Why improvise audio fiction? Why not just sit down and write an ordinary script? In the radio of our times, whether documentary or fiction, we often search for methods to sound "as ourselves." If we want to reach out to listeners today, it is central to create what the critics of podcasting sometimes refer to as ”babble” or ”waffle.” Babble is the sound of the authentic, as if everything we say is invented spontaneously in the moment. One tool to achieve this is improvisation, and in this essay I will describe how we worked with improv in the podcast series The Dinner Party (2016) at Swedish Radio Drama.
We’ve seen a mini-boom of fictional podcasts pop up over the past year or two (Limetown, Archive 81, and The Bright Sessions, to name but a few). Even so, there’s still not a lot of audio fiction in the world, especially when you compare it to the vast amounts of fiction literature, films, and plays produced each year. But bridging that gap is a bit tricky because what makes an audio story work is very different from what works well in print, film, or on stage. The lack of visual elements in audio storytelling poses particular challenges for fiction, which relies on building imaginary worlds and characters. And I think one of the best ways of understanding what these challenges are and how to tackle them is by exploring the process of adaptation.
We're excited to share with you our new look along with some additions to our website. Each month we will be featuring essays on the craft of making audio fiction. We're launching with the amazing insights from Love Me producers Cristal Dunhaime and Mira Burt-Wintonick about how the familiar can enhance your creativity. And get ready for upcoming essays from Jonathan Mitchell of The Truth, James Urbaniak from Getting on With James Urbaniak, and many others. A very special thanks to The Slate Group and Panoply Network for their generous contribution that made these essays possible.
In this episode of Serendipity, we play 5 of the 10 finalists for our 2016 Very, Very, Short, Short Stories Contest. Featuring: "Bitterly Cold" by David Garland, "The Staging Area" by Jason Gots, "Noir" by Pa Ying Vang, "#blessed" by Jackie Heltz, and "Blinking" by La Cosa Preziosa. Read More
We're excited to announce the 2018 Sarah Awards Winners! This year is the most international yet, with winners from Belgium, UK, Canada, Croatia and the U.S. Find out who won what at our Sarah Awards Ceremony on Monday, April 23rd at The Players Club. That evening we will also be announcing the winner of The Brave+Bold Contest. Hope you can join us! Read More
James Urbaniak is the kind of podcaster that other producers love to hate. His show, Getting On with James Urbaniak, consists of nothing but a single voice reading a fictional soliloquy, often written by someone else. There is almost no elaborate soundscaping, no intricate plot development, little evidence of endless editing sessions to get the thing just right. Getting On sounds like Urbaniak cruised into the studio, an iced latte in hand, and finished recording before his drink grew tepid. None of this would be infuriating if the podcast in question wasn’t so good. Read More