Audio Drama/Podcast Writers

alltheashes

Ashe
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 4, 2022
Messages
65
Reaction score
33
Any other audio drama writers?

I'm a couple episodes into a radio-drama-podcast-sitcom-thing about a supervillain who's well past his prime, his foppish assistant, and his hired muscle of few words. It's still very early but I've got a lot of plans for it.

One big advantage--or disadvantage, depending on how you look at it--to making an audio drama (as opposed to writing for film or television) is the total control you have. Overall, but especially in terms of episode length, season length, and the release schedule. It's similar to self-publishing in that sense of control. You live and die by your own choices, particularly when it comes to marketing.

Obviously not posting any links or scripts here until I've spent more time in the community getting to know you guys, but are there others of you writing for this format? Totally cool if it's not in this genre.

If you're also performing in the drama to some capacity, that's another layer worth discussing.
 
Last edited:

Woollybear

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 27, 2017
Messages
7,063
Reaction score
4,790
Location
USA
A local trad published author-acquaintance loves audio drama, and she credits that effort (< link) with the deal she got with Baen. She says it is a great way to build an audience, which publishers love for you to have. :) And it sounds fun.
 
  • Like
Reactions: alltheashes

alltheashes

Ashe
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 4, 2022
Messages
65
Reaction score
33
A local trad published author-acquaintance loves audio drama, and she credits that effort (< link) with the deal she got with Baen. She says it is a great way to build an audience, which publishers love for you to have. :) And it sounds fun.

Having seen some of the sizeable fanbases that can grow out of a successful audio drama, I totally believe that. The description sounds up my alley and the production sounds good as well. Thanks for sharing!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Woollybear

Melville

Reader first, writer second
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
233
Reaction score
25
Location
By a lake, in the woods
Are you talking about writing audio dramas or writing AND producing them? Or a little bit of both?

I write audio dramas for a living these days. I, too, like the flexibility of the medium -- the fact that episodes don't have to be the exact same length and that there's no restrictions as to setting.
 
  • Like
Reactions: alltheashes

Melville

Reader first, writer second
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
233
Reaction score
25
Location
By a lake, in the woods
A local trad published author-acquaintance loves audio drama, and she credits that effort (< link) with the deal she got with Baen. She says it is a great way to build an audience, which publishers love for you to have. :) And it sounds fun.
That's why I got into audio dramas in the first place -- it was hard getting people to read what I wrote but it's not nearly as hard to get them to listen.
 

alltheashes

Ashe
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 4, 2022
Messages
65
Reaction score
33
Are you talking about writing audio dramas or writing AND producing them? Or a little bit of both?

I write audio dramas for a living these days. I, too, like the flexibility of the medium -- the fact that episodes don't have to be the exact same length and that there's no restrictions as to setting.
Either or! Writing's the focus of the forum, so that's the most important bit, but experience in other facets of production/creation is definitely also of interest.

I hadn't considered there were people with careers in writing audio dramas. How long have you been at it, if you don't mind my asking? Do you work in particular genres or are you a jack of all trades?

The flexibility is freeing but also a little nerve-wracking, at least at the start as you're still figuring things out. But it allows you the space to figure things out. So many pieces of media I and others enjoy didn't "get good" or "find their footing" until midway through the first season or later, and looming cancellation makes it so a lot of them never even get to that point. It's comforting for that to not be an issue in this format.
 
Last edited:

Melville

Reader first, writer second
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
233
Reaction score
25
Location
By a lake, in the woods
Either or! Writing's the focus of the forum, so that's the most important bit, but experience in other facets of production/creation are definitely also of interest.
Okay, so you're writing audio drama scripts. I wasn't sure from your post if you were producing them yourself or not.
I hadn't considered there were people with careers in writing audio dramas. How long have you been at it, if you don't mind my asking? Do you work in particular genres or are you a jack of all trades?
I've been writing audio drama series for three years; I came in with the fiction wave that followed the true crime podcast phenomena. I specialize in five or six genres, all of which have their own group of listeners, though my intent is always to entice bring fans of one genre into another genre they may not be as familiar with.

The flexibility is freeing but also a little nerve-wracking, at least at the start as you're still figuring things out. But it allows you the space to figure things out. So many pieces of media I and others enjoy didn't "get good" or "find their footing" until midway through the first season or later, and looming cancellation makes it so a lot of them never even get to that point. It's comforting for that to not be an issue in this format.
Well, when you're a pro, you don't have the luxury of finding your footing or experimenting; you need to hit a homerun right out of the gate (to mix metaphors), but I can understand the appeal of writing for fun.

In the professional world, audio dramas are not as big of an investment as, say, a television pilot, but it's real money for a production and post-production team. The pilot has to be solid in order to attract A-list actors, which is a requirement for a couple of the studios I provide content for.
 
  • Like
Reactions: alltheashes

KitCarruthers

Banned
Registered
Joined
Nov 6, 2022
Messages
60
Reaction score
41
As much a fan I am of movies, as an adult I've come around to the belief that audio is the king of all formats.

It's just a humble opinion and I'm not seeking to argue, nor convince anyone to share my belief. Not at all.

But as an example of what I mean: just think how terrified you were as a kid on a camping trip, sitting around the campfire at night, listening to someone tell a really good ghost story.
 

alltheashes

Ashe
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 4, 2022
Messages
65
Reaction score
33
Okay, so you're writing audio drama scripts. I wasn't sure from your post if you were producing them yourself or not.
Sorry, I'm also producing and acting; I've only released a few episodes of my second effort. I just figured the script-writing aspect was most relevant for the forum. Are you also involved in production?
I've been writing audio drama series for three years; I came in with the fiction wave that followed the true crime podcast phenomena. I specialize in five or six genres, all of which have their own group of listeners, though my intent is always to entice bring fans of one genre into another genre they may not be as familiar with.
Writing multiple genre-spanning shows concurrently is very impressive. Do you write for a particular podcast hub/organization (ex. Max Fun) or are you more freelance?
Well, when you're a pro, you don't have the luxury of finding your footing or experimenting; you need to hit a homerun right out of the gate (to mix metaphors), but I can understand the appeal of writing for fun.

In the professional world, audio dramas are not as big of an investment as, say, a television pilot, but it's real money for a production and post-production team. The pilot has to be solid in order to attract A-list actors, which is a requirement for a couple of the studios I provide content for.
Oh, yeah, definitely an amateur here. I have a minor following through past creative ventures so some eyes already on the project and just some good old naïve optimism that persistence can help accrue an audience, but I recognize how impractical of an approach it would be for a professional network with deadlines and quotas and infrastructure.

As a pro, do you write scripts on your own or is it more a collaborative process (or does it vary by production)?
 

Melville

Reader first, writer second
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
233
Reaction score
25
Location
By a lake, in the woods
Sorry, I'm also producing and acting; I've only released a few episodes of my second effort. I just figured the script-writing aspect was most relevant for the forum. Are you also involved in production?
In some cases, yes, but not always. When I get a project funded (guaranteed budget), I pull together my own production and post team.
Writing multiple genre-spanning shows concurrently is very impressive! Do you write for a particular podcast hub/organization (ex. Max Fun) or are you more freelance?
I write for the top (now) six major podcast studios. Everything is released across all platforms, though first for their respective subscribers.

Oh, yeah, definitely an amateur here. I have a minor following through past creative ventures so some eyes already on the project and just some good old naïve optimism that persistence can help accrue an audience, but I recognize how impractical of an approach it would be for a professional network with deadlines and quotas and infrastructure.
Yes, but there's always a chance you can build an audience on your own even if it takes awhile. And you own the whole ball of wax. When you have investors, you have to share (darn it!:) )
As a pro, do you write scripts on your own or is it more a collaborative process (or does it depend by production)?
I don't collaborate under any circumstances as far as writing is concerned; I got into this medium so I can avoid any collaboration whatsoever as a writer. For me, (and I mean for me only, as I do know some terrific writing teams), I travel fastest AND furthest on my own. Since I'm very successful and my work is very popular, I don't have to make any concessions. I think, though, that this only works if you can attract listeners, advertisers, and those interested in acquiring the underlying dramatic rights to what you've written. Once you lose your heat and/or momentum, you can't call the shots anymore. So I'm living in my moment, for as long as it lasts.

Collaborating with actors and a production team is different, of course, as we all are specialists and experts in our field. Everyone appreciates what the other creatives bring to the table. Like a sports team. None of us play the same position someone else does, or pretend we can. I stay in my lane. We all do.

There's no get-rich money in audio dramas, but there's more creative satisfaction and freedom than I've ever encountered in any other medium. And it's fast. Fast like self-publishing can be, I think. I can write something this month, produce it next month, and have it out to listeners the following month.
 
  • Like
Reactions: alltheashes

alltheashes

Ashe
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 4, 2022
Messages
65
Reaction score
33
In some cases, yes, but not always. When I get a project funded (guaranteed budget), I pull together my own production and post team.

I write for the top (now) six major podcast studios. Everything is released across all platforms, though first for their respective subscribers.


Yes, but there's always a chance you can build an audience on your own even if it takes awhile. And you own the whole ball of wax. When you have investors, you have to share (darn it!:) )

I don't collaborate under any circumstances as far as writing is concerned; I got into this medium so I can avoid any collaboration whatsoever as a writer. For me, (and I mean for me only, as I do know some terrific writing teams), I travel fastest AND furthest on my own. Since I'm very successful and my work is very popular, I don't have to make any concessions. I think, though, that this only works if you can attract listeners, advertisers, and those interested in acquiring the underlying dramatic rights to what you've written. Once you lose your heat and/or momentum, you can't call the shots anymore. So I'm living in my moment, for as long as it lasts.

Collaborating with actors and a production team is different, of course, as we all are specialists and experts in our field. Everyone appreciates what the other creatives bring to the table. Like a sports team. None of us play the same position someone else does, or pretend we can. I stay in my lane. We all do.

There's no get-rich money in audio dramas, but there's more creative satisfaction and freedom than I've ever encountered in any other medium. And it's fast. Fast like self-publishing can be, I think. I can write something this month, produce it next month, and have it out to listeners the following month.

I agree, great material comes out of both solo writers and teams, but I feel it takes a certain confidence and assurance to work well on your own and I commend you for it. It's great to hear you've had success in the medium, I very much appreciate your insight and the realism therein.

Could I possibly see some of your work?
 

Melville

Reader first, writer second
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
233
Reaction score
25
Location
By a lake, in the woods
I agree, great material comes out of both solo writers and teams, but I feel it takes a certain confidence and assurance to work well on your own and I commend you for it. It's great to hear you've had success in the medium, I very much appreciate your insight and the realism therein.

Could I possibly see some of your work?
Confidence and assurance? Thank you, but I think it's more that I'm simply experienced and disciplined when it comes to producing content. I focus on the work, not what anyone else thinks about what I'm doing.

"See"? You mean a script for an audio drama? Or do you mean listen to one?
 

alltheashes

Ashe
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 4, 2022
Messages
65
Reaction score
33
Confidence and assurance? Thank you, but I think it's more that I'm simply experienced and disciplined when it comes to producing content. I focus on the work, not what anyone else thinks about what I'm doing.

"See"? You mean a script for an audio drama? Or do you mean listen to one?

Ah, yeah, that is confusing. I did mean listen.
 

Melville

Reader first, writer second
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
233
Reaction score
25
Location
By a lake, in the woods
Sorry... I forgot to reply to your original question.
All of my audio dramas are available on Apple Podcasts etc., so, yes. All of them have reached the top 10 on the USA Fiction charts. If you mean will I identify which ones are mine, well, no; I really enjoy being just an anonymous poster in these forums. (Thank you, AW!)

However, I would be happy to discuss audio dramas in general within the context of these forums as I believe the medium is worthy of discussions.
 
  • Like
Reactions: alltheashes

alltheashes

Ashe
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 4, 2022
Messages
65
Reaction score
33
Sorry... I forgot to reply to your original question.
All of my audio dramas are available on Apple Podcasts etc., so, yes. All of them have reached the top 10 on the USA Fiction charts. If you mean will I identify which ones are mine, well, no; I really enjoy being just an anonymous poster in these forums. (Thank you, AW!)

However, I would be happy to discuss audio dramas in general within the context of these forums as I believe the medium is worthy of discussions.

Any favorite shows?
 

Melville

Reader first, writer second
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
233
Reaction score
25
Location
By a lake, in the woods
Hmmm, I don't listen to any audio dramas. I spend so much time listening to my own during production or in post that I find I'd rather read a book or watch a movie than anything else when I'm not working. Or go for a walk.

However, I do read A LOT of audio drama scripts (given to me by the platform distributors) to see what everyone else is up to. Format, as you probably know, is still evolving in this medium so I find the evolution interesting. Screenplays have a set format, which does evolve but not by a lot each year, while audio dramas tend to be written in stage play format or screenplay format. Neither of these work well for me -- I'm always trying to "perfect" my own format, one that works for actors on book AND for the post sound crew. It's actually fun to test things out AND to see how other writers are handling it. That being said, I never look at anything off the Top 100 on the USA Fiction chart as I'm more interested in a wide audience than niche programming for my purposes. Indeed, I've heard that there's some GREAT niche audio dramas/audiopods out there but when you work a lot you need to be selective in how you use your free time. I'm not niche; my group is focused on material suitable for a global audience and for adaptation.

What I can say is that the trend is leaning more toward longer episodes and more episodes per audio drama. Where 6-10 eps at 20 minutes per used to suffice, the trend is toward a minimum of 13-16 episodes at 35 minutes plus per. I'm hoping that payment will also reflect this increase in length as I'm finding I'm needing to write close to twice as much for a single series -- close to novel word count now.

Genre specificity too is important in audio dramas, as platforms have very specific needs for their audiences so it's important not to veer to far astray from genre expectations. That being said, there's a lot of room for creativity, especially with immersive sound design. Very cutting edge, this brave new world medium.

So, how about you -- any favorite audio drama series? And what kind of audio dramas are you writing?