When Passion Meets Profession: How to fund a Project with Newt Schottelkotte

When Passion Meets Profession: How to fund a Project with Newt Schottelkotte
Audience
When Passion Meets Profession: How to fund a Project with Newt Schottelkotte
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Episode June 16, 2022 00:38:00

Hosted By

Matt Medeiros Stuart Barefoot

Show Notes

Newt Schottelkotte created their first audio drama in 2017 when they were only 15 years old. That led to the creation of Caldera Studios, a production company where Newt produces their work including their latest series, Where the Stars Fell.

In this episode, Newt and Stuart discuss the creative process of making a fiction podcast, the need for budgets in audio drama, and strategies for crowdfunding.

 

Links

Castos and Stripe Integration

Newt’s website

Newt’s piece on Medium

Caldera Studio’s Bandcamp

Inkwyrm Podcast

Where The Stars Fell Podcast

Connect with Newt on Twitter

Fable and Folly

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 2 00:00:05 For close to four decades, radio dramas were one of the main ways people entertained themselves weekly installments of adapted stage plays and even drama specifically written for radio were American pop culture, main stays didn't TV cable along in the sixties and radio dramas quickly became significantly less popular. I think someone even wrote a song about that once now in the era of new media. And of course, podcasting audio dramas are back shows like welcome to night fell and Limetown challenge the podcasting orthodoxy before the medium could even mature Speaker 3 00:00:40 When podcasting was first starting out, it was wild to suggest that you could do a really fully produced lots of voice actors, fully fledged sound design, but it can't be like a TV show because this is an audio only medium. And there are certain rules thing. Speaker 2 00:01:01 Next we'll hear from an indie creator who makes audio dramas. They'll talk about their creative process. There's a Frank discussion about money and a bit about crowdfund. My name is Stewart, and this is audience, a Casto original series. Speaking of funding, I did wanna mention that Casto offers some great integrative tools for your podcast. For instance, you can create a subscription based podcast. Thanks to our partnership with Stripe. Use it, our new integrative tool. You can create a private podcast and accept payments directly from your listeners. There's no more clunky ad algorithms that don't actually generate income. No more middleman, take it at 30% cut. It's simply a direct payment from your audience to you. Easy Lord, [email protected] or click on the link in the show notes. Speaker 3 00:01:53 As we mature as an industry. And as we begin to prove ourselves, just like television did just like film did. And just like the fiction novel did that. We are a place that is worth it to put money into. Then we have to start thinking and talking about money like professionals. Speaker 2 00:02:12 So in 2017, Newt shadow CA wrote their first audio drama when they were just 15 years old, it was called InCorp spelled with a Y. And it's described as being one part sitcom and one part space opera that project ran for about three years and led to Newt. Now a college student based at Nashville, Tennessee to start Calera studios, a place where they produce their own work, like their latest series, where the stars fell. Newt is also the director of marketing for fable and Folley, a network that helps fiction podcasters grow beyond that. Newt provides voiceovers and sound design on various projects, and they are senior producer at better limit creative audio working mostly with museums to create original content. Like a lot of people who work in this industry, Newt's fascination with audio began early on. Speaker 3 00:03:02 I grew up in a very, very musical family and there were two things that we would always listen to on the drive to school growing up, we would either listen to my dad's CD of the very best of John Denver, or we would listen to NPR. So I sort of grew up having this mixture of a love of music, but also a very close relationship with radio. I, you know, hated listening to the public news because I was like eight, but now it's just a part of my day. And that transitioned into podcasts. So radio in some form was always really a part of my life. Speaker 4 00:03:42 Do you remember the first audio drama? Maybe not the first audio drama you ever heard, but do you remember just like, as a kid, do you remember listening to any audio dramas or anything? Speaker 3 00:03:50 Yeah, for a while I went to a Catholic school and one of the things that they always played during art class was, uh, adventures in Odyssey, which is a book wild audio drama made by that one group that does not like gay people, but it was my first, uh, time listening to a whole story that was played out entirely in audio. And you knew what was going on and there were all these characters and whenever I, you know, started making audio fiction, I kind of went from a standpoint of, oh, this isn't too unfamiliar for me. I already kind of know how this is supposed to work and that it can be done. And then of course, as many, many audio fiction devotes did, I had my awakening with welcome to night bail, which I listened to back when I was in seventh grade and they had just finished year two and it just absolutely blew my mind. And I started listening to more and more and more, and I got to take my parents to some of the live shows when they came to Cincinnati. I actually am going to see them this month. I'm very excited. It's take your father to work day <laugh> in a way. But yeah, I started in this industry really young. So audio fiction has been a part of pretty much every single stage of my life, which is a really cool relationship to have with it. Speaker 4 00:05:18 You were 15 when you made your first audio drama. Right. What was that about? Tell me a little bit about that. Speaker 3 00:05:23 Yeah. So, uh, quick tip for everyone. Be aware that when you are a small teenager and you put something up on the internet, one it's gonna be there forever two. It might accidentally become a part of your personal brand and you can never take it back <laugh> so be careful and don't be silly. But yeah, when I was a freshman in high school, I created, uh, my audio drama, ink worm with a couple of people who were in my school's theater program. And some people who I had just met through, um, online friendships, because I thought to myself, well, all of these other people are out there making audio drama. And I had grown up with so many great shows, like, well, 3 59 in the bright sessions in EOS 10 and all of these formative pieces of media to me. And I saw that they weren't having to go through networks or producers or do the whole pitch and pilot model. They were just doing it. So I taught myself how to set up an RSS feed, which back in those days was a lot harder and took a lot more Googling <laugh>. But I thought to myself, well, if they can do it, why can't I, and next thing, you know, people are really enjoying the story and connecting with the characters and there goes my imposter syndrome for the rest of my life. Speaker 4 00:06:37 Well, I'm glad you're able to shed that at, at, at 15 Speaker 3 00:06:41 <laugh> the best time to suddenly not be able to feel embarrassment Speaker 4 00:06:45 <laugh>. And by the way, what you said about, you know, uh, what you put out on the internet last forever. I don't think just teenagers need to hear that. I think there's some, there's some people well into adulthood who I think would, uh, that, that advice would, would serve. Well, I, I am curious, you know, because I, I imagine at 15, probably you hadn't had a lot of like technical or, or like official training. No, but if you're musically inclined and from little bit, I know about playing music, there are people who are very auditory learners. They can hear a piece of music and understand, all right, I know how to play that. Now, do you think making audio is a little bit the same way you can, if you understand some basic principles, you can hear something on the radio, you can hear an audio drama, you can hear someone's narrative podcast and be like, all right. I understand like the building blocks they used to get that is, did you, do you feel like initially at least you related to audio dramas that way? Speaker 3 00:07:35 Well, it's funny that you say building blocks because I'm actually a kinetic learner. So I learned by doing, um, but I think part of what made the transition from just enjoying audio fiction to making it a little bit smoother is, uh, my biggest background is in theater. I've done middle school and high school and college theater. And I've always loved being on pretty much every part of the production team from tech to an actor to directing. And so it was easy to just sort of transition a lot of what I did even, you know, when I was still just in high school to that, because my biggest part of the writing sound design, any part of the audio process is blocking is sort of seeing it in my head and asking myself, where is this character moving? What actions are they doing? What does this have to do with the progression of the story, the progression of who this person is? So it's very easy to sort of see it like pieces on a D and D board. And then from that, it was just practice and practice and going on YouTube and figuring out what compression means and why you need to be careful with it and letting practice makes not perfect, but hopefully pretty good. Speaker 4 00:08:51 Yeah. And, and you are pretty good. And we'll hear an example of that. Of course. Thank you. I am really curious on a typical project, how many people are involved in, in bringing this piece of theater to life? Speaker 3 00:09:01 So I tend to go with a different core team and every new thing that I do for incor, I was still the show runner, but there were a couple of people who were working on it and I kept it really small because I needed to build some production experience for where the stars fell. There's me, who's the showrun and her head writer. There is my co-writer Lucy brown, who I am desperately lucky to have. <laugh> uh, we have our sensitivity reader, kit Adams, who sensitivity reads for some of the marginalized groups that we have on the show, making sure we're getting those right. I do the sound design production coordination. We have our cast of voice actors who are immensely talented and awesome. Uh, we have our show artist, Caitlin, uh, who sometimes gives us some nice updated graphics. And they're very talented, but I kind of handle most of the, I wanna say Keystone roles mainly because, uh, for the first two seasons, at least this has been a primarily volunteer project because I'm a broke college student. And I wanted to make sure that the most time and labor and not fun parts of the whole process were done by me, who was willing to do it for very none pay. Speaker 4 00:10:19 How many hours would you say go into to making an episode? Speaker 3 00:10:22 Oh boy. Oh boy. Wow. It really depends because sometimes we'll have an episode, uh, like the one, uh, from the clip that you're going to play, which has, is very dialogue heavy, which doesn't have a ton of huge set pieces. And then we have something like, uh, a couple of episodes in season two or the special that we're releasing this August, which have big action set pieces and combat and multiple moving parts. Probably the longest part is always going to be sound design because this is an audio medium that encompasses so many parts of the storytelling, but I'm also very lucky that because we have the ability to do remote work nowadays, I can spread it out so that I have usually at least one person helping me in almost everything. But something that I found is really, really helpful in the process is I see the role of showrunner as a primarily support position, because at the end of the day, you're trying to take all of this stuff that people are giving you the great performances, the great scripts, all of the notes, stuff like that. And you're trying to make everybody else look good. You're trying to bring the best possible product to the people who are invested in this story. And you're trying to give your cast and your crew a credit that they can be super duper proud of. So coming to it with that mindset is probably one of the best ingredients in a recipe for success, because it puts the team, the whole cast and crew at the forefront of everything you do. Speaker 4 00:12:01 All right, we're gonna hear this in practice a little bit. So this clip that I have queued up here, you sent me. Uh, and so I'm gonna get you to tell me a little bit about it, uh, at, at the, on the back end of the clip, but it's from episode 17 of where the stars fell. So let's take a listen to that. Speaker 5 00:12:16 And what does thinking outside my bowl mean? Speaker 6 00:12:21 It means that every act of creation deserves love and attention, but that requires understanding it's not all about you. I don't think you're being selfish on purpose Lucie, but the world is not a manuscript. You can't just push until things turn out the way you plan them in your head. You have to learn to adapt. Speaker 5 00:12:39 I find that's quite against our nature Speaker 6 00:12:47 Maybe, but I've got a stack full of evidence right here that you're pretty good at taking edits. Red ink doesn't mean the story is bad. It means there's room for it to grow. Speaker 4 00:12:59 Now, admittedly, I haven't listened to the entire series yet. I'm on episode three right now, but this seems pretty self-referential Hey, is this, was this a kind of like a, a meta moment that you had put into the series? Cause it, it feels like without having a lot of context, that's what it feels like to me. Speaker 3 00:13:14 Yeah. This is from an episode in season two where, uh, one of our leads Lucy is sort of going through the process of figuring out the audiobook versions for her best selling fantasy series. And it's sort of going through explaining why they haven't been made yet. And I sort of presented it like a, a problem play where you've got two very different philosophies, both trying to come together in terms of the creative process, representation and accessibility, because one of the big themes that we talk about and where the stars fell is identity and agency specifically through our disabled characters, I'm physically and developmentally disabled. Uh, so our ed and Lucy, and that was something that I really wanted to talk about. And this episode is sort of our big thesis statement on that. So you heard, uh, Lucy who has the British accent and Maggie, who has the American accent. Um, and they're both talking in that episode and coming to what I'm glad our audience found to be a very complicated, but interesting conclusion Speaker 2 00:14:26 In a written piece for medium Newton makes the case for fiction podcast producers to pay their cast and crew fairly something that might seem pretty obvious to a lot of people, but can be a bit of a taboo subject in a subject genre coming from such DIY roots and their article Nute quotes, Tal Manir another fiction podcast producer. Here's what they said. Passion projects are great. Community theater productions are wonderful. Volunteer teams are perfectly valid, but it's important to remember that what you see as doing something for fun may in fact, be seen by someone you bring on is doing something for work. Ultimately, audio drama is part of the entertainment industry and folks wanting to pay more in line with that is not stopping you from producing your show. It means you have to work with your friends instead of hiring someone, or you might have to learn new skills on your own, or you might have to raise additional funds, potentially additional hurdles in making your audio drama, but not gate keeping and the least. Speaker 3 00:15:26 So, um, that's a quote from the article, uh, by my good friend TA Manir, uh, they are fantastic and awesome, and they are a crowdfunding master. I would highly recommend anybody. Who's looking to crowdfund to show or talk about money in general, to check out a bunch of their resources that they have. Uh, it's great. I'm so glad that I asked them for this article, but we have a real problem in the audio drama community, or I should say the audio drama industry with talking about money because a lot of the people who came into the industry and started the big standout projects are coming from self-made backgrounds. They're not getting the backing of a big studio or a big production company. They're either paying actors out of pocket or they're crowdfunding, or they're doing it most often on a volunteer basis. And that's great and that's fine. Speaker 3 00:16:16 But as we found in the entertainment industry, money talks, and if you're not making a lot of money, if you're not getting paid a lot of money, that is unfortunately going to in the eyes of a lot of people, de-legitimize you. And there's also the issue of the fact that people need to make a living. They love to do what they do, and it's wonderful when you can do what you love and get paid for it. But if you want to have a sustainable model of talent, if you want people to keep coming into this industry, bringing their fresh ideas, bringing their amazing talent and helping you make the best thing that you can, you have to pay them a sustainable model that allows them to keep doing that while putting food on the table or not experiencing burnout from putting more into a project than they get back. Speaker 3 00:17:05 And sometimes there is some pushback against that because don't get me wrong. The studio model, the pitching to production companies and studios, and hoping your thing gets picked up. It feels crazy, especially when, for all of your career, you've just been able to get up, make a thing and not have to worry a lot about paying the people involved. But if you want your creative endeavors to be taken seriously by the broader entertainment industry, and if you want to set yourself up for success, both as a production and as a producer, you need to get into the practice of valuing people's time and paying them enough so that they can keep coming back to both your project and to the industry. Speaker 4 00:17:49 There's a lot of audio out there and I don't, I don't care what the genre is. If it's audio dramas, if it's like a B2B type thing, if it's narrative nonfiction, if it's just your typical chat show, doesn't matter what it is. There's a lot of everything out there, but I think we're the point you are making. And something, I agree with you a hundred percent on is if you want people to listen to your work, it's gotta be good. It really Speaker 3 00:18:13 Does. Speaker 4 00:18:13 You said it best money talks, right? I mean, first of all, there's just a practicality. We have to make a living <laugh> right. So, so you make a great point that, you know, in order to, I guess, get the, get the best result. You're probably not gonna do it for free. Speaker 3 00:18:26 I mean that, and then also something that I've had to learn as I was able to move into audio, being my full-time job and also working in freelance settings is that when somebody asks to hire you on for a project, they are not just paying for your time and your talents. They are also paying for a spot in your schedule that could be going to another project. They are saying that we want a dedicated spot in your very busy day so that you can put time towards the thing that we want to make. And we're making it worth your while enough, that any other offers you could have gotten are gonna be beat out for that time. So it's making it worth somebody's while, because there are so many incredibly talented people in this industry who have so much great stuff to bring, but if they want to, like I said, put food on the table, be able to avoid burnout, to be able to keep doing what they're doing. They are going to have to choose the projects that allow them to do that. And sometimes that means turning down stuff that may look really cool. That may look really exciting, but doesn't pay them enough that they could afford to allocate that time to that project and not one that pays and pays more. Speaker 4 00:19:51 Why do you think that money is kind of a taboo subject and audio drama? I Speaker 3 00:19:54 Believe somebody at one point on Twitter compared audio drama to the early DIY and punk scene, and they made like a really, really good extended comparison, but I'll simplify that right now, audio drama came from very, very DIY roots because when podcasting was first starting out, it was wild to suggest that you could do a really fully produced lots of voice actors, fully fledged sound design, but it can't be like a TV show because this is an audio only medium. And there are certain rules thing except for maybe one or two really, really standout companies. So a lot of the first content of audio drama from the folks at night field presents from kind of evil genius productions from atypical artist. All of that stuff was breaking new ground every single day, but also having to work at a deficit and as more and more people sort of realized, oh, they're doing it. Speaker 3 00:20:57 So can I and came into the industry more and more, that precedent was set of, oh, for the most part, big companies don't wanna sponsor audio drama. Big audio drama is never going to be a thing that's profitable. Audio drama is just a place to establish an IP so you can sell it as a TV show or make it into a spinoff, which is a mindset that I strongly disagree with. But it was this idea that if you wanted to make something longstanding and original and audio drama, you had to accept the fact that you were working at a deficit because it was always going to be seen as less than nonfiction podcast. And that kind of caused people to just accept the fact that everything needed to be done for free. Everything needed to be done at a deficit. And it became this culture of, well, of course, it's a, it's a volunteer show. Speaker 3 00:21:51 We're just making something together. That's, that's gonna be fun. And like it says in the article, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Ink worm originally started out as a bunch of high school students making something that they had fun with and were really proud of. And I never ever expected what happened with ink worm to lead to where I am today. But as we mature as an industry, and as we begin to prove ourselves, just like television did just like film did. And just like the fiction novel did that. We are a place that is worth it to put money into. Then we have to start thinking and talking about money like professionals. And you said that it's a taboo subject. It's not just here. We don't like to talk about money as a society. I remember on international women's day, there was that Twitter bot that quote retweeted companies talking about feminism with their gender pay gap. Speaker 3 00:22:46 We need to not just as a community, but as a society get better and more okay with talking about money. But in terms of audio drama, talking about money means that people get paid barely. There are whisper networks. I'm I am so grateful to all of the people who I have told what I'm getting paid for a job. And they're like, yeah, you're being exploited or no, you need to raise your rates. Or you should definitely ask for more. Because when we talk about money, we do not allow ourselves to be taken advantage of if you were a creator. The number one way that you get taken advantage of is by silence is by not knowing any better by not knowing that you can and should ask for more. When we talk about money and audio drama, it's not just saying that people deserve to be paid fairly. It's not just saying that this is an industry that is worth larger companies, time and investment. It's saying that we need to create a culture where what we are being paid is out there, that there is nothing that needs to be hidden, because that means that if we can all talk about it, companies can't get away with saying, oh, well you're only worth this much. And I can prove it because there's nobody saying, otherwise Speaker 4 00:23:59 It is, it is a wider problem. They, they always say like the ethos of like, not talking about your salary, actually, isn't really good for anybody except for, you know, the, the people who own the company, because they can take advantage of people, particularly, you know, groups who are already marginalized to your point. Speaker 3 00:24:14 You're speaking about groups who are already marginalized. Part of the reason that audio drama is having to ask ourselves, Hey, we say that we're a really diverse industry of creators, but is that a hundred percent true? Is that if you are able to produce your show at a deficit, if you are able to continue doing that, and if you are able to make space in your daily life for something that is so severely not your job, then you are probably at at least a little bit, a position of privilege. And when we make this a sustainable industry, when we make it so people can get paid and make this what they do and support themselves, then we can invite creators from marginalized groups who may not have the privilege of just being able to throw money or throw lots of time at something that's gonna be a deficit. And that helps bring more diversity and more unique voices and more at the end of the day. Good and interesting stories into the industry. Speaker 4 00:25:16 How, how do you fund some of your projects? If you don't mind me asking Speaker 3 00:25:20 Audiod drama, getting money to make it is a, is a very, very long and complicated subject. I, uh, I'm actually working on a miniseries. That's a how to, for younger audio fiction creators, because I started out really young and we've had so many people coming into the industry who are on the younger side. And this takes up an entire episode because it's a lot to talk about, but was also really, really fun to write. So I'm gonna paraphrase a little bit here. There were a couple of ways to get money, to make your audio drama. There is the obvious pitch it to a bigger studio, pitch it to a bigger network, go to some place like just for example, realm and go through all of the avenues and the channels and say, here is my show. Here is my pitch deck. Do you want to give me money to make it that's a lot like the studio model, then there is saving up all of your pennies and hoping that you can get ad revenue. Speaker 3 00:26:15 Maybe you're part of a network and just making it add a deficit out of your own pocket. That's not an option for a lot of people. So the number one way that a lot of audio dramas are able to pay for themselves is via crowdfunding using a platform like seed spark or Indiegogo, running a campaign. And whether you are a new show or trying to make another season of an already existing show, asking your audience to essentially give you money, to get the thing and also get a bunch of really cool rewards while you're at it. Now there's a difference between crowdfunding for a returning show and crowdfunding for a brand new show in terms of difficulty, because for a returning show, you've already got that built an audience. You can go on your RSS feed and be like, Hey guys, we're trying to make a season three, come and get some great stickers and rewards and all sorts of cool stuff. Speaker 3 00:27:11 And in return in several months, you will get another season of your favorite show. And that's great. That's so much of your marketing already taken care of. And that's the biggest hurdle, which is getting eyes on it for a new show. However, it's a lot more difficult because you don't have that built in audience. And most importantly, in a medium where the pilot is gonna be the biggest thing that sets you apart from the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of other audio dramas out there. And when, because of the DIY nature of the industry, there is a pretty wide margin of quality for what shows get produced. As you don't really have a way to tell people, Hey, we're gonna make a show and we pinky promise. It's gonna be really good. Just trust us. Like this is, this is giving money on the internet. Speaker 3 00:28:02 We all remember all or nothing. So one of the ways that a couple of shows have found a way to really smartly put their money where their mouth is, is they create either at a deficit or with some other backing, a pilot. And the pilot goes up on the first day of the crowdfund. And what putting a pilot up with your crowdfund, if you're a brand new show does is a couple of things. Number one, it gets the audience invested in the story and the characters and the world right off the bat. You don't have to be like, this is what it's gonna be like. These are all of these characters. You don't know any of them yet. You don't know anything about them yet. You're not invested, but you will be. So you're already getting some of the advantages that crowdfunding for an ongoing show presents. Speaker 3 00:28:44 And number two, it shows people right front. What the quality of this show is going to be the sound design, the voice, acting the production, the writing, all of it. You are now able to say with proof, if you give us money, we will make more of this. And this is really, really good. And number three, you get all of the promotional advantages of a series. Premier going to the press, sending out stuff to newsletters, maybe going on shows to talk about it with also tacking on your crowdfund. So you can say, Hey, brand new show alert. We're launching a brand new show. Come give us, press come, put us on your best new shows of October list and tackle alongside it. Come and give us money to get more of this. So a lot of people are realizing that a pilot with your brand new show crowdfund is one of the best ways that you can ensure you actually get the money to make the show. You've done Speaker 4 00:29:40 Something very creative on band camp. You've got some of your, your songs available too. So, uh, first I wanna actually play a little bit of the song. Speaker 8 00:29:51 I know that you've been waiting on the cloud above my head, hoping it would fade along the dark descend the dread. Well, I'm sorry if I let you down, but it's gonna rain until I drown here in my back. Speaker 4 00:30:14 So what's the name of that song? Uh, why why'd you write it? And, uh, yeah, that's, it's really good. Speaker 3 00:30:19 Thank you. Yeah, that is cemetery from episode 15 of where the stars fell, uh, which is a, is a wild episode. And I promise all the other music we have up on band camp is much happier. Pinky promise <laugh>. But, um, yeah, I'm a, a singer songwriter, musician. I've been playing music and guitar and piano and singing and all that good stuff since as long as I can remember. And I, I want to include music in my shows. Number one, because it means that I don't have to go through the trouble of getting the synchronization rights and paying for them. It means that I can just make it myself and with all the other people that I know, and it's so much easier and I would be crazy if I didn't take advantage of that. And number two, I think that putting original music in your shows is a great way to make it stand out. Speaker 3 00:31:07 And it's a great way to give the audience a little something extra. Like for example, this song plays at the very, very, very end of episode 15, which is a really heavy episode. And I wanted to make sure that we have something that played out that gave the audience time to sort of sit with the scene that they had just heard, but not in like a silence kind of way to something that would still hold their attention. So I think it was like two weeks before the episode was set to come out. I went into this frenzy of, oh my gosh, I'm totally inspired. I gotta make this. I recorded it in my bathroom, in the bathroom of my apartment with, uh, my guitar. And I did all of the bass guitar parts on guitar as well. And I sang it and I mixed it together and put it up on the episode and fans reacted really well to it. It's one of, I think the most powerful moments in this series, Speaker 8 00:31:56 Cause there's no silver lining. There's no story night. What happened here was wrong. And you Speaker 3 00:32:06 Can, and then what I decided to do was even though the music is up on streaming services, I want to put the high quality thing that Spotify won't let you put up there because it's way too large file up on band camp so that if people wanted to support the show and get some really high quality versions of the music that we offer, there was a one time way for them to do that. And they got some great stuff out of it. And one of the other songs that we have up there, here with you from episode 18, um, I wrote, and then co-produced with Tyler Petty who did the opening theme song for the show and who I made the, uh, ending theme song with. And we're able to split the profits of that. And it's a way that even though up until season three, which I'm hoping to crowdfund is a way that I can at least give the people who are wonderful enough to help me make this show something for their time and their talents and their efforts. Speaker 3 00:33:04 And obviously I do feed my cast. I feed them very well. We also have a Patreon for the show where we offer stuff like episodes released a day early and with no ads because we run ads on the feed or directors commentaries for all of the episodes with me and somebody who worked on the episode. And we just go through and listed the episode and give behind the scenes facts. We talk about what went into making it. It's really great. We have bonus content like short stories and, uh, really fun series that I did during season two called hashtag lions gate, which is just group chat logs from a group that a bunch of the characters happen to be in. Uh, we have a perk where if you give enough a month, you get like a personalized message from one of the characters. And we've had some really great and funny requests on that front. And it's a way for fans to be able to support the show and again gets more of what they love in return. And we've found that it's been really exciting to figure out, okay, what do we wanna put there next? I have a short story planned for pride month that I'm having to force myself not to write yet because I have to get work done, but I'm so excited for it. Speaker 4 00:34:17 I imagine that the type of energy you get and the feedback you get and the engagement you get with your listeners, it's gotta be pretty fueling, right? In terms of just like making you excited to, to keep making, um, well, Speaker 3 00:34:29 It's part of what makes audio drama so magical in a way, if you talk to anybody who works, um, in the ad field, if you ask Sean Howard, who's one of the co-founders of fable in Folley and who is one of the best people to talk to about ads and audio drama, they will tell you, audio drama listeners are engaged on another level than just regular podcast listeners because you're creating this whole world and story and image in your head. And so when you have that level of engagement, it is so much easier to connect with those fans. And even if you're not just running ads on a show or being sponsored by something, to give them more of what they already love, and they will tell you we've had suggestions for what we should put up as bonus content, we've tried to, you know, give the people what they want and they do, and they're really enjoying it. And that feedback loop of you're helping to support us. So we will give you more of the content that you say that you love is really, really emboldening. Speaker 4 00:35:32 I always end conversations by just kinda opening the floor back up to you. Is there anything you think I should have asked that I haven't yet, or anything that you were hoping to talk about in our conversation today that you haven't got a chance to yet? Speaker 3 00:35:44 I talked a lot about the DIY nature of audio drama and how with our really low barrier to publication, pretty much anybody can come in and make something. And that's wonderful. It can be a great training ground for skills that you wanna develop later on. It can be something that launches a career like it did for me. But what we talked about with earlier in you wanting to put your best foot forward in some aspects of production, you really do get what you pay for in sound design in to an extent sound effects in so much of what makes a show sound really good. You wanna stand out. You want people to listen to your show. You want people to engage with your story. And if you're coming at it from a place of not being able to afford a good sound designer or using really low level and poor equipment, if you're not able to compete with all of the people who not even are throwing tons of money into it, but are able to throw money at all into it. Speaker 3 00:36:50 The fact of the matter is you're likely to get left in the dust because we have a supply and demand issue. There's a huge supply of new shows. There are tons and tons of new shows every single day. And the demand for it is smaller. Listeners only have so much time in their day. They have specific tastes and they're looking for a reason to kick a show off a two listen list so they can try and get it down to a somewhat manageable size. We have all been there. Let's be honest. So what you need to do is give your listeners every single reason to keep listening on your pilot, to keep engaging with the show. And one of the number one ways that you can do that is have production quality that both you can be proud of, but is consistently really, really good. And the number one, one way to do that is money. Speaker 2 00:37:38 You could learn more about Newt and their work at Newt shuttle, cottage.com. Be sure to check out the Calera studios band camp page for full length tracks. And of course go to casto.com for more podcast, student resources.

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