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“Let’s Celebrate… WITH SANDWICHES!”

As a matter of fact, this has been the worst year of my life. Again, just as a matter of fact. And I realize that as I say this maybe I’m being too pessimistic so let me rephrase: worst year of my life… so far.

We all go through difficult times and I only bring it up to point out that even when we’re slogging through the necessary unpleasantness life occasionally delivers there are bright spots. And maybe because of what we’re going through those inspiring moments shine a bit brighter than usual. My highlights had to do with the support of friends and family and are of no interest to you (I don’t blame you (and where is this going anyway?)). One moment that does stand out is getting to work with Stephen Tobolowsky.

You don’t know him, but you do because the guy has been in a trillion movies (or 217 to date if you’re into accuracy). He looks like this:

And also this:

And you most likely remember this:

I’m impressed with the guy, not just for his work ethic, but because of this podcast he has that’s grown over the past few years. It’s called The Tobolowsky Files and was the brainchild of David Chen who writes for the excellent website /Film. Dave saw the indie film Stephen Tobolowsky’s Birthday Party and wisely surmised that there were perhaps more stories Stephen had to tell. He was right. Stephen’s criteria is “a good story well told,” but he’s underselling. These are GREAT stories. They can be moving, inspiring, informative or funny but are usually a combination of all these elements.

Tobolowsky Files hit me at just the right time. When things go off-the-rails, it’s cool to find something that gives you perspective. Something that reminds you that we all go through heavy shit. It’s just part of the human experience. And it doesn’t have to destroy you. TF was that for me, so I wanted to bring it up to YOU because if you haven’t heard any of these recordings about “life, love and the entertainment industry” – DO SO NOW!

Stephen is currently touring the country, I believe, promoting his book The Dangerous Animals Club (and yes, I bought my copy) and I believe NPR just picked up The Tobolowsky Files. So after you listen to CLANG! head over to /Film or iTunes and see what all the fuss is about.

Once again, thanks to Stephen for being game enough to play in the Earbud sandbox. Now. Let’s Celebrate… WITH SANDWICHES.

EPISODE 5 – CLANG!

Well, we used our first Wilhelm (two actually). And it makes me chuckle every time I hear it.

For some reason I get embarrassed by my own glee at hearing the finished podplays we create here at Earbud. But that’s absurd, right? There shouldn’t be shame in falling in love with something you’ve created, right? Artistic creations are like children, after all, and we love our kids warts and everything, right? Right.

Which brings us to the podplay at hand – CLANG! Without giving too much away, that’s what this episode is about – kids, having kids, and the lengths you go to to provide for your kids – but mostly about how children give us what we need most: perspective and robot hijinks.

This is definitely on the lighter side for Earbud Theater – we hope you enjoy it.

And OH what a cast we have! Big thanks to the following:

Stephen Tobolowsky – Gern Steadfast
Meeghan Holloway – Betty Steadfast
Lindsay Zana – Tyler & Jack
Alex Wagner – Jenni & Ellie
and Sean Keller – The General & Gabriel Edgar Wech
Very special thanks to Mark McCabe for his assist on the robots!

Season Zero Recap – ETHAN BURROWS FINAL BROADCAST

We wish there was more to say about this one. Some background we could give you on the whole, “Was this guy real?” question. Something other than: Ethan Burrows was (is?) a radio personality who spent the hours from midnight until four in the morning debunking the supernatural and demeaning true believers. Until the day came when proof showed up on his doorstep. Thanks to Adam Lamb, Rees Pugh and Sean Keller for pointing me in the direction of this bit of “found audio.”

But we can’t.

What we CAN tell you is that this is our sites most popular and most downloaded publication. Yes, it even beat out the Neil Gaiman adaptation. And it showed us the site had a life of its own creating a following that we should have expected but didn’t. It turns out that Earbud Theater’s biggest audience is…………………. GHOST HUNTERS! Paranormal Investigators. Kinda cool, right? Kinda weird too, but weird is good. I picture a husband rushing around getting ready for work as his wife is getting ready for bed:

“Honey? Have you seen my night-vision goggles and my magnetometer?”
“They’re next to the box of human hair!”
“Got ’em! See you in the morning.”

Apparently this scene and variations of it are taking place a lot – like, all over the country. Maybe you knew this was going on, but we didn’t and we think it’s pretty rad. It’s like discovering college rock in the 80’s or learning about the network of Argentinian ants that stretches thousands of miles beneath your feet and across continents. Paranormal Investigators are everywhere. I guess it make sense. In an economy like ours where people have to cancel cable, remote viewing becomes an option.

Now, we haven’t had time to explore all of the sites, but we like the Maine Ghost Hunters a lot. They seem to be a huge co-op and have a healthy dose of skepticism in them. But our favorite so far is Dom Ghosthunter. We like his voice (yes, we realize that makes us Slingbladeish) and he’s clearly passionate, but mostly we like that Dom cares about the spirits he’s encountering. He’s performing a service, but not for you – for the wayward spirits. Nice. So consider this re-post of Ethan Burrows Final Broadcast dedicated to Dom and all the other Paranormal Investigators throughout the country – nay – throughout this world… and the world beyond!

-EBT

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!

Season Zero Recap – AULD ACQUAINTANCE

It’s a wonderful feeling to be surprised by something you read. So it was when I read Eric Del Carlo’s script for Auld Acquaintance. Not because it was good, I’ve known Eric for quite a while and am familiar with his talent, but because it was out of the box I’d put him in. I told him the idea for the site – sci-fi, horror, fantasy etc. – and Shift was the only episode we had posted setting (what I thought) was the example of what we wanted to do. “I know what you want.” He was off and writing and a few days later Auld arrived in my inbox. Did it fit the genre? You bet. But what really got me was that at its core it was a love story. I was expecting blood, guts and lasers, but instead got handed a thoughtful meditation on memory and love. What a pleasant surprise. It’s the best character-work we have so far and Meeghan Holoway and Sean Galuzska really bring these characters to life – heartbreak and all.

Check out Auld Acquaintance again or for the first time and see what I mean. As a bonus, I thought I’d enclose a link to one of Eric’s early short stories, “Time, Like Blood, on My Hands.” This made Tangent magazine’s recommended reading list for 2011. Take a read and enjoy!

Earbud Theater – What Follows Season Zero?

First off: Thanks. Thanks for checkin’ out the site, thanks for taking the time to listen to these little morsels of terror and thanks for letting other people know about what we’re doing here.

We enjoy it. It seems you do too. So we want to tell you all about what’s coming up – – huh? What? Why, yes, you’re right. That is an authentic “Earbud Theater” coffee cup next to a stack of antique books. And yes, coffee tastes better in it. It never grows cold and every sip you take makes you exponentially more creative. Hm? No. No. You can’t get one. Sorry. That mug cost me three thousand dollars. It’s made of bone china and the ink used to paint the outside is partially mixed with Edgar Allen Poe’s bone marrow and Lewis Carroll’s powdered ocular fluid. It’s probably why I feel so brillig all the time.

Huh? Oh, good question. Well, I spent so much on it because of exactly what I wanted to tell you about – the changes we’re making around here. One of those changes is that THIS will be the new homepage for Earbud and that delicious, awesome splash page will be sent to the back of the room (or immortalized the way the ancients did – by putting it on a coffee cup).

So, a new look is on its way. Or here. Now. You’re looking at the new look!

And as we wind down with “Season Zero” and prepare for “Season One” of Earbud, I can tell you that there are amazing things in store for you. By my count we may have five original stories, one written exclusively for Earbud by an big (and very tall) luminary from the comic book world, Doug TenNapel. How does a guy who uses visuals to tell his story fare in audio drama? Stay tuned to find out!

We also have a most excellent actor who was kind enough to join us, but he’ll get a blog post all his own later on.

So there are some cool names to look out for, and we’re really ramping up to give you some sweet auditory horror for the month of October. The Halloween Month. WOO HOO!

So there you have it, th- huh? What? Why change? You mean the new format? Well, I think because it’s all about YOU, dear listener. The goal is to have you be included. To have you be a part of this community. A few thousand people tuned in so far which is damned cool. It would be great to hear their thoughts both good and bad. How to improve, what worked, what didn’t work, stories you want to hear, authors you might like to see write something for this or stories to be adapted… anything.

Fun isn’t it?

Again, thank you and stay tuned.

xoxoxo
EBT