There was so much going on at Dragon*Con that it's hard to isolate specific highlights, but there are a few things that seem worth mentioning, so the next few posts will cover them. The list is almost certainly incomplete, and definitely not in any kind of order!

The Parsec Awards!
For the two of you out there to whom I haven't expounded about this at length, the parsec awards are kind of the Emmys of podcasting. Ok, maybe not quite that big a deal, but it's still a pretty well-respected award within the community. I was honored this year to have taken part in not one, but two finalists in the long-form audio drama category, Second Shift and The Mask of Inanna.

The parsecs are given out at a ceremony at DragonCon, which was the excuse I gave myself for attending the con this year. To be honest, Second Shift and Mask of Inanna being up against one another led to some... complicated feelings for me, because I honestly believe that both shows deserved the win. Second Shift is my baby; I've personally put an enormous amount of work into it, and we have fans who've really fallen in love with our world and our characters in ways I've never seen from a podcast audience; I'm incredibly proud of that.

But then The Mask of Inanna is, hands down, the most ambitious audio theater project I have ever heard. A full-cast audio serial where each episode is over an hour long, and includes not only the two primary story arcs, each with a distinct setting and cast, but also an original, vintage-style radio play in a different style each week? My... my head hurts just thinking about it. And when you add to it the fact that after Second Shift and the PMRP's own Neil Marsh came up with the concept, outlined the story, and assembled a cast and crew, almost all of the writing, directing, and post-production was done by one person, Alicia Goranson... man. Don't tell Alicia, but I've become convinced that she's actually an android sent here from the future to study us, and does stuff like this when she gets bored with her primary mission.

On top of all that, we were up against some very strong competition, including Decoder Ring Theater, one of my personal favorite shows, run by one of my audio theater heroes, Gregg Taylor. So suffice it to say, I was full of... feelings at the awards ceremony. Julia Lunetta and I were both there, and as we'd each played parts in both shows (I am eternally grateful to MoI for casting me in a role that was not only fun, but about as far from my 2S character as possible! ;), we were there representing both.

I won't say it didn't feel kind of weird when Inanna was announced as the winner and I went up there to accept the award (strategically re-pinning my badge so that it covered the 2S logo on my shirt), but that's because I wanted my baby to win, not because I thought for a second that theirs didn't deserve to. The Mask of Inanna is Neil's love letter to radio brought to life by Alicia, and it is an amazing and most worthy thing. Check it out if you haven't!

My biggest take-away from this, though? Between Inanna, Second Shift, the PMRP, and all the other independent and side projects around here, Somerville has a friggin amazing audio theater scene! :)

Done.

Jul. 31st, 2011 11:54 pm
So, wow. Second Shift is over.

Some of you know more than others exactly how much that means to me. There have been times when working on this show has eaten my life, stressed me out, and made me not much fun to be around; times when it's been a 30+ hr/week job on top of my day job and everything else in my life. But I went and fell in love with this story and this team, and I had to make it happen.

And, holy crap, five years and about 24 hours worth of story later, it's DONE. I... have no words. Or too many. I don't know. A labor of love completed feels really, really good.

So, Julia, Andrea and I got together at BCOS and streamed the whole finale while chatting with listeners, and several other cast and crew of the show. We joked, we smiled, lots of people said very nice things, and we cried.

I think one of the most touching things said was something a fan posted shortly before the finale event began, here. It's nothing remarkable on it's face; basically just "Listening to Second Shift and relating to the stories and characters got me through some tough times", but to have meant something like that to one person, and knowing that there are others out there who feel the same way... it makes it all worth it. I am so honored, and so humbled to have been a part of such a great project.

And now, there it is. The whole thing, up on our site for as long as someone cares to pay the bills (though of course, the site's database is malfunctioning right now...). Hopefully people will keep finding it and keep digging it. I know I look forward to re-listening once I've gotten some distance from it. I know it's not perfect. Heck, having worked with the audio as intimately as I have (I did most of the post-production for the show), I think I know more than most just about every flaw in each episode, but damn it, it's got *heart*, and great writing, and some fine acting if I do say so myself.

For now, I'll be happy to just not edit audio for a while. ;)
Changing teams at work and learning a bunch of new software (a bunch of internal stuff, plus Plone-- because apparently I need as many python webapp frameworks in my life as possible ;) to get on-board with that, plus multiple ongoing discussions with other Serendipity Station players as we sort out character ties, story-so-far, etc, plus Second Shift (hopefully releasing 2.12 (which is almost 1.5 hrs long!!) on Sunday), plus needing to record lines for another Doctor Who fan audio I'm going to be in, plus having been asked to help out with a fun-sounding recording project tonight...

Suffice it to say I haven't been on lj/twitter much lately and probably won't be for the next coupla days. If anything goes on what I should know about, please send me an IM/email. ;)

...and just for the record, this is a good kind of busy. Still having fun with everything. :)

...oh, and one other random thing: Strange Brew is playing at the Brattle next Weds evening. I have never seen it. Should I? If so, is it the kind of movie that's worth paying extra for the theater experience?

...Ok fine, one other other thing, because it amuses me: I am drinking tea from a pint mug. I believe this may be the most concentratedly British thing ever.
Once again, it's time for nominations in the 2008 Parsec Awards, one of the premier SFF podcast recognitions, presented annually at DragonCon. The finalists are judged by a panel of podcasting bigwigs, but in order to become a finalist, we have to be nominated by listeners like you. We were nominated last year and want to go again this year. If you've been enjoying the second season, [b]please[/b] help us out by going to this url and voting for us in the Best Audio Drama (Long Form Including Independents) category. Then post in your blogs, tell your friends, do whatever you can to help.

Thanks!
...and it's extremely positive! Squeee! =:)

First, we got a mention on the Sonic Society's blog, which I've already posted about.

Then, we got a good post-episode-2 review from an admin on the Voice Acting Alliance forum.

A couple of weeks ago [livejournal.com profile] lediva noticed a very in-depth review of the Silent Universe podcast on the Rocket Jones blog. I emailed the proprietor to see if we could get a chance at a review too and this morning, the result was posted. Some choice quotes:

These characters are three dimensional, not cardboard heroes (mystery reference for you gamer geeks). They have depth and background history and realistic emotions. Their speech and exchanges with other characters sound real. Since this is an audio play, dialogue is paramount, and it is exceptional... you don't feel like every character exists just to support the three travellers.

I thought the [journal] posts on creating the sound effects were particularly interesting. <-- Tee-hee! That was by me! =:)

There is quite a bit of speaking in the "local" language, and it's beautifully done... The language itself is lyrical and pleasing to listen to, and sounds natural enough for me to wonder just how much of this language is already real (in the sense that there is a dictionary and humans fluent in the language of the fictional Klingon race). <-- Actually, the language is being written as an actual language. The grammar more-or-less exists already and the dictionary is updated each time a new word is needed so that usage is consistent.

If you like fantasy, you'll enjoy Second Shift. If you like character driven stories, you'll enjoy Second Shift. If you like Cary Grant, you'll enjoy Second Shift. You were paying attention, right? If you are intrigued by podcasts or the golden age of radio, you'll enjoy Second Shift.

Seriously, this made my day. And the review is not only positive, but hilarious. Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing.

For those of you who haven't gotten around to listening to the show or who only listened to the first episode, which remains our weakest link, give it a read and see if it doesn't motivate you to give us a(nother) chance.

Ep5 is due out Friday.
Hey, wow. People are starting to notice Second Shift! Yesterday I had a really flattering experience. I took a chance and emailed Gregg Taylor, one of the guys behind Decoder Ring Theater, who do two of my favorite shows, "Black Jack Justice" and "The Red Panda". I mentioned Second Shift, pointed him to our website and asked for his thoughts on the show.

Well it turns out that he'd not only already found us on his own but had also already given us a very nice writeup on the Audio Addicts blog:

Here's one I found at Dramapod that's worth a look... Its called Second Shift... billed as a "comedic drama", it quickly starts rolling as a trip into fantasy as three Boston-area college students who work in a pizza parlor are pulled into a Fantasy-style adventure... and if I'm not yet sure why, I also don't mind not knowing yet. This one is very ambitious, there are a lot of characters and there's a lot going on - but it feels very much like those at the helm have a strong idea of where this is going, so I feel very comfortable settling in for the ride.

Coming from someone whose own work I admire, that's a big vote of confidence! We've also had a recent influx of people visiting the forum. One newcomer wrote:

I found your podcasts by accident, never being a podcast listener myself. I think it was through a link from a link in a friend's blog that just seemed interesting.

Anyways, I've listened to all three episodes the last couple days after work and can't get enough. I wish I'd found these 6 months from now so I could listen to them all in a row. Wink So, great job at making a very enjoyable "radio" drama! I look forward to hearing more.


So, wow. People who weren't personally dragged there by a cast member are listening to our show and liking it. Woo! =:)

By the way, if any of you have been enjoying the show and want to help us out, please take a minute to visit Drama Pod and give us a vote. It doesn't even require a login, just one click! We're already in the top three fantasy shows, but with a few more votes we could make it to the front page as well, which would greatly increase our visibility.

By the way, I don't think I've mentioned this, but I'm now officially the assistant producer (or "ass prod", as it is sometimes called) of the show. So, alas for those of you who have been trying to politely ignore my pluggage, I'm afraid you can only expect more from here on. =:P

Next episode goes up in a week and I'm really excited about it. After taking a lot of time to establish characters more in ep3, eps 4 and 5 will ratchet up the action a lot and, well, some interesting things are going to happen. Enjoy!
Copied from Second Shift's episode-anounce mailing list
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Episode three of Second Shift, entitled "Stupid Magic" is now up for your
enjoyment! You can download it here:

http://www.secondshiftpodcast.com/src/S1E3-Stupid_Magic.mp3

Remember that you can also subscribe to the show using iTunes or your
favorite podcast client using our xml feed:

http://www.secondshiftpodcast.com/xml/2shift.xml

If you like the show, please consider voting for us at any of the
following podcast directories:

Podcast Alley: http://www.podcastalley.com/podcast_details.php?pod_id=30654
Odeo: http://www.odeo.com/channel/110401/view
Dramapod: http://www.dramapod.com/item.php?catid=139
Podcast Pickle: http://www.podcastpickle.com/casts/15164/

Finally don't forget the forum! We'd love to see a community built around
the show so if you have any comments, ideas, or just random chitchat, step
on up and say hello!

http://www.secondshiftpodcast.com/forum/

Next episode is scheduled for release on 8/5/06.

Enjoy! I'm off to record my parts for eps 4 and 5 later today.
Episode two, the second and final part of the Second Shift pilot, "Everything to Everyone" has just gone live. For those of you who listened to the first part and were told that the conclusion marks a big improvement in terms of writing and pacing, now you can listen for yourself and let us know if you agree.

Website here
Direct dl here
Forum here

Please check it out and let us know what you think. We got some helpful feedback after the first ep and I would love to get more for the second.

Thanks!
--Brad

P.S. My character gets to be a bit of a badass in this one, so I like it a lot. =:)
Got a treat for y'all.

Since the next episode of Second Shift is delayed a bit while we retool a couple of sound effects, we've decided to release a little goody we'd been saving for a rainy day. This one's a lot shorter than the actual pilot, so those of you who have been slacking have no excuse. =:)

If you did listen to the pilot you may remember the "Captain Laserbeard and his Gamma Raiders" radio serial playing in the background of scene 1. It's only really heard at the beginning and end of the scene but we actually recorded an entire episode of the thing.

Ever wonder what happens when two severely deranged writers decide to bang out a story about pirates and then hand it to the cast of a completely unrelated show to read cold? Well, now is your chance!.

Acting note: I found it strangely difficult to do a pirate voice without slipping into old-west-prospector-mode for some reason. But hey, it's not bad for a cold-read. =:)

Episode two should be out soon, which really picks up the pace of the show and improves on ep1 a great deal IMO. Expect further pimpage soon.
Just listened to a rough-cut of part one of the Second Shift pilot. I think we may be on to something here. [livejournal.com profile] choose_again's comment after hearing it was "I really want to know what happens next!", which is the greatest compliment I could have asked for. I can't wait to hear what it sounds like with SFX and music.

Rehearsals tonight, then more recording on Friday. Woot.

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