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2016 – A Year of Personal Mutations

Hello Earbuds and HAPPY NEW YEAR!  We finished off last year with the wildly successful Scary Ride.  Last year was huge for us – our biggest and best year yet full of new content, new listeners, new awards and several organic mutations (limbs?) that have mysteriously appeared on the majority of us in the Earbud Lair.  Sure hope they’re limbs – third and fourth arms would be so handy.

“Well, that’s great,” you say, “I didn’t get any mutations and my vacation is over and I’m back to work.  Why do I care about your successful year and extra arms?”  A good question and we have an answer – our success is your success.  Our extra limbs are- well, they’re OURS, but we’ll use them to deliver some kickass content this year for you, our devoted audio-slaves.  So what’s on deck for 2016?  Well we have a lot of new players onboard as well as some fan favorites.

First up in February we’ll see another release from Jared Rivet – who previously sent chills down your back with The Creaky Stairs.  His latest, On The Line stars Tracy Clifton and Clarke Wolfe as two lifelong friends who are having… ‘issues.’  Earbud regular (we can call him a regular despite his irregularities, right?) Sean Keller makes an appearance as well.  Guarantee you’re in for a wild ride with this one. 

Jeff Dixon (before coffee)

Jeff Dixon (before coffee)

We also have newcomer/writer/horror connoisseur Jeff Dixon who delivered a truly sensational piece called The Dark.  Note the word ‘sensational’ – it’s a deliberate choice and if you’re a fan of truly gritty horror stories, this one’s for you. Dixon makes use of the medium just the way fans of audio-horror hope.

Writer/Director Aaron Woolfolk famous for the CLIFFHANGER (when do we get a sequel Aaron?) episode There’s Something Going On With Sam will be back in the lair at least once, possibly twice – this time we’re going to make sure the lock on his room is secure – with some more supernatural goodness for the fans.

Nicholas Thurkettle (before coffee)

Nicholas Thurkettle (before coffee)

And of course Earbud champion Nicholas Thurkettle will be back with a few choice pieces including a recording of our first ever live performance of Boney McGee that took place in October of 2014, coproduced by On The Edge Theater.  And then later in the spring a time travel opus called Monday for the Sweepers is sure to worm its way into your brain and funnybone (poor, Phil in accounting.  He had to have his funnybone removed, but that’s another story). 

So there you go – a sneak peek at what’s in store for you Earbudites.  You Earbuddies.  You magnificent flock of awesome.  Hopefully we don’t have to tell you that there’s even more than that – you know better.

So let us proceed into this new year with a positive outlook, a hard work ethic and lots of gloves for our newly formed hands (or mittens, if you’ve happened to mutate lobster-like claws (like someone in accounting whose name we won’t mention)).

Best,

The Earbud Staff

Interviews and Credits and Previews, oh yes!

Hey! You made it through the week.  So happy for you!  Really for a while we didn’t think you were going to, but you crash landed your vintage private airplane on the golf-course of life and walked away… as the old saying goes.
Anyway we’ve been busy, busy, busy and have several things to cover in this missive.  First – The Creaky Stairs.  WOW. A huge success for us.  It’s been a very popular episode and has received a lot of very kind compliments.  So thanks right back to everyone who has enjoyed the episode.  One component that made Jared Rivet‘s vision (audiovision?) such a huge success – in addition to the wonderful performances by Tracy Clifton and Kristy Chavez – was the sound editing.  We were lucky enough to have Craig Good back, fresh from his inaugural work on This Monstrous Life.

Craig is a man of many talents, you know he used to- hey!  Hey, it just so happens I have Craig right here!

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EBT:  Hello Craig!  How are you?

CG:  Doing pretty well, Casey. Thanks.

EBT:  You have a very interesting background – you don’t come from the world of sound design initially, am I correct?

CG:  Not directly, no. I spent 31 years working first at Lucasfilm and then Pixar. I called it the world’s best film school, because I got to do a huge variety of things. One of them, on the early films, was post production coordinating. That meant I was working with Gary Rydstrom when he did the sound, occasionally jumping in to do foley and such. Also, in the old days one never knew when Ben Burtt was going to come through the halls looking for foley volunteers. In fact, he recorded me down in his “pit” one day. When Mola Ram dies at the end of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, that’s me screaming. He re-used that scream in some other movies, but I forget which.

EBT:  You can be the new Wilhelm!  I do recall, however, that you’ve always been something of an audiophile because even back when we first started I remember asking your professional opinion.  (I believe you own some amazing other-worldly sound system if I recall).

CG:  Yes, even before Lucasfilm I became friends with Dave Wilson, and helped him found Wilson Audio Specialties. We made audiophile recordings of live music, mostly pipe organs, and it when we would come back and listen to the tapes on his (excellent at the time) system it just didn’t hold up. That’s what drove him into the speaker business. He makes, I still argue, the best speakers anywhere. To thank me for helping out years ago they gave me a set of series 1 Sashas. Even though they’re near the “bottom” of his line, they really are pretty amazing. Most people have never heard what true audiophile speakers can do. Dave’s speakers are always a combination of precision and musicality. They’re my secret weapon, and I made all final mix decisions on your Earbud Theater episodes on them.

EBT:  (We do love secret weapons).  The quality shows, by way in the episodes, it really does.  This is the second time you’ve done post on one of our audio dramas, the first being This Monstrous Life.  Was there much of a difference in this process?   Was it easier or more difficult.  I know you actually nabbed some foley and sfx for this episode.

This episode was way easier for a couple of reasons. The first is that I learned a lot doing This Monstrous Life about how to work efficiently in Pro Tools with a complex session. The second is that this was much less complex. There were many fewer effects to find and cut in, and fewer environments to create. Also, the music was simpler to cut in, since this was all done by a film composer who knows how to write music that’s easy to edit.

EBT:  Tell us about the equipment you use.  I know of one toy you added to your arsenal that we down south of you are soon going to acquire as well…   Lay it on us, thrill the tech-heads.

All right, I’ll go all Professor Frink on you here.

So you’re getting a Zoom H6?  You’re gonna love it. I just recently got mine, and have been really impressed after using it on a couple of jobs in addition to yours. The crossed pair microphones are really pretty good, and make it easy to get phase-coherent stereo just about anywhere. To get the city background noises for The Creaky Stairs I just stood on a sidewalk in downtown San Francisco for a few minutes. Lurking outside a grade school got me the playground soundscape. For the footsteps I just mounted it on a tripod and used it as kind of an audio “selfie stick”. It let me have the mics right down near my feet as I stomped around in the house. I haven’t yet used the phantom power feature, but I do run the backup audio that’s 12 dB down (in case of unexpectedly loud sounds) and the feature that makes it start recording 2 seconds in the past! (It runs a buffer all the time, so if the band starts up unexpectedly you can get the take.)

My studio has a Neumann TLM-103 mic feeding an Avid M-Box. That’s what I used to get the flashlight and sleeping bag foley, as well as record the credits.

All of the above feeds into a 6-core Mac Pro with 32 Gb of RAM. That’s such a step up from the one-lung Mac Pro laptop that used to run my studio! Now I can run Pro Tools 11, Final Cut Pro, and just about anything else, all at the same time and it doesn’t break a sweat.

A real key to what I was able to do on this episode was iZotope software. It’s a lot like having Photoshop for sound. I used RX 4 Advanced to clean up the background noise from all the dialogue, and to pitch our actresses up by 1.25 semitones, which really made [Tracy and Kristy] sound like young boys. All the dialogue was gated and sweetened up using their Nectar 2 plugin. Remember those last two footsteps? The way I made them ring out in that distinctive way was using the transient shaping feature of their Alloy 2 plugin. It let me tweak the attack and sustain in different bands, which is just an amazing amount of control to have over a sound like that. It really let me sculpt it. Those iZotope folks have really figured this stuff out well. No wonder pretty much every movie post house relies on it. A friend of mine just got it, and it saved several takes on a movie project right out of the gate.

I’ve cobbled together a way to carry my mac into the room with the Sashas so I can make final mix decisions right there on the good system. I wrote more about that here on my blog. It was too late for This Monstrous Life, but it let me get to a good mix candidate on The Creaky Stairs in only a couple of hours.

EBT:  Now I’m even more impressed.  Well thank you again for stopping by, we hope you come back for more.

Sure thing, it’s been a pleasure.  Uh – could you unlock the manacles now?

EBT:  Oh.  Well.  I don’t have the keys, but I’ll find someone who does.

Hey wait!  Come back!

***

Pretty cool guy.  Going to give The Creaky Stairs a second listen, oh which reminds me.  Credits.  We were remiss in posting a complete set of credits so without further ado.

The Creaky Stairs

Written and Directed by Jared Rivet

Performed by Tracy Clifton as Tommy, Kristy Chavez as Danny, Jared Rivet as Adult Tommy and Seamus O’Toole as Dr. Williamson

Produced by Aaron Drown, Casey Wolfe, Nicholas Thurkettle and Branon Coluccio

Sound Editing and Effects by Craig Good – effects not created by Craig were found courtesy Freesound.org.

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/Kevin MacLeod:  Songs used include – “Ghost Story”, “Hush”, “Quinn’s Song:  A New Man”, “Quinn’s Song: First Night”, “Quinn’s Song: The Dance Begins”

Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Spot art for this episode created by the amazing Simeon Wilkins

Big thanks to everyone who participated in this!  Big thanks to that ghost for not haunting us as far as we know.

And finally…

We get a lot of reader mail (we don’t) asking us when the next episode is.  Well, you can rest assured that there is always a next episode in the works in one way or another.  Coming fairly soon we have a little ditty called, Scary Ride.  And another from newcomer Aaron Woolfolk called Something’s Going On With Sam.  But before those two hit, I’m sorry to inform you that you’re going to have a bad day…

…a very bad day…

… A Super.  Bad.  Day.

Superart

Interview With Jared Rivet

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Historic photograph of the recording session for The Creaky Stairs.

 

See that handsome fella in between Tracy Clifton and Kristy Chavez, the stars of Earbud’s latest podplay The Creaky Stairs? That’s Jared Rivet.  He not only wrote and directed the piece, but also played adult Tommy.  Super talented dude, super nice guy and was kind enough to come down to the Earbud lair to be interviewed (and lucky enough to make it out alive… hmmm).

 

EBT:  I’m sorry I’m late – Steve Reeves told me … nevermind… Hi Jared How are you?

I’m good! Damn that Steve Reeves. By the way it never even dawned on me that I gave him the same name as Hercules.

EBT:  I knew that sounded familiar!  A real larger than life bully.  So you’ve been a part of Earbud before, but as a performer on Over Halloween (which was great, by the way). What inspired you to write The Creaky Stairs?

A few years back, I had this incredibly strange part-time job delivering dietary supplements to people all over Los Angeles. It meant I had to drive all over L.A. County from 1 am to 5 am. People might not realize this, but L.A. basically shuts down between 1 and 2 in the morning. From 3 am to 5 am, the place is like a ghost town, like something out of I AM LEGEND. It was very surreal and involved me driving all over town and walking up to stranger’s houses in the dead of night to pick up their previous day’s supplements and drop-off new ones. The pay was not bad – not great – but they were reimbursing me for gas, and this is when gas was starting to go over $4 a gallon.

Anyway, I’m a hardcore horror guy through and through and driving around at night, it got hard to find interesting stuff to listen to. So I dug up recordings of old spooky radio shows (like INNER SANCTUM, LIGHTS OUT and SUSPENSE!) and also audio of some of the “scary stories” LPs so many of us had as kids. Some of those scary stories records are incredibly effective! Even to this day! It’s amazing to me that these things were produced for children (but thank god they were, I don’t think I’d be the person I am today without them).

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So I’m driving around during the graveyard shift, getting nostalgic for things like the Pickwick Records “Famous Ghost Stories with Scary Sounds” and Troll Records’ “Scary Spooky Stories” and realizing we just didn’t have those kinds of things anymore. (Listening to the scary stories records also wound up inspiring a feature screenplay which has not sold but continues to get interest from producers to this day.) I was also managing to creep myself out while out on this weird job.

One of my stops was always on the top floor of this old seaside apartment in Venice. It didn’t have an elevator, but it had the creakiest stairs I’ve ever heard. And I felt bad because there was no way I wasn’t waking up people up…there I was showing up at three in the morning every night, walking up all six flights and then immediately back down again. I would have hated me if I lived there…

One night, I trudged up those stairs like I always did but when I got to the top and started switching out old stuff for new stuff, I heard someone come in the front door downstairs. They started walking up the stairs, and kept coming, floor after floor.

I realized I wasn’t going to be able to avoid passing this person (which can be all kinds of awkward at three in the morning), so I started down the stairs. Their footsteps were getting closer so I made sure to make enough noise that they knew that I was coming, stomping from landing to landing.

I could hear that we were about to converge so I took a deep breath and circled around the next landing…

And there was no one there.

The footsteps just STOPPED! I listened and looked around. I didn’t hear a door open and close, there wasn’t anyplace to hide, the footsteps just ceased right in that moment.

Creeped out beyond words, I raced down the remaining flights, got outside, hopped in my car and drove away as fast as I could. And once my heart stopped racing I started laughing and within minutes, the story started to form in my head.

And I knew the only way to tell it was as an audio drama, so much of it was just sound. It wouldn’t have made a very visual scene, although I’m sure you could do a lot more in a movie or a TV show with the scene that happened to me. But I was listening to Pickwick Records, so I knew what I had to do.

I wrote down the major beats, wondering what the hell outlet I would have for this thing and slowly realized it was probably never going to find a home. It sat as a loose document on my computer for a few years and then you asked me to play The Director in OVER HALLOWEEN and I caught the bug big time. I’ve often said I was born in the wrong era, as I’d love to be doing radio plays as a full-time job if there was such a thing in this day and age.

EBT:  Me too.  Maybe we move to England, I think it’s fairly popular over there.  That story, by the way is just as freaky as your podplay.  So you’ve been a fan of audio fiction for a while – do you have any favorites?

Do I! Oh, man. Let’s see…that Pickwick Records “Famous Ghost Stories” which was produced by Wade Denning (it might be him doing all the voices too but I don’t know for sure). All of those are great, he did adaptations of “The Headless Horseman” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” on that record that are fantastic. But the real nightmare fuel on that album belongs to “The Hitchhiker.” It’s an adaptation of the urban myth of the guy who picks up the female hitchhiker on the side of the road in the middle of the night. It’s not just the story’s sense of overall dread that gets you but the intensity-level of the sound design of the zing at the end.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Td9x6NTBZ1Y

And then that Troll Records “Scary Spooky Stories” has some real shivers-down-the-spine frights that knocked me on my ass as well. Great ones. I think they’re all retellings of campfire tales and urban legends. All public domain. The classic is probably “The Skinny Toe” but the one that might have inspired me the most was probably “The Dare.”

http://youtu.be/VqAh0ltWzOE

There are a lot of great old scary stories records from the 60’s and 70’s and I won’t even touch on the radio shows from the old days because there are so many great ones.Anything you can find from SUSPENSE! or LIGHTS OUT will almost always be a treat.

“The Hitch Hiker”, (Wade Denning, “Famous Ghost Stories with Scary Sounds”, 1970)

EBT:  Those are some great selections and I have to admit I don’t know them all, so I’m looking forward to checking them out.  Ah, records.  I miss them, though I guess they’re making a comeback.  We actually just bought Basil Rathbone reading The Telltale Heart on vinyl.  And I especially miss the album art.  Speaking of – 

Simeon Wilkins really nailed the spot art for this episode. Did you discuss with him your approach to the look of it? What was the inspiration?

I don’t know why I had that particular image of us looking over the shoulders of the two boys while they read the old lady’s words with a flashlight, but for some reason it just seemed like an all-encompassing image for the episode. I knew that I wanted an EC Comics vibe for the style. I wanted something that wouldn’t look out of place on the cover of TALES FROM THE CRYPT or VAULT OF HORROR.

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I know we were originally talking about an ominous low angle shot looking up the stairs and having the door with the writing on it being this shadowy destination at the apex, and that actually would have been very cool, but I really had this EC cover/”splash page” image in my head.

We were suddenly in a time crunch because the episode came together so fast and I knew exactly who to call.

Simeon and I have been very good friends for 9 or 10 years now. He is a very accomplished artist who has been doing storyboards and concept art for movies of all shapes and sizes. Everything from TRICK ‘R TREAT and CABIN IN THE WOODS, to things like WRATH OF THE TITANS and TED. He’s a consummate professional and fast. (Simeon and I were trying to sell a concept for a comic book based on one of my screenplays about five years ago. No one ever picked it up but the artwork is stunning.) He’s also a great guy and an amazing friend.

So we were under the gun and I decided to call in that favor. He asked me what I was looking for, I gave him a description of it and drew an incredibly crude version of it on a piece of paper, took a picture of that sketch with my phone and zapped it over to him. (I also sent him the text of the words scratched into the door, but he never read the script and we were still mixing the episode so he didn’t get to hear it at that point.)

I don’t remember how quickly he turned the rough sketch around but it was FAST. And it was exactly what I wanted. I didn’t even have to nitpick. I told him we needed it within a week, he asked me how tomorrow would be. I thanked him profusely and left him to his devices.

He emailed the final version back to me a few HOURS later. The same day. It was unbelievable. And again: just perfect. As though he saw the exact image in my brain and plucked it onto the page.

I can’t thank him enough. Please visit his website! And if you’re making a film, hire this man!! He’s the best!

EBT:  Oh, he did this at warp speed and, from all of us in the Earbud lair, thank you Simeon!   Jared, you got some great performances out of your actors, Tracy Clifton & Kristy Chavez, how was that experience? And wait, was this your first time directing?

It was my first time! And what a learning experience it was! I was so glad I had you as my producer because you have written and directed so many of these things, I knew I could turn to you for any and all advice and suggestions and let me know if I was screwing the pooch. And I don’t think I could have given my voice performance without you there to let me know how it was coming across.

Anyway, I feel like I learned so much on this one — things I would totally do differently next time. It almost feels like all I had was a run-through of “how to direct an audio drama” and we could sit down and do the real one next week.

And it didn’t hurt that I had such good actors! It just proves the old adage about bringing in good people and trusting them to do what they do best.

I knew I wanted to go the route of using women as the voices of Tommy and Danny, a la Nancy Cartwright, Pamela Adlon and Pamela Hayden. I just needed to find women with the right kinds of voices.

Tracy Clifton and I have been friends for a few years now. She starred in a short that I co-wrote with Wilder Konschak a few years back called PARALYZED and I was lucky enough to play a small role in an episode of the second season of Wilder’s web series HELL FROZE OVER which Tracy is the star of. She’s extremely talented and 100% dedicated to her craft. Just an absolute pro. So she was a no-brainer and had the right voice for Tommy.

And Kristy Chavez was Tracy’s suggestion. They go way back, so I met with them together, and after about 60 seconds of hearing Kristy’s voice I knew she was the right choice. It didn’t hurt that I saw that she and Tracy already had an existing rapport. It really helped with their back and forth, which suddenly had a built-in comfort level it probably wouldn’t have had if I had thrown two strangers into the booth just meeting for the first time. They already SOUND like friends in the episode, which was invaluable.

EBT:  Before I let you go, I have to ask – any other ideas in your cranium? That is to say, can we expect another podplay from you sometime in the future?

Are you kidding? I would LOVE to do another one. In a heartbeat! This was a dream come true for me. And I’ve definitely got more ideas. Like I said earlier, “The Creaky Stairs” almost felt like a run-through, now I want to do the real one!

EBT:  The door is always open for you here (provided you read the entire inscription on it before coming in).  Thanks again Jared, we’re all looking forward to the next one!

Well, that was fun!


MacLeod Andrews records The Sounds Below – Once more, with feeling!

Did everyone have a lovely October? We certainly did and, as is usually the case, now that it’s over we’re feeling slightly melancholy. Somehow a table full of turkey and stuffing doesn’t sound as exciting as a table full of candy. So as we move on into November – the month where you don’t shave and you write a novel – we can ease into it by taking a dip in the treasures October had to offer. If you haven’t heard The Sounds Below yet, be sure to check it out. The lead, MacLeod Andrews, blew us away with his performance and we definitely are inviting him back. That is, if he’s not too frightened.

We also locked MacLeod in a room with our interview-cyborg (we all pitched in in building the thing which is half human, half David Brinkley, half robot). Here’s what Interview Cyborg (aka ICY) was able to glean from MacLeod!

ICY: You’ve worked in movies, commercials, and many other media, but your chief claim to fame is your work in audiobooks. When did you learn that your voice could really bring a story to life?

MA: I always enjoyed reading aloud. In elementary school I often chose to keep my hand down whenever a teacher asked, “who would like to read this for the class?” not because I was shy, but because I didn’t want to appear too eager in front of my classmates. I think I channeled that impulse to read into an interest in theater. I specifically became interested in voice over and narration when I was about 24 and booked some promo spots and my first audiobooks.

ICY: Your character, Chris, seems to be in a pretty bad place in our story. What excites you the most about exploring dark material as an actor?

MA: Generally speaking what’s fun about darker material is how unrestrained it can be. There’s screaming and crying and insane laughter or on the opposite end of the spectrum you might play a sociopath and do an end run around all feelings of empathy. But I think what’s most enjoyable is that, in a safe environment, you get to play with circumstances and behaviors most of us avoid at all costs in our day to day lives. It’s like bumper bowling with your id.

ICY: What projects are you working on right now that you think our listeners would love to know about?

MA: We’re about to finish up post production on a film called They Look Like People which I’m really proud of. It’s about two friends struggling with trust and mental illness. It has elements of horror but is a drama at it’s core. I’ll be doing a play by Charlotte Miller with Rising Phoenix Rep in LA next Spring called Thieves. It’s a rural family drama. Very excited about that. If you’re in the area come see it! Short run from March 18- April 4.

On the Audiobook front, I recently recorded the sequel to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, a Star Trek spoof called Willful Child, and am about to start recording Firefight: the next Brandon Sanderson novel in The Reckoners Series.

ICY: What sounds give you the biggest heebie-jeebies?

MA: Fingernails on chalkboards. The sound of a big bug skittering across something crinkly like a paper bag. The dead people who talk to me.

ICY: Is there a sci-fi/fantasy/horror novel that you would sell your soul to narrate?

I’ve gotten to narrate some pretty awesome sci-fi. I really wish I was British and Stephen Fry so I could do Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’ve always loved Frankenstein. “I should be thy Adam!” “Glut the maw of death…” and what not.

Very nice. Nice guy, great talent. Have a good November everyone, we’ll be back soon with a piece that’s a bit different, titled Bubbles… We think… we think that’s happening. You’ll just have to stay tuned.

Episode 12 – Over Halloween

Erika Lebeaux is not a big fan of Halloween – too many bad memories of a pretty nasty one when she was little. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that she would be here to interview the man w ho made the film that’s pretty much the definitive icon of the holiday. A man who is infamously cranky and who, in success, seems to have created his own monster. A man who is totally, completely, absolutely – OVER HALLOWEEN.

And so we’re off on our 12th episode of Earbud Theater. We’ve always liked the scary and we’ve always wanted to do a piece directly tied to the holiday. About a year ago we thought, “Hey, what if we asked xxxx if he wanted to write or at least participate in developing an Earbud idea? Everyone thinks of him when they think of Halloween.” So we reached out to him. He never answered. But through that failed run at the master of horror (well, one of ’em anyway) we came up with this wonderful little idea. We’re super pleased with the results and as always, we have a great, talented crew that helped out with this. Without further ado – THE CREDITS:

Produced by Aaron Drown, Casey Wolfe & Branon Coluccio
Written and directed by Casey Wolfe

Performed by
Daheli Hall as Erika Lebeaux
Jared Rivet as The Director
The Rotting Corpse of Val Lewton as The Monolith
And introducing
Buzby as himself

All songs by Kevin MacLeod can be found HERE. The songs used are:
Gathering Darkness
Gloom Horizon
Redletter
Static Motion
The Escalation
and
Echoes of Time

Engineering and Demon Summoning courtesy of Craig Good

Amazing Mind Blowing art by Megan Hutchison. We have a limited number of watercolor prints available for sale email us for details.

Arright, time to put this to bed. Now, you go to bed, plug in your headphones and enjoy Over Halloween.

The Pre-Show Warmup


Art by Megan Hutchison

You know what that is? A couple of sinister looking fiends? Yes. An amazing piece of art that captures the essence and fun of the Halloween season? Yes. But it’s also the spot art for our next podplay, Over Halloween. Yes, the edit is finally finished. It was torture, it was hell, but it was worth it – and we don’t mind going through hell and being tortured if it means something great for you, listener. And for the very first time, we have a limited number of watercolor prints signed and numbered by the artist that will be available for purchase! Ask for details.

Be on the lookout for the release within the next 24 hours. And don’t worry, we’ll absolutely let you know when it’s up and live. We’ll ride to your house on the leathery wings of night creatures if necessary.

But you can’t wait? You need something now? Well, you’re in luck – because here are some recommendations to put in your October Playlist, some homegrown and some from friends.

First, we have our top horror podcasts that you should check out, revisit or share: Bea Little, Shift, Beneath the Basement and Ethan Burrows are the podplays that lean towards the more horrific and creepy.

Second, we have recently become obsessed with The Truth podcast – you probably know it already, but it’s the brass ring in terms of audio storytelling. Real quality stuff. Here is their archive list – go there and check out the Halloween episode they did last year called The Devil You Know. The one about the ‘dentist’ freaked us the hell out.

Finally, gather round the campfire – Campfire Radio Theater that is! They just released part one of a two-part Halloween episode called RIP, but we’ll also recommend The Philadelphia Xperiment.

So there you have it. Tricks and Treats for your ears. As well as a visual tease to get you ready and primed for Over Halloween. (Who is the girl? The house looks familiar too… And what’s with the two… what are they…? Stay tuned.)

Audioverse Awards 2013

A picture is worth a thousand words. Here’s two thousand words:

Thanks to EVERYONE who helped pitch in to make these. It was a ton of fun and we’re looking forward to the next batch of audio-goodness.

The Granddaddy of all radio dramas…

We just realized Orson Welles was punk-rock-Elvis. Y’know, young, skinny, arrogant badass gains public awareness by creating chaos, outrage and timeless art – and then dying all fat and drunk. (eh, but to be fair, dying is a lose lose situation as far as grace and dignity go unless you fall on a grenade to save your platoon while riding a great white shark).

Welles himself said, “I started at the top and worked my way down.” Which is kinda true, though being a voice in the 1986 Transformers animated movie isn’t the absolute rock bottom of cinema – that would come years later with Michael Bay’s live version of Transformers. But we’re not here to talk about the bottom and we’re certainly not here to remind you about THIS horrible gift incident.

We’re here to remind you about this:

You see, Johnny Rotten had a group called The Mercury Theater and as one did in 1938, he and his band performed radio dramas… adapted performances of classic pieces of literature… cover songs if you will. And while they did okay with their covers of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan, but it wasn’t until the eve of Halloween that they did a performance so powerful that there was anarchy in the USA.

War of the Worlds was not only an innovative and ingenious adaptation, it was also a shrewdly calculated social experiment. It’s worth listening to if you’ve never heard it, but we also recommend this podcast that RADIOLAB put out a few years back. They not only dissect Welles adaptation, but a couple others that you may not have heard about. Check it out or live your life in ignorance. Your choice.

AND COME BACK MONDAY FOR A BRAND NEW PODPLAY! WHEEEEE!!!

Happy Halloween!

You’re waiting for the promised Halloween Earbud piece aren’t you? You’re so cool that way. I knew there was a reason we like people like you. Well it’s coming! It maybe a few hours late, though, because this frightening concoction of audio terror is going to require some more powdered fingernails, ectoplasm and eye of nNewt. 😉

It’s better to burn out than it is to become smashing.

So as we enter into what might be one of our favorite weekends of the year, let us know how you plan to spend it (what are you listening to? watching? reading?). We’re dying for a good horror movie recommendation.

About the Art…

And now a short rave about Megan Hutchison who has been gracious enough to do some art for the site. The spot art for Shift and Auld Acquaintance were hers as well as that for the upcoming pieces, Clang! and Always In Season (pictured here).

Very talented with a style that’s all her own. The first piece that grabbed my eye was an illustration called Chin Up featuring a dapper gentleman sitting thoughtfully on a stool – only this guy had the head of a raven. The next was a robot with a TV head holding a little girl in the palm of his hand. Like that, I’m hooked. I reached out to her to ask her to do some work for me and another writer friend for a comic book proposal. She obliged and she rocked that as well:

Pretty cool, huh? (That poor girl, she thought she was going to be genetically modified to have butterfly wings. What’s her boyfriend going to think of her now?)

Megan is currently working on a graphic novel for Archaia called Will-O-the-Wisp and has recently updated her website displaying a ton of her work, some of which you can actually buy. I highly recommend checking it out for the works mentioned above as well as many, many others.

Enjoy!