Have you ever wondered what lies on the dark side of the moon?
It turns out there is a colony, living under a dome, going about their daily lives much the same as we do here on Earth. It was only when I discovered radio waves being broadcast on my short wave radio, that I happened across them. You can find out more by checking out my review of the radio station I discovered.
The Radio People team consists of Brian Bacon, (creator/lead writer), Brendan Kelly, (co-writer), and Michael Roberts, (sound design and production), and this is the Wh1te N0ize interview with Brian Bacon, who kindly collated the answers of his colleagues into his reply.
With that in mind, let us begin with discussing their influences in their work and life.
The three of us have pretty diverse influences. I tend to draw from improv, and as unlikely as it may sound, I feel like I grew a lot more from playing pretend with my daughters, who were always delighted by improbable situations filled with characters who try hard but don’t know how to do anything, than I ever did from any “training.”
Brendan has more of a literary background and lists George Orwell and Ray Bradbury among his influences along with Tina Fey and The Three Stooges as comedic guiding lights.
Mike is a big admirer of Joss Whedon and could justifiably be called a ‘student’ of his career.
Brendan and I had both recently read Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ “One Hundred Years of Solitude” shortly before writing Season 1 and I can clearly detect the influence of that book on our show, the mythicality of it (yes, auto-correct, Brian Bacon boldly makes his own words) and the way that the story never seems to “land” anywhere.
Maybe more importantly, though, our team is saturated in music-listening. We want to impart something that is more closely related to the experience of listening to albums than listening to an audio play. The Beatles, Prince and Hank Williams are at least as influential to our work as anyone. Not only is our soundtrack packed full with music, but when we leave “gaps” in our story or make unusual sequencing choices, or contrast successive clips, you can bet that the instinct to do so came from a favourite album.
I think listening to music, and the way the soul of an artist comes through their music, and how full the world is with all those amazing voices, is also what led us down the risky path of creating a show with such an enormous cast (20 voices and counting). We wanted the imaginary community of Clovermeade to have the variety of a full day of listening to the endlessly changing voices on radio.
I absolutely adore this show, as I’m sure most musicians would. You have all these zany little sketches, punctuated with great songs from Indy artists that I for one, have yet to be disappointed with!
The original idea for our show was not a show at all, but a compilation album. We were going to invite a bunch of local bands to offer songs and then produce the album as if it were a “found” radio transmission from some parallel universe. Slowly, it morphed into a comedy series.
Pod casting has the practical advantage of making it possible to self-publish and share easily on a low budget. We write and produce the show as if it were a curated collection of sound files. We love how much of the story can be left in a listener’s imagination in an audio-only storytelling format. The more experience we gain with the medium, the more we are finding ways to shorten scenes and cut out exposition by relying on sound, whether that sound is the actual design for the scene, or just getting “takes” from the actors where the exposition is carried by the emotion in the voices. We are learning quickly and truly enjoying the challenge.
Mike and I have both put musical projects on hold in favour of Radio People. We both have unfinished albums that just aren’t getting any attention anymore. The irony is that Radio People was supposed to be a vehicle to feature our own music as well as the music of others. Mike’s music, by the way, forms 90% of the soundtrack, but only 1 of the features so far.
Brendan’s other artistic gig is as a scenic artist and comics creator. He’d undoubtedly be taking on more of that work if I weren’t constantly interrupting him to write scenes with me!
If you’re interested in finding out about Brian’s music, you can discover his project Thin Palace over on soundcloud. You won’t be disappointed!
So what podcasts do you and the guys like to listen to when you’re not busy creating?
We must sheepishly admit that we’re newbies to the whole scene. The shows anyone can find on NPR were the only ones we knew until we wrote episode 1 and started exploring the whole underground world of indie podcasts. So all of our favorites are current shows mostly made by peers in the indie audio drama community. There are a lot of good ones, so we’ll stick to comedies in answering. Right now we’re enjoying “Wynabego Warrior: The Tale of John Waynabe” by Audioblivous Productions, “Switchboard Infinity” by Erie Canal Theater, and, while not an indie (I don’t think), another fave is “Hector vs. The Future” by Stuff That Talks.
What does the immediate future hold for you? Is there a season 2 in the works? Any other projects in the pipeline? A teaser or two for the listeners?
We have recorded episodes 1-5 of what will be a 10-episode-long “Chapter Two” of Radio People. Brendan and I are now busy writing episodes 6-10.
The temptation to talk more about Chapter Two is difficult to resist! I’ll just say, Chapter Two introduces new nemeses for Marcus, and Boswell and follows Ama from the Help Desk, as she takes on a self-assigned project to “save” Bobby Duchanko, the abandoned space-swimmer. Havoc ensues, of course!
The story-telling in Chapter Two differs from Season One. We have trimmed a lot of the very fun but completely tangential threads like Tom Turkey, News Anchor interviews and advertisements. In place of them, we will introduce a few new recurring segments such as a drive through at a fast food restaurant called Penny’s Pie House and an open mic at a hip bar called The Dome Hole. Overall, we focus more on converging a few serialised stories than “world-building” in the upcoming season. Seems like a natural progression; I hope people like it!
I’m sad to hear Ol’ Tom Turkey’s getting trimmed, I love those skits. Hope I can get some of that with some stuffing, and a bit of cranberry.
Anything you would like to promote before I let you get back to the crazy?
We recently joined Stitcher and would sincerely appreciate some positive reviews from fans. We need at least 5 to “get the ball rolling.” iTunes reviews are also appreciated.
Also, we have a merch page on our website. I am personally very fond of our throw pillows. They feature the illustrations that Brendan made for each of our episodes. And you can’t really get more obscure than a People For Buoyancy t-shirt!
If you like the music we feature, please consider supporting the artists by buying their albums. Most of them are available on Bandcamp. Like any self-publisher, they are working hard to keep going. See if they are coming to your town. Go see a show. Talk to the bands. They play small places; they like to meet new fans. Tell them you heard them on Radio People, a good conversation starter!
Lastly and most importantly, we want to thank fans and peers for helping us promote our show anywhere they find good new audio dramas, good music or just creative stuff in general. Keep telling us where you find the things you enjoy, fans/friends! Who are your favourite curators? The biggest help we have received so far was a prompt to join the conversation at the #AudioDramaSunday hashtag on Twitter. That was @podtweeting who incidentally is a pretty great curator herself (check out her “Podcast Pallets”). Fans need to understand how important little prompts, invites, “heads ups” are. The world is a huge place. Way too much stuff out there for any of us to navigate on our own! Friendly tips about how/where to promote our show are always welcome.
Don’t forget episode 12 is out in five days time, that’s Friday the 10th of February, so be there, or end up with bee’s in your spacesuit!
If you enjoyed that interview, I have some more. Just click on the ‘Behind the Mic’ picture link below to find them all.