ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY NEWS, AUDIO EDITION – 09/19/19

by Bob Tinsley

Why should you as a visitor to TVWriter™  be interested in making audio fiction? Why should you be interested in making podcasts? Discoverability, that’s why.

The meaning of the word podcast is evolving to include any episodic, audio-only production whether nonfiction or fiction. Agents and major studios are now trawling through podcasts looking for new content and talent.

So here’s the latest news to help you and your podcast get discovered:


Music from https://filmmusic.io
“The Builder” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)
License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

  • I TOLD YOU SO.

Variety is partnering with the International Filmmaker Project to present the first 10 Storytellers to Watch event. Among the honorees are Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie, creators of the podcast Limetown, now in post-production as a TV series, or FaceBook series. See below. The event will be in NYC on September 19.

https://variety.com/2019/biz/news/variety-ifp-10-storytellers-to-watch-1203322567/

  • I TOLD YOU SO, AGAIN.

Los Angeles-based podcast studio QCODE signs YouTube star Mark Fischbach, aka Markiplier, to headline a new original fiction podcast series, Edge of Sleep, by writers Jake Emanuel and Willie Block.

QCODE also produced the 8-episode podcast series, Blackout, starring Rami Malek, and created a new label, Wood Elf, dedicated to “matching digital creators with original narrative genre podcasts.”

I guess that’s Hollywood-speak for packaging (there’s that nasty word again) talent and writers for fiction podcasts.

Two notes of interest can be extrapolated from the above: people are paying real money to audio fiction writers, and even more  interesting, Hollywood Reporter considers this newsworthy!  

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/amp/news/qcode-orders-fiction-podcast-starring-gamer-markiplier-1237234?

  • I TOLD YOU SO, ONE MORE TIME.

If you need any more proof that podcasting is no longer an outlier in the entertainment industry, The New York NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Show at the Javits Convention Center October 16-17 has a podcast track. “Sessions will examine aspects of launching and producing a podcast in the all-new Pop-Up Marketplace & Theater on Thursday, October 17.”

https://podcastbusinessjournal.com/nab-ny-show-to-host-podcast-sessions/

  • YOUTUBE IS NOW A PODCAST NETWORK.

YouTube Creators Are Turning The Site Into A Podcast Network.

This fascinating article states that people are increasingly coming to YouTube to find podcasts, fiction and non-fiction. Canadian adults, according to Today’s Podcast Listener: 2019 National Survey Report from Futuri Media and the University of Florida, 43% of monthly podcast listeners listed YouTube as their primary source, beating iTunes/Apple Podcasts at 34% and Spotify at 23%.  Why? Because YouTube is where they go for entertainment. 

To increase engagement with their listeners, creators are creating secondary  clip channels to go along with their primary podcast channel.  Often the clip channel gets more “views” than the main channel even though it may have fewer subscribers.

Read the whole thing.

https://www.theverge.com/2019/9/9/20801873/youtube-podcast-creators-h3-joe-rogan-ethan-klein-hila-david-dobrik-views

  • FIRST YOUTUBE, NOW FACEBOOK?

Jessica Biel Is Willing to Die for Her Podcast in Facebook Watch’s ‘Limetown’ Trailer.

This might fall more into the web series bailiwick, but since it’s based on an audio fiction podcast series, I’m claiming it. 

The video version of the audio fiction podcast, Limetown, stars Jessica Biel and Stanley Tucci. But it’s not going to TV, either broadcast or subscription. It’s going, exclusively at least to begin with, to FaceBook Watch. Did you know there even was such a thing? Have you ever watched anything on it?

https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/jessica-biel-willing-die-her-160015721.html

  • HOW TO MONETIZE A PODCAST.

Podcorn Says It Can Help Podcasters Make Money.

Podcorn, a new marketing platform, wants to help connect podcast creators with sponsors. They are launching with $2.2 million in seed money from venture capitalists. They promise that creators will have full control over rates, creativity and scheduling. 

One of the angel investors, Ethan Kurzweil, said that Podcorn has “the marketplace expertise and product vision to have a profound impact on the industry and apply their creativity to create new partnership opportunities for podcasters and brands.”

The article is full of words like promise and hope, so caveat emptor.

https://podcastbusinessjournal.com/new-company-says-it-can-help-podcasters-make-money/

  • SOUND, IT’S WHAT WE DO.

How To Find Podcast Sound Effects.

Sound effects constitute one of the most important tools in the audio fiction creator’s tool box. As you have no access to visual cues, sound effects establish setting, action, and mood.

Finding the right sound effect also creates one of the biggest time-sucks in production. If you are a sound designer or have one on your team, great! Otherwise, the information in this article will save you some time.  

https://www.thepodcasthost.com/editing-production/find-podcast-sound-effects/

  • SOUND, IT’S WHAT WE DO, PART TWO.

Challenges in Foley for Stage versus Studio.

Now that you know what Foley is, the talented Ele Matelan, foley artist extraordinaire, talks about the differences in performing foley in the studio and live on stage. Live Foley is a big deal when podcasts take their show on the road for live performances. More on that below.

https://www.internationalpodcastmonth.com/blog/challenges-in-foley-for-stage-versus-studio?utm_campaign=Fiction%20Podcast%20Weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20newsletter

  • MONETIZATION, YOU SAY?

The No Sleep Podcast, one of the most popular podcasts out there, just announced their third US and European tours putting on live shows pretty much everywhere that’s anywhere. They actually make money doing this. Ticket sales are wonderful.

Welcome to Night Vale, a weird fiction tour de force, has been touring since 2013. They don’t do this for kicks, folks. Well, not just for kicks. The ticket sales help too.

Fireside Mystery Theatre is an audio fiction podcast and variety show “with a decidedly modern macabre sensibility” recorded live once a month at The Slipper Room in NYC. They perform with a full cast, live foley, and musical acts. Tickets are available.  

Every one of these presents a golden opportunity to see how audio fiction works. You might also be able to buy one of the producers or performers a drink afterward and pump them for info.

https://www.thenosleeppodcast.com/tour

http://www.welcometonightvale.com/live

https://www.firesidemysterytheatre.com/?utm_campaign=podcast-page&utm_medium=web&utm_source=podnews.net

  • A WEBSITE? I NEED A WEBSITE, TOO?

Seriously? You Don’t Have A Website.

In this article Troy Price laments the fact that many podcasts rely on their hosting company’s RSS feed as their web home.

Hosting companies don’t allow you to post photos, cast biographies, set up a merchandise shop, or find and promote additional income streams through licensing.

And when someone asks you about your podcast when you’re away from easy web access, telling them to look for it on their favorite podcatcher doesn’t usually stick in their mind. Your website address usually will, if you name it right.

That’s another point Price makes: make the name of your website as close to the name of your podcast as you can. It’s a short read, but full of good information.

https://podcastbusinessjournal.com/seriously-you-dont-have-a-website/

  • NETWORKING, PEOPLE.

New York City hosts the She Makes Me Laugh Festival at The Peoples Improv Theater (The PIT) October 4th through the 6th. This comedy festival highlights female and non-binary performers and creators.

The festival also features live performances of the podcasts Bad Romance and Awkward Sex in the City. This constitutes a great opportunity to experience what it takes to produce a podcast and to talk with the producers. It also highlights the fact that podcasts and comedy are as natural a match as podcasts and horror.

https://theinterrobang.com/nyc-comedy-festival-showcasing-women-and-non-binary-performers-announces-headliners/

  • IF YOU WANNA WRITE/PRODUCE, YOU GOTTA LISTEN.

You’re Missing Out on the Best Kind of Podcast.

This Lifehacker article gives a great overview of the author’s favorites in the Comedy, Drama and Musical genres. Musical? Really? Yep, it’s a thing. Obscure, but a thing. If you want a genre without much competition, this is your huckleberry.

According to the author, Nick Douglas, “Listening to podcasts without any audio dramas like watching TV without ever trying Game of Thrones or Arrested Development or Orange Is the New Black.”

https://lifehacker.com/you-re-missing-out-on-the-best-kind-of-podcast-1837940832?utm_campaign=Fiction%20Podcast%20Weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20newsletter

  • IF YOU WANNA WRITE/PRODUCE, YOU GOTTA LISTEN, PART 2.

We’re Alive: Gold Rush, the second spin-off series from the original We’re Alive, debuted this week with 200,000 downloads in the first two days. The original story ran for four hugely successful seasons starting in 2009. The first spin-off titled We’re Alive: Lockdown consisted of six episodes.

There is also We’re Alive: Frontier, a live-action, on video, RPG show behind a paywall on Project Alpha beginning its second season in October. The We’re Alive podcast series has accumulated 160 million downloads.

Click the link below. While you’re there, take some time to wander through the website. The production and fan support for We’re Alive has made Kc Wayland, writer, director, producer, the 800-pound gorilla in the audio fiction arena. 

So, until next week, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel, keep listening and keep creating.

SPEAKING OF AUDIO FICTION…

Did you know that all audio fiction entries in TVWriter™’s PEOPLE’S PILOT 2019 pilot script competition are eligible for the two major category prizes plus special prizes and a reduced entry fee?

Learn all about it at: https://peoplespilot.com

Music from https://filmmusic.io
“The Builder” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)
License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY NEWS, AUDIO EDITION, FOR THE WEEK OF 09/02/19

Music in the podcast provided by:  https://filmmusic.io
“The Builder” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)
License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

by Bob Tinsley

PAY ATTENTION!

Why should you be interested in making audio fiction? Why should you be interested in making podcasts? Discoverability, that’s why.

The meaning of the word podcast is evolving to include any episodic, audio-only production whether nonfiction or fiction. Google now makes podcasts searchable, especially if they have transcripts (and why wouldn’t they). More people are using voice search, and voice search returns audio results.

Agents and major studios have started trawling through podcasts and ttheir creators for new content and talent. So PAY ATTENTION! Here’s the latest news.

  • I TOLD YOU SO.

Dr. Death, which we talked about last week, advanced to 73rd in the iHeart Radio Top 100 Podcasts and moving up.

https://news.iheart.com/charts/podcasts-top-100/latest/

  • I TOLD YOU SO, AGAIN.

If you needed any further proof that the Entertainment Industry pays attention to podcasts, the Austin Film Festival includes a Fiction Podcast track for at least the second year and maybe the third, I don’t remember. The conference happens October 24th through the 31st, 2019, in Austin, Texas.

They have invited Lauren Shippen, creator of the podcast The Bright Sessions, now in development as a TV series, to speak, among many others. In the Film Festival’s words,

In October, we’re going to bring some of the most creative minds in this emerging industry to you in Austin and let you hear for yourself about the art of writing a story for an acoustic medium, and about the need for great writers who will boldly go where few have gone before (emphasis mine).

https://austinfilmfestival.com/podcast-programming/?utm_campaign=Fiction%20Podcast%20Weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20newsletter

  • SPEAKING OF LAUREN SHIPPEN.

The Infinite Noise: Interview with Lauren Shippen.

In addition to writing an audio fiction podcast series for Marvel comics, she talks about the novels she’s writing based on The Bright Sessions. This is called multiple income streams. It’s also called Licensing Out.

This happens when you are able to retain the copyright for your own work, which doesn’t happen in TV or movies. You do not write a book, a short story, or a script. You produce a piece of licensable Intellectual Property, and you better start thinking about it that way. 

https://www.denofgeek.com/us/books/science-fiction-books/283171/the-infinite-noise-interview-with-lauren-shippen

  • START GETTING IT TOGETHER.

The Outlier Podcast Festival will be held in Los Angeles at Astroetic Studios, 224 E. 11th St, Suite 700 STE A & B, on September 13th and 14th. One of the sessions is titled, “Going Hollywood: Get Your Podcast Optioned By a Network or Studio.”

There will be five keynote speakers and 34 presenters in three tracks, Business and Marketing, Creative and Storytelling, and Tech and Innovation. The speakers will be podcasters and podcast network executives. There will be plenty of opportunities for networking.

http://outlierpodfest.com/

  • HOW TO MAKE YOUR PODCAST THRIVE.

In an article on Medium titled Three Ways To Survive Podcasting’s Existential Crisis, Tom Webster, Senior Vice President of Edison Research, presents a lot of data about how podcasting is changing along with some solid advice on how to make sure your podcast gets discovered.

Podcast listeners who once subscribed on dedicated websites or podcast clients such as iTunes or Podcast Addict now roam from Spotify and Pandora to FaceBook to YouTube and Instagram.

His advice: “You have to put success in your way, BE where they are, LIVE where they are, and have a plan to LOVE where they are.”

https://medium.com/@webby2001/three-ways-to-survive-podcastings-existential-crisis-fe679f0da603

  • HOW TO MONETIZE A PODCAST.

How To Make Money With A Podcast: Monetisation 101.

This article provides a terrific overview of one of the greatest questions of our time. Podcastwise at least. It starts with what you need to have in place before you start monetizing and walks you through all the options with lots of detail.

Unsurprisingly, the article recommends that you build relationships within the community as one of the very first things to do. Sound familiar?

You also get some guidance on one of the most frequently asked questions among new podcasters like the very popular “When do I start monetizing?”

Some of this article applies just to nonfiction podcasters, but I know many successful audio fiction podcasters who would, and have, given the same suggestions. This article will save you a lot of time. 

 https://www.thepodcasthost.com/monetisation/podcast-monetisation/

  • IF YOU WANNA WRITE/PRODUCE, YOU GOTTA LISTEN.

How To Listen To Audio Fiction.

This article from Monkeyman Productions covers everything from what audio fiction is to how to find podcasts that interest you. Monkeyman switched from producing theater to producing audio fiction last year. An interesting choice.

https://monkeymanproductions.com/2019/09/how-to-listen-to-audio-fiction/

  • IF YOU WANNA WRITE/PRODUCE, YOU GOTTA LISTEN, PART 2.

August 2019 Audio Drama/Fiction Podcast Debut Releases.

A compilation of all the new audio fiction podcasts that began in August. Oodles and gobs of goodness here; everything from science fiction to mystery to mockumentary to romance to fantasy. If you like genre fiction this is the place to go.

https://www.thecambridgegeek.com/posts/2019/09/20190901-a.php?utm_campaign=Fiction%20Podcast%20Weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20newsletter

  • PODCASTS HAVE THEIR VERY OWN MONTH.

September is International Podcast Month. IPM 2019 has its own webpage. Check it out. Internationalpodcastmonth.com.

https://www.internationalpodcastmonth.com/?utm_campaign=Fiction%20Podcast%20Weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20newsletter

  • NETWORKING, PEOPLE.

For those of you on the East Coast, PodTales: A Festival of Audio Drama and Fiction Podcasting will take place in Cambridge, MA, on October 20, 2019.

Many of the biggest names in audio fiction will be there and available for schmoozing. Admission is free, so if you’re in the area, no excuses.

https://podtales.org/

FOLEY? WHAT’S THAT?

The Other F Word: What is Foley in the 21st Century?

If you don’t know what foley is and what it can do for you, it’s time to learn. And you can do it here.

https://blog.prosoundeffects.com/the-other-f-word-what-is-foley-in-the-21st-century?utm_campaign=Fiction%20Podcast%20Weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20newsletter

A WEBSITE? I NEED A WEBSITE, TOO?

Helping Your Discoverability: It’s Time For A Website.

It’s all about discoverability, a word that a lot of people shout out, but few know the hows. These people know. The article tells you in a short, chatty form what you absolutely need to have on the website for your show.

https://podcastmovement.com/helping-your-discoverability-its-time-for-a-website/

  • FREQUENCY IS NOT A SETTING ON THE RADIO DIAL.

How Often Should I Release New Podcast Episodes?

This article gives a good background on a perennial question. Bottom line: consistency builds trust.

If you have to record and produce the entire season of your show before releasing the first episode to ensure a regular release schedule, do it. You won’t be the only one.

 https://www.thepodcasthost.com/planning/episode-frequency/

So, until next week, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel, keep listening and keep creating.


Music from https://filmmusic.io

“The Builder” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)

License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY NEWS, WEB VIDEO EDITION – 09/06/19

Music in the podcast provided by:  https://filmmusic.io
“The Builder” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)
License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

by TVWriter™ News Service

Found on the interwebs by Timothy Muncher
Interpreted and Reported by Emma, TV Writer.Com’s Artificial Intelligence Intern

Bob Tinsley’s excellent Audio News podcast has inspired Team TVWriter™ to have a go at a Web Video version. To get us past the sad fact that we’re total podcasting noobs, we have enlisted Emma, the trusty A.I. who proofreads and condenses and totally rulez our prose to bring you the latest web tv series news as well.

Here’s what’s happening in the world of fiction video series made for the interwebs, and their creators.


    • I’m Working my ass off, I know I have the talent. What am I Doing Wrong?
      by LISA EBERSOLE

“It sucks to be working hard, confident you have the talent, but not have any “proof” to back that up. No sale, no staff job, no feeling of success…. You know you’re working, but you also know what you’re doing is NOT working for you, so you start questioning your talent….”

This article is exactly the pick-me-up so many tired, cranky, and terrified creators need. Positivity = Productivity…of course!

via snobbyrobot.com

 

  • How to Choose the Best Live Streaming Video Platform for Your Website
    by
    ELISE FURON

“Whether for fiction series, education, concerts, news, whatever, choosing the best live streaming video platform for your needs can have a big impact on the viewers you reach. In recent years, technology for video broadcasting has evolved and expanded. The question of how to choose the best streaming service isn’t always straightforward….”

The question of how to choose the best streaming service may not always be straightforward, but this article’s answer is an excellent foundation for the web series creator who wants to be ready to take on the world.

via dacast.com

 

  • How to Start a Streaming Website
     by GRANT

“Creating the next Netflix or Twitch is no easy task, but your own streaming website can still be a lucrative and attractive business proposition if done correctly…. You can even tailor your website to revolve around streaming professional videos on-demand, user-generated content, or live streaming….”

More basic info that will give you the practical knowledge necessary to confidently show off your creative side.

via chron.com

 

  • Why Nobody Wants to Watch Your Web Series
    by ERIK URTZ

“…That brings me to the subject at hand, the most significant reason people will choose to watch or not watch your content, and they are almost all social reasons…When you do everything perfectly, and you have millions of dollars at your disposal you can create a global phenomenon. For those without the millions, well… you can still try and do everything perfectly….”

And with great insight, Mr. Urtz gives us the downlow on the social dynamics of success. Another ultra-helpful primer for interweb video series success.

via snobbyrobot.com

SPEAKING OF WEB TV SERIES…

Did you know that all WEB SERIES entries in TVWriter™’s PEOPLE’S PILOT 2019 pilot script competition are eligible for the two major category prizes PLUS SPECIAL prizes and a reduced Entry fee?

Learn all about it at: https://peoplespilot.com

ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY NEWS, AUDIO EDITION – 09/05/19

Music in the podcast provided by:  https://filmmusic.io
“The Builder” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)
License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

by Bob Tinsley

PAY ATTENTION!

Why should you be interested in making audio fiction? Why should you be interested in making podcasts? Discoverability, that’s why.

The meaning of the word podcast is evolving to include any episodic, audio-only production whether nonfiction or fiction. Google now makes podcasts searchable, especially if they have transcripts, and why wouldn’t they.

More people are using voice search, and voice search returns audio results. Both agents and major studios have started trawling through podcasts and their creators for new content and talent.

So PAY ATTENTION! Here’s the latest news.

    • I TOLD YOU SO

Dr. Death, a true-crime podcast on the Wondery network, is being adapted into a TV series starring Jamie Dornan, Alec Baldwin, and Christian Slater. It follows the efforts to bring down a neurosurgeon who killed or permanently injured over 30 people.

The podcast has garnered 50 million listeners since its debut in 2018. Wondery also has two other podcasts that have been turned into TV series, Homecoming, up for a second season, with Julia Roberts and Bobby Cannavale on Amazon, and Dirty John with Connie Britton and Eric Bana on Bravo.

https://www.papercitymag.com/culture/dr-death-podcast-turned-tv-series-dallas-neurosurgeon/

 

  • AGAIN, I TOLD YOU SO

11 Buzzworthy Podcasts Being Adapted Into TV Shows. Of the 11 shows under development are three on HBO, two each for FX and Amazon, and one each for USA, Showtime, Oxygen, and Bravo.

https://www.themanual.com/culture/best-podcast-adapted-into-tv-shows/

 

  • SHORTER IS BETTER?

When Creating Content, Size DOESN’T Matter.  In this article on the Jacobs Media website, Fred Jacobs, Radio Hall of Fame inductee, talks about length vs. content. He starts off talking about ads, but, not to worry, halfway down the page he brings in podcasts. His bottom line: There are no rules.

https://jacobsmedia.com/when-creating-content-size-doesnt-matter/

 

  • PODCASTS ARE GETTING SHORTER

Megaphone Pods analyzed the 549 podcasts in the Apple Podcasts Top 200 list over the last five years. They are beginning to see spikes in the 2 – 5 minute range. A lot of those are quick updates, but there are also podcasts whose regular episodes are that length.

The largest growth has been in the 0 – 30 minute length, 15% of episodes in 2015 to 34% in 2019 so far. This increase was taken out of the one to one-and-a-half + hour sector which went from 37% in 2015 to 13% in 2019.

https://medium.com/megaphonepods/podcasts-are-getting-shorter-a876cfa2f56a

 

  • WRITING FOR VOICE-FIRST DEVICES.

In this article Amy Stapleton, founder of Tellables, introduces a new market for writers. It’s so new that no one quite knows what to do with it. Start paying attention to voice-first devices like Alexa and Google Assistant. If you don’t get in, you could be hurting your discoverability.

https://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/2019/06/writing-for-voice-first-devices.html?m=1

 

  • THE PROBLEM WITH VOICE-FIRST DEVICES

Why Podcasts Aren’t Doing Well on Smart Speakers. This article reports on a panel discussion at the Podcast Movement 2019 conference. The panelists were leaders in the Voice-First movement.

In addition to the big problem listed below, they offered a list of possible solutions that mostly had to do with education of both podcasters and listeners and simplicity. In addition to pointing out the big problem of most people not using their Alexa or Google Assistant to listen to podcasts, they offered a list of possible solutions that mostly had to do with education of both podcasters and listeners in simplicity.

https://www.amplifimedia.com/blogstein/2019/8/19/why-podcasts-arent-doing-well-on-smart-speakers

 

  • LONGER IS BETTER?

Reader, I Downloaded Him: Boom Times For The Literary Long Listen. This awkwardly titled article primarily covers audiobooks, but it applies just as easily to Audio Fiction. Mastering and controlling your attention while listening to audio ultimately feels good.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/aug/18/bbc-radio-4-classic-novels-audio-amazon-audible-proust-tolstoy

 

  • THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

The Hollywood Reporter Has Podcasts. Who knew?

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/topic/thrpodcasts

 

  • SPOTIFY IS LOOKING FOR MORE PODCAST CREATORS

Spotify Tests An In-app ‘Create Podcast’ Button. There is now a button in Spotify’s podcast library labeled Create Podcast. The nice thing about it? No special equipment is required. When you press the button you are transfered over to Anchor (more below) which allows you to record, edit, and distribute your very own words of wisdom. And maybe even get paid for it.

https://www.theverge.com/2019/8/28/20837357/spotify-anchor-podcasts-button-create-in-app

 

  • MAKE A PODCAST WITH ANCHOR

Anchor, which is available as an Apple or Google app and as a desktop program, allows you to record anywhere on your phone, tablet, or desktop, edit (they’ve made this so simple even a first-timer can do it), add music, transitions, and sound effects, bring in guests from anywhere there is a telephone or internet connection, host it, distribute it everywhere people find podcasts (including Spotify), and monetize it through commercial sponsors or on a Patreon model.

And what does all this goodness cost? Not one red cent. So now you have no excuse.

https://anchor.fm/

 

  • PODCAST MOVEMENT 2019

Last week one of the biggest podcasting conferences in the world was held in Orlando. Podcast Movement 2019 had around 3,000 attendees who came to see and listen to 370 speakers in live shows, panels, and small face-to-face gatherings. This is the first year Podcast Movement had an audio fiction track. Audio fiction is no longer an outlier.

https://discoverpods.com/podcast-movement-2019-review-orlando/?utm_campaign=Fiction%20Podcast%20Weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20newsletter

SPEAKING OF AUDIO FICTION…

Did you know that all audio fiction entries in TVWriter™’s PEOPLE’S PILOT 2019 pilot script competition are eligible for the two major category prizes plus special prizes and a reduced entry fee?

Learn all about it at: https://peoplespilot.com

Bob Tinsley on The Voice First Movement

LB’S NOTE: A few weeks ago, Fake Video, made possible by comparatively  easy to use software that can replace people’s faces and expressions with those of others without an overt sign of doctoring, was the latest Big Scary Thing.

Now, however, we’re talking about something even more fascinating – to me anyway – AI voice replacement so natural that, at the very least, an awful lot of actors may soon be out of jobs. TVWriter™ Bob Tinsley tells the tale (in his own voice).

by Bob Tinsley

I’ve recently begun following the Voice First movement and the influence of AI in publishing.

Because of the boom in the audiobook market writers often make more money from their audiobooks than they do from their print and ebook books combined, and that divide increases every day. Fewer units sold, but bigger profit margins.

This is leading to an increasing preference for releasing audiobooks either before the print release or simultaneous with. Usually, because of production times (see below) audiobook releases lag print and ebook by a couple of months.

The increasing use of voice interfaces with computers and web entities
like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant has led to voice SEO.

If you ask Alexa to find books by a given author it won’t find anything
unless that author has audiobooks — in Amazon’s environment! Same
with Siri and Google Assistant. So if you don’t have voice products out there, you don’t get found.

So, Voice First. Of course this narrow-search will probably get corrected somewhere down the line, but the smart ones aren’t waiting for that.

Fitting nicely with this is the disruptive role of AI.

Joanna Penn, who runs a high-six-figure, one-person publishing business and is always looking to the future to find ways to keep that business growing, is fascinated with the role of AI in voice emulation.

She went to a website called lyrebird.ai, gave them a 45-second sample of her voice, and the AI gave her back a generated file of a different text in her
voice with her inflections. She could tell it wasn’t really her voice, but it was close. If their service were commercially ready she said she’d be using it to produce her podcasts now.

Amazon Web Services has a service called Polly. It will convert any text file into a mp3 file. I’ve been playing with it for a couple of days. It converted a 4,400 word short story into a mp3 file in a fraction of a second.

The voice (Polly has, at present, four female voices and three male voices available in 26 languages) is still robotic but better than any widely available text-to-speech engine currently available. The tone of these voices actually rises at the end of a question.

Not only is it fast, it’s essentially free. You can convert over 800,000 words for free per month Over that, it costs an extremely reasonable $4.00 or so per each additional 160,000 words.

Couple this info with Voice First. Producing a 100,000 word book today
will cost between $1,800 to $2,600 and take a couple of months, depending on how busy the narrator is. Polly will do it in minutes for nothing.

I am experimenting with having Polly narrate another of my stories with several voices. I divided my story into blocks, or scripts, for different voices then ran the blocks through Polly using two female voices and two male voices.

A 3,500 word story took me about an hour to divide the text into four scripts and less than a second to convert each script. I need more than two male voices, but I can frequency shift the ones I have to get the others.

I loaded the mp3 files into Audacity and greatly improved intelligibility just by doing some amplifying, normalizing, and equalizing. So far, I’d say I’ve got about 2 hours into the project. Next comes production and editing. I figure I’ll probably come out under 6 hours in two or three days. My Wild Bill production with real live actors for Drift & Ramble took a month and around 20 hours for production.

Now no one will mistake this for a human dramatic reading, but the
advantages are obvious. A lot of people won’t be able to stand it for very long, but there are also a lot of people out there who listen at 1.5 to 3 times normal speed, want content, and don’t care what it sounds like as long as it’s intelligible. This technique seems perfect for that audience.

It’s also perfect for creators who want to start a podcast, but are mic-shy,
don’t have the training, don’t have a quiet recording space, don’t
have the equipment.

Write out your podcast, run it through Polly, and post it. Zero time investment past the writing which our (not really so mythical) was going to
do anyway.

I’m thinking that as time goes by, not only will audiences become more used to listening to generated voices, those generated voices will improve until they are indistinguishable from human voices. When they do, audio performances of all kinds will have an exciting and potentially very profitable new twist.

We aren’t there yet, but we will be.  A whole new generation of creative dreamers will have the best chance in history to share their dreams (and not go broke doing it).

(Admission: I stole that last paragraph from Gene Roddenberry and TVWriter™’s Larry Brody. It’s something Roddenberry said to LB at a script meeting a ton of years ago. Wonder what the Great Bird of the Universe will sound like via AI.)


Bob Tinsley is an artist, writer, boataholic and a new pro in the field of Audio Drama. In other words, he’s an expert in finding new marketplaces, as he’s showing us here.