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The words "Audio Dramatic" on top of the logo, of a pair of headphones with a pen across them, against a sparkly daytime sky with peeks of skyscrapers at the bottom edge
Hello, fellow listeners!

Wow, welcome back to the full-length Audio Dramatic! It's great to be back, and I hope you had a good August. Thank you for waiting for me to return from my time at Podcast Movement, where I got to meet a lot of great podcasters in person and got filmed crying at Lauren Shippen's keynote in the sizzle video, which encompasses all of my emotions at once somehow.

But there's BIG NEWS to do first!

I've been cast in VALENCE! You can read the announcement here. VALENCE is an urban fantasy podcast that deals with trauma, data privacy and surveillance, found family, and the intersection of magic and technology. A tech mogul has created a device that restrains people's magic--for their safety and the safety of others, of course. This goes about as well as you'd expect.

VALENCE is currently crowdfunding on an IndieGoGo in order to pay our producer (Julia Schifini!) and the actors (you can see who's been announced so far on the cast page). I'd love it if you could donate, spread the word, and remember to check in with our updates!
CASTING IT BACK - MINI-REVIEWS
International Podcast Month, Take the Mass Pike: Stanley Park (episode 2.1): It's September, which means it's International Podcast Month again! IPM will have a ton of episodes this month, including actual plays, improvised and scripted fiction, non-fiction, and creator conversations. The opening episode is a really cute and gay slice-of-life from Take the Mass Pike, about two college students who go on a long walk together. It's just genuinely sweet, with a bit of a small surprise at the end, and the perfect opener.[14:07]

Moonbase Theta, Out, Roger, Michell, Wilder (episode 2.2): The episodes of this second season are longer than the first, but no less structured. The season tracks the history of the first season through the viewpoints of three members of the Moonbase Theta team and their records, giving everyone a fuller picture of what happened. The impending doom we all know is coming only serves to make listening and falling in love with characters more difficult, and ruins nothing thanks to stellar writing. [21:55]

DERELICT, Through the Gate (episode 1): This is a space soundscape that is terrifying in how detailed it is, following a team of washed up, blackmailed, and bribed engineers and scientists who go out to investigate a derelict vessel belonging to their ex-employer, a powerful corporation, in an unexplored star system. When they lose contact with their home ship, everything becomes that much more complicated, especially since certain people on that ship know way more about the vessel than they're saying. A classic sci-fi scenario given life in audio, Derelict hits the throttle on tension that hangs from the sharp character hooks of the strange team, and doesn't let up. [38:47]

The Loyalists, Serpents in Eden (episode 1): The return of The Loyalists was the most pleasant surprise of the week. The Loyalists is a science-fiction drama with a heavy dose of grim satire, about wealthy aristocrats being protected by the government and the military in the middle of a jungle, during a chaotic civil war. The first episode nails the tone perfectly: it's darkly humorous, with an aged cynical narrator perspective, and such a colorful cast that you can absolutely pick out which character is someone you've met in real life. [44:50]

Museum at Tomorrow, A beber y a tragar (episode 2): Jeffrey Nils Gardner's (Unwell, Our Fair City) newest project is a nonfiction-fiction hybrid that presents itself as layered audio that acts like a seeing-eye puzzle. Depending on how you focus on different parts, you'll get a different story, built from interviews, field recordings, trips to museum, and other audio items. "A beber y a tragar" swirls between abandoned homes and the possibility for reframing and rebuilding, telling stories that reside deep in the heart. [20:06]

Ellie and the Wave, The Beginning of the End (episode 1): The Wave is the impending global digital catastrophe: everyone's digital files are being deleted, erased from history and existence. Ellie, in preparation, buys an analog recorder with too many wires and records everything, starting from the first videos of her childhood. This first episode puts Ellie's wit front-and-center, with an upbeat  take on her own life with some cynicism inspired by the end of things like her job as a meme aggregator, on the relationships that have surrounded her like planets around a sun. [25:32]

The Call of the Flame, The Lays of Workingar (Part 2 of 3, episode 9.2): Sometimes, you really need an adventure off in fantasy lands, something that really brings home the vibe of classic quests that span a large, unknowable place. The Call of the Flame's most recent episode is a wonderful window in character backstories, into building them up based on secrets they've kept buried (whether they agreed to have them spoken of or not), and it's exactly the right moment for these stories (and some problems on the water). [19:59]

Civilized, Sacrifice (episode 8): It's always impressive with an ongoing improvised fiction can so easily lay the breadcrumbs to a thrilling reveal, even a partial one. "Sacrifice" is a episode with the same level of black and bleak hilarity as the rest of the show, a blithe attitude towards death for particular in-universe reasons and secrets upon secrets that are revealed mostly by accident. Mostly because Bob's incompetence can get us all there in the end. [13:29]

Meteor City, Sirens (episode 5): The story of post-apocalyptic Detroit through the dogged adventures of Bianca. Something's up and someone is trying to prevent Bianca from figuring out what they're doing, through a strange application of violence. Bianca's voice is full of life, and Daisy Guevera is a consummate voice actor--she's angry and sometimes petty and a little bitter, but desperate to help her city and warm and fascinated by the new. It's impressive how two visions of Detroit can be built at the same time, through Bianca's voice. [20:11]
CASTING LIGHT: MICROFICTION
a tiny plant sprouting from in between broken tiles

In a world that moves so fast all the time, and where the consumption of media has become a constant barrage of options with little opportunity to sit down and savor (or at least, feel like you have the opportunity, as a media journalist), I’ve found some comfort in microfiction and microepisodes of non-fiction. They’re the bite-sized episodes of audio that you can swallow in under ten minutes, and that means they’re perfect for a small section of time where you can sit with them to ruminate on them, to get excited, even if you dn’t have a ton of time.

Much like flash fiction in the writing world, I often see these episodes being dismissed as being of little substance, or too short to either contain any important information or ability to impact emotions. But the writing and creation of microepisodes is just as complex as that of flash fiction, because yes, there’s not a lot of room to work within -- but as various audio fiction creators have mentioned, including Erin Kyan of Love and Luck, giving yourself limitations and restrictions can open up your mind for storytelling.

I would be remiss to talk about microfiction without mentioning the breadth of work of Anthony R. Olivieri (2298, Magic King Dom, Great & Terrible, The Easiest of All the Hard Things), who specializes in surprising and hurting his audience in as little time as possible. 2298 was admired as a work that lingered in contrasts, in uncomfortably tense music that reflected the path of its protagonist, and in repetition. Out of his work, his most recent, The Easiest of All the Hard Things, has been a source of intense interest for me, where near-total isolation on a deserted island (if you don’t count Turtle) leads to a forefronting of character and one single event that changes everything. It’s a butterfly wings to tornado form of a bottle scenario.

But you don’t even need episodes where an event happens on screen. The first season of Moonbase Theta, Out was a masterclass in using structure to create a lingering horror scenario. In five to six minute episodes, we understood that the character of Roger had a strict weekly report to make on the shutdown of the scientific base on the moon he was on, and thirty seconds at the end for a personal message to his partner. The incremental reveal of what’s happening both on the base, and on Earth as it affects the base, is one of the most worrisome reveals for me in a long time.

Finally, a lot can happen in a short time, as Fan Wars: The Empire Claps Back has shown in the first half of their season by presenting the evolution of a romantic relationship in less than ten minute scenes of Skype calls between two people who spend a lot of time fighting about Star Wars. Here, the short episodes are a boon to the sensation that “life comes at you fast”, and sparks are often too hot to grasp with ease.

I encourage everyone to try some microfiction, not just in the five-minute slot you have left of your lunch break (though that’s great too!) but in maybe the ten-minute moment of peace you have before you really have to pull out of that parking lot. Let the work sit with you and give it some space, even if you don’t have a lot of time. Maybe listen to it twice, and see what you notice the second time around that you didn’t the first time. Embrace microfiction and microepisodes as the audio crunch you need in a busy day! And if you’re interested in writing and recording some, check out some of the advice out there for flash fiction and adapt it to suit your audio needs.

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS
Tips on Social Media Management for your Podcast
July Fiction Podcast Debut Roundup What a Sampling!
If you want to see more reviews, interviews, and other articles from me, you can support me at my Patreon, or at my ko-fi account for a one-time donation!
 
Patreon Ko-Fi
NEWS CLIPPINGS

The Beacon is crowdfunding on IndieGoGo for their second season! They're seeking $3000 and have 2 weeks left to the campaign. The Beacon is an urban fantasy about college students who discover they have magical powers, and the otherworldly creatures on campus they must face.
Podcast Maker Weekend is a series of podcasting workshops that runs alongside the London Podcast Festival, featuring sessions on the art, craft, technology, business, and politics of podcasting, on September 14-15. You can get tickets here.
Null and Void is casting and looking for an audio editor! This is a science-fiction podcast about a young woman who must work together with friends and the mysterious Adelaide to foil a tech company's monopoly. Auditions and submission information here.  Open until October 1st.
RECOMMENDED READING
I love Elsie Escobar's article on legacy and podcasting. It's such a great and emotional read on why she started podcasting.

If you need a laugh, read about Wil Williams' quest, sent to them by RadioPublic.
BY THE WAY,

I'm so very excited by all the new projects I've gotten involved in, and the changes coming up on my horizon! I'll be releasing a survey for Audio Dramatic readers in the next couple of months, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

If you'd like to ask me questions or comments, you can reply to this newsletter (it goes directly to my email!) or reach out to me on Twitter.

Happy listening,
Ely
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