And so it begins….again!


How about that artwork? Pretty snazzy huh? Kessi Rilinki is the artist, check her out and The Audio Drama Production Podcast group on Facebook.

And now onto our story.

After driving from Philadelphia to Minneapolis (with a stop in Fremont, Indiana) we have arrived safe and sound on Tuesday, February 19th. After a rest and some much-needed animal corraling it was time to sift through the audio detritus that will eventually make up season 2 of Jarnsaxa Rising.

It was a shame we couldn’t hang out with the cast during the time that we were there but with the readthroughs and the re-writes, there wasn’t time. We had a narrow window to record in due to conflicting schedules with the cast but we did manage to get everything done in a final 12-hour session.

Tech notes here so if this stuff bores you just skip it. I included links in the event of anyone interested in the product and my experience with it in a real-world situation. I’m not getting compensated for anything.

For recording, I opted for the Zoom F8 field recorder along with the FRC-8 controller to give me more flexibility in mixing and control. I ended up using a CAD TRION 6000, CAD GXL 2200, 2 Aston Origins, Sterling Audio ST151 and the trusty Shure SM58. Except for SM58, all the other mics are condensers. To get more level out of the SM58, I ran that through a Cloudlifter CL-1 via the F8’s phantom power.

For the actors, I decided to have a headphone distribution system set up so they can hear themselves. I went cheap and got the Behringer Powerplay which actually did a pretty good job. I brought with me what I had in headphones (2 pairs of Sony MDR 7506’s, Sennheiser HD280, and a pair of KOSS over the ear type. I also made a quick stop at Twin Town Guitars and grabbed some 1/8″ to 1/4″ adaptors just in case.

A little plug for Sony here, if you are looking for bulletproof, great sounding headphones, get the MDR 7506. I have a pair that is over 20 years old the other is 10 and they are user serviceable so you can replace parts.

The recording space was the second floor (attic?) at the home of the director Carin Bratlie Wethern. We kept any room reverb down by utilizing blankets and pillows. I also tried to keep to the “3 to 1” rule to cut down on bleed. I was somewhat successful in this after listening to playbacks and isolating tracks.

If time permits I will occasionally post again. The work is going to be slow and tedious. Then I have to create SFX beds and music cues for 8 episodes so it may take a few months or more to get a decent product.


Things that keep me awake at night

Lathgertha_by_Morris_Meredith_Williams Once upon a time there was a playwright who was really, really bored.

She sent a Facebook message to a friend, a director, who was never bored, halfway across the country. The message was, “I need something new to write about, throw me a prompt.”

The director said, “Just above the 60th parallel in the Baltic Ocean, a team of researchers arrives at an abandoned wind farm, to investigate some unexplained energy surges. They discover that the wind farm has become sentient. And hungry.”

The writer said, I like this, and she researched and thought and imagined. Five years later, we have this:

Smøla Wind Farm, Norway. Photo by Bjørn Luell.

Photo by Bjørn Luell

Jarnsaxa Rising

It seemed like a great play idea, with multiple characters and the wind turbines themselves being played by actors who rotated giant rain sticks, as if the gods and humans and everyone were all embodied in the wind turbines. But the story was too unwieldy. It made more sense to break it into episodes and do it as a podcast. So, basically, it’s a science fiction fantasy revenge tragedy that takes place in a dystopian future and the ancient past.

and that’s what I’ve been up to lately.

round box brooch swedish So, I’m writing the script. I’m eight episodes in, with hopefully only two more to go. although two of the episodes may get merged into one. Vince is doing all the sound engineering. Carin is directing, she’s found a cast, and we’re going to Minneapolis to record it in July. We’ll edit the files in August, and launch the podcast in the fall.

I’ve been taking a Coursera course, called Sagas and Space, about Norse culture and how they thought about themselves. It’s been inspiring and helpful, particularly Terry Gunnell’s guest lecture on “Spaces, Places, Liminality and The Supernatural in The Old Nordic World.”

I’ve been learning a lot about Indiegogo. This is our campaign, in case you like this and want to help. We’re just over 5% funded, with 41 days to go. I get about two messages a day from people who want me to pay them to retweet the campaign or add it to a directory. which feels like adding my needle to a haystack.

woman holding-headphones-listening-to-music

“OMG! This is, like, SO much better than Serial!”

Tonight, I have writer’s block. I know what needs to happen next, everything is outlined. As I write, I feel like I’m stumbling. There’s a lot of new things that I’m learning: writing purely for audio instead of live audio-visual performance, using episodes, using non-linear narrative. some information is missing, and I don’t know what it is, but without it, I can’t confidently move forward. I’ll get it, I just have to find it. I also know that writing doesn’t come from inspiration, inspiration comes from writing.

Fortunately, I have a really good cast, good people who have said, “sure, I’ll climb aboard your wagon.” I just want to make sure I don’t disappoint anyone.

I wanted to go to bed early tonight, so I can get up early tomorrow. It was hot today and it’s supposed to be hot tomorrow, so I’d like to have some of the cool hours of the day at my disposal. I want to get up early, pull weeds and water the flowerbeds before the rest of the world gets moving. The local amateur pyrotechnic aficionados are setting things off, which upsets the dogs. They’re being pretty good about it, but I can hear them shuffling around anxiously.

I think I’m just going to lie down and listen to an audiobook, and hope that settles me down.

Anyway, this is what’s keeping me awake lately.