This week, we have something special for you. Host Emeritus Fred Greenhalgh presents the graduating class of his free online audio drama training course, “So You Wanna Make Audio Drama?” in partnership with the amazing folks over at Bondfire Radio (https://bondfireradio.com/).
About Radio Drama Revival:
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- You shall not find the elusive Heather Cohen
Radio Drama Revival is recorded in Portland, Oregon, which is the unceded territory of the Chinook Indian Nation, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, and the Clackamas Tribe. If you are seeking ways in which to donate to Native communities, the Navajo and Hopi Community have a relief fund at https://www.gofundme.com/f/navajo-hopi-community-relief.
Transcribers Note: We are still waiting to receive the scripts / transcripts of the individual pieces featured in this episode. As they are received they will be added to the transcript.
Ely: Rise and shine, wonderful audience. It’s a new day, and it’s a new episode. This week, we’re celebrating audio fiction with Fred Greenhalgh, our executive producer, and the students of his recently completed “How to Make Audio Fiction” course. It’s good to be back, right here on Radio Drama Revival.
[[new theme music]]
Ely: Hello, and welcome to Radio Drama Revival, the podcast that showcases the diversity and vitality of modern audio fiction. I’m your host, Elena Fernández Collins, and I’m delighted to bring you this special episode to come back from our summer hiatus.
Ely: Fred Greenhalgh has been working with audio fiction for a long time, and he’s a wonderful teacher, so when he offered to have us play the completed fiction pieces his class developed here at RDR, we couldn’t say no. What you’re about to listen to is the graduation event of this class where each finalized short audio piece is played, streamed live on Bondfire Radio and hosted by Fred himself.
Ely: So without further ado, I’ll let Fred take you in, just like old times.
[Graduation Ceremony plays]
Fred: Hey, this is Fred Greenhalgh—so excited for you to join me here today! Excited to share some student work from my first online audio drama class, called “So You Want to Make Audio Drama? with Fred”
Fred:I started that, offered it back in April because just the way thing everything was going with COVID, it felt like I wanted to give something back to the world and I’d been interested in sharing, y’know, what I’ve picked up over the last—enh, more years than I wanna talk about?—in audio drama, and I was so excited to see over 50 people sign up for the course—filled it up in, like 48 hours, and had this wonderful diverse group of folks from, you know, UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, I think. I think there’s someone from Brazil as well, all over the world interested in this art form.
Fred: And yeah, and we did that for five weeks, two hours each week. just in my sort of off-the-cuff way, trying to share everything I know about how to make one of these audio fiction pieces. From you know, “how do you come up with an idea?” “What does the script look like?” “How do you get actors, how to record actors? How do you put it into an editing program? How do you add sound effects and music and get it out to the world?” All that stuff.
Fred: So I stuffed as much as I possibly could into that course. And I also asked those students to make stuff, so that’s what you’re gonna hear today. And I want to give a huge shout out to TK Dutes for giving me some space here at Bondfire Radio. I just… I love being live. I don’t really have the on air sign here in my home office, but I do have like a little red 40 volt button on my Scarlett, so I’ll call it that. I forgot how much live to air stuff is so fun. That was kind of how I cut my own teeth in this format, back when I started Radio Drama Revival in 2007, was with a community radio station.
Fred: Still have a very, very soft spot in my heart for community radio. To me, that’s really where, like the best stuff in radio—what remains of radio—is happening, you know, community radio as a form was you know, this place where voices that weren’t heard on commercial radio had a home. They are mostly all non-commercial, sometimes by law, and they get to have eclectic, weird, quirky voices, conversations about stuff that you don’t hear on mainstream radio, and audio drama.
Fred: And so, you know, there’s just something magical about pressing play and having to make all your stuff work and send it out to the world. So I’m super grateful to have that opportunity today to spin a live show for you. And of course, you make mistakes, like not putting your gain up when the show starts. But anyway.
Fred: So thank you, TK, for giving me the space. Thank you, this amazing group of students who are signing up and listening to what I had to say for the course of five weeks and for making cool programming. So I’m going to not talk your ear off. We’re going to be here about two hours this afternoon. And the first piece is by Race McCray, and it’s called “Heartsight” . This is a romantic comedy of sorts. I think you’ll enjoy it. So we’ll get right into it. And again, everything you hear today was created in a roughly a month and a half’s time; the students at the beginning of class were assigned into groups—not everybody took up the opportunity to be in a group. Others made stuff on their own. And I believe that’s the case for Race. So I—you know, I didn’t actually check pronunciation so if Race, I’ve just butchered your name, I’m so sorry. But we will be here soon talking hearing about Heartsight, a fun little story about a dating app. Things don’t go quite as expected…
[“Heartsight” by Race McCray plays]
Fred: All right, that was our first selection. Heartsight. Thanks everybody for that.
Fred: Yeah, and yeah, so I want to be clear when I introduce it as Race McCray, that was the producer who got it into me. You heard some other voices there in the credits. Those are some of Race’s teammates and thank you! That was so fun it was a …you know didn’t quite know where it was gonna go, it was funny, well paced, love the rapport with the the two friends, as well as the weird awkward date who hasn’t been there, and good use of sound effects in the two environments of restaurant panning into the back kitchen. Really nice stuff there, so.
Fred: We’re going to change to something completely different because that’s kind of how these things always go is Shevek Fodor or Fatar—sorry, Shevek; I’ll probably know what the timing or the credits this afternoon which it is. The next piece is called “Pitstop: Earth”, with aliens who have opinions about this weird planet we’re on hope you enjoy
[Shevek Fodor’s “Pitstop: Earth” plays]
Fred: Whoo whoo whoo! Thank you, thank you, thank you. That was “Pitstop: Earth”, and we are back here on Bondfire Radio—real radio for real people. Thank you, everyone for tuning in.
Fred: You’re listening to a graduation ceremony of sorts for those students in my inaugural “So you wanna make an audio drama” course, a free online course taught back in April and May of this year, and it’s so fun to hear what crazy ideas people come up with. We are going to stay here in space for a little bit longer, the next couple pieces.
Fred: A couple just little announcement-y things to mention: that there is a chat room on bondfireradio.com, B-O-N-D, Bond like James Bond-fireradio.com.
Fred: I’m hanging out there; you can also find me on Twitter @finalrune, F-I-N-A-L-R-U-N-E, and I should also say that the there’s actually is another course I’m doing; it’s actually going to be for folks on the Indian subcontinent, but it is open for international folks too!
Fred: That’s on my Twitter feed if you want to dig up what that course is going to be. I’m starting teaching it next week, and the materials—the videos that went with this series for the students that you’re hearing today—I plan on making those materials available in July. Youll also be able to hear this show archived at RadioDramaRevival.com, which is the anthology radio drama showcase show, which is in its 13th year, and we’ll be introducing new host Elu Fernández Collins in our upcoming season 13 Part B, which also starts in July.
Fred: So if you are liking what you hear and you’re like, This is kind of a cool, crazy art form. And I’d like to learn about listen to support this kind of storytelling.” Radio Drama Revival is an excellent resource for that. If you listen to you know, the radio drama revival feed, you’ll get a pretty good survey of some of the most interesting shows out there; creators doing terrific stuff, and I love just how, what the flavors of this art form are and folks all across the world doing all sorts of different things.
Fred: Do we end up—we do end up in space a lot. [laughter] But that’s what’s kind of fun about this, because unlike, say you’re trying to do an indie film that was set in space with invaders trying to take over earth… it would be a lot of money to make that—the board of that bridge and you can do it in audio with a few sound effects that just plant that picture in your imagination. Super fun. So that’s kind of my announcements for now.
Fred: I probably shoulda mentioned that there’s a bunch of English-language swear words in many of these programs. None of the—most of the content’s not super objectionable. But if you are streaming it at work around young children, probably be advised of that. The next up like I said, we’re staying in space, as it were, with “A Daring Escape” , a little caper thriller with someone and their little android. Hope you enjoy “A Daring Escape”, up next.
[“A Daring Escape” plays]
Fred: [a little fanfare] Dah dah dah!
Fred: Well, there we are ” A daring escape” in space, I told you it’d be in space. Yeah! I hope you’re digging this. I really wanted to mention how… it’s kind of the philosophy that I have and what I encourage in the students of this course was: make stuff.
Fred: There are a lot of people who actually I think you know, I don’t know, does it get stuck? Thinking about “what’s the right piece of equipment?” Or “am I an artist?” Do I—”there’s so many podcasts out there; is my voice … does the world need my voice?” and all that sort of stuff can hang people up and I just am here to say: you should make stuff.
Fred: The world does need your voice, please. You know, contribute in whatever way you can. I was actually… while we’re here, just—the wonderful artist Morgan Givens said he made his—they made their first podcast recording to a phone and mixing on audacity and GarageBand.
Fred: “Your story is what matters. Tell it however you can. Try not to dog yourself over your art. Systemic racism means that we often don’t have access to resources that white creators do.” Very true and true for everyone that your phone—especially today’s phones—are really quite sophisticated computers in your pocket, and you know whether it’s out on location, you do a little narrative walking about, you know, neighborhood or wilderness or wherever you happen to be in the universe as well as you know maybe in your pillow fort underneath your house reading a story you wrote or whatever it happens to be, you know, the the —yeah.
Fred: If you have the technology to listen to this show right now, you probably have the technology to actually make a show right now. And I would encourage you to do so if you find this fun. Next up is “Upon a Star”.
Fred: This is completely bonkers. It’s funny, it is a bit of the dirty humor, but it’s tremendously bonkers and involves a really evil Santa Claus, and it’s tremendously fun. So here we go with “Upon A Star” here on the Bondfire Radio radio station and the audio fiction with Fred graduation [singing] ceremoni-i-i-i-es! Onward.
[“Upon A Star” plays]
Fred: Okay, I hope you all enjoyed [laughter] that craziness. You know, maybe Santa is a bad boss… It does seem like least capitalism as it—sorry Christmas as the 21st century US version of it is that would be the kind of Santa we have, not “Peace on Earth” or good stuff like that. Thank you for that. We’re going to keep moving right along. So we have a bunch more to play and our next hour is going to vanish very quickly. So we’re to jump right into “Voices of Hamelin” from the Tertiary Group.
[“Voices of Hamelin” plays]
Fred: Okay, I love that. I hope you had as much fun as I did.
Fred: Who would have thought you would have a found fiction docu-drama about a fairy tale? Well, that’s what you can do in audio drama. And also like, yeah, I just had a little quick chat with Claudia Rose on Twitter here about how fun and diverse these selections are.
Fred: You know, we’ve gone from romance comedy to sci fi and a few different flavors to what we just heard. And we’re about to turn to the darker side with three pieces by– produced by solo artists.
Fred: The 1-2-3-4-5 pieces you’ve heard so far were people who had signed up for my class and been randomly assigned to a group with strangers and made a thing which I think is awesome.
Fred: Think about how wackadoodly-hard that is to do, especially in the age of COVID and self quarantine, to meet a bunch of strangers online from different time zones and make a thing together. Super props for that, and excited that it happened.
Fred: When I had the idea to challenge people to do this, I wasn’t sure how it’d go, but I’m pretty delighted and impressed and humbled by what we’ve heard so far. So moving right along. Sarah Golding of Quirky Voices did this thing called “Echoes, Echoes”, it’s about two minutes, so I’ll be right back… after we hear “Echoes, Echoes”…
[“Echoes, Echoes” plays]
Fred: Just you know people send you a weird magical portal, like… you really shouldn’t open it. Okay. That’s my advice. Next up is “A Fool’s Tragedy” by Megan Hayward, also on the creepy wavelength. This one has some violent components to it. What I like about this next piece is that there are no voices. So what we just heard from Sarah was just tremendously fun. It was a one woman show, and you heard you know, all the cool things that she did was use of manipulation of you know, that like the bumping up or down in range, pitch shifting, reverb, [deep-voiced and slowly] slowing down the voice. Those weird things, and just kind of really, you can tell that she has an understanding of how to both record, and then there’s things you do with your voice as you record that allow it to do weirder things in post production, and she had complete mastery over that.
Fred: And we just heard “echoes”. What you’re about to hear is a story told through sound alone. So let’s see what pictures are in your head from this. This is “A Fool’s Tragedy” by Megan Hayward.
[“A Fool’s Tragedy” plays]
Fred: Miss Megan Hayward’s “Fool’s Tragedy.” The last piece of student work we have is Zoe McAden with a Magnus archives esque…thing that will make you cringe involving spiders. Enjoy “Carriers”..
Fred: All right, that was “Carriers” by Zoe McAden. You are listening to the Audio Fiction With Fred graduation ceremonies here on bondfire radio; bondfire radio is community radio at its best. And you can support email@example.com slash bond fire radio, that’s patreon.com slash bondfire radio. And I hope you dig this feed and come back.
Fred: There’s a ton. I mean, I believe it’s live 24 hours and there’s excellent music around the clock as well as tons of original programming, tomorrow being Juneteenth, the actual Independence Day in America.
Fred: There is a ton of unique programming here throughout the day. You can find that on the website, Bondfireradio.com. There’s a really well-navigable Google Calendar, all this stuff happening, so check it out: patreon.com/bondfire.
Fred: All right. Last but not least, so far be it for me to ask people to do anything that I wouldn’t be willing to do myself. I challenged myself to do the same thing I’d asked the students to do during the weeks of the course, of “write and produce a radio play over the course of five weeks”.
Fred: I had a slight advantage because I wrote a script before the class actually started. So I sort of like if I could manage I’d be, you know, maybe barely a week ahead of them. But it was fun. So this is the first time I had done a remote satellite recording, meaning that all the actors were recorded at their own unique spaces, as opposed to being an ensemble in a studio.
Fred: This actually the first time I’ve done a show like that. My early early early days, I recorded in a… like a space that was designed for what you’d call now like podcast interviews, but there’s a community radio space for like a talk show format room, so we used to use that room to record my earliest radio plays before I moved out on location.
Fred: [I] started recording, more like a film type technique where you’d have, you know, microphones on a portable kit and actors out in the world, and then ultimately recording in a quiet studio space, which is also very cool. It’s also really cool to try different ways of telling a story and continue to challenge yourself.
Fred: And yeah, and there’s this—what’s kind of really fun about recording remotely, recording actors all over the world—well! it is because you can record actors all over the world, and you don’t have to all be whoever might be the talented actors in your immediate physical community, but you can have an entire global community.
Fred: So at any rate, this is this kooky thing we did called “The Bloody Mess”. So I produced this and for me, it was—yeah, working with remote recorded actors for the first time. Learning the program Reaper, which was new to me, and actually how Reaper works—the class, the program Audacity. And if you want to see me muddle my way through those new, those two programs which I wanted to teach them, because those are pretty affordable; like, Audacity is free, and Reapers like 50 bucks. So if you want to know—as opposed to like Pro Tools, which is hundreds of dollars—these are tools that are pretty easy to get access to and allow you to produce high quality work.
Fred: So rounding out the afternoon is “The Bloody Mess” and congratulations! Thank you, everybody who participated in this audio drama course with me; it was tremendous fun making stuff, and thank you, TK again for letting me crash your pad for a little bit this afternoon.
All right, here we go. “The Bloody Mess”. This thing is silly.
[“The Bloody Mess” plays]
Fred: Okay folks, well! That is a wrap. Wow, that happened fast. So yeah, I’m gonna just be delighted to be back here—uh, bl-bl-bl-bluh. What do I mean to say? So stay tuned to bondfire radio, we’ll go back to our previous scheduled programming shortly; tomorrow is Juneteenth! Lots of exciting stuff happening at 11:30am to 1pm Eastern.
Fred: You’re gonna have Friday Feeling with Conscious the Music Super, so check that out. You know if you liked what you heard and you want to support crazy independent radio, the best stuff out there, go to bond patreon.com patreon.com slash bondfire radio. Thanks again to TK Dutes for giving us the space, and thank you to everybody who participated. I had tremendous fun making stuff with all y’all and hope to keep the good vibes going.
Fred: Yeah, be good to other people; catch ya around.
[Smooth music by Roger Gregg plays us out]
Ely: If you want to help us continue to celebrate the depth and breadth of audio fiction for many more episodes to come, you can become a Patron of Radio Drama Revival at patreon.com/radiodramarevival. You should go check it out: we’ve changed it up a little with different offerings! Other than Patreon, you can also support Radio Drama Revival by buying merch at our shop at radiodramarevival.com/shop.
Ely: If you’d like to check out Bondfire Radio and their incredible shows, you can do so at bondfireradio.com. Thank you to TK Dutes and everyone at Team Bondfire for making this possible!
Ely: It’s time for our Moment of Wil. I bet you missed them.
[Moment of Wil plays]
Ely: And that means it’s time for the credits.
Ely: This episode was recorded in Portland, Oregon, which is the unceded territory of the Chinook Indian Nation, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, and the Clackamas Tribe. If you are seeking ways in which to donate to Native communities, the Navajo and Hopi Community have a relief fund at https://www.gofundme.com/f/navajo-hopi-community-relief. The link will be in our episode description.
Our theme music is Reunion of the Spaceducks by the band KieLoKaz. You can find their music on Free Music Archive.
Our line producer and associate interviews producer is Wil Williams.
Our senior interviews producer is Eli Hamada McIlveen.
Our associate producer is Sean Howard.
Our researcher is Heather Cohen.
Our social media manager is Anne Baird.
Our submissions editor is Rashika Rao.
Our executive producers are Fred Greenhalgh and David Rheinstrom.
I’m your host, Elena Fernández Collins, and this has been Radio Drama Revival: all storytellers welcome.