The House of L'Stok presents ...

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This is your chance!

Are you a fan of Crimson Skies, pulp era adventures or Old Time Radio? Perhaps you are an amateur or professional voice actor who wants to show off their skills, get a new clip for your demo reel and have some fun on the way? Here are 21 chances to be a part of Radio Liberty! The first fan-made Crimson Skies audio adventure!

Most of them, the recurring and major parts, are challenging and require distinctive deliveries but many are supporting, one-to-three liners that a single Voice Actor could easily handle as multiple parts or as extra parts for someone who is also doing a major role.


Audition deadline

Because we are coming up to the Holiday period, auditions will close on January 1st, 2010, New Years Day, which will give you roughly 2 1/2 weeks to get an audition together. The director and I will decide on the successful applicants over the weekend and the cast notified on Monday, Jan 4th at the latest.

  • Record in 44100hz 16-bit Mono and submit them as MP3's encoded at a bitrate of 320kbps.
  • Save the audition lines as "charactername_yourname.mp3"
  • Send your auditions to, free FTP transfer using something like YouSendIt is probably quicker and easier.
  • One of the things that your audition will be judged on will be audio quality. A delivery which sounds like it was recorded with two tin cans and a piece of string will have to be really, really good to get the part.
  • However if, after winning the part, you have any problems with your recording setup, we will give you help to fix it before recording your lines - its easier than trying to fix problems in post!

  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    MALE 1 (Recurring role)

    Name: Walt Gilfrey

    Voice: Male, early to late twenties. Classic radio announcer voice, usually fast-paced and forceful as if every sentence ends in an exclamation mark. This is by far the biggest role in terms of lines: the anchor announces and links all parts of the transmission as well as the audio drama's intro and credits. Perfect part for someone who wants to practise real-life Voice Over work.

    Bio: The “anchorman” introduces the program, reads the major headlines, any stop press announcements and advertising from sponsors. He's shallow and vain, much like the actor Bruce Baxter (played by Kyle Chandler) in the last movie of King Kong with a touch of the comedy relief that Will Ferrell did in "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy". NOTE: He will also do our credits in the same voice

    Audition line 1: [excited]You heard it here first folks! Two of the greatest figures in the world of international gambling will compete for a royal ransom on Radio Liberty in three day's time!

    Audition line 2: In these dangerous times you need to know that you carry the very best protection! Is that handgun reliable? Will your rifle help you against armed desperadoes with submachine guns? Do you need a new Fifty for your airplane?


    MALE 2 (Recurring role)

    Name: Theodore L. Anderson

    Voice: Male, Thirty-forty year old, American regional accent: Yankee? Mid-western? Southern? His voice should be gravelly yet colourful.

    Bio: The shows producer, a hard-bitten, Pulitzer prize winning, ex-newspaper editor who has started the program to break what he sees as bias and censorship in the news media. Based loosely on a Mark Twain / J. Jonah Jameson type who is passionately dedicated to the freedom of the press.

    Audition line 1: Air piracy has been a fact of life ever since the United States of America fell apart in 1932. As each of the twenty two nations of North America set up border checkpoints, road and rail transport across the continent became unreliable and air transport has become the backbone of our economy. But thieves are coming close to crippling our international lines of commerce without which every nation will suffer.

    Audition line 2: [shouting]I'll have his guts for garters!


    FEMALE 1 (Recurring role)

    Name: Jacqueline Destin

    Voice: Female, Early twenties, charming French accent. Very feminine, she can range from husky, sultry and seductive to playful and coquettish.

    Bio: A raven-haired beauty, a French Vietnamese casino owner, the daughter of a French Colonial official in Indo China. A child prodigy raised and educated in Paris but shunned by society because of her race, she has compensated by using her mathematical genius to succeed in the world of professional gambling. Worldly, supremely cultured and a born leader, she is a young woman who exerts control without posturing, a femme fatale who sometimes lets her guard down.

    Audition line 1: [cool, slinky]Why, thank you, Walt. Ricardo and I go back a long way, he's such a kidder! And he's always been a great sport. FreePort was going to be one of our stops on the way to Cuba anyway so I'm flattered that Ricky has opened the doors of his little club to us.

    Audition line 2: Not even for me? The nice woman who pays you?


    MALE 3

    Name: Akela Khan

    Voice: Male, 30s. A homage to Shere Khan from Disney's “Talespin” Cultured George Sands style English accent – deep, menacing with timbre. See 2:30 HERE.

    Bio: Little is known about Akela Khan, before he appeared in the Pacific out of nowhere, late in 1934, with a battle zeppelin, two squadrons of fighters and a seemingly endless mountain of cash. He has since gone on to carve out a trading empire which is secretive and ruthless amidst rumours of shady deals.

    Audition line 1: George, could you get Mr. Lee to come to my office? I have a little cleaning job for him. oh! And tell Watson in Distribution that Mr Wilkins has been [beat] fired and has left a vacancy.

    Audition line 2: Edward, you are a moron. You may leave.


    MALE 4

    Name: British Zeppelin Radio Operator

    Voice: Male, young, British.

    Bio: Young and nervous but determined to do his job

    Audition line 1: Mayday! MayDay! This is the British Cargo Zeppelin Prometheus under attack by enemy marauders. MayDay! Assistance is urgently required.

    Audition line 2: The Battle zep has opened fire. Hit the deck!


    MALE 5

    Name: Manuel Castillo

    Voice: Male, mid-forties, Mexican. Vain and proud

    Bio: Manuel Castillo [cost-eeyo] is Mexico's minister for the interior, the president's right hand man and one of the wealthiest men in Central America. Overweight, brilliantined hair, his wife left at home and his mistress on his arm, a sleazeball.

    Audition line 1: [coldly] El Corazón Negro - The Black Heart. How appropriate. I understand that you have thirteen confirmed kills in the air?

    Audition line 2: Thank you, Señorita Destin, it seems I cannot escape from my responsibilities even in the clouds. This kind of banditry gives Mexico a bad image internationally and divides us nationally.


    MALE 6

    Name: Charles Leonard “Leo” Conway

    Voice: Male, Mid-forties, Preppy, "Larchmont lockjaw" in the vein of Charles Emerson Winchester III from MASH.

    Bio: One of a cartel of millionaires backing Freeport. Conway is the original Pittsburgh money behind Pure Oil. A shirt tail relative of one of the old "Steel Baron" families, he is a self-made millionaire who keeps his own roots in the background.

    Audition line 1: Damn it, they even gave the floor show at the casino a bad review! [beat] What is it with these people?

    Audition line 2: Look! There's a lot at stake here and I don't want Freeport getting a bad name in the media. Fred, I'm trusting you to be our public face, we can't afford to have this kind of gutter journalism dragging us down


    MALE 7

    Name: Edward

    Voice: Male any age

    Bio: Gangster.

    Audition line 1: Sir, They're on Radio Liberty

    Audition line 2: Damn right boss! Those Bowen fifties aren't a patch on the new colts!


    MALE 8

    Name: El Corazón Negro

    Voice: Male Early twenties. Classic Mexican voice, proud, swashbuckling in the vein of Antonio Banderas

    Bio: Known to his friends as Rolando, "El Corazón Negro" – The Black Heart - is a Latin American air pirate who has been taken on as the Pascal's head of shipboard security. This makes him the commander of the Home squadron and in charge of the airship's military defences. Against his will, he is also the Radio Liberty's "crime reporter" who reports and analyses the more sensational crime – murder, kidnapping, big robberies. He turns out to be a good choice because of his connections with the underworld which allow him scoops and exposes.

    Audition line 1: Jacqueline, must I do this? I signed on as your security chief, not as a society host!

    Audition line 2: Mexico is being manipulated by boardroom bandits and their guns-for-hire whilst fat-cats like Castillo just sit back and let it all happen. I despair of the future!


    MALE 9

    Name: Radio Freeport anchorman

    Voice: Male Early twenties. Fast talking, wise cracking, see HERE or HERE

    Bio: He is also the MC for their jazz lounge however unlike Gilfrey, who is primarily an announcer, he is more of an entertainer, a comedian/host like Milton Berle, Jack Benny or Bing Crosby

    Audition line 1: Radio Freeport would like to welcome everyone, regardless of politics or bad taste in music, to the beautiful waters of the Gulf! Enjoy your stay! We'll even give you a great rate at the gas pump!

    Audition line 2: ... That was El Rocco and his thundering bongos broadcasting live from The Lizard Lounge in FreePort Casino!


    MALE 10

    Name: Dr Robert Garret Ph.D

    Voice: Male Late twenties, early thirties. Cultured Harvard manner covers a Brooklyn accent

    Bio: An ex-consultant to The Empire State on air defence who is on the run for the attempted murder of Prof. Warren Gilmont after loosing a plagiary case against him. He reports on international current affairs: troop buildups, economic crises, treaties, wars – who is doing what to whom.

    Audition line 1: With tensions already high from border disputes between the nations of Texas, Arixo and the Mexican border state of Chihuahua, the existence of increasing numbers of Mormon settlers and their converts is making the Government nervous.

    Audition line 2: It is a vicious circle with bandit air pirates playing on local distrust to target the settlements and their crops which has made the colonists dramatically increase the size of their air militia, with planes, fuel, and ammunition from Texas cattle barons and Utah cousins.


    Name: Ricardo Montalban

    Voice: Male, late twenties. Pleasant, well-spoken, a trace of a Cuban accent

    Bio: The owner and operator of the Freeport Casino

    Audition line 1: Please George, call me Rick like everyone else! FreePort's Intelligence experts tell me that a sizable contingent of gamblers has just crossed into range of our tables. ...

    Audition line 2: ... that's right listeners, for one night only the high stakes table has NO LIMIT! But I've kept you too long already from the tender graces of the Senora Destin! Enjoy the rest of your night ladies and gentlemen! Hit it Rocco!


    MALE 12

    Name: “Marshall” Bill Redmann

    Voice: Male, late twenties. Texas accent filled with threat and contempt. The most dangerous man you can imagine.

    Bio: The most notorious air pirate of his time and a ruthless killer. An ex-Texas Ranger, he is at the top of their “most wanted” list.

    Audition line 1: Eddie, you're new so I'll let you into a little secret. Don't ever play poker with me 'cos ah cheat! Ah've got an ace up mah sleeve.

    Audition line 2: [whipping up the crowd] Yeah! Wetherall and his pet pirate, El Corazon Stupido won't know what hit 'em until they're staring down the barrels of the Redman gang!


    MALE 13

    Name: Frederick “Fred” Tibodeaux

    Voice: Male, Early to late twenties. Educated, but makes a point of his Cajun roots.

    Bio: From Cajun/East Texas stock who has worked his way through college and returned to New Orleans with impressive editorial qualifications. The fact that he and Anderson have both migrated from Newspaper to radio is no accident – he was Ted's friend and protege until they had a major falling out. He is now the producer of Radio Freeport

    Audition line 1: Relax! All they have are allegations and innuendos.

    Audition line 2: Don't worry, Leo, I've got something planned that will will show them up as the two-bit hacks that they are. Might even swing some business Ricky's way


    MALE 14

    Name: Captain Charles Wentworth Wetherall

    Voice: Male, late twenties. Mild Australian accent with a touch of class, more Grammar School than upper-crust.

    Bio: Wetherall – Changa to his mates – is a celebrated war ace of the Australian Air Force, a confident pilot and commanding officer but put a tuxedo on him and he is totally inept. Brought up in an all-male environment, he excels in sports, guns, fighting – a 'man's man' - but is absolutely useless with women and children. He believes in rules, regulations and order. He detests pirates and criminals.

    Audition line 1: I can tell you that she will be no pushover! The Prometheus is one of the Goliath class cargo zeppelins used by the Royal Air Force to transport valuable cargo and is covered in the armoured cloth normally fitted to military zeppelins.

    Audition line 2: I think they would prefer us to send them a flight of Warhawks, Walt! Over the past six months, ten zeppelins have gone missing in that region, five British, three German and two French.


    MALE 15

    Name: British Zeppelin Captain

    Voice: Male, 40s. Authoritative English army type voice.

    Bio: The ex-military captain of a heavily armed cargo zeppelin.

    Audition line 1: Has anyone seen any markings on the blighters?

    Audition line 2: He'll not take us without a fight. Issue arms to all crew.


    MALE 16

    Name: British Zeppelin Crewman

    Voice: Male, young, British, excitable

    Bio: A merchant crewman, inexperienced, never been in battle.

    Audition line 1: Nothing sir. They look clean.

    Audition line 2: Oh my god!! That isn't just a pirate zep. That's a ruddy Battleship with gasbags!


    MALE 17

    Name: Eddie

    Voice: Male any age, whiny, nasally

    Bio: Air pirate.

    Audition line 1: Yeah! Virtuous! That's us!

    Audition line 2: But boss, how can we get through all that security? Two squadrons of fighters and a bucketload more on call from whatever country they are flying past!


    MALE 18

    Name: George

    Voice: Male, any age

    Bio: Gangsters clerk.

    Audition line 1: He's got Wilkins from distribution in with him right now, Eddie. I'd wait if I were you, he doesn't like being disturbed unannounced

    Audition line 2: Uh, the boss is free now


    MALE 19

    Name: Captain Harlen

    Voice: Male, Early thirties, authoritarian, gruff

    Bio: Captain of the Khan Industries battle zeppelin, Executioner. Ep.1

    Audition line 1: Attention British Zeppelin Prometheus. This is Captain Harlen of the battle zeppelin, Executioner. Stand down, and prepare to be boarded. Cooperate, and no harm will come to you or your crew.


    MALE 20

    Name: Michaels

    Voice: Male, Early twenties

    Bio: The Pascal's helmsman.

    Audition line 1: Sir! You're not allowed in here! Oh! Mademoiselle Destin!

    Audition line 2: He's in the starboard lookout's gallery, Mademoiselle.


    If you've got any questions about the production or any of the parts, please don't hesitate to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.


    Igor de L'Stok

    Welcome to Crimson Skies!

    You might be excused for scratching your heads and wondering, "What on Earth is Crimson Skies?" Well, Crimson Skies might have started out as a board game from FASA but it was with the Microsoft PC game that it really hit its stride! Many of the reviews from its release commented on the quality of the media that backed it up: the music, the audio voice-overs and the video cut-scenes.

    Hmmm, descriptions are all very well, but why don't I show you instead?

    If you enjoyed the "movie", which is the copyright of Microsoft, why not try out the game? Its still available on the official Microsoft Crimson Skies web site for sale and as a trial download.

    You need to be aware though that if you want to play it on a modern Nvidia monitor then you will have to go through the work-around described HERE or use an old monitor.

    Personally I play it on an old laptop and still get great speed (no lag) and reasonable graphics.

    I'm excited to announce that we have been exceptionally lucky to have scored the services of Brian T. Weingartner who not only has a strong professional background in sound mixing but has wide experience as a Jazz/Ska trombonist. Checkout his website and myspace for more details.

    Brian has recently moved to Vancouver BC and we just dropped lucky that he was interested in getting into audio drama as I advertised for a director. He's 100% behind us and is firing off suggestions for soundscapes already! The energy level here is great and just what we need since Crimson Skies is about extremes - exciting battles, tension and intrigue, romance and comedy!

    CONTROL TOWER: Seattle Control to airship Pascal. Over
    CAPTAIN: Pascal here. Over
    CONTROL TOWER: Airship Pascal you are cleared for takeoff. Good luck [BEAT] You're going to need it! Seattle Control Out.

    Casting: Director/Sound Editor

    End Date:
    Applications will close on December 4 and a decision sent to applicants on December 6. The short notice is because I want to get a teaser/trailer out in December so I will want to close casting on December 11.

    Reply to:
    Igor de L'Stok at <>


    <*>Who are you? You don't need to give me a curiculum vitae (although they can be very impressive) but I would like to know something about you. Are you an extravert, an introvert, do you live in an attic churning out advertising copy and crave a virtual life or are you, by day, a millionaire with a secret identity fighting said-bookisms, Mary Sues and bad grammar at night?
    <*>What have you done? Previous experience is vital since this production is not a project for a beginner (although if the director wants to take on a staff of his own, this would be great!). A list of previous works with links will do but I'd particularly like to hear what you think have been your biggest challenges and triumphs.
    <*>What would you like to do? Read through this post and the treatment and give me your thoughts on the direction that you would take. Be as general or specific as you like, but your vision will be pivotal to our success. I am looking for partner in a team here, not someone who is just doing a job.
    <*>How would you do it? The production will be a combination of straight audio drama, music sourced from public domain originals and faux radio transmissions. How would you achieve these? What specific problems can you see and how would you overcome them? What hardware and software resources do you have access to? On application I will send you a final draft of the first episode's script if you want to be specific.

    General information:
    Good sound editing is vital to the success of any audio production. Whereas a movie has a whole crew of cinematographers, editors and special effects departments under the artistic control of a director, pretty much all of these jobs are done by the sound editor on an audio production. This is why I am advertising for a director rather than just a sound editor because in essence it is their job to turn the voice actors lines into a finished audio drama.

    In Silvertongue Productions, the director's roles and responsibilities are...

    <*>An equal say with the producer in the creative choice of Voice Actors and power of veto if the audio quality is too poor for them to work with.
    <*>An equal say with the producer in the choice of incidental music and sound effects
    <*>To take the Voice Actor's submitted lines, adjust volume levels, clean them up, edit them to length and assemble them along with music and selected sound effects to achieve the maximum effect.

    As producer I see my role as being in charge of the organisation of the production and the director's role as being in charge of the artistic and creative decisions. In all promotional material the director will get equal billing to the producer. As such we need to be in agreement right from the start as to the style and content of the finished production and the best place to start is to read through the Treatment I have posted earlier. Some additional material ...

    The Work Method:

    1. CONCEPT

    <*>Producer to create Treatment, Draft Storyboard
    <*>Producer to nominate director, sound editor, script editor, IT and publicity support
    <*>Producer to call for story submissions
    <*>Script editor to complete story, write-up as script
    <*>Producer signs off pre-production script and storyboard


    <*>Producer or Director posts Casting Call
    <*>Producer and Director decide on VA parts, notify cast and get coms details
    <*>Script editor updates Production script and storyboard
    <*>Script editor distributes productions scripts to VA's
    <*>Director acquires sound effects and music


    <*>VA's record and return parts
    <*>Director edits VA's lines and assembles with music and sound effects
    <*>Webmaster creates website


    <*>Release of ep.1 Jan 1
    <*>Decision to continue to Season 2: Y – Commence Concept N - AfterParty!!!
    <*>Release of ep.2 Feb 1
    <*>Initiate “Lessons Learned”
    <*>Release of ep.3 Mar 1

    As the originator of the production concept, I will be the producer of this mini-series and reserve first right of refusal on production of the next. My major responsibility will be project management, the creation of the work method & storyboard, definition of position responsibilities, the advertising for and choice of the major crew positions and a joint say in the choice of Voice Actors. Once crew positions are filled, their jobs will be their responsibility and I generally do not micro-manage, however I reserve the right to serve as final quality control at pre-production and production milestones. During production my major responsibility is monitoring, planning, organisation and communication to help everyone work together as a team and achieve our group goal.

    2. WRITERS
    Because the episode format is compartmentalised we've been able to have three fan writers collaborate in the series by contributing material that will be the backbone of the three episodes. Initially I have acted as head writer and script editor to tie all the pieces together, but in future seasons this could be done by someone else.

    This position is vital to the success of the production and if it can't be filled we'll have to postpone until it can. The sound director's responsibility is to turn the script into a finished audio production. They will have an equal say in the creative choice of Voice Actors and power of veto if the audio quality is too poor for them to work with. The choice of music and sound effects will be theirs but their major job will be to take the Voice Actor's submitted lines, adjust volume levels, clean them up, edit them to length and assemble them along with the music and selected sound effects to achieve the maximum effect.

    There will be a casting call posted on all the major audio drama forums as well as distributed amongst the Crimson Skies fan community. Auditions will be accepted and the parts given to the best delivery with an acceptable sound quality as judged by the Director and Producer

    Not absolutely essential but a better website can be made if it is created and managed by one person who has expertise and can concentrate on it. Likewise, the best production in the world is wasted if no-one knows of its existence so a person who will write and lodge posts on all the forums of interest for example, will be a real asset to the production.

    The Organisation
    This is the public discussion forum for the production, where people can discuss the production with the cast and crew, and where news is first released. For the forseeable future It will be sited in the Tall Tales and Taller Exploits sub-forum of the Montana Raiders Crimson Skies forum.

    This is a Google Group that is open to cast and crew on an invitation basis rather than an open group to the general public. Membership of the Production is on the understanding of non-disclosure – that is to say that members are not allowed to leak anything posted to the Production Group without permission. This is not because of any worries about cultural espionage but simply so that spoilers do not ruin the listener's surprise before an episode is released.

    3. WEBSITE
    This is a public website, address undecided as yet, where the episodes and promotional material will be available for download and credits and hyperlinks listed.

    If all this organisation sounds rather anal retentive and over-the-top [shrugs] that's what project management is all about. By defining roles and responsibilities and agreeing on methods and goals right at the start there are no surprises along the way and everyone knows where they stand.

    Igor de L'Stok
    Producer, Silvertongue Productions

    Crimson Skies: Radio Liberty

    What is Crimson Skies:

    Crimson Skies is a fictional universe, an altered timeline that has been used for a variety of successful games and books including well-received Microsoft PC and X-Box games. From the official Microsoft website …

    In this alternate history, the year is 1937 and the United States is fractured into squabbling nation-states, brought about by the weight of the Great Depression, regional prohibition and mounting isolationism. Giant Zeppelins crisscross the skies carrying both passengers and cargo, and airborne bandits are a constant threat.
    It has pirates and gangsters, gumshoes and movie stars. Its a world where The Maltese Falcon meets Flyboys, The Rocketeer and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. The plots and characters hearken back to the seminal works of pulp magazines, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard. Exciting, fast-paced tales where classic archtypes are given individuality by the absolutely immense range of regions created by the 'break up' of the United States, each with a unique cultural background creating a virtually limitless canvas for conflict, triumph and tragedy.

    The Series Concept:

    Crimson Skies: Radio Liberty is a new fan-produced audio drama produced by Silvertongue Productions. It will be a three episode, proof of concept, mini-series to be released at monthly intervals, based on the premise of a news programme broadcast by a radio station on a night club / casino zeppelin called the Pascal. Registered in New Orleans in the nation of French Louisiana, Radio Liberty broadcasts from various locations on its round the world cruise, mostly in international waters. They report on the news "without fear or favour" making them enemies and friends amongst pirates and militia who see them as either a force to be respected or hated. Sometimes the Pascal and Radio Liberty are simply bystanders in the drama that goes on around them but as the story goes on they start to become the focus of events in the complex political arena of central America and the Caribbean and a major player in the struggle between good and evil that is shaping the destiny of nations across the world.

    The content of our 'news reports' (our script) will be based on Crimson Skies canon literature (the sourcebooks and licensed fiction), various fan works (including fan fiction and game scenarios) and historical events and people. Each 10-15 minute episode will be self-contained but plot threads will run throughout the mini-series. The format of the episodes will be based on research to make it as historically accurate as possible without compromising dramatic effect and will feature period swing and jazz music.

    The Theme:
    This is primarily action/adventure and as such shouldn't be expected to have deep and meaningful themes, in fact one of the characteristics of '30's pulp fiction is that it is very clear cut, usually good versus evil, with both sides standing out in black and white.

    However any plot without a message is ultimately unfulfilling. Our production will be speculative fiction that builds up a picture of "The Fractured States of America" that is as plausible as possible, given the events and conditions, to explore the way that different people react within it.

    Personally I see Crimson Skies as an exercise in anarchy - the freedom of individual regions above larger national groups - which ultimately questions the civic responsibilities of individuals: what is the dividing line between personal freedom and the pursuit of happiness, and our responsibility to society? Is it defined by the laws of the land or ethics and morals? Through subliminal games of 'truth and consequences' the crew of Radio Liberty will hopefully make the listener see their own world in a different light.

    The Target Audience:
    You can't hope to design something unless you know who your target audience is so, who would we expect to be interested in this audio drama?

    Crimson Skies fans, past and present. Whilst there might not be too many still active in Crimson Skies gaming, the general feedback the mention of Crimson Skies gets when mentioned on forums is, “Damn, I loved that game! Why can't they do something like that now?” I expect that this will re-kindle interest in the game with a lot of past gamers and in so doing encourage the copyright owners to create new games and entertainment media.

    Pulp genre fans. Crimson Skies is a classic example of the pulp genre. If we do this right, we could gain a large following from this section of fandom, both from fans of the originals (the Shadow, Sam Spade, R.E.Howard's books...) and new media based on it (The Red Panda, Sky Captain, Raiders of the Lost Ark...)

    Old Time Radio (OTR) fans. Whilst I will not be doing the whole production as a faux-OTR piece, the parts that are meant to sound like radio will be as authentic as possible. I'm hoping that OTR fans will see this as bringing their genre into a modern context.

    Swing / Jazz / Big Band fans. The music of the production will be as authentic as possible and to do this legally we have two options: original music composed for us, in particular our theme, and music from 1937 that is now in the public domain. This should, again, be a way for fans to see their favourite work brought into a new production, so that it will be of interest to contemporary jazz fans as well as jazz historians.

    ANNOUNCER: Stay tuned for more adventures in Crimson Skies from [BEAT]


    Radio Liberty!

    Audio Drama Vs Radio Drama

    Australian radio is strong and viable. I vaguely remember a programme that compared it to American radio and showed that because of social, legislative and commercial factors it was stronger than its American counterpart. Australian radio is one of the last bastions of the radio play, having weathered the face of competition from TV, so that over here we are in the enviable position whereby the ABC is not only buying and broadcasting radio drama but encouraging and nurturing it.

    So does this mean that the internet-based audio dramas that I rant about - not the "tribute shows" that use copyrighted material of course but the original shows - could have a market here? Well, yes as long as the writer and producer was aware of the inherent differences between the two media.

    Audio drama, by its very nature, is a disembodied medium - they don't call it "the cinema of the mind" for nothing - and the finished product that our audience gets is sound, a drama that they experience only by listening to it. What difference does it make whether the sound that they hear comes from a radio, computer speakers, iPod earphones? Actually quite a lot, just as the entertainment experience of TV is different from going to the movies or theatre and this needs to be considered by the writer and producer.

    Radio for example must cater to a broader audience, which is why genre subjects don't seem to do well, no matter how dedicated a fan-following they have. Radio also has an immediacy about it, in that it is "the arrow spent". Once it has been broadcast the listener can't re-wind radio to try to catch something a second time because they didn't hear it properly or understand it fully the first time. Of course the ABC usually has its programs available online later but that begs the question doesn't it? If the listener gets lost during the production, they won't make the effort to get the mp3 download so that they can listen to it again, they'll just switch off.

    This means that there has to be absolute clarity in the dialog and its delivery, with no long and convoluted monologues or scenes with half-a-dozen characters chattering at odds with each other. In fact large casts are a drawback in general since, unless they are individually memorable, the listener will become confused by the role of each.

    Your character's actions need to be telegraphed to the listener in a way that makes them easy to visualise. I don't mean you have to descend to "This gun that I have in my right hand is loaded" but there are things, like panning, that might come across well on stereo earphones that are lost on a mono' radio.

    I'm not saying that one is better than the other, as an entertainment medium each has its niche. Downloadable, syndicated files such as podcast audio drama can be paused, rewound and listened to as many times as you like at your convenience. However you need to find them, download them and play them - conscious steps that podcasting helps but does not eliminate. Broadcast radio is mass-media, reaching a big audience that would not normally come looking for your work and for listeners is much more convenient and spontaneous - you just switch it on station surf until you hit something you like and listen.

    Is there a compromise between the two? Of course - internet radio! These are internet websites that stream programmes on a set schedule so that you can log onto them and listen to what comes up. This would be much more spontaneous than choosing something and downloading it yourself, widening your listening experience. I wonder how affordable it is to listen to streamed audio dramas on an internet enabled mobile phone such as the iPhone using Tuner?