Half 1: Thought & Script Improvement | So You Wish to Make a Fiction (or Any) Podcast


Multitude is a podcast collective and manufacturing studio. This piece is a part of a ten half sequence by them that can assist you create a fiction (or any) podcast. Did you see the introduction? Ensure you test that out and are available again subsequent Tuesday for Half Two.


You need to begin a fiction podcast? Nice, welcome to the membership! From film administrators to excessive schoolers, everyone seems to be getting their fingers soiled in audio fiction. And for higher and for worse, there have by no means been extra podcasters, podcast listeners, or alternatives to collaborate than there at the moment are.

Developing with an concept for a fiction podcast could appear to be nearer to different artistic endeavors, like writing a film script or a novel: you anticipate inspiration, it hits you, you write it, you turn into well-known and meet David Boreanaz. The American Dream!

However in actuality, you continue to need to deal with the podcast panorama, standing out in a crowd of big-budget public radio creations, chat exhibits about libertarianism, and roughly a million Dungeons & Dragons exhibits.

Due to this fact, this part is break up into two sections: podcast concept improvement and writing & script improvement.

Thought Improvement, or a Fiction Podcast Is Nonetheless a Podcast

You have got your premise and your author is raring to go. However maintain on—did somebody already inform this story?

A fiction podcast wants to face out within the more and more crowded podcast panorama. In the end, your present has to reply “How am I distinctive?” Possibly there’s a style gap that must be stuffed, like NEXT STOP moving into the American sitcom area for audio. Possibly there’s a story that hasn’t been informed out of your voice or perspective but. Possibly your construction is totally different, or you will have particular entry to individuals and locations and abilities that others don’t. Possibly there’s an adaptation that hasn’t been achieved but (nonetheless ready on that Titus Andronicus pod). Ensure you know what makes you you and the way you stand out from the group.

That additionally includes understanding the panorama you’re getting into. For any artwork type, loving a factor is a prerequisite to creating that factor. If moviemakers want to observe tons of films and writers have to learn tons of writing, then it’s worthwhile to hearken to tons of podcasts!

Pay attention broadly and thoughtfully. Should you’re attentive as you pay attention and take good notes, you may be well-prepared to make knowledgeable selections about your personal work. So it’s to your profit to turn into an knowledgeable within the podcast genres you’re becoming a member of. Hearken to exhibits that cowl related topics or genres, in addition to exhibits that you simply love however won’t be immediately associated to what you’re engaged on. And also you gotta take notes!

Listed here are some inquiries to ask your self whilst you’re listening:

  • How does this podcast describe itself? Do you agree, or would you describe it in another way?
  • Who do you suppose is that this podcast’s target market? It’s by no means “everybody.” Be particular.
  • How lengthy is every episode? How a lot does size fluctuate between episodes, or how has it modified over the lifespan of the present?
  • How does the present sound? How is it edited? How do they use music, silence, or sound design?
  • What moments grabbed your consideration? When did you end up zoning out?
  • Should you met this present’s staff at a celebration, what would you ask?
  • (Extra questions out there on our Do Your Analysis template!)

Though podcasting remains to be in its nascent phases, we’ve handed the purpose the place Simply Being Higher is sufficient to make you totally different from different exhibits. Discover your personal strategy. And maintain on to those notes—this would be the foundation of your advertising plan, serving to you to establish and attain your viewers.

Keep in mind: you aren’t asking, ‘How am I going to crush my competitors?’ Podcasts that share one thing with yours are your colleagues, not your competitors. Should you don’t have the persistence or want to hearken to plenty of exhibits in your style, you may have to rethink your sport plan. Constructing relationships with fellow podcasters can also be the easiest way to develop your present, as we’ll cowl in our Advertising and marketing part, so ensure that your new group is one you actually love.

Who Is the Author?

The story of NEXT STOP is nearly apocryphal to us at Multitude. We’re at KCBC, a brewery within the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. We’re sipping bitter berry beers, speaking about podcasts, as we all the time do. And Brandon Grugle, who would go on to turn into the sequence director, mentioned, “Man, there aren’t actually that many podcast sitcoms on the market. You understand, like, Buddies-esque sitcoms.” And Eric, our head of artistic, goes, “I do know. However that’s silly.” A couple of days later, Eric hits everybody up in Slack: “Dammit, Brandon. Listed here are three sitcom scripts.”

That was in February 2019. Instantly, we did two issues. The primary, Eric made Brandon signal a contract to make the scripts in some unspecified time in the future (and make sure that Eric was his muse):

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Our second step was to offer Eric writing deadlines and notes on these first drafts. Instantly, it signaled to Eric that his work was invaluable and one thing we needed to pursue. Regardless that we didn’t know what we had been going to do with them, or if this present was ever going to get made, we handled this as an actual challenge, one thing we needed to make.

This additionally rapidly solved an necessary query: who’s the Author? (Notice the capital W, so you already know it’s a giant deal.)

The closest comparability to fiction podcast scripts are tv scripts: they’re about the identical size and there are a number of episodes that come out in succession. So it’s worthwhile to determine who’s steering the story ship. If you wish to work with others or you will have a cadre of people that prefer to work collectively, have a writers’ room. We’re not TV writers and can’t communicate to the size of what which may appear like. However from watching sufficient Saturday Night time Stay, we all know there’s a head author who’s in cost and makes the powerful selections. For a podcast writers’ room, that head author might be the one that got here up with the thought, they usually’re the one who is aware of what they need to see within the last product. Placing somebody in cost from the bounce helps to interrupt ties if the opinion is break up on one thing and places accountability in a single individual’s fingers to make selections, which is so necessary in a artistic endeavor.

If you wish to do it your self, nice! You’re Aaron Sorkin, and you’ve got a unified imaginative and prescient of goodness. However not like Aaron Sorkin, you need to hearken to others who might help you (and don’t write Studio 60 on the Sundown Strip). That is the tact that Eric took. He was motivated to put in writing all ten scripts by himself and did it! However, he didn’t do it alone.

The Author Has to Work With Others

Eric couldn’t do it by himself, nor ought to he. So as soon as he drafted scripts for all ten episodes of NEXT STOP he shared them with the remainder of the manufacturing staff: Amanda, who’s the Government Producer; Julia, who grew to become the Assistant Director; and Brandon, the Director. All of us gave our suggestions on big-picture parts just like the story arc, episode order, and character improvement, and minute particulars like particular person jokes. After just a few rounds of us studying, Eric enhancing, and studying once more, we had been proud of the scripts!

However… none of us are skilled writers, so us being proud of them solely means a lot. So we reached out to a writing advisor. The job is what it says on the tin: they seek the advice of on the writing and are there just for the author’s profit. Bringing an out of doors advisor introduced an unbiased opinion from a brand new perspective.

We reached out to Octavia Bray, a author on Raven’s Residence who was extremely enthused about working with podcasters. And her suggestions actually, actually helped. We renamed so many characters (Gillian was initially named Cassie, which sounded an excessive amount of like Cam), we fleshed out Ally’s arc by the season, and even swapped the order of the second and third episodes to raised swimsuit the story.

No author needs to listen to it, however editors are extremely useful.

One other one who might help the scriptwriter are the individuals who will ultimately flip the author’s phrases into audio. The author has an obligation to the manufacturing to not write something too fantastical, complicated to document, or complicated for the listener. This doesn’t imply taking the enjoyable or fascinating half out as a result of it’s laborious. Actually, that’s why individuals love writing style items in audio fiction. A laser blast seems like a laser blast and I don’t have to 3D print it! However the emphasis right here is on “fantastical.” Writing one thing that’s laborious to image within the thoughts may be very troublesome to course of for an viewers who can’t see it. And it’s going to be a hell of a time for the one that must sound design it.

Take into consideration a dialog between mates at a celebration. If two or three individuals are speaking, you’d most likely be capable of observe that dialog. However are you able to observe 5 individuals’s voices? Ten? Optimizing for audio is a author’s accountability and a prerequisite for being a artistic staff participant.

Eric realized he’d need to look the director within the face day by day, so he saved this in thoughts. Most conversations have not more than 5 individuals in it, and there are discernable scenes with particular ambient noise (prepare station, residence, crowded bar, and so on). However Eric additionally stretched Brandon’s capacity to create one thing actually cool. Loads of conversations occur over wires—by way of textual content, Slack, cellphone calls, and voicemails—and every has totally different sound design to create distinct ambiances for every type of communication. And there’s a faucet quantity. No spoilers.

Serving to the author work inside the sandbox of audio is the job of somebody that we’re calling the Sound Director. Consider it like a cinematographer in a film, deciding on the tools and strategies that may finest serve the script because it’s become an precise movement image. A Sound Director’s job is to determine how—technically, virtually, logistically—the script will turn into recorded sound to make an precise podcast. Their job begins earlier than the scripts are completed, having conversations with the author about what is feasible, what boundaries will be pushed, and what surprise they’ll create collectively. In some productions, the director or producer could tackle this position, however the necessary half is that somebody helps the author take into consideration how their story will translate to sound. Encouraging the writing and manufacturing sides of your present to collaborate carefully from the bounce will assist everybody work extra effectively, dream greater, and create a present everybody shall be pleased with.

Alright. Get writing! And keep in mind—get off of Twitter, it’s not going that can assist you!


See how these classes had been put into apply in NEXT STOP, an audio sitcom from Multitude.

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