination actually opens up from just that one sense all your other senses start kicking into action which is really fascinating it is because like when we started spring here you know we were having a conversation just in the cafe before the first recording session and this is where like um my tradition as a kid was like my dad played me the jeff wayward worlds um and he played me journey into space which is a old bbc classic it was the last radio program in the uk to get higher uh higher audience figures than television

and i had kind of been turned on to that kind of audio storytelling as a kid anyway but uh along the way uh you know i started to absorb the work of dirk mags who basically has he’s been making you know podcast level drama since the 1990s so he was you know he was you know years and years ahead of curve in terms of the way he did sound design and telling stories and audio movies um and i remember just sitting there saying um i think i think we should try dirk mags this and we just went hell forever but what i find fascinating about your comment is that you know something like an audio movie like spring hill is incredibly laid so there’s les you know it’s not just one level of atmos sometimes it can be six or seven then we have the dialogue and how that is all treated and edited and tightened and paced up to remove what i call um you know sort of traditional radio rhythm which they don’t normally pace up the actors words or dialogue in a radio play because it’s kind of recorded you know as it is it’s always recorded live and then treated afterwards um and that leads to what i call radio rhythm where there’s a line and then the next line and then the next one there’s always a second delay because that’s the actors working through the cans and that’s the brain receiving what they’re listening to um yeah so spring here we did all that type but you know and then we had layers of spot effects and like you know scrapes and you know whatever it whatever it takes you know it’s just all that you know in the real world that would be that but what i find fascinating is that by giving you more i think you’re kind of implying it’s actually freeing up your imagination rather than us quite as as loading that with more owl more arrow whimper it’s kind of letting your brain go to places that um you know you see what i’m trying to say it’s like you’re trying to get you know you’re saying you could almost smell it you know all we did was you know break various sound designers along the way by adding 600 more layers to each scene

but i i find it fascinating that um you know that you know we kind of just we really made a beeline to sort of homage that great work and um and that’s kind of the response from a listener point of view that’s that’s that’s fascinating for me okay um yeah and i i i thought it might be interesting to ask you about genre as well because you seem to a lot of your projects seem to go for mystery and possibly murder mystery and with an element of the supernatural would that be fair to say yes uh well i mean i always joke it’s like uh you know where where’s the explosions where’s the monsters and uh where’s the running around uh but i mean that that’s that’s part of i think the tradition of the kind of stuff i absorbed when growing up so like um you know you know a typical british kid growing up of course you know it was a lawyer you had to watch doctor who yeah um you know i was introduced to things like jerry anderson even even before you know way before jerry anderson became cool again in the 90s i knew jerry anderson well uh star trek um you know all these kind of generous stuff x-files not actually weirdly masses of horror um but now you got me wondering where the murder mystery started i mean my mom was a little colombo okay so maybe maybe that’s where the the mystery stuff comes from um but you know it’s at the end yeah i’d say it’s fair that i do gravitate towards a lot of a lot of genre-based um content simply because it’s it’s what i love doing and it’s the kind of stuff i enjoy yeah and and as i say write what you know and uh to be fair after frozen i didn’t have many more domestic kitchen sink dramas left for me so um you know and also strangely enough i mean some of the horror commissions that um i did things like intruder and autopsy i was actually asked to write rather than being my own idea so uh i mean what i mean by that is that a company called 3d horrify said writing some scripts that have got to be scary but just pitch ideas and um i think that’s probably what gave me the reputation for being a horror person is doing those autopsies become quite cold i found out i didn’t know this but because i wrote it under a pen name um i was speaking to another podcast a couple of weeks ago and they said oh you wrote the autopsy and i said yes is that a thing do people like it oh yeah it’s good all right okay um so yeah i think that’s where the like the the association of me doing horror comes from is that spell where i was churning out a lot of those but the thing is you need you need stakes you need jeopardy in any storytelling so you know and you know in genre the stakes tend to be higher therefore more frightening so there’s always going to be shades of the mysteries are going to be incredibly mysterious the horrors are going to be potentially incredibly horrifying but hopefully that means that hopefully that means that the thrills are particularly thrilling so yeah fingers crossed yeah and i think as well um because because you’re not seeing anything and you’re left with your imagination of what people characters might be saying or not saying or what shadows are falling it’s it might be even scarier than what a horror film say doesn’t show you for example because it’s your own imagination and that can be a very scary place absolutely i mean like i i i keep meaning to write a blog and i’ve probably got to do it this sunday yeah before the last episode of circles comes out but i i was massively blown away by a film by scott derrickson and uh cargill robert c robert cargill called sinister with ethan hawke and that is like uh i i’ve got to know cargill since he’s such a cool dude he’s like bill and ted in one person it just just is so bodaciously wonderful and yeah so like he did they did this film called sinister and what blew me away was the fact that it was absolutely terrifying it was all about what wasn’t seen and the use of sound and the use of jump scares is so restrained in that and it’s terrifying for it and uh it was like i i said to him i was like you know you know you why were you pulling your punches and it came out this big r rated movie it was like horror horror horror and he said well we kind of got screwed by the mpaa because what we were going for was a pg-13 horror like poltergeist so we removed all the gore all the violence and we just relied on you know cutting away in jumps and uh cutting away in sounds you know to scare you and the mpa just went this is terrifying and slapped an and i just went something there isn’t there there’s more about the the horror of what your imagination can do if you’re just pulling pulling those levers um you know things like patterns repetition um we play with this recently in uh with circles where um some some of the listeners have started to clock some think we’ve left in the soundscape okay um and i’m not going to spoil it because we haven’t seen last night yet but someone someone’s like going what’s that because we were just sitting there and i was doing like the the final tweaks on it and we’re listening no we just need you know you just need to put something in there that puts put your your brain just a little bit off

so but um yeah i mean it’s it’s it’s sound does a lot more for your imagination you know you sit in bed one night and you hear a tap in your bedroom see it started already yeah you know you know people don’t like creaky houses that’s just science that’s just the house cooling down at the end of the day yeah yeah but it’s creepy can you hear a creak or a thud or a scrape or you know what i mean i think i think one of the thing is it’s someone said something cool which is uh technically we all live uh we all live in the past because it the time it takes for our brain to process what we see but sound is almost instant yeah yeah and i think i think that’s another thing as well that when there’s a creepy sound it’s just ahead of your eye and then you’re looking for that threat yeah and your body’s reacting before you’ve identified what’s gone on yeah interesting yes and there’s another sorry just following on there’s another great example from the commentary on the you see what i’m talking about so you can learn things from film and i think it’s when tom skerritt gets killed by spoilers for a 40 year old movie uh tom skerritt gets killed by the alien and he he looks up and he’s terrified yeah as it leaps down and kills him and he says oh i played that wrong because the first thing that happens when you see something terrifying is not to be scared is that you’re bored because or is your brain’s default moment of i’ve got no idea because you can you can have a winning lottery ticket but you’re not going to jump out you know or is this this zone you go into so one of the things i’m always like particularly when doing horror or you know looking at those big big scary moments is don’t go straight into the fear because you you’ve got your brain is working out fight or flight or freeze the script is going to tell you what that reaction is for the character but you need that moment because then you know otherwise it’s gonna you know that note of using or in times of extreme fear and stress has probably been the most invaluable thing when approaching horror work which is just get that moment where your brain is locked and if you get that then i think you can take you can take your listener anywhere right gosh yeah i’m just thinking because i listened to the first episode of circles today as well and um it’s really fascinating how it’s done because you’re left wondering all the time what’s going on what are they scared of what is this thing and it’s revealed to you quite slowly and it just unfolds gradually through this series of phone calls and um so i mean would you would you like to just outline circles because that’s what you’ve got oh you re you know that’s that’s current it’s happening right now sure so circles is um a project we took during the global lockdown it’s a four-part mini horror series podcast event for halloween spooky and it’s about a group of friends who have to take refuge in chalk circles because they they took on uh when they were kids they took on a demon 15 years ago and due to circumstances beyond the control that demon is back so their their only line of defense is to all sit in chalk circles and talk to each other over their cell phones and their mobiles and uh from there there’s a classic game of cat and mouse because if they’re in if they’re inside the safe space how how does that demon get them and that that that’s what’s unfolding it’s uh it’s it’s a great mystery in like who who you can trust where the threat is coming from how it’s going to get to them and uh you know first clues unfold probably at the end of part one with the cliffhanger uh which you know i i when i heard that the post-production i got chills as long as yeah but i thought is it just me but um like a lot of people literally lost over uh cliffhanger sort of thing okay all right i think i think we’re okay now we’re on good grounds here yeah it definitely had that effect on me as well today because i’ve i listened to it and i thought i don’t don’t know about this i’ll do i’ll give it away i’ll give it a go share and then got just more and more oh this is quite creepy and then yes by the end of the episode i thought okay that’s yeah okay that’s that’s the thing because we we’re not going for uh we’re not going like that it’s just all about you know we’re saying come inside inside come inside the circle come listen to this podcast in your ears but what it’s a you know what it’s actually doing it’s not betraying that trust it’s yeah the the script that uh brendan put together with his writer’s room um i’ve been working with brendan for a year now on another pilot he’s got and he pitched me this idea and just within seconds of when we’ve got to do this yeah i i can hit this is the thing i can i could see and i could see how it was going to sound it’s paradoxical that’s kind of how my brain works i kind of see sound it’s my weird superpower what good that is for saving the world i do not know but i could instantly see the podcast and it was like yeah i said yes because the next challenge was with no studios or no setup or anything like that it was like i i while they were busy writing the script and i said yes let’s do it i was literally running around calling up colleagues saying how do we do this so there was about three weeks of research going back and forth between two colleagues in the us and peers and all over the shop um and yeah i ended up working out okay production wise um because we we actually did that across two continents and three time zones life with the actors wow uh and the uk actors were working in the dark whereas one of our cast was working in the california sunshine so it’s like how do you invite cora with that around um no it’s like we we never betray through you know because all the actors work together live yeah you get that you get that spontaneity and that was actually very good for controlling that creepiness because we can control the pace we can just oscillate things and that i think shows that we we don’t you know do anything cheap with it we don’t make it go all quiet and do a a big jump scare or anything like that we’re absolutely relying on the performances and the realism which the cars give to to unnerve you and there was a lot of notes about or as well so particularly the end of episode one um yeah yeah brilliant great stuff and um yeah so uh and i mean it is it is maybe it’s pretty on the nose just how relevant it is this year because the i mean the strap line is stay safe stay inside and of course there’s um a very big parallel with the messaging we’ve had in the uk about coronavirus of um stay home stay safe and that kind of thing so just this idea that if you stay in a particular confined space it won’t get you so um but it might get you though it’s a scary thing yeah that’s that’s that’s the thing because like uh this was like brendan’s artistic response to what was going on it’s really good yeah and uh yeah though i care there’s a lot of you know stay and say uh stop stay inside stay safe or stay in your circle um you know we’re now using the phrase bubbles stay in your bubble um like brenda was like why can’t i said circle but you know point taken is that that you know it’s like this whole uh you know you’re right it’s all about characters locking themselves in for safety but they’re not safe you know so you know where does it go from there that’s it yeah that’s it great um yeah and so it’d be if you’re happy to be nice to then uh think about the spring heel saga as well because i’ve got really into that now too and um so just for listeners are you happy to just outline that story as well because that was when you co-wrote wasn’t it under your yes we yeah yeah with robert valentine uh so we still so originally i had that idea in 2000 um this is a fun fact i was given one of those great big books of the unexplained okay you know where um uh you know like what are grey aliens and what’s what’s well um and my dad bought that for me and i i was devouring that and going through and there were two entries that really really fascinated me one was about the uh the one talk project in the us which is a huge urban legend in itself and i was going around saying what about this montauk thing and i said everyone said no there’s there’s no creative mileage in that at all hashtag stranger things and the second one was i found um spring hill saga uh sorry i found spring hill jack and that’s uh they said because i was a i’m a south london south london lad uh and uh in london through and through and what fascinated me about this was this was an entry about a mysterious entity known as spring hill jack who stalked the streets of london he had a 70-year reign of terror from 1837 right really up until his last proper selecting which was 1901 and i never heard of him so i delved down and i wrote this idea and i sketched out what i thought would be sort of a very exciting itv 9 p.m um show kind of x-file you know x-files meets the predator kind of thing and i quickly realized that i was insane and no one was going to give that kind of show to a 21 year old so i put it in the drawer and uh a few years later i was having a meal with uh with rob and he’d read the treatment back in 2001 and he said uh why don’t we just stick that out and see if wireless would take a look at it so we went back and we we re re-jigged the whole thing from top to bottom but kept the core idea which is basically um spring hill jack is on the loose and a police officer is out to capture him so it literally becomes a man and his monster trying to it literally becomes a man and a monster who then their dynamic and uh it’s a nine part we turned it into a nine part um podcast series uh which spans the entire victorian era and beyond just uh telling uh using some of the key events from uh from the spring hill jack legend but fictionalizing them to allow this character jonah smith played by christopher finney to go on the journey of trying to capture this monster and yeah we spent oh gosh i think two years on and off in production and you know we made it quite difficult for ourselves with the sound design um you know it took six years to make nine episodes which uh it was all for a long time um like you know we maybe we could have made things easier for ourselves but um you know we we wanted to stand by making it sort of bells and whistles kind of uh audio audio movie experience and um yeah so we did that for six years on and off and um strangely enough it actually broke into america which was um amazing but the problem was the podcast market just wasn’t as like it’s not the beast that it is right now okay um i always joke that basically if you can imagine there were 10 podcast listeners in the world spring hill got to eight of them but the problem is that you’re still only talking about you know it being a relatively small number of people but i mean it was reaching 50 countries worldwide and uh you know people really actually latched on to enjoy it and they they were very very tolerant of us taking a long time with the episodes bless them and yeah um you know it was like a massive education in you know teaching me how to all the things i’ve talked about that was the one that i think taught me you know the writing the editing the studio managing the casting the producing the post-production file delivery you know some really exciting and glamorous things and some really dull and tedious things and some really pointless obvious things that people sometimes miss and yeah that when we came out of that that sort of completed my journey from uh struggling actor to audio producer yeah okay great um yeah because the the nice thing about that actually i suppose both of those dramas that we’ve been talking about is the range of accents in them but particularly in spring hill saga because you’ve got a range across the london accents and it’s just a and again you can almost see what kind of clothes people were would have been wearing because of how their voices sound you know whether they’re very high class or they’re working class and on all sorts of stuff and are those things going to have to be decided in advance because um people people like even their jaws drop or they cry for me when we say by the time we got to the end of series three i think we’ve used 65 actors across the nine episodes um they’re never doing that again um that said he was in the studio doing the 74 actor piece today um it’s 11 episodes so that’s okay um no so like what you have to be very very clear and very particular and making sure it’s keeping within period and you know there are obviously certain characters like lord wayland played by julian glover who are very you know he hit game of thrones just well we’re not saying we helped get cast in game of thrones but um it was just before he did game of thrones but you know he plays that high status aloofness so well and it’s not necessarily just uh about accent it’s also about the attitude you’re bringing so you’ve got uh uh smith our hero and uh his uh police his police partner hooks is also cockney but they have very different attitudes and that’s reflected so they’re not just two companies bouncing off each other so like um sadly like a east end gangster movie they’ve all got individual uh you know quirks and and mannerisms within that their personalities which uh help the voice and the second thing i think we learned very early on which was really useful was you have lots of um supporting roles there are literally one or two lines that come on and they come off and it’s one of the best pieces of advice i think going to pass on if there are any actors listening if you get a line that’s two three parts long just work out what their job is work out an archetype and go with that have you listened to episode three no yes no okay that’s right so this is this is not a spoiler but they run into um a farmer and the actor who plays him said oh yeah how do you want to do this and we just went west country because that is an accent associated with farming and that actually literally has four lines so play at west country we establish he’s got a horse he’s got a car he’s a farmer they’re in farmland he does west country does it does it make any sense that there’s a west country farmer in south london before it was a metropolis probably not but the thing is it’s that shortcut just to get through yeah through that moment so it’s about sometimes making some clever choices um that you’re you’re going for the type of character rather than the accent is for differentiation if that makes sense when i when i talk to drama students i always say um like you when you put your reels together i’ll go through a big long list of things i want and at the end of it i’ll say and what’s the one thing i haven’t mentioned and they go accents because these types of stories are not accent showcases they’re not um they’re not there to put as many different voices so you know oh you know this character’s scottish so i know who so i know who john is and therefore we’ll have to have someone who plays irish because that will differentiate it from no it’s um it’s it’s about making really sound dramatic choices for your casting and your performance and the attitude um and you know the human brain is very sophisticated we can tell you know sound is the first sense that we’re born with um so you know it’s the first one we use and it’s the last one we use um so our areas are actually pretty fine-tuned that you know if you if you can’t fight you’ve got different swagger different attitudes and the actors are directed in a way that helps break it just just differentiate and oscillate it the human is going to get it and you’ve got to trust that your listener has you know really you know we trust that they’ve got good ears yeah no they do have very nuanced soundscapes the all the shows i’ve listened to so far and it is it can just be very slight differences between two actors that are using a very similar accent you know a very working class uh cockney accent and that just the different ways the two actors are using their voice you can tell who’s who you know i find and it’s just that nuance is really important so that’s really um fascinating to hear about i was wondering as well because uh they’re so layered uh if you had any insider or anything about the technical side of these things you know so the actual recording and editing processes or even just some of the basics you know just a little bit of behind the scenes for us for sure so uh yes i i don’t do any engineering to my shame and i i should learn um i don’t do any engineering and i don’t uh really do i do have my own equipment for recording and i’ve got portable equipment but um yes uh i have done some um i mean i’ve done a fair chunk of post-production so you know when you’re the basics you’re looking to build up in any scene are starting with your dialogue once that is cut then do they require because remember you have to remember if you’re treating like three dimensional sounds because it’s not binaural but if you know what i mean for it to be a scripted podcast it’s then about voice placement so how is the eq you know first of all are they in a big room small room uh then it’s about distance so it’s a character walking into a room if so how do you make it sound like their voice is carried because most actors uh i i don’t go with the bbs the bbc approach is to use uh basically one stereo pair mic in the middle of a room and the actors move around it okay and that’s what creates say the the room sound which is where people pull away from the microphones whereas i like to keep my actors on where i can create that artificially because then that’s another thing you can help control the pace of say say if you wanted actor to come into the room faster um so you’ll be looking at all your placements and speed about how close they come into the year um then after that you’re going to be once you’ve got the eqs right on the voice and the placement and the pace you’ll then be looking to add the atmos so you know on the outside inside um hopefully what should have happened was that if uh your script has said like for example they’re in the middle of a disco show in the middle or like a nightclub do you remember nightclubs um or a pub if you remember those um that you know they would have noticed that okay so is it a quite public pub all right loud pub so the actors should have pitched their voices up okay so if that work has been done in the um in the recording by the actors vocal performance then you can start to look at in the atmos so that’ll be a basic track where say it’s your pub setting you might have some uh wild track of a pub uh if you’re listening to this and you want to start an experiment with it there’s a great uh website called free sound okay which literally gives away sounds up they’ve got tens of thousands if not more sound samples and atlases and stuff like that um which you can you know you can pull down you pull down your tracks and have a little play with them so you mix in your atmos which is your general general layer of sound and then next thing is do you require spot effects um so we’re in a pub so maybe we have a pint or a wine glass and the wine glass is going up and down and we’re drinking it again the the drinking side of the performance the slurping because everything everything is enhanced in audio isn’t it

um you know the actors will have taken care of that but do you actually need the sound of the glass being put down on the table because uh you might you might not have done foley at the time foliage sound effects will work live with the actors and again that’s a very very bbc thing but you might be you know if you’re listening to this and you want to experiment you just might start with a couple of actors recording their dialogue on a mic and you have to build all this up artificially so um and then it’s like uh is the character going to leave the room so to do you know and start thinking about the physicality of it it’s like uh does a chair scrape as they stand up and a big one that always gets debated i know it drives me into my head is it do you then start to layer on things like uh footprints uh footsteps uh actors walking in actors walking out i know there’s it’s a love hate relationship with certain audio uh drama producers about whether you include them or not um so so you’re looking there atmos dialogue spots being spot spot effects being your basics when it comes to podcast storytelling it’s there about i think enhancing those layers so um there’s a good example i think in uh season three of the spring hill saga and i won’t say who those characters are uh but there’s a scene where two characters are having a standoff or one is really angry at the other he’s really mad but he’s cool as a cucumber to the surface you can tear in the performance that he’s mad not letting the rage get to him um and the atmosphere does its job and you know the wind is blowing and it sounds ominous ominous wind um but in the distance in the the final polish i mixed in an alley cat in the background and that alley cat is uh just doing that cat thing and crying out in pain and it’s just push right right the subtle layer of the sound design but what that’s cat is reflecting is the inner anguish of the character so this is where i talk about it start with podcast storytelling it’s about finding sound that can sort of emotionally and immersively reflect what is going on both inside and outside of a scene um and then you might like with the uh like say with the atmosphere in the pub for example you’ve got your general chatter going into the background but if things gets uh like a little bit tense between your two characters we’re following another thing i might do is actually go back and i might find some uh you know lower baritone pop muttering which is obviously a sort series and you blend that into the scene so you just add a little bit of bass quite organically as if the the atmos is organically responding to the emotions within the scene or it could be that things it’s like things are getting quite heated and maybe just subtly there’s a broken glass behind the bar someone drops a glass and you’re using that i mean it’s like um finding ways to do that but not say like oh this is an ominous alone oh there’s a thunderstorm in the back yeah yeah yeah you can find little this is where i say like little paint strokes like this and that’s what makes podcast storytelling it’s where you thought about the fact that uh to reflect that a moment emotionally they’re in the scout soundscape i had uh this touch which is almost imperceptible um particularly after everything gets squished down to mp3 format from web but um you know something like those little touches there where you’re building a living organic universe around your characters that is serving the story and it’s serving the needs of the wants of the characters and the needs of the wants of the listener at the same time um and that’s where the path to my handless lies because then when you get to that though it’s like okay so uh right what if that character was playing with the beer mat and you’re adding the tapping of the beer oh okay maybe they have a packet of peanuts now um

what will start to happen is once you uh avoid anyone if you’re going down this part of this um you start to immerse yourself and the better the sound design gets and the more specific the more inspiration begins to open up that hang on you know do i need uh um someone calling time in the background or do i need someone getting angry with the jig box and giving it a slap you know something

it can get insane but you know when you’re looking at that you’re probably potentially looking at something that’s going to have around 30 to 35 layers of sound um which you know you’ll be probably running through you know if you can’t afford something like pro tools or say that you might be doing on audacity or or reaper and that’s that’s all purely valid the choice of a daw is always personal it’s what people like and with what they can get on with as long as you’re always bouncing to what at the end most most eaws are fine some of them if you bounce that file straight to mp3 like audacity can go a bit squiffy it’s always about to have and it’s the format you want as well um so you you know you’ll be building these layers and then you know get a decent pair of headphones like a sennheiser or something like that that you’re listening in you know um for you know you’re listening to things like artifacts on the track those little clicks uh little those little dots you suddenly see that can uh you know just destroy your sound quality in a split second you know that artifacts are as bad as a dodgy accent uh they they instantly throw you out so trying to keep that sound as clean as possible and then you put it all together and you end up with like 35 50 tracks of your uh of your audio movie masterpiece and then bounce it down to wav um always be editing in mono as well um unless you have a particular reason and this is another thing to do as well with the immersiveness of it is that you can always be playing with stereo but i think a mistake we made very early on was we got carried away so there was a lot of hard panning so some sound being left here something you’re right completely um and that’s that’s not a valid way to go because someone might have if you have apple headphones for example one side is always going to carve out before the other um so you potentially end up with sometimes uh half of your information getting lost if you do hard panning so i always recommend you know do use left or right but sit on the you know you know sit some of it in the center just in case and then before you bounce it down because you’ve listened to your really super posh headphones

the last thing i always do uh is i always then go and find i have a pair of headphones from the pound shop um or you know and i i plug it in and i listening on that because because you’ve got to remember not everyone is going to own a pair of sennheisers they’re going to probably own a pair of white apple headphones or they’re going to you know or they’ve lost those are broken they’ve gone to the pound shop so you’ve always got to be uh technically conscious of what you’re listening or how your listener is going to hear it um so you bounce that down and you’ve got a beautiful wave and then once it’s in wave you can then bounce the wave down into mp3 but where possible um you know stick with at least 48 000 megahertz this year this year bitrate sample um we have moved in the last 10 years from 44 100 up to 48 so i can assume it’s only going to be a matter of time before we start sliding up the scale um because spring hill is done in 44 100. um whereas circles is now done in 48 and i think you can probably hear the difference in this in the sound you know we talked a lot about kind of future proofing that show back then right and the conclusion we quite correctly came to was um this is something worth bearing in mind if you’re gonna make audio drama or any podcast it’s like the conclusion we came to is well that that that bit rate is okay because the human ear is never gonna get any better and the human ear says that’s fine here we go that makes sense all right we’ll go with that logic um what of course we overlooked and is that it’s not the human ear that gets better it’s the playback devices yeah the speakers are getting better the headphones are getting better etc so um there’s a series i’m currently producing at the minute in la and i believe they’re mixing it in 128 right just to try and keep that um that potential future proofing moving forward uh that means masses of issue with storage for sure yes it’s a lot of space um but you know uh you know just just being aware of you know what was acceptable was a bit great because you can accidentally through the aw do something beautiful and mix it down 22 000. it’s very easy to do um actually if you do want a quick shortcut if you’re not sure how to use uh like say a telephone filter um and you have a scene on a telephone uh any any professional is gonna kill me but for someone who wants to learn how to hear what they’re looking for record some dialogue clean mix it down in uh 11 500 i think it’s exactly mix it down export it as that then play it back and you get telephone quality without even trying quick money saving tip for you there if you learn how to do telephone without playing with eq um yeah so uh you know and again a lot of it is experimenting because it’s subjective artistic and creative choices like you know what sounds what sounds right to you in terms of um you know you want something to be over the phone um you know does it sound too phony or is it is it a phony phone or is it say you know do you listen to that goal it sounds a bit like radio and i think what you have to do is absolutely on the one hand first of all absolutely trust that if it sounds doesn’t sound right for you it’s not going to sound right for your listener that’s but on the other hand

here i am quoting tv tropes there’s also an aspect where reality is unrealistic and that’s where again what we have to acknowledge is the um work that’s come before us in sound design which is where you know uh in real life uh a gun sounds like a firecracker yeah not like you hear on television or um for example um

rats don’t squeak all right they they don’t squeak um so rat squeaks generally tend to be uh bat noises that are used or you know uh so you know a punch doesn’t sound you know noise so there is there is an aspect where you have to um you do have to cheat and you do kind of have to respect the sounds we’re conditioned to accept but at the same time you know hopefully you blend these in so a punch that doesn’t sound like a punch but it sounds like what you expect to punch the sound like works which is literally a rubber mallet a rubber mallet in the cabbage versus getting something right which can be infamousable like just it’s just the sound of a telephone filter and you listen to the way the voice sounds through the eq or the way it’s been bouncing and go it doesn’t sound telephony enough

so yeah i mean that’s that’s that’s kind of a you know a little little insight into what goes on in post-production and i mean i could do two three hours on that it’s you know at the end of the day you’re always trying to search you’re trying to serve the story so story is designed for the ears yeah so you’ve got to respect what your ear is liking and disliking and you’ve got to respect what your ear is telling you it’s engaging with and what’s throwing you out because the odds are the best advice i can give is when you’re in post-production and you’re playing around if your ear throws you out it’s going to throw your listener’s ear out so again this is where madness lies but it’s just about getting it right so it’s serious yeah that’s so informative jack thank you so much um i think just i don’t want to take up too much more of your time i think um just on the back of that i was wondering if you had any um advice quite generally for people who might be maybe starting out but also maybe who have been trying for a while and maybe struggling and because you’ve got so much industry experience if you had any just tips or pointers for people who might hear this who think i’m i’m really trying hard but i feel like i’m not getting anywhere or i’m really keen to start out on this but it sounds really overwhelming and hard you know what kind of thing would you say okay uh first of all is um like the joke i make is i’ve been doing this for 15 years and it’s pretty much been 14 years of muddling along and getting by and now it’s been 14 months of absolute insanity um because it’s now starting to be taken seriously so that’s that’s the first point is like if you’ve been here for a while don’t give up hope people are starting to notice we are an amazing form of storytelling if you’re just starting out welcome to the club but for everyone everyone in all this i’ll let you into a little secret from the very very top previous spotifiers all the way down to uh like the smallest indie who started yesterday good for you enjoy the journey come visit me on my website i’m happy to help um the thing is right now we’re so new the one thing is we are we have never been and we’re not yet is monetized we’re not because we are we’re independent audio we’re not publicly publicly funded we’re independent creators there’s no commercial model for there to be us making a piece of drama that makes a piece of money for example because of that i’ll tell you right now from the top to the bottom nobody knows what they’re doing they’re all trying to figure it out yeah and in that chaos a lot of like in america and uh someone said this is the world west and i went no this is the second world west the first wild west was 2006 where we started out and nobody was taking it seriously for a long long time enjoying the work but not taking it seriously as a medium so hang in there because things are starting to happen from us what you need to be doing is if you like if you if you’re starting tomorrow you know okay all right do you have a professional studio set up no okay well grab your smartphones record voice memos um get a free piece of editing software like audacity or reaper go to the free sound project maybe script yourself a three minute podcast a microcast uh maybe it’s seven minutes long but start start small just give yourself seven minutes to because the thing is there isn’t at the minute any sort of training course to teach you how to do these things yes there are so several unique um unique elements that get taught in isolation um at various various colleges and universities but a lot of the people in the field are self-taught um so you know right right settle in the script find uh you can probably find one on uh you know at least 10 podcasts in your favorite genre with your favorite topic uh to have a listen to and start breaking down you know when you’re listening to it what you like about it what you don’t like about it um one thing i i love and again it’s a hate thing for me recommended this is a book uh by blake snyder called save the cat okay and basically what he did is simplified um storytelling um because so you’ve got the uh

the seven basic the seven basic plots which is like considered the the the the holy grail of uh story and plotting and uh and writing um but uh uh save the cat just condenses it down and makes it a really light read and changes the changes there the tropes around to make them uh they get modernize them and make them more relatable so um i i always recommend that book for anyone who wants to be writing just have a look at that and it will just teach you a few of the bare bones basics for just zeroing in on what story is stuff like that if you’re doing that alongside listening to the podcast you like you should be able to begin to identify the storytelling and then from there um you know when you’re getting getting your actors together or they’re sending you voice memos which you probably will be in this current climate i mean good good bit of advice if you can’t be with your actors ask them to do their lines sort of uh five or six different ways okay so these five or six different takes you do five or six different takes and they’ll start that will help uh start to teach you uh like take selection howard’s put together if we go from um wide light is like this next lens like that next slides like this doesn’t sound again it’s throwing your ear out so you know you start to you can start to um learn how to take select how you know is it you know looking looking to find the naturalism in performance so when you’re not getting it what you should end up doing is kind of teaching yourself how to direct going oh i wish why didn’t if they’d only done it that way and that that’s actually switching on your brain to like if you were working with that to say i like that could you do it like this okay if that makes sense yeah uh and that will start to train you to to learn to work with with uh with the with the actors and then you’ve got the performances that will teach you post-production and you’ll find a daw digital audio workspace that you’re happy with and stuff like that so that’s that’s what to do if you’re starting out if if if uh you’ve been in this game a while it’s getting a bit dispiriting don’t worry trust me um 15 years and like i said it’s only been the last 14 months where things have uh started starting to change quite dramatically and yes you’re probably seeing these big things like uh like blackouts and and the homecoming happen and leaked television and the limetown but um just remember those the creators of those shows they all started in the same place and the best thing you can do is just keep building not only do you uh do great work the one thing i will take away from working at wireless was that um uh you know mary always said you live or die by the quality of your work so make sure you are doing good work you know and if that means you’ve got to keep learning and practicing and experimenting to find your style and your voice it’s like being the author of a book you will find your voice if you keep working at it

aside from living you know just just making sure that the quality of your work is good the uh the next important thing is i think to cultivate your fan base um work on you know there’s a big generation uh generational difference between those of us who started in podcasting in 2006 and those who sort of came a little bit later like uh the the things like the wooden overcoats um and the orphans like david and uh wk barnes and uh zachary’s shows where they were we didn’t have social media we started broadcasting it it was my space yeah yeah do you remember um but they uh you know they were very they came they those podcasts were born into a very social media savvy world and they are absolutely brilliant at building fan bases and um cultivating fan support because we do live in this is the thing to remember if like you’re getting two three thousand listeners podcast series don’t be dispirited we do have an industry-wide problem with the medium which is discoverability because nobody knows how to discover your podcast nobody knows that you mean a lot of the time it’s an uphill battle because like uh heard a phrase of the radio today pushing water uphill that’s what it’s like to get a podcast out there particularly in the independent sector because there’s there’s no magic algorithm there’s no like netflix in code for like saying oh you like the wooden overcoats come and try this podcast um so that that’s the second thing and so don’t be dispirited because it’s it’s not your fault that people may have discovered your podcast it’s the thought of the podcast ecosystem um that hasn’t been fixed yet so i i will make a prediction that two to three years from now because you know i’ve had some conversations with uh people in america and europe etc they all now agree that the scripted podcast fiction space is the next thing that needs to happen it has to happen but the two fundamental challenges are discoverability and monetization now best friend in the world if uh you know if i was good at monetization i would have made money on my podcast right now and you know a lot of independent creators of uh they just want to tell good stories that’s what drives them we we don’t know how to fix that problem i have a feeling given what’s going on the top end of the us right now one of those big three players will find a way to fix it the other side is discoverability and i’ve got feeling one of those three players will fix it because there’s now too much going on in the us market for this just to still be random if that makes sense if they want you uh to sit down and watch the next big television show they go out their way to make sure you know that television show exists so there’s no way that they’re going to have this market where it’s like a gold mine for new ideas new ip you know especially since locked down more celebrities have wanted to get involved casting on the scripted and unscripted so you know now now that turning point has been reached where big to is talent all want their own podcast series it’s only going to be a matter of time before the pressure is there is fix that problem

so i can see two to three years from now that um we’re going to be at a point where one of those two problems gets solved and if you’re making content just hang in there because once it’s cracked for one per once it’s cracked for one podcast it’s going to crack it for the entire ecosystem i hope so me too because it’s like people people say have you heard this podcast i didn’t even know it existed do you know what i mean exactly it’s it’s really infuriating that um i know a lot of good content goes by and sometimes i catch up with i mean this is a really good example but i love cinemasins okay uh a fascinating thing again if you’re interested in storytelling watching them nitpick everything apart yeah even something like citizen kane yeah okay you know i now actually want to write that’s a cinema scene delete um but you know they turned around last year and said oh did you know we’ve got a podcast you have a podcast okay and it started in 2016. right now so it’s three years that one of my favorite youtube channels and i didn’t know um so you know it’s it’s it’s a strange old time but i mean the best thing you can be doing right now despite these problems as i said is just make really good quality work yeah um because that is the thing you know there’s you know if you were like um an indie film director and you made a hit low budget movie then let’s take scott derrickson for example with sinister he’s in like he makes a really great with uh with cargo and makes a really great low budget horror indeed and then he’s moved up and given a big studio movie and eventually he’s there then directing doctor strange and then working on that as a team doing doctor strange for marvel um so you can see there’s a logical progression there the thing with scripted podcast and storytelling is all you can do at this stage is literally just make sure your last podcast series is high quality work because it’s not necessarily about being a commercial here mass audience etc like that it’s got to be quality storytelling and to use that terrible phrase that’s what you’ve got to leverage moving forward so um just just make sure you’re doing great work good storytelling using the medium um you know pushing yourself to to tell that story to immerse and entertain and you know get as in you know make it as uh as an engaging and internal process between fred greenham should say the the the theatre of your mind you know um and that that is what will help you step up because if you just keep making series after series which is good and a great listener experience in the podcast space you don’t necessarily need to worry about something being a huge hit because people understand that kind of model doesn’t exist yet two three years from now it might but just just be really focusing on telling great stories yeah oh that’s brilliant advice um is there anything else that you would like to say that you feel we haven’t covered yet um well good question uh because i talk a lot as you can tell so um no i mean like i could say just just remember this this is a it’s 20 20 right now and i genuinely think this decade ahead particularly for scripted audio fiction is is going to be the game changer okay um another thing to bear in mind is that the i i’ve done a couple of talks uh for podfest this year and the last one i did was the fact that uh there’s all this terribleness going around the whole world right now you know with all this distress and worry and fear so a couple of things come out of that which is one um you know it film television theater is all you know at standstill groundswell hall and a bottleneck right now so audio drama is now becoming a very very good place to find the entertainment um but my i think the best advice you can give if you’re looking to create audio content from this point here on in i’m going to say one word and it might seem counterproductive to where we’re all at right now fun make it enjoyable because um we hadn’t like said we had a series fred and i we did the pilot on wholesale solution and we built the writer’s room on the 15th of march lockdown start i then flew back from florida lockdown started in the uk nine days later um and then after that we had a regroup and we went we think the world is just too depressing for a dystopian science fiction horror series and that was a big moment we were sitting again yeah i think it’s time for uh it’s time you know for some fun because it’s got to the point i think where this experience is

right now in the world it you know people

you know they don’t want more misery yeah piled on top of misery with their entertainment so um i’ve done a complete pivot on what i’m putting forward to make okay make it fun i think i think people will come out this year and people will start enjoying comedies and wanting things that are a bit more i’ll be actually you know as rob used to say a great barometer of culture uh how culture is feeling is about how in tune a bond movie is right with its audience at a time so to die another day for example came out i was in production during 9 11. okay so when that came out it was all about super villains and windsurfing and it fell out and then that’s the same year that uh 24 came out yeah and i’ll be very curious to see how um no time to die lands with audiences now because it’s probably going to be a little bit gritty very serious daniel craig one movie yeah because that’s where they are the grittiness serious and just just just watch that one see how that one’s received when they finally release that film next year and they can’t current climate i think i think you’ll see that basically the next bond will actually be closer to roger moore that’s like this one that’s my top prediction there a bit more spike who love me rather than the living daylights so fun keep that in mind yeah i i really hope you’re right yes we need more joy i think it will come because i think this year is like it’s just accelerated the the the pain and the misery a little bit and uh you know i’m not saying we’re out of the woods yet with where we’re at uh as a planet or individual societies uh wherever we are but um i i do think there’s going to be a a swing towards um needing lighter entertainment so and i don’t mean that as in variety what i mean is it’s you know we will steer away from dystopia which we’ve had years of we’ll stay away from grim end of the world kind of stuff uh because you know we we’ve had a dress rehearsal for once yeah you know um yeah somehow where we’re at a year from now which we shall see yeah yeah well it’s been an absolute pleasure jack thank you so very much no worries it’s been it’s been lovely to talk and um just just one last thing to say if anyone is interested in following up uh you can go to my website yeah contact form i’m always happy to give advice to anyone who’s looking at their scripted podcast uh sector um and that’s and go to the contact form and that goes straight to me ignore the thing about um agents it does come to me it’s just if someone says to me work i send it on um but yes if anyone’s looking for advice or guidance or any help uh more than happy to to just have a conversation and the more people we get into audio fiction in the podcasting space the better so hey let’s make that happen yeah and it is a friendly bunch as well i think we all like to try and help each other because we’re all struggling a bit no matter where in the strata you are we’re all trying to i i feel like we’re all trying to pull each other up so absolutely because like um as a friend a friend of uh bill dufrese came over to the uk uh joe dooley and he said to me uh rising tide lifts all boats yes that is absolutely true and that plays into the fact if you look at the work say that ella watts has been doing for the last two years and like getting the community sort of mobilized and that’s that’s a nice thing to remember as well that uh yes people are you know we we’re we’re in industry but we’re still quite at that community level and i you know i’ve been talking to various networks and commissioners and quite a few of them as i’ve said on the qt it’s like um you know what we’ve got to figure this out because we love it and i don’t care if we’re arrival to that network but you know we can actually just sort of softly alive for five or six years and then you know once it’s all fixed then we can be bloodthirsty

and you’ve got to think about it if the networks are thinking about it at that level yeah then we absolutely should be reflecting that as a as a community that’s it of a podcast creatives um yeah we’ve got to look we do have to look out for each other because like say it can feel trust me i know that for many many years you’d throw podcasts out you wouldn’t even know if you connected with an audience we didn’t we didn’t know if spring hill was connecting for people for a long uh with people for a long long time so you know um just you know that’s that’s the other thing it can feel quite lonely but you know we we’re fast becoming a community we’re fast you know organized you know and that community is now becoming global which is lovely um so the get-togethers that oh i i missed it there was a monthly get-together ella used to organize uh in south london um you know we i i miss that physical community but we’re all still there we’re all still at touch of a button so um you know stick together keep keep an eye on each other’s backs and and do great work and help each other by the end that’s so lovely it’s the perfect place to leave it

so you mentioned your website do you have any socials or anything you want to just point out yeah yeah sure um i’m i’m on i’m on linkedin you can find me there on twitter at real jack bowman and if you’re interested in listening to circles you can find that on twitter uh which is here circles it’s on instagram as well that’s where social media left behind instant right now uh instagram it’s here circles twitter it’s here circles and if you want to find that on facebook it’s circle’s podcast okay and it’s highly recommended thank you thanks very much yeah serious finale this sunday yes yes brilliant okay thank you jack that’s great no worries thank you very much

this has been a cozy pea pod production with me paula blair and my very special guest jack bowman the music has been common ground by airton licensed under a 3.0 non-commercial attribution and it’s available for download from do check out that website it’s got loads of cool stuff and all of the other stuff has been done by me i’ve been editing and we’re doing the recordings and all of that stuff and if you would like to support the podcast but you’re not too sure about a membership you can drop me a fiver at buy me a coffee dot com forward slash bea blair because that just goes towards all of the work that i’m doing with the podcasts and writing and other bits and pieces as well and it’s hugely hugely appreciated all your support and as well as the social media that i gave out earlier in the episode you can get in touch by emailing audiovisualcultures if you want to chat about being a guest on the show or if you’ve got an idea for a show that you’d like to run past me something you’d like to hear us do we’re really grateful if you don’t want to give money but if you want to gift something so if you want to send me a dvd to watch or you want to um send me a link to a film that you want me to see or whatever it happens to be uh just just just give me a shout that way or you can find us on the socials uh so yes huge thanks for listening huge thanks for engaging do keep it up it just means so much and i hope these episodes have been really really useful it’s been amazing hearing about people’s experiences with their lockdown creativity as well so if you have a story you don’t have to be a professional just get in touch because it’s all part of that fabric that network of just cultural production and that’s what i’m really really interested in and that we can all learn from together okay so take care of yourselves be excellent to each other as always and i will catch you next time you


Audiovisual Cultures episode 69 – Writing and Men’s Mental Health with Caleb Harris automated transcript

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hello hello and welcome to the audio visual cultures podcast I am all up there and I'm really pleased to be joined this time by writer ko Paris he is very kind they going to talk about his latest back suffering in silence August fifteenth two thousand three and it's available now for pre order and that's going to say come on on the fifteenth of August this year in twenty twenty I can activate killer piecing matchmaker dot FM this is a website that helps podcast makers and guests find going to bite each other and to connect so huge thanks to them thanks as well to our membership Petri on dot com forward slash AP cultures for your continued support if you'd like to make a one off donation you can also do that at buy me a coffee dot com forward slash PDA prior so hello if you're joining us on Instagram life it's my first attempt at recording this way it'll be really great to have your questions and comments as well said pleased to join in we're likely going to talk about men's mental health and issues very brief minutes possibly touching on addiction domestic abuse and suicides Sir things that come up with that and killer to writing so we'll see how we go but just so you're aware those are things we might touch on if you follow Calif on his Instagram is he the he's got a really positive I lack so it won't be hosting a great event will be hopefully really positive look at all of these things just a reminder that all of our episodes are available on U. shape so if you search for my channel and that's the P. A. Blair handled that I use for all of the rest of my work on the podcast you'll be able to find audio visual cultures there all of our back catalog and the most recent episodes of the podcast can also be sure James on just about any podcast platforms including Spotify Google play I chains sign clients and any that does feed into as well and addition T. AV cultures paused on Instagram or on Facebook and Twitter as a feat cultures the website is audio visual cultures DOT wordpress dot com and you can email audio visual cultures at G. mail dot com I'm always looking for guests to please get in touch if you have something that you're working on or ideas that you're working three or just something that you really love and you're burning to talk about it it's something to do with culture you would be really great to hear from me I've been trying to you to this project to try and make it the slippages across different media so I'm really excited to talk to kill it because I really wanted to have an author of fiction and a novelist on for quite awhile so he's not a first time customer he's the first to say yes thank you Caleb and I'm really looking forward to hearing more about his experiences and saying that's the first time doing this on Instagram life just waiting for Caleb to join in on that okay Hey how's it going I'm good how are you doing well hi is it are you in Connecticut is that right yeah I'm in Connecticut the Enfield area right now we just turned three o'clock right now so it's a pretty sunny day overall the lady at eight o'clock in the evening where I am and you cancel hi keeping keep paying lately I've been pretty good I just been working now playing basketball just trying to keep saying because a lot of things are very uncertain but you know it is what it is on basically just taking it one day at a time this all %HESITATION epidemic that is happy and I there was no plans for it so are you really do is just take it one day at a time absolutely yes so many looking for it said talking to you but you're you know %HESITATION coming nights are you happy to see and just bad would you like to tell us about the what it's a bite me can get into specific things as we go yes sure I can just give a brief overview of the book is suffering in silence August fifteenth two thousand three and follows a character named Ricky who is one year older than me I'm twenty six with the characters twenty seven and it basically just takes you through a very long and complex journey of a young man who's been doing drugs alcohol and he's been in domestic abuse situations but he covers it up by basically running away from all this problems but eventually he has that coming to I wouldn't want to see come to Jesus moment but just one of those epiphanies is we basically just says enough is enough and I have to change so he wasn't just a very interesting characters along the way yes this is going to be released on the fifteenth of August is that right yes that is correct but there is a sample available because I read through it there are a few days ago it's a really nice samples to give you an idea of that set up both Ricky and what his situation is and there's a sense of what has gone under in his past we can see how much you want to get into that because you might not want to give the whole plot of that away but certainly from what's readily available already that's setting up quite a lot to do less you know there's an inter generational conflicts and he's a substitute teacher so he's got a very precarious working lifespan or something he's going to grace are these all things that you've been exploring in your affection today it is this by way of investigation or something that you're just trying to work three three section you know hi is that you come to a circus on these kinds of issues no I've always seem like a lot of a young man doing with a lot of personal problems and mostly just bottled up inside and not really talking about it basically just saying well you know I'm fine I'm good I don't need to talk about anything and you know they just have regular job just like Ricky yes just as a regular job goes to a whole bunch of events anything like that and he basically just says well you know as long as I just have one more drink as long as I just have one more drive I'll be fine and nothing else will matter and unfortunately it's the same emotions are seen with other friends and other people when it comes to like relationships personal problems it's always just the I'm fine I'm good mentality but then when you got to sit down and talk to them and actually realize they are in good actually need somebody to talk to which a lot of people are very good at doing because not too many people are good it just understanding what somebody's going through and I think you've got that gender aspect as well because I get the sense from reading it that there's this macho cultures that Ricky's coming up against that he's not saying he's not permitted to have feelings about things yeah it is like Ricky definitely grew up around a lot of like I wouldn't say he grew up around a lot of name but he grew up around guys like him where it's just you had to toughen up like he used to play basketball the couple people but they're all just like the same kind of people they just didn't talk about anything as long as they live through it they were fine and that was their mentality Estes from my perspective you know being a woman in the world and having that other side of toxic masculinity we have to remember is that it affects men that firstly so much of the time that when we teach boys that they're not allowed to be science or share with their sadness and then that has results and possibly addictive behaviors because while they're in P. and so they need something to contract that P. N. but they're not allowed to talk about it either Ricky he he seems to keep weight on this car you know he needs just one more drink before he can do something it's a really interesting way of exploring facts the first chapter it's really quite poignant swear he's not coping with his mother's funeral no not at all and it's one of those things where it's like his mother was really close to him yeah like I don't want to give too much information but I'll just say this is father wasn't close to him but weren't given his mother you know obviously when somebody dies in your family it definitely takes a toll on you so Ricky's mother it was like his mother and his father right so you feel like you lost to parents at the same time it's interesting as well his working life because it's not just that he's a substitute teacher he's working actually with special needs children and young people is paying and he's like I think he feels sometimes he's a hypocrite because you know since he doesn't want to talk about his problems he's supposed to be helping people who have problems but he can't even help themselves and that's one of the reasons why he's you know spiraling out of control all the time because he feels like he's a walking contradiction but he doesn't actually know how to cope with which actually was a toll on him yeah he has some very tense encounters with the head teacher at the school he's something on me that was really telling where because narratively where it touched your brekkie it's his voice but there were times when I can thank all I can tell what that person is taking a bite him and projecting on M. T. now there's a part where he he's so exhausted he can't keep his eyes open any accent may falls asleep at his desk and this is something I have done right you know what I mean like that it's that if you're having a really awful time you're going to be some sort of emotional trauma as he is and you just physically comes in your body just says no nothing there's been times are like I'd actually would not eat my lunch look I was just you know so mentally and physically drained I'm just like I'm so tired and then I fall asleep in my car and then I have a thirty minute lunch break then I go right back in in the mail I just pretended like everything was fine and I talked to my buddies afterwards so you know I wouldn't be feeling so like frustrated or anything like that it definitely happens to the best of us yeah I find that the intergenerational saying fascinating as well because I don't know how conscious it is free if you want to elaborate but certainly from the start of the bank that part that I was able to be needs its older white men he seemed to put pressure on Ricky would you say that's right where do you think it's just the older generation in general I would say a combination of both but more just like the older generation in general like definitely with the older women around him he definitely feels is is because with Ricky he doesn't really believe in god it is one of those things and everyone else believes in god but he doesn't so there's times he feels like isolated and you can't really stand up for themselves one of those quiet passive submissive guys and he turns to food for his own addiction unlike the older generation just doesn't get it because he feels the older generation is has this suck it up get over it kind of attitude and he's just like well wait a minute just still doesn't make any sense because how can I get over something if I can actually talk about it yeah I think that's another reading because she that he represents so stop disconnect this was as a millennial for me and being a child of baby for her so it's like you know I understand that tension ready while is just get over it to you know sort of thing but it hurts you know and you're in pain and they're also in PM and maybe they would all be in a little less being in our we know how to cope with their pain a bit better you know carry it Senate not define us you know or debilitate us isn't so much every ticket that was strictly that he does seem to be really isolated and in that he's carrying yeah he definitely has he has friends to talk to one of his friends is Phil but like him and Phil have they were very weird on and off relationship one minute they're friends the next minute they're not friends and like he's the only friend he has left but they've been friends since they were like kids but it's just you know eventually fill became more toxic for him and actually a body because everything was a lot more simpler when they weren't drinking when they were smoking together but everything became more complicated when they put those two things into play yeah I haven't been able to rate as far as not yet so I have met still but certainly Ricky's work colleagues that's a really %HESITATION I don't know how to pay that it's almost explosive the episode that happens with his colleagues I think their assistants teaching assistants and set yeah the bridge is the main teacher and those are his like para professionals and it goes back to like Ricky being more like passive likely back all of the situation would just resolve it so so much I will do too much and as long as miss weathers doesn't say anything to head principal and then I'll be fine so you kind of do is unfortunately less the whole situation go and it's fascinating because then when it does go up you can see high from the right side it looks like he's possibly for he's lazy but because we're in his hands and the narrative we understand that he's frozen he sends fighter flight he's in survival mode because certainly as somebody with anxiety I really connected with it on that level of Anna so it really throws I'm not on a lot happens with these people there's a lot of issues going on my face three very very different people he get combined and it spent like a Petri dish that blows up allowed thank you yeah and it is just one of those things where it's like as you said before like how Ricky just becomes frozen is because like where he's not really used to confrontation and like anybody who like tries a late challenge him or just talk to him he doesn't really know what to do because he has very like poor communication skills but he has announced hills to become a teacher but not enough skills to be like a leader yeah that's really interesting to think it's because he does seem to say if you don't see him too much interacting with the children and I think because it's his voice he doesn't go into too much but he does seem to be very aware of their dynamics and high the children are going to it to work well I mean I'm saying children but they're young people you know they should have ten fourteen it's just that they might have low functioning autism or some other kind as mental disability which means that they are you mentally very young but he seems to have a real way with them he knows some reading while he knows what's going on said work with them help them that sort of thing so he's been away quite enchiladas or he's prepared to learn do you think there's pressure on people of his age to people than there should have edging into their later twenties do you think there's pressure to be leaders stand is that something you're exploring it Betsy GS in no because like with him there is pressure for him to do it but I think Ricky's mind is just so gonna you can actually just push himself forward he wants to actually be like a leader you want to lead by example he really wants to help these kids will like mentally he just can't get out of his own thoughts so I definitely believe he wants to become the leader but in the book you realize it takes some some time to like a girl who he is as a person and as he figures out who he is as a person things start to become better in his life okay I mean it's a bit of time because I think anybody's brains regarding exercise and you're going straight as well it's not tends to be high it is I'm thirty five now and I think in my twenties as a second adolescence so you do your adolescence %HESITATION can you figure it out so hopefully that's what is going on for him it's a tough read I thought this other couple of chapters because SMS the park professional says as you say are and there's very ableist language coming from these people here supposedly working in last December okay and there's pretty petty arguments about things that are nothing to do with their work but they're also it's quite clear that they're not getting paid enough for what they do they and their asses she there was not a sub machine that you were trying to deal with in the back as well yeah because like are you still at work at a school and right now I'm still working on another school but there are times when like there's people that have become very frustrated and I've heard like some pretty crazy stories I don't know if it's true or not but I definitely will listen and observe a lot of the stories in the main argument was we're not making enough money and you hear this a lot in the news and it's absolutely true but unfortunately you hear the really bad part about in the news where there's actual people who are taking their frustrations out on everybody else and me I've always remain professional I've always just sat on the side income so I was always going to be fine but I never took it out on the kids because they're just random kids that's it they're just trying to get an education and go home we do the best we can do it now and that's all we can really do I suppose then there's something to be set up by the state it's interesting that the few characters that I've encountered and the little bit of the back I've been able to read as he seems to have embassy Arnold's and Ricky same state because although he's talking from at some point if he he does seem aware of other people what's going on with them and then that there's not really much evidence from a lot of the people he has to work with that they see them as they are they too much wrapped up in themselves was that something you were thinking about it yeah I do believe that some of the pair professionals they do care but it's just there to trip up about the money and it's all about the money but it soon because like I said money we all do need money but most importantly in order to keep making money you have to you know keep on working got to establish both incomes and most importantly even if you're making a lot of money you could still be miserable and the reason why I can still be miserable is because if you're making money doing something that you don't love then that's just not going to turn into true happiness do you want to talk anymore right there the massacre piece aspects of the bank even just highlight a little bit %HESITATION yeah we didn't mention just a brief amount of A. I know with %HESITATION Ricky it's one of those things where and as the title suggests is that his father was one one minute though playful giant and the next minute he was just a monster and it was because his dad had so many issues and I believe it ties into way is passive aggressive behavior is because he doesn't want to be like his father and I think that's a lot of pressure with a lot of young man today's because we either have good fathers or you they have bad fathers and when it comes to our society a lot of us don't know how to actually talk about our issues because these are far they're not actually talking about it or we just didn't have a father in the picture I mean the absent father choked but it's one that we're cursed a law and any kind it's fiction writing but it feels like it requires because it's not that lists you know they're still SL happening all the time minutes part of that possibly meant to type of culture would you say it's a combination of like the macho culture but it's really just not understanding who you are as a man because there's no man who just are very like a macho and try to put on a facade but there is so much pain but that's just how they have been used to doing what they're paying unfortunately what we've been saying before like a lot of men don't like to talk about their issues well I've been learning a lot of them are just afraid to or they just they never learn how to actually talk about these things because he never wanted to be deemed as being weak yeah and that's not a weakness like talking about your feelings talking about your problems is not a weakness if anything is one of the strongest things that you can do because you're actually opening up beside yourself that no one has ever been able to see before and that's one of the most beautiful things that anybody could ever do men or women it takes a lot of strength to admit sometimes that you just need help or you just need someone or something that's okay I'd really like to ask you as well about your practice as a writer what was it did pretty compelling GTCR writing after you've been writing fiction for a long time or is this something fairly recent freeing something that's part of your life in a big way yeah I've been writing fiction for quite some time %HESITATION I usually I recently graduated from college in two thousand seventeen with a communication degree so I've always been in select the arts creative writing and all those kind of things but when I came out of college like I had no idea what I wanted to write a bill and it was just like always trying to find the right story like you try to paint yourself over all these kind of people I try to pay myself over many authors in the ones that come to mind is %HESITATION Junot D. az Henry David Thoreau %HESITATION lemony Snicket R. O. L. Stine one rule to goosebumps books lemony Snicket from a series of unfortunate events and just on and on and on and I like put too much pressure on myself to be like those people and I feel like I need to be like cable has to be just like these people yeah I got the ball and all these people when they shake and then here comes to me so it took me awhile to just find my own my creative group so over the years I just started exploring with a lot of things I mean I threw a lot of paper after a while I just started to come up with the series suffering in silence I just said you know what it is just gonna be a series of ten part series where I'm just gonna talk about what young men go through because I get so sick of the media one just basically not talking about it into just not telling the whole story so I'm just going to do it and we're gonna see what happens I think that's sad because it's easy to see things from a surface level and really get and date the so important and I think that's what art is so important as well are to nature writing all of it any mode of expression is so important I thought windows N. T. understanding each other yes I agree any hope that gets an audience that way and it helps not just young man it doesn't just show them that actually you can deal with this in another way but also for other people to realize that this is what they experience as well so this is valid this is important and actually we all benefit at stake at address yeah and also I just believe that like even though the book is like ray and for like young men also like I don't want to discourage women from reading it either because like there are women that don't know not everyone of course but there are women out here they just don't understand women go through and like the ages I think books like this will give you a better depiction of what men go through it's not just %HESITATION well he's just in a hole he's just a douche bag ages sheets also and so they're standing up there and it's not an excuse it's just when the mine isn't one hundred percent correct when the mind is a one hundred percent in sync with the physical self then you know destruction always happens and with a lot of men they have a lot of self destructive behavior and unfortunately they take it out on the women and then the woman become resentful and then the cycle just keeps going on and on and on it is one of those things where it's like you just have to break the cycle because if you don't break the cycle it keeps continuing and the destruction keeps happening and then laws basically disappears and that's something we just can't have it's just so lovely it is to hear any mom talk like that it's really nice it's okay can I ask by your experiences with self publishing and producing E. books as well as physical thanks %HESITATION yeah was so promising I'll be honest I'm still new I'm still learning the ropes but most importantly like I just wanted to just go out here and just do my own thing like the kind of person I am is like I don't like to wait on somebody to make something happen for me like I'll just go out I'll do it myself like all asked people I'll go do interviews all go do anything cause me even myself I'm an introvert but I'm realizing like in order to grow an audience in order to like you know the check more people you have to become more extroverted and it's not easy for me to do but it's just one of those things you have to do but I'm still learning the ropes I'm still getting with advertising marketing and I'm just learning as I go and I'm just hoping for the best but most importantly I'm still gonna just published a book either way this is what the technology allies for not only is he starts about at least for more people to have a voice from what you've experienced so far is there anything you think would be useful for other aspiring writers do you think it's something where you need to research a lot or do you think you need to just try and just go for it what would you say for anybody else who you wanted to get it yeah yeah I say before anyone's going to like write a book on make sure you definitely get a high quality editor because a lot of books on make Amazon aren't actually will break in and a lot of people just think like when there right away okay I could write this I could edit myself but it's always key just to get like a second editor because I know myself like when I'm writing books like this like I know the book is over like two hundred pages and I'm like well I just wrote two hundred pages like better read it over I gotta take this so I'll take that I'll maybe add this in maybe add that in I can miss things I'm a human being but that's what editors are for and if you get yourself an editor %HESITATION a marketing scheme and you learn about Amazon key words and many other things you need to learn about you'll be fine you'll start to have more success and most importantly joining other Facebook groups and just interacting with other people and yet the last tip is just ask for help okay Astrid you need it because everybody needs help and you're going to stress yourself out and burn yourself out if you try to do it yourself so I suppose but self publishing as with all things there's a team R. I. Angie is a hell yeah there is that's really helpful and speaking at what else you had published sun and I was really interested to see you've done a vegetarian kick back as well yeah they hear a bit more about that I recently went vegan about a couple months ago and I was vegetarian in either two thousand nineteen or two thousand eighteen the later part and it was just a personal decision for me because I wanted my body just to feel a lot better but most importantly I would just see like the animal cruelty going on and it was something I just didn't agree with that didn't want to practice anymore so I decided to just go with the cookbook so everybody could wonder ball what do people who don't eat meat or dairy actually eat yeah so it's like our rate well there you go I publish that book and it's been doing pretty well and it's cold no make no problem yep that's correct yeah it looks really fascinating I'm a vegetarian myself so I thought it was really nice idea the idea well what can you do yes and smart swapping night makes could start something a friend would speak in activism is trying to cry it suffice rather than going though I miss my rockers rips or whatever can I ask you as well a bike then facial aspects of your backs because you got really lovely artwork for them is that something that a friend of yours does so where do you hire an illustrator or anything for your coverage of your fax yeah with all my main stuff I always go to Fiverr Fiverr has very good deals and I know there's one feature we could just post to gigs Sir just wanted to do a book cover I just say Hey I need a book cover for such as such within twenty four to forty eight hours and I get around like twenty thirty people respond to me within twenty four hours and it's actually really good to do things that way because you can see who is really good because he was not really good you really don't like the product you can get someone to actually edit it over and over again or you just take it to somebody else and get a refund but I never had any bad experiences on Fiverr those are the things I use whenever I want to do like cookbook layouts book covers a book formatting editing any of those kind of things so I would definitely suggest fiver well that's great because you've got a really nice cover for suffering in silence Sarah and passion of Ricky I think with this headline little back he has a narrative voice it's first person then he makes a lot of references to his size he seems to be very uncomfortable in his own body I think that comes across quite nicely actually and in the image on the cover yeah the idea was like Ricky still no matter what still feels like the fat kid and I can't give too much detail on why he feels like he's the fat kid it's one of those things are you going to have to reinstall it but once you read the whole book you'll understand why Rick you always feel like the fat kid right just a small of my back for ads I feel the read that senator rex already because I feel like I was I thought Kansans and my twenties lost a lot of laughs and radically changed my diet and not sort of thing there are certain areas where I feel like as it isn't just for young man there's a lot of people he will be able to connect with Ricky on a lot of different levels because he's got a lot going on actually so you mentioned this is part of a ten part series so that's a really ambitious projects that you're working on G. have a plan for that it's a great to be the same characters or is it going to be different people so it's going to be different people but basically the whole series will be about a ten book series it's always going to revolve around a young man to the ages of eighteen to thirty six and the same things will apply we're gonna still be talking about depression anxiety domestic abuse sexual abuse and all these kind of things and just any topic that I could find that a young man goes through I'm just going to keep doing my research and I'm basically going to make a whole fictional series out of this it's just going to be based on realism and magic you won't be short of material do you think this is something that's very specific to the United States or it's quite a universal thing as well do you have an idea of what broader areas you might get into what sort of experiences yeah I believe it's definitely one of those worldwide kind of things but in America we talk about it I don't know what happens in any other countries but I know it's one thing when it comes to men like it's always like this statement a like you can't miss a day of work you have to go to the gym like you have to be a certain size like you have to do your certain way you have to be a certain height and it's just all these like crazy state mows and it's like somebody just made a mark and it just seems like we're all just going along with it again is nobody's really like questioning these things but it seems like in America times and you question things people just kinda want to try and silence you and the idea of this book is yes it's called suffering in silence but once you read the book you start understanding the actual suffering because with my idea is I want to be as transparent as like humanly possible because whenever I watched like the media or whatever I watched some books it's like I get this feeling that people are trying to like sugar coat something or just trying to hide something but with my books I don't try to hide anything I believe that's the reason why they become so good certainly the sample of suffering in silence that I read it there are times you have to remind yourself as the character saying that it's not it's not it's not risky at this other kind of injure and he's not saying that you know because they're going in safari at G. areas and I think specially because I mean I sort of find myself night and a couple of sinking the way you're talking you know so people here are empathetic people you are trying to understand each other and then you go right into the world again or you see something on social media and you go oh oh not everybody feels that way right that sort of person that's all not some comfortable shoes you know and that's about it said it will actually going there because people J. Hobson's really problematic opinions about two thirds of other people and it's fine right how do we come from thought but keeping ourselves six so it seems like you do in your pics of real potential to try and expose lead the way and maybe hold somebody's hand in trying to do that I think with books like mine is just is not really a bow or trying to I wouldn't necessarily say this is like one of those kind of books electrodes to make everybody happy and trust it goes more into like because I I mentioned earlier that I'm a big fan of like the series of unfortunate events I used one I was like in middle school like goose bumps so I've always been into like horror drama psychological films and books and things like that and I believe the reason why they were so good and the reason why I like watching him the red M. over and over again is because they were talking about issues that no one else is talking about and I found it fascinating and I will relate to all the stores like Hey I could find myself in this kind of character and that's actually a very good thing to do because a lot of people want to be understood however a lot of us actually need to have somebody to understand us yes yeah that's really wild pets yeah gosh yeah I really see that was just thinking about it Ricky Nye actually that he needs other people to understand him and see him and that's not what he's getting certainly and what I've read stats really and since thank the thought why cannabis or anything else you would like to talk about it because I mean it says on your profile so different for each episode making as well is that something that you want service of making TJ I don't feel making before but I haven't been in the game in a very long time so it's been about four years so %HESITATION last documentary I made was help us and it was revolving around the issues that people go through but is more drug related and the documentary is a bow and fields people from eighteen and up and basically they all have a problem with heroin and I was just trying to give people a reason you know it's a tune into my documentary to show everybody like Hey people know they hear what is going on it's not that the cops are just being silent they're still just trying to figure out ways on how to actually stop it so I've got some pretty good interviews with counselors %HESITATION cops there's also a center at the Enfield television when they're actually doing a couple of a couple of videos just trying to you know bring awareness to the actual issues going non because there's a lot of people are dying off here when and I wanted to tell people that okay there are still rehabilitation centers there are still drop boxes where you can actually drop the drugs inside the box and you will be one hundred percent anonymous and there's so many other solutions so I definitely would recommend everyone check it out the video was on YouTube all you have to do is just type in help us documentary and you'll be able to find it all great great yeah I just try to find it but I'll try again get a link up so it seems like in your creative practice do you think your work is didactic in a way that you think you're trying to get people to to see beyond the surface or to see behind the curtain kind of staying with a lot of these yeah I would definitely say that like I would just say that it's just a very like transparent way there's a different way of thinking I know on my blog unpopular opinions I always talk about like rethink everything and basically everything that you've been not everything you've been told is alive but a lot of things that you've been dealing with as a kid isn't actually normal you just been taught to believe that is normal like for example like young men like when it comes to just dealing with issues it's always drugs sex and alcohol is because of a lot of films that we see where that's just what we've seen and that's what we emulate as children but we actually don't realize that as adults this really wasn't the way to handle our things and now we're dealing with a whole bunch of other mental health issues and we have no idea what to do and now since we're afraid we're not going to actually talk about it we're just going to keep continuing the cycle yeah is there anything else you want to flag up to talk about eight to twelve or do you want said direct people where to go to find all your work right now I'm still in the works of a website of mine is actually under construction but if you just go on tour my Instagram page Caleb page cake you can just check me out on there that's where I'm most active you can look me up on Facebook a could the bears seven one six you can also check out my blogs on unpopular opinions dot com where I basically blog every Monday feel free to share with all your friends and family thank that's great is it okay if I ask you about your Instagram handle D. actually hits cake %HESITATION yeah I do actually do cake and I've never actually told anybody about this story but I'll just do a quick summary Stargate called shattered dreams by the band %HESITATION Johnny hates jazz this will be his name is why was it was more of a play on words of the actual band it didn't sound right to see Caleb page country ended with a cable it's K. and mentions it's been stuck here for like the past three years and it's funny because people like would come to my page you probably think I'm like a very hateful guy what they called the page to see all this positivity like what's all this right now like what you're shocked it's a gorgeous paying it's actually I think the year all your past Instagram post install cost you just for speak enough hope from positivity it's so lovely it's really wonderful you got a lot of inspiration there for a lot of this I think I hope you don't raise I hope I don't either but you know I I believe just leave which is eating better mentally and physically I don't think we're going to lose any time soon that's wonderful it's been so lovely talking to you yeah I really hope we can keep in touch I hope all keep smile and Connecticut's %HESITATION somebody's just says great interview you got some nice grease you definitely do well I hope that helps get word I eat for your back yeah I really encourage people to seek out hold on that I think I'll I'll try and get the back and read it all property because I'm not quite Hector really want to see what happens next is wrecking I really like them and I want to know what's going on with him and she's gonna be okay there's just no one more thing %HESITATION the Amazon paperback will actually be available August fourteenth okay I just had issues with Amazon but it'll be available August fourteenth for paperback but still right now you can get the ebook version and it'll still both books will come out August fifteenth two thousand twenty wonderful thank you so much Kayla you take care of yourself the visual cultures podcast with me call up there and my very special gas in the Paris thank you so much to him the music is common crimes by our tone licensed under creative Commons three point zero non commercial license and it is downloadable from CC mixer don't work thank you all so much for Watson this man give us all your lovely share some likes and hearts subscribe I can't expect and be access to each other