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A podcast (demo) I have made

All right, sorry if there was a thread I should have tacked this onto instead. I did look... and didn't really see anything that quite suited.

I've been thinking a lot lately about starting a podcast, and, being a HUGE fan of old time radio dramas, particularly science fiction like X Minus One (old time radio precursor to the Twilight Zone), I'd really like to do a serial radio play.

With the important qualifier here that really, I know very little about podcasts. After browsing through a bunch, though, there don't seem to be too many rigid standards..?

With the help of one very nice fellow over on /r/recordthis , I got some voice samples to mix a very brief demo scene, and I'd love for anybody to listen to it and give me some critique. I'm particularly interested to know if this is something people might be interested in listening to (and if serial drama or sci-fi podcasts are something you typically listen to.)

So to set up the scene, our protagonist Roget (pronounced like the thesaurus) has woken up in the totally abandoned city of Boston at some unspecified point in our future. To make matters even weirder, he realizes that he's a robot, and he's pretty sure he wasn't a robot before. Is he a malfunctioning AI? Is he hallucinating? He has no idea what happened. After a few aborted attempts to balance on the single wheel that seems to be his source of locomotion, he's off...

Suddenly, he remembers Cadence. He has to find Cadence. He doesn't remember who she is to him, exactly, just that she's a little girl and it's his job to protect her, and he has no idea where she is.

Scouting the city in a panic, trying to get his bearings and piece together what exactly the heck is going on, he rounds a corner and encounters a massive military security mech, and that's where this audio demo starts...

There's some swearing and parts of the mix are a bit loud, so start with low headphones/speakers if you're going to listen.

Mostly I want to know if there's any glaring technical issues or any elements that make it physically unpleasant to listen to, but also would love to know whether this teaser makes you:

* at all curious about what a serial with this character in this setting would be like
* want to listen to more

Thank you a thousand times in advance for any feedback on this small (< 1 min) sample, with the understanding that it's sort of light on context even with my setup...


  • Both asterisks! I did not find it unpleasant to listen to.
  • edited October 2013
    P_TOG said:

    Both asterisks! I did not find it unpleasant to listen to.

    Thank you!! Seriously appreciate it. I'm working on a script for a full episode, and feedback good or bad is like motivation fuel. :)

    Post edited by muppet on
  • I've started casting my radio drama! I've gotten readings from lots of folks on reddit, some of them pretty talented! My favored lead, though, is hard to get a hold of, so I'm hoping somebody else will try for that part. Nobody has read for Roget except him. :(

    I wonder if anybody has ever tried Kickstarting an indie podcast? What would rewards be? Votes in a plot tree? Seems too confining. I'll have to think about that. It'd be cool to be able to pay the voice actors, but the budget can't come from me this year. Maybe next. :/

    This is the draft script for the first scene of the first episode:
  • edited November 2013
    There's some good hooks in there to turn me into a regular listener! It was fun to read, and I'm sure listening to it as a completed thing would make it even more fun!

    The only rewards I can really think of are, like, a collection of outtakes for each episode or something. Maybe at a certain tier, people could name characters, too? Although, that one could be dangerous.

    EDIT: Oh, access to these script drafts and getting to read it before it's all recorded would also be something cool for backers, me thinks.
    Post edited by P_TOG on
  • If it got popular, I'd be worried about those backers leaking the scripts and spoiling the show, but that's probably putting the cart before the horse anyway. :)

    I looked on Kickstarter and there were only four reality-based podcasts on there, that seem to be from projects that people likely already know about.

    IndieGoGo has a TON of podcasts, few or none of which seem to be dramatic fiction ones.. so maybe. I need to get way better at promoting things generally. I have all sorts of ideas and next to zero social skills. :)
  • Outtakes. Backer-only swag. Backer-only live Q&A streams (backers can see it live and ask the questions, but the results are public later).
  • I'll have to persuade the VAs to send along their outtakes when they record, if there are any. I think having people record in different physical locations probably limits the potential for funny outtakes, but there could still be some.

    I like the Q&A idea and the swag idea. I need to commission at least one promotional image soon, and maybe a logo, too.
  • Also, a good backer reward is naming bit characters after the backer. Background names of things and places. I've seen that done before.
  • Rym said:

    Also, a good backer reward is naming bit characters after the backer. Background names of things and places. I've seen that done before.

    I'd add something about people can name things within reasonable naming boundaries to avoid the demand of racial slurs and naughty words.
  • Yeah I wouldn't want to get too lawyer-y, but I'd probably say something like "producer gets final veto power on naming choices."
  • I would want to listen to more of this. Maybe tone down the robot nature of the voice (just mildly) initially and then elevate it to the state that it was, maybe just over the first few words so that the listener can connect with the character unless this isn't the very starting. Or leave it how it is, just a suggestion.

    As far as backers go you could just have devices or props named after the backer. For example

    "Rogeth stared down the Decoster laser rifle's targeting lens; lining up the shot, the rifle's targeting system was programmed to account for all known environmental variables. He squeezed the trigger".
  • So is Roget spelled that way because the letters in Robot got mixed up? Like the "b" got flipped around to be a "g" or something?
  • edited November 2013
    I think I just like the somewhat obscure name and have little excuse for it. :-)

    Skope, the series starts with unfiltered human voices. This "condition" results from drama, so I think/hope people will relate. I like your idea about maybe naming props after backers, and thanks for the encouragement on the thing itself!

    I had some promised auditions vanish on me and I'm still looking for a Roget. Anybody interested? :-)
    Post edited by muppet on
  • edited November 2013
    Actually, I could use another audition or two for Rosalind, as well. I've got a couple promising prospects that would probably improve with practice, but nobody really strong.

    Edit - Ah! Heard from the promising Roget guy. :D
    Post edited by muppet on
  • Rosalind is cast! Man, I'm super excited about this. :D
  • edited November 2013
    I just cast a guy as the lead (Roget) AND as the Announcer that is so freaking talented, there's no way in the world that he should be doing free voice work. Seriously, I'm wondering what the catch is. Hot damn.
    Post edited by muppet on
  • Once you have something produced, make sure you pass it on to the folks at SSFaudio. They often do reviews of science fiction audio dramas.
  • Thanks for the tip! I'm definitely fumbling around trying to figure out how exactly to promote this. There are a few directory type sites but it's hard to tell how active they are, and I'm not really at all versed in "podcast culture", if there is such a thing.
  • I would try and get an advertisement / promotion for your podcast on another podcast.

    Best if it's something similar to what you are doing, that way you'll be catering to a target audience.

    The rest is social media and hopefully networking with fellow podcasters in the same genre.
  • Ha. Networking. Yeah. Someday I'll figure that out. :)
  • I sent out the final draft scripts to the voice actors on Sunday and now I'm just sitting here ruminating over how terrible and tropey and silly it is. :-P

    Last night my daughter read a part that called for heavy voice modulation to sound like a chorus of synthetic voices, and that came out all right (although no matter how I coached her she can't shed her "reading lilt"), and things were OK. As long as I'm actively working on the project, I tend to believe in the project. The minute there's downtime, I sit back and go "Holy crap, this is fucking stupid."

  • Don't worry, the next one will be less fucking stupid, no matter how fucking stupid this one is. Personally I really liked the little demo clip.
  • Well thanks for that. :)

    I tried to choose a dramatic clip for the demo but now I'm worried that because it's all amped up, it doesn't represent the series.

    Hopefully the VAs will get stuff back to me quick so I have less time to brood. :) I'm working on foley stuff in the meantime. I never would have figured on ever doing a podcast, but this is actually a lot of fun in between all the crippling insecurity...
  • I just got the reel for the first take of episode one from the actress playing Rosalind. Holy freaking crap! It's even better than her audition! Not only is it a clean and professional recording, but she gave me like 6 or 7 takes of EVERY line, and her confidence and inflection(s) are freaking perfect! There's at least four usable takes for every phrase and in a variety of inflections to pick from as I match her up with the Roget actor.

    I've gotta figure out an indiegogo or kickstarter or SOMETHING once there's some listeners on this thing. These guys have gotta get paid, they're way too good.
  • I spent probably a combined total of 5 hours working on the first episode today... and I've got 2 minutes, 35 seconds of *almost* finished audio to show for it.

  • I know that feel. I probably logged a full week into my Born to Run AMV, which was only 4 minutes long. For what it's worth, it takes less time as you do it more.
  • OK, so, here's the first draft of the first scene. No intro, no announcer, no theme, just the acting and sound effects.

    I'd love feedback if anybody is so inclined. It's just under 9 minutes long.

    WARNING: this track starts with some sawtooth electronic noise. Start with a lowered volume and go from there. In the episode, I'll ease into it (and there's a plot reason for it.) 1 - first draft.mp3
  • It's the new year so I decided to stop being too self conscious to even attempt to draw things (a condition I've had for like, twenty years now) and illustrate the main characters of the podcast. I'm pleased to say that I'm not utterly ashamed of the result... :D

  • Dynamic!
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