Welcome avid poddicts. Have I got a treat for you today!
Over the last four months I have been rubbing shoulders with those lovely people who create the shows we all love. Getting to know all about what they have planned for the future for our listening pleasure.
I have the great pleasure in bringing you an interview with the creator and writer of the latest show about to be released, ‘Subject Found’.
The delightful Mr. Paul Sating has given me the opportunity to give you the heads up on the show which officially launches next Sunday, on World Audio Drama Day. So without further ado, let’s jump right in and discover what we can expect to find.
What will the episode/season format be? I know a lot of shows prefer the 20 to 30 minute format, and your latest show, ‘Diary of a Madman’, has a very short episode time of around 3 to 5 minutes.
This show is a season-based anthology, if you will. Each season will be dedicated to a specific story, independent of every other season; think of the television show American Horror Story and that’s what we’re doing with Subject: Found. There will be ten episodes per season, each less than a half hour. The first episode will be released on October 30th, 2016, and patrons will obviously get early releases of all episodes, along with a “bonus” alternate ending to the season, in the spirit of FateCrafters Studios choose-your-own-adventure storytelling.
Wow! I love the idea of an alternate ending. That will be worth its weight in patronage alone. I also like the idea of a different story for each season. I am a big fan of serials, more so than anthologies, here it seems you have the best of both worlds.
There are a few reasons why I decided to go in that direction. First, I’ve got more stories in my head then I’ll ever be able to write in a lifetime and I want to share as many of those as possible. Secondly, this approach keeps the show fresh. As a fan of audio drama myself, there are some great shows that grew stale for me because the story was already told and it felt like they were dragging it out for the sake of not ending it, and I wanted to avoid that with this project.
Who is the team behind this production, are there any names we may be familiar with?
I’m very excited about this team! Brian Bristol, the Executive Producer of You Are Here and Atheist Apocalypse brings his incredible production skills to this show. He has a wonderful knack for creating robust worlds without a word needing to be said and listeners will be able to hear a snippet of his talent in the promo we ran for the first season.
John McCain of the Dog and Pony Show (www.jmacvo.com) stars as Jared Strong, the main character, who is an investigator we follow throughout the season. John nailed the character from his first word in his audition and I was thrilled to listen as he really brought Jared to life.
The acting is strong all the way through the line-up. Just wait until you hear the voice of Michael Kennedy (iamyourvoiceover.com). He’s got that ‘it’ in his voice that most of us would kill for….oh wait, is that a new show idea…and he’s playing the part of Peter Beckingham, a zoologist and friend to Jared.
Heather Spiegel Auden, who I work with on Atheist Apocalypse and who is also a lead on You Are Here, plays the yin to Jared’s yang. I needed someone I could trust to pull off some of the more … intense … scenes in this season and I went straight to her before I even cast the role. She made my day when she said ‘yes’ immediately. And, wow, did she deliver.
The supporting cast is unbelievably strong, as well. Pete Lutz, Ed Champion, Steven Bateman, David Curry, Sarah E. Golding, Shawn Henninger and Rebecca Thomas are all part of the first season and bring so much talent to the show. And even though Brian Bristol is producing the season, he was kind enough to come on and act as well.
I told my wife one night, after all casting was finished, that I couldn’t believe the quality talent that was going to be part of the maiden season. Talk about good fortune.
Are we going to hear your dulcet tones as a character?
I think a lot of writers will relate to this; I can get on the mic if needed, but I much prefer to put the ideas down and get out of the way. There are very talented people out there, who have trained their entire lives as voice actors, who want to be part of audio drama. With that type of talent out there I serve the show better staying behind the keyboard.
I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but I’m smart enough to know to not impede talent. I have such an appreciation for people who can look at words on a script and bring an idea/a concept to life like they do. They amaze me.
So, yeah, I’ll be staying away from the mic. But, who knows, maybe in season two I’ll do cameos…like a Stephen King thing or something.
Without giving too much away what’s the overall story for season one?
The first season the show focuses on an investigator by the name of Jared Strong. He’s driven to pursue a monster that has haunted him ever since he was a child and he’s willing to sacrifice a lot, maybe too much, to find it. Along the way we meet friend and foe, all of whom will change the course of Jared’s story.
What I would like to emphasize to your readers is that I don’t believe it matters whether or not you believe in the monster, whether we’re talking season one or any of the future seasons, because these stories are about more than the ‘face’ of the monster. Some people will really love and maybe identify with season one and some may not; it is that latter group who I would encourage to give it a chance, this season and beyond.
Maybe that’s just my personality I’m projecting onto the listener and the genre, but I’ve never liked horror that was solely focused on the monster. To me the best horror transcends “what” the monster really is and I tried to make sure I was faithful to that while writing.
I must admit, after listening to episode one, I am completely hooked, even though the subject matter, is not one I would ever consider myself interested in. You tell a very compelling story, and as I always say, It’s all about the journey, not the destination.
So which shows would you compare Subject: Found to? Who’s listeners are you expecting to enjoy this show?
I think fans of The Black Tapes, Tanis, Small Town Horror, Limetown, The Lift, Sable, The Tunnels and, of course, Diary Of A Madman will enjoy this show.
Is this all your work, or are there other writers on the team?
Season One is all me This was a story I needed to tell. Even if I had another writer or an entire team, I think I would have developed this on the side of any main project because this first season is a lot of me, reliving childhood fancies and fantasies. It’s a very personal story, in as much as these types of stories can be personal.
I did have editing help, though. My lovely wife was the first test read; she always is because I need her to keep me grounded. But I had offers of help from personal friends as well as people in the audio drama community, like Austin Beach of Audioblivious Productions and Jon Grillz of Small Town Horror. They’re incredibly busy so it meant a lot for them to step up and offer. Ed Champion, one of the voice actors in this first season, also did some editing for me. I really appreciated having different eyes on it to enrich the characters and the story.
Does that mean in the future that I’ll write alone? Who knows? I don’t like closing doors. There are a lot of creative people out there who I’d love to work with, so we’ll see.
Of course, that may manifest itself in other ways. Those who know me, know my brain rarely stops and recently I’ve started discussions with another horror audio drama writer about starting a collaborative project. There’s no way I can do another show right now, but if I find the right writing partner, well, we’ll have to see.
As soon as I say that I have to admit that I am also fleshing out an idea with Scott Philips of Audioblivious Productions and Lane Lloyd of Sable on a really neat concept that was sparked from a comment Scott made about t-shirts for this show. We aren’t sure if anything will come of it but, as any writer knows, sometimes those brainstorm sessions with other creatives are rewarding experiences on their own, even without an end-product.
Season Two of Subject: Found will be my writing as well. Not because I don’t want to work with others but because I am already well down the path of researching the topic, outlining the season and characters, and writing the first episodes. I can be like a runaway train at times.
I’m guessing Brian is on board as exec, who else makes up the production team? Yes and I am honoured to have him on board. He does a lot of amazing work and I’m confident listeners will dig the auditory story he tells to compliment the writing.
In terms of who else makes up the production team though, it’s just him and me and I like it that way. I’ve got this show, Diary of a Madman, and Atheist Apocalypse. He does You Are Here and Atheist Apocalypse and now he’s producing this show. One of the magical elements about us is that we work well together. He gets me and can usually take an ambiguous request or notion I have, and turn it into a slice of digital heaven.
Any chance of a teaser for season two?
Well, without ruining any surprises, for season two we’re going to get a little darker than season one. Actually, a lot darker. Maybe it’s because I’m also writing Diary of a Madman episodes as well, but season 2 is developing a darker theme than I originally intended. It will be focused more on lost legend than season one, and it will allow me to step away from the paranormal/supernatural construct of what a ‘monster’ is. Oh, and my two main characters are female. I have a female co-lead in Atheist Apocalypse but I’ve never written two female leads. I’m really enjoying the process, though I think my wife is getting tired of me asking for her perspective on the world!
You’ve always been a great promoter of independent musicians throughout your shows. Can we expect more cool tunes in this show, and if so, who will we be listening to?
I am working with a number of talented musicians to create the score for this show. I’ve worked with both Simon Croft and Keniche Ohme on other projects and I’m glad I get to feature their incredible work again with this show. I’d ask any fans of the show to definitely check out their other work and buy a song or twenty. They’re good guys who contribute great work and it’d be nice to support them.
I’ve also reached agreements with Tunna Beatz, Yin vs Yang, Ask Heroin Sally, and Tabletop Audio for this project. This is the first time some of these artists will be involved in audio drama and they’re just as excited about it as I am.
Thanks again to Paul for letting you and I into this as yet unreleased world. Episode One of Subject: Found will be released on October 30th, 2016. If you would like to get a glimpse of this world he has created for our listening pleasure, and I advise you do, you can find feeds to the usual pod catchers at the website foundstories.com. You can also follow the show on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.
If readers have any sightings they’d like to report, they can email the show at email@example.com and we’ll make sure to get it into the hands of the appropriate investigator.
Are you new to the work of Paul Sating? Click on the following picture links to get a glimpse of his other amazing shows.