Audio Drama Production Podcast: How to make radio drama, radio plays, & audio fiction

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August 2016
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Syndication

Should you try to steer clear of politics, or is it okay to write a political message into your story? That's part of the discussion on this week's episode.

Also, what about your characters? Can they have all sorts of beliefs and viewpoints without these ever becoming the main focus of the story?

We'd love to hear your own views on this - send them over to podcast@audiodramaproduction.com

Links

Direct download: 95ADP_Politics_Character_Viewpoints.mp3
Category:Audio Fiction -- posted at: 11:44am UTC

The subject of pitching original content ideas to Audible has been a popular one this year.

It began with Eric Nuzum's appearance on the podcast, and was followed up by Joseph Tucker's interview with Audible "comisionee" Chris Winstanley.

Joseph returns this week with another interview - this time with Rebecca Fenton of Audible UK's 'Original Content' team.

If you've got an idea for an Audio Drama you think they'd like to commission, you can get in touch with them at submit@audible.co.uk

You might also be interested in the Chasing Audible podcast, and in particular, their interview with Steven Jay Cohen (episode 10. This show takes a look at publishing on Audible as well as coming up with story ideas that might be pitch-worthy.

And Joseph himself has a new show out, we've mentioned it before, it's called Mirth Defect. It's absolutely hilarious, but not for the easily offended.

Neither is one of our own Audio Dramas, actually. We've been making one recently called A Scottish Podcast, so feel free to check that out too.

Oh, and we mention a great video by Mike Russell on producing Audio Drama in Adobe Audition's new Essential Sound panel. 

As always, you can get in touch with us about anything and everything at podcast@audiodramaproduction.com 

Direct download: 94ADP_Pitching_Audio_Drama_Ideas.mp3
Category:Audio Fiction -- posted at: 6:56am UTC

A bit of a discussion around the habits of Audio Drama listeners, and why people are naturally drawn to discover shows similar to the ones they know and love. 

Inspired by a book called The Power of Habit, which is absolutely worth a read. 

We talk about the pros and cons of creating a show which fits with current trends. You can grow very quickly, but you also open yourself up for some early criticism, so be prepared for that. 

On the other hand, you might be making something very different to what's out there at the moment. Because of this, perhaps you're seeing small download numbers and low engagement. Does that mean you should give up and try something else?

Also mentioned on the show, our new AKG-C214 mics, Roswell BC, Wynabego Warrior, Atheist Apocalypse, Mirth Defect, and The Adventure of Don Clark. 

And we want you to be a part of some future episodes. Can you send us an audio clip or three (between 1-5mins) with your take on the following -

  • Tips on making your listener laugh
  • Tips on scaring your listener
  • Advice you'd give to yourself before you started making Audio Drama

Send them to us in MP3 form to podcast@audiodramaproduction.com before the 15th August! 

Direct download: 93ADP_Listener_Habits_Trends_and_Bad_Reviews.mp3
Category:Audio Fiction -- posted at: 12:30pm UTC

Kc Wayland isn't just the guy behind We're Alive and Lockdown. He's the very reason many of us are listening to and making Audio Drama of our own. 

It's always a real pleasure to welcome him onto the show, and this is another conversation packed with insight and value. 

With Lockdown in the can and available for release, Kc will also be working on an Audio Drama with Laurence Fishburne later in the year.

On top of that he's currently writing an Audio Drama production 'bible' titled "Bombs Always Beep" which will form the basis for a course he'll be teaching at a University in Southern California. 

You can keep up to date with all of these projects on Kc's website and by following him on Twitter at @waylandprod

Direct download: 92ADP_Kc_Wayland_Audio_Theater_For_The_Mind.mp3
Category:Audio Fiction -- posted at: 8:04pm UTC

Download figures are discussed, and sometimes obsessed over by podcasters. It's better to focus your attention on those who are listening, rather than stressing over those who aren't. Keep creating great Audio Drama and you will grow your audience. 

With that said, let's take a look at some hard numbers that can provide useful milestones for your show as it grows. These are compiled by Libsyn and were presented originally on their podcast The Feed.

Based on the number of downloads received for a single episode in the 30 day period following its release. 

More than 169 downloads puts your podcast in the top 50%

More than 1300 downloads puts your podcast in the top 20%

More than 3800 downloads puts your podcast in the top 10%

More than 5000 downloads puts your podcast in the top 8%

More than 9600 downloads puts your podcast in the top 5%

More than 27,000 downloads puts your podcast in the top 2%

More than 52,000 downloads puts your podcast in the top 1%

Also mentioned on the show, The Once & Future Nerd's new USB cassetteMirth DefectBootleggerWe're AliveFire on the MoundPen & PaperArs ParadoxicaReturn HomeNova DarkParagon Podcast Network

Direct download: 91ADP_Download_Numbers.mp3
Category:Audio Fiction -- posted at: 6:14pm UTC

There's five things that are really important in the writing and production of quality Audio Drama, and they all begin with C.

Conspiracy? Well, that does too. 

So what are the five Cs of making Audio Drama?

Characters - your listener doesn't want one dimensional cardboard cutout characters. He/she wants you to make them friends and give them enemies.

Cast - You need a cast to bring your characters to life. Build a small circle of people you like and trust to do a good job. Treat your cast with respect, and look after them as much as you can.  

Consistency - Getting stuff out there is important for building momentum and staying on the radar of your audience. Make sure your output is sustainable in relation to the time you have to make stuff. 

Community - Build relationships with people, make friends, help people, share your knowledge, learn from others, promote the shows you love, leave reviews, and collaborate on projects. 

Critique - Always seek to improve. Get honest feedback from others, and return the favour. Create a small 'mastermind' group where you can help each other to become better at what you do.

Also mentioned on the show. Small Town Horror. Ars Paradoxica. The Bright Sessions. Wynabego Warrior. Iron Horses Can't Be Broken. Alba Salix. The Behemoth. Lockdown. And A Scottish Podcast. 

We're also through to the finals of the New Media Europe Awards 2016 (Audience Appreciation Awards category) and would really appreciate it if you could take a second to vote for us on Twitter.  

Direct download: 90ADP_Five_Cs_of_Audio_Drama.mp3
Category:Audio Fiction -- posted at: 4:18pm UTC

On this episode we're joined by Zoe and Leon from WordPlay. I've been keen to get them on the show for a while to talk about the audio drama workshops they've been running in schools, bookshops, and community centres. They have their own podcast too so be sure to listen and subscribe!

"We run radio drama making workshops for children and adults across the UK. Take up the WordPlay challenge and script a short radio drama, perform it in our pop-up studio and broadcast it LIVE on air with all the sound effects to go with it! We also offer training to everyone and anyone who wants to delve into the world of podcasting, and run courses for children who want to learn the ins and outs of presenting & producing their own talk radio show, concluding with a live broadcasting party!"

Elsewhere on the show, The Cleansed and Radio Drama Revival join the Wondery podcast network. 

The Audio Drama Network is almost up and running, and it needs volunteers - please email me at podcast@audiodramaproduction.com if you're interested in finding out more. 

And my Audacity Podcast Production video course (in association with The Podcast Host) is now available. I'd love it if you checked it out, and if you click and buy through the link here I'll earn a small commission too! 

Direct download: 89ADP_Running_Audio_Drama_Workshops.mp3
Category:Audio Fiction -- posted at: 1:58pm UTC

Unless your entire cast are working remotely, you’re going to need a place to record your Audio Dramas. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ answer here, and there are a lot of factors that come into play. You’ll have many things to take into consideration regardless of where you plan to set up your ‘studio’, and that’s the purpose of this episode.

Recording at Home

  • You need to decide if you’re purely focused on recording voices, or if you’re working ‘around the mics’
  • If it’s the former, you’ll want sound dampened conditions. This will benefit your audio quality in post-production.
  • Are you setting up a permanent or semi-permanent studio?
  • External walls can be an issue. Is your neighbour a drummer?
  • Windows – do you have a busy road or environment outside?
  • Does the floor creak when you walk around?
  • Internal noise, are you in cupboard with boiler or gas meter?
  • Other noises around the home, like the fridge. Try Ric Viers car keys tip.
  • Equipment – Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, or for multiple actors, M-Audio M-Track 8, SM58 microphones.

Field/Location

The great outsdoors are free to use. Working on location offers a great natural soundscape built in to your recordings.

  • Choose sites with your ears, not your eyes.
  • Take as many provisional sound samples as you can.
  • Roads – look for natural barriers (trees, conifer hedgerows)
  • Site visits – consider midweek and weekend differences.
  • Weather – how exposed are you?
  • Cheap or affordable gear – Zoom H1, ATR3350 (upgrade to Zoom H4 or recorder with ¼” inputs for more control)

Hiring a Studio or Rehearsal Space

Costs money, but can give session a sense of professionalism. What should you consider?

  • Does it have a deadroom or sound dampened conditions?
  • Does hire include engineer?
  • Does hire include equipment?
  • Is there a band playing in the room next door?
  • Equipment – vocal condenser mics

Other Options 

  • School, college, community centre, church

Also mentioned on this episode.

Alien: Out of the Shadows, We’re Alive: Lockdown, Archive 81, The Longest Podcast In The World.

Get your best Audio Drama tips and advice in to podcast@audiodramaproduction.com for inclusion in our 100th episode.

Direct download: 88ADP_Finding_and_Creating_Recording_Environments.mp3
Category:Audio Fiction -- posted at: 2:15pm UTC

It's a frequently asked question in Audio Drama, and an interview with Brian and Jerry at Great Northern Audio Theater (which can be heard in the second half of this episode) prompted our discussion on the subject. 

Great Northern Audio recently produced a 90 minute one-off 'feature length' Audio Drama called In The Embers. So does it matter if you make a 5min episode, or a 2 hour episode? How do you decide what length your episodes should be? Or is it something you should simply ignore during the writing process? 

Also mentioned on this episode, The Behemoth, Breadcrumbs Magazine, Pen & Paper, Greater Boston, and Alba Salix

On top of that we mention that we'll be speaking on the UK Podcasters Online Conference on Thursday 21st April at 1pm UK time. 

As always, we'd love your feedback on anything discussed here (or anything else that's on your mind), so drop us a line at podcast@audiodramaproduction.com

Direct download: 87ADP_Episode_Lengths.mp3
Category:Audio Fiction -- posted at: 12:20pm UTC

Having a great story and cast, along with excellent recording and production values should be enough to take your show to the top, but that isn't the case.

If you have poor cover art and a website that looks like a 1998 bulletin board, most listeners won't even give your show a chance.

How much thought are you putting into attracting potential fans to your site, and how easy is it for them to subscribe and listen to your episodes once they get there? 

Direct download: 86ADP_All_Round_Packaging.mp3
Category:Audio Fiction -- posted at: 6:57am UTC