listening to the podcast

Click on the menu below to find a link to the episode list.
For descriptions of each episode, check out my Show Notes at the top of the page. This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to real people or events is purely coincidental.

WARNING: Some of the language may be offensive, but no worse than you would expect in an R rated movie.

Special thanks to NASA for the image of the galaxy.

Podcast of the novel BETWEEN EARTH AND ARCTURUS

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Return to Our Fair City. The final season begins.



     The final season of Our Fair City is just beginning, and I generally prefer to binge-listen after my favorite shows all released. But I just couldn’t wait any longer when the first episode of season eight went live. Who could blame me after the extraordinary cliffhanger at the end of season seven?

     Bringing the final conflict directly to the ever-insulated narrator was true drama. The new episode, The Narrator’s Name, is a jarring change of perspective which left me more curious than ever to find out what happened after the events in season seven.

     Our Fair City. There are panel discussions on listener questions, and blooper reels, too.
Podcasters will find the season break programming especially interesting, with installments about making shows like this. Listen to Lauren Faits, Stephen Poon, Ele Mataelan and others talk about the music, sound effects and music of

See my earlier post (27 June 2016) for more information or, better yet, visit Our Fair City yourself.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Edict Zero post, part 2


Edict Zero post, part 2
There were some unavoidable hiccups in getting interviews with the cast of Edict Zero, but I’m glad that Working The Galaxy has a bit more to pass along.

Tanja Milojevic (Agent Kora Resnik and other roles as well), Phil Rossi, (Agent Marcus Briggs), and Julie Hoverson (Agent Jewels Kircher) are all professional voice actors with impressive careers.

I asked them about themselves:
Tanja:  I started on voice acting alliance back in 2008 and haven't looked back since. Storytelling in the form of acting has been something I loved since I was a kid. I used to make my own stories on my tape recorder and when I discovered radio dramas on tape from my local library I was hooked. I tried to find ways to get involved and learn. I'm still learning and am happy to be part of the audio drama community we've built over the years! It's helped me meet some amazing people like Jack from Edict Zero.
I'm so happy to be part of the show, and just like the audience, can't wait to see where this exciting journey takes us.

Phil:  I'm a writer and podcaster (Horror and science fiction) and I have a patreon campaign at http://www.patreon.com/philrossi  Patreon gave me back my future as a writer and podcaster.  I'm also a musician and producer and I've worked with Jack on music for Edict Zero as well as for Epoch Nine Productions.  
Working with Edict Zero has been a blast--a truly rewarding experience.  Jack Kincaid has an incredible imagination, he's a brilliant writer, and producer so I consider myself fortunate to be part of a cast that is all-star. Jack's easy to work and I've also provided some of the music for Edict Zero as well.  I think that podcasting has definitely revitalized the audio drama genre.  And there are some well-executed entries out there.  I think audio drama has a bright future. 
Check out Phil’s website http://www.philrossi.net/
Julie:   I first worked with a performance group doing old time radio re-creations, along with several of my friends.  Since OTR has a very limited set of good roles for female actors, i started writing my own plays.  I also got recruited by my friend Rey into a podcast audio drama that needed a lead, and then began to realize how simple (and yet how complex) it would be to put together my own shows.  Having entered a script in an OTR-style script contest, whcih required you make up your own "show opener" - I had already created the 19 Nocturne Boulevard opening and closing credits, which (I have to brag) has been mentioned in a book  on modern audio plays as an exemplary opening sequence...

WTG:    Is there a link that you would like my readers to click on to learn more about you?

Julie:  My website 19nocturneboulevard.com is sadly static, but we have a facebook page, and an online radio station which also plays Edict Zero at justpasttheautomat.com (it's from the opening credits of 19 Nocturne)

Tanja:  My link on sound cloud has demos:

https://soundcloud.com/tanja-milojevic-210687350 

My radio drama podcast: Lightningbolt Theater of the Mind.
I'm on facebook and will be on twitter soon.

WTG:    The episodes of Edict Zero are fairly long for a podcast show. Does this affect how challenging it is to do your part?
Phil:  The episode length doesn’t impact my workflow much.  Lines are recording solo and if I'm not in a scene, I won't read up on, because I like to be surprised when I check out the episode. 

WTG:     Did you know where the story was going for each entire season, or did you find out a bit at a time?
Phil:  While it's impossible not to get a sense of the story arc, I do my best to stay as in the dark as possible.  Because Jack's writing is such a treat, I don't want to spoil the surprises. 

WTG:     Jack tells me that most of the recording was done remotely. How does it affect the cast to work separately?
Tanja:  I didn't have too many challenges playing remote roles since it
allowed me to react differently based on what I anticipated the other
actors would say. I was given the chance to say the line multiple ways
and in different tones. It lets me create subtext for a given line and
then it's up to the producer/writer to decide if the takes work or if
he needs something said differently. I've also been working with this
cast for years now and can anticipate how they will react in a given
situation. I know my character and ask questions if I have them.
Yes, I did all of my lines remotely. It can be challenging to only
record by myself sometimes but if I get stuck I will listen to old
episodes and pick up on voice patterns which helps me in creating
reactions for that moment.

Phil:  We've been doing this for a number of years and we all listen to the episodes.  Speaking for myself, I'd say I can pretty much hear my fellow cast mates in my head as I do my lines. 
Julie:  I've done it both ways (with everyone present, and all alone, though not for Edict Zero) and there are different challenges.  When everyone is in the same room, there's an energy, and you can play off each other more, but there's also a need to be very careful about extraneous noise and cutting others off - two voices talking over one another does not come apart in post.  That's one reason satellite recording - each actor on their own - works well.  Plus, we all tend to give several interpretations of each line so the director/producer/assembler can choose which works best, both for the scene, and for the lines which have come before and after.  I've been on both sides, assembling my own show 19 Nocturne Boulevard, and from a producer's point of view. I find remote recording easiest, though not always guaranteed to get the utmost performance, depending on the skill and experience of the actors.  Obviously, though, the bulk of us in Edict Zero have been doing this a long time and are pretty good at this.

WTG:    Would you like Agent Jewels Kircher to revisit her past relationship with Agent Marcus Briggs?
Phil:  That could be fun, sure.  Who knows? Briggs is quite a catch. 

WTG:    What do you think the future of podcast audio drama is? Do you see any trends?
Tanja:  I see radio drama continuing to be popular in the future. More and
more podcasters are getting into the medium now and it will continue
to grow. There will always be varying shows and quality differences
but the amount available for listeners will continue to increase.
Radio drama is snowballing its way into popularity again. We may see
another silver (not golden this time) age of radio drama on platforms
like podamatic, iTunes, Amazon Echo, Google Home, etc. The AI's of the
world now have the capability to play podcasts in the home; just like
in the golden age of radio when families would gather around their
radios. I'm hopeful about the future. We live in an exciting time of
radio drama expansion. I'm glad to be contributing to the amount of
entertainment out there.

Julie:  I would love to see it go somewhere, but I fear that people are so inculcated in getting everything online for free, that monetizing it won't be very feasible.  Luckily Jack Kincaid is an artist and doesn't care (meant as a good thing, but I can't seem to phrase it right).

Julie makes a really good point here. People have reached the point of feeling entitled to getting performing arts for free. Talented and inspired people don’t always have the option of putting in the time and work if it doesn’t also pay some bills. Please consider it only fair when you see (or hear) that someone can be supported through patreon, direct donations, or some other mechanism for compensation.  

If you haven’t checked out Edict Zero yet, you can find it here
Do consider leaving a review on the site on iTunes. Podcasters really like that (I know I do). And there is a Facebook page for the show:
where you can click the “like” button to show your good taste.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Edict Zero is how audio entertainment should be

I came across Edict Zero FIS in a podcast listing and asked myself the age-old question, “will I like this?” which can only be answered by trying it. I recognized some of the actors’ names, which was encouraging. Like most audio shows (or TV shows for that matter) one episode is not enough to be sure. Alas, it’s only fine scotch that answers such questions with a single taste.
I was partway into the third episode when I decided to hear the 27 episodes already released and then write a review.
Some of the best talents in audio have joined forces to bring us Edict Zero FIS. This is one of the few podcasts that I will strongly urge listeners to enjoy with quality headphones. The sound mixing is as good as it gets, with not only great voices and effects, but also a beautifully crafted music soundtrack that adds to the experience.
The story begins as a police procedural mystery in a futuristic, but familiar, world. The character’s lives are understandable and sympathetic. This is not Earth, however. It is a world colonized by a dying Earth centuries ago. They call it Edict One. The creepy villain at the beginning is the first mystery, but not the most intriguing.
One thing listeners will appreciate is the gradual revelation of the truth as the plot progresses. We are not burdened with ever-deepening layers of unanswered questions. The clues are there, and yet placed so carefully that it becomes what book-lovers (as most of us are) call a page-turner, and we gradually figure it out just before the characters do.
One of the main characters, Nick Garrett played by James Keller, may rub you the wrong way right from the outset, but this is not an accident or an acting misstep. Nick does rub people the wrong way because there’s something not quite right with him, and it’s important to the story.
Jack Kincaid, plays various characters, including the ever-fascinating Captain Socrates, whose rambling diatribes are accompanied by a frenzied backdrop of classical music, underlining his apparent insanity. Jack is also the creator of the show. I contacted Jack with the following inquiry:

WTG: Can you please tell me a bit about the production, such as where the work was done, and anything else that my readers may find interesting.

Jack:      99% of the voicework is done remotely by the voice actors in a variety of environments.  James Keller, who plays Nick Garrett, records from a studio in Miami, as one example.  They record from all throughout the states and beyond.  Some record from overseas -- i.e. Michael Hudson (Griever) in England.
I've recorded my characters from home, using the same mic that I've had since 2008.   It began in Pennsylvania, some in Ohio while I lived there, and now in New York where I'm a full-time college student (film).

I do all the post-production myself.  Many have offered to contribute to the post, but I've been reluctant to give any of it up to anyone, especially for the (almost continuous) musical layering, because I'm particular and EZ has a feel that I'm not so sure anyone else could emulate.  Someone might prove me wrong on that some day, but being a control freak about it isn't necessarily a bad thing.  That is the reason that episodes take a while to produce, of course.  It's always a challenge and I'm always trying to push it farther, because it's not in my nature to be complacent.  I might be saner or happier if that were otherwise.

Edict Zero did have a bumpy start and it fundamentally began by taking all my life experience, skills, interests, genre tastes, and jamming them together into a fusion that's much like the world of Edict Zero itself.  Its birth might be best described as an act of rebellion on my part and my desire to tell a story completely outside the box, delighting in breaking "rules" and even tripping taboos.  There was a good deal of experimentation in Season 1 and I'm happy about the way that it has evolved since then.  

Probably the most difficult thing about Edict Zero is I knew the truth of the mysteries and somehow managed to keep my patient and gently dispense the answers as it progressed.  I am a big fan of mystery-within-mystery stories and series, but also the one thing that I did not want to do was make everything up as I went along and then write myself into a corner where I might have to produce some dodgy, ultimately not-satisfying ending to wrap it up or leave it entirely ambiguous, which might be in the spirit of the storytelling, sure, but if you're going to invest people, there really needs to be some kind of payoff.

The biggest fear -- of myself and indeed by many fans, and even some of those inside production -- was that circumstances (life) might cut in and then there would be no ending at all.  So, sometimes I do hear concern from people that it will never be "finished", or just abruptly end, like a TV series cancellation.  i.e. Firefly

That hasn't happened and though at one point, I did break from Edict Zero for more than a year to sort out some life things, I did come back to it, as I promised.


Russell Gold (Benjamin Zurn, covert field agent) and James Keller (Nick Garrett, criminal profiler) each responded to some questions:
WTG:     The episodes of Edict Zero are fairly long for a podcast show. Does this affect how challenging it is to do your part?
James:  Not for me. I think if Jack could make each chapter longer, he would, however once you start listening, you don't realize what the length truly is, as you get so involved.
Russell:  It's a very large cast and most of us are only in a handful of scenes per episode, so I would say not.

WTG:    Did you know where the story was going for each entire season, or did you find out a bit at a time?
James:    I don't think any of us knows where he story is going, Jack included.  Each chapter surprises us.
Russell:   I generally find out when I receive each script.

WTG:    Jack tells me that most of the recording was done remotely. How does it affect the cast to work separately?
James:     Fortunately, we are all sent a complete script with everyone's lines and scenes included.  Working remotely, and separately isn't that much of a challenge for me.
Russell:    There are some accommodations that we have to make, but there are many shows that work this way. The hardest part is anticipating how others will record their own lines, so that we can react properly. Typically, we handle this by recording multiple takes with different interpretations for each line, giving Jack the option of using one that works.

WTG:    Is Nick Garrett’s character arc due for some self-doubt?
James:    That's up to Jack to decide.  I have always felt that Nick has always been kind of a loner, and closed off quite a bit... mysterious.
Russell:    Jack is really the only one who can comment on future arcs; as an actor, I just trust the direction he is taking. 


WTG:     Should Benjamin Zurn finally reach a breaking point after years of getting squeezed by the powers that be?
James:     Oh wouldn't THAT be fun ! 

WTG:     What do you think the future of podcast audio drama is? Do you see any trends?
James:     Audio drama is a strange beast, and still evolving in my opinion. What Jack has accomplished is far superior to what a typical audio book, or narrative story has ever done, with elements of music and rich ambience, the listeners are fully engulfed into the story, leaving images to be painted by their own imagination... honestly, I can't see it evolving too much more from that. There definitely is a trend stemming from it.
Russell:    I'm seeing a lot of shows getting more and more listeners, and yet there are so many people out there who don’t realize the wealth of really well-done stories available to them at no cost. I think things are only going to improve.

The cast of Edict Zero are professional voice actors with more experience than I can list in this post. So, I refer you to their web sites where you can see what they’ve done before and where to find other shows that they’ve done.
 James Keller:  avoiceforanycharacter.com
Russell Gold:  russgold.net/va/          
Russ is also an accomplished software developer and has written a lot on the subject. You can check for yourself at these websites:
www.packtpub.com/getting-started-with-apache-maven/video,  www.httpunit.org, and simplestub.meterware.com.  He also blogs at russgold.net/sw/
Other remarkable voice actors in show include: Phil Rossi, Julie Hoverson, Tanja Milojevic, Gwendolyn Jensen-Woodard, Michael Hudson, Matthew McLean, Jennifer Dixon, Robert Cudmore, Chris Barnes, Caitlin Sneddon, and David Collins-Rivera.

For numerous music credits, please visit the home page edictzero.wordpress.com for episode-by-episode lists.