What are the 3 best things about working on The Alexandria Archives?
1. We all three work jobs that can be pretty stressful and not exactly what you’d call creatively stimulating. The podcast gives us a chance to exercise our creative roots.
2. We have an excuse to regularly collaborate with each other.
3. We get to be a part of the podcasting community, which is one of the most gracious and friendly groups imaginable. Seriously, everyone has been so great! We’ve gotten to meet some really awesome people.
What is your favorite thing about being a podcaster according to you?
Suddenly, ideas that were just concepts, characters that were just scribbles on a page, are gaining voices, the world is being created more and more every week, and what’s more– whereas before these ideas were shared and giggled about between a few friends– now thousands of people are hearing them every episode. That’s pretty cool.
How did you stumble into the world of podcasting?
We wrote a game module for a tabletop game that took place in Alexandria, where one of the mechanics was the local radio host, Morning Wood, explained what weird stuff was happening on campus as it was happening. After that, the three of us joked about making a podcast based on that so much that it eventually happened.
What was the first podcast you listened to?
Uri: Maybe Hardcore History or Numenera: The Signal
Nicole: PopStuff by HowStuffWorks
Aaron: Coast to Coast AM with art bell
What is your writing process?
First, we decide on an episode theme. One of us will do the bulk of the scripting while the others weigh in. Generally the rule of thumb is one of us is writing the story, one of the others takes point on the script. Once the script and story are completed to satisfaction, recording can start!
What was the inspiration for The Alexandria Archives?
The setting is a world that was developed originally by Nicole. Eventually, she let us in on a little piece of that sweet pie, and now our fingers are covered in rhubarb.
What do you like about audio drama as a medium?
We’re all big audiobook fans. The thing about audio is that it forces you to listen. It forces you to be in the moment, to be engaged because it divorces you from the benefit of being able to see what the characters are doing. So we use sound effects, dialogue, exposition, to infer the situation. It means the listener has a certain amount of interaction because without their imagination, it’s just sounds coming out of their speakers.
How does getting the script made into an actual audio drama work?
Since we’re all in separate states we start by gathering the individual pieces of audio. Then whoever is doing the editing will take time by reading the script and familiarizing themselves with the flow of the scene. Since our podcast is half audiodrama taking place inside a radio station, and half fiction reading, the episode is often split into two parts: the radio and the story. For the radio, what’s most important is the timing. Making sure the cuts sound natural, like everything was recorded in the same room, even though it’s all separate pieces of audio.
The next piece is the story, which has less piecing together to do, but has the added process of deciding appropriate sound effects and ambient music that fits with the story. Sound effects can make or break the story if they come in too soon, they’ll make it hard to hear the narration, too late and the scene will have moved on. They have to strike a balance so as to less take away from the story as underline the important aspects and pull our listeners deeper into the narrative. Same goes for the ambience music which can convey tension, fear, movement, anger, depression, etc. It’s a pretty involved process.
How do you go about getting others involved? Particularly if they’re far away?
We ask them nicely. We love working with other podcasters, they’re always eager to help because they know the headache of trying to find people. Networking is important, as long as you remember that friendship isn’t a one-way street– we’re always happy to help our fellow podcasters where we can.
Could you tell us a bit about the process to turn a script into a finished audio drama. Which part do you enjoy the most?
Seeing it going from an idea on the page to hearing it all come together is pretty surreal. Hearing the story narrated for the first time is a personal favorite – there’s something about putting a piece you’ve seen come together from a first draft into someone else’s hands to hear what they do with it that’s just awesome.