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/)


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.



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!  



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.”



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.



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?



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.



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.  



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.



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.





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.



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.



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.”



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.


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/)

How I Stopped Sabotaging My Writing Goals

The only element in this article that’s even more appealing than its immense helpfulness is its warm, moving candor. The writer, Andrea Jarrell, now has several more big fans – LB and the rest of us here at TVWriter™.  Here’s why:

How I Stopped Sabotaging My Writing Goals: Confessions of a Late Bloomer
by Andrea Jarrell

Given that I published my first book at age 55, some might call me a late-blooming author. I am. But not because I suddenly discovered writing and decided to write a book. I am a late bloomer because I finally stopped sabotaging myself and did the work needed to realize life-long ambitions.

Writing books is all I ever wanted to do. Yet, for many years, I wore my writing dream like a costume—acting the part but never really committing to the work. Throughout my childhood, teens and 20s, I might have looked like someone working for her dream: sending earnest poems to teen magazines and entering contests, majoring in the right subjects, founding student publications, and working in New York City publishing jobs.

Sometimes a glimmer of the dream would start to come true: winning the Rotary Creative Writing Contest in junior high, getting into selective writing workshops, getting my first byline in a national magazine. But instead of these little wins driving me towards my dream, they often caused me to back away and to talk about the dream more than to go after it.

In my late 20s, I got jobs alongside my dream—jobs in marketing and PR that required a bit of writing talent. These jobs felt safe and productive. I got married and started a family. By my early 30s I had fashioned other goals that took me up a management ladder as I pretended the original dream to write books no longer mattered. I felt vaguely depressed every time I went into a bookstore but didn’t examine this feeling too carefully.

Of course my nemesis was fear—fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of being told I didn’t have talent, that I wasn’t the best, that I had to work harder. Harder? The truth is I hadn’t been working at all….

Read it all at writersdigest.com

The Downs (and Eventual Ups) of Making It Past that Debut Writing Year

What’s it like to be a trending new writer? We like this self-examination of one new “killing it” writer’s perspective.

by Christina Soontornvat

“You’re on fire!”
“You’re killing it!”

Those are the types of comments that came across my social media feed last fall as I posted screenshots of my most recent book deal announcements.

Due to publishing’s funky and unpredictable timing, I had back-to-back announcements two weeks in a row: one for my middle grade nonfiction about the Thai Cave Rescue and another for my new chapter book series, Diary Of An Ice Princess (Scholastic, 2019).

To the outside world, I was “on fire.”

Inside, it felt like I was finally crawling out of a hole.

Flashback to four years earlier: I had been overjoyed when my first agent sold two projects: a middle grade fantasy and a picture book. I felt like my career was getting ready to blast off into outer space! Instead, I found myself stuck in orbit.

After the excitement of that first sale, I struggled to write another novel. And then my agent and I parted ways just months before my debut hit the shelves. The split was amicable and non-dramatic. It was the right thing to do at the time, but when I found myself in the whirlwind of my debut year, fielding agent rejections when I was supposed to be “living the dream,” I felt sort of…pathetic.

I had worked for years on improving my craft, then tried for years to get an agent, then went through a long submission process to sell my work. Somehow, it felt even worse to be having a tough time after experiencing some measure of success. This felt like starting all over again, but with even higher stakes.

I told myself I should be grateful for what I had. After all, I knew friends still searching for their first agents. It seemed whiny and entitled to feel the way I felt….

Read it all at cynthialeitichsmith.com

Check out Christina Soontornvat’s page


In Praise of 10 Superbly Written TV Series

Found on the interwebs: The kind of article we don’t see often enough in what remains of the original Hollywood trade publications. In others words, critical praise for our favorite oft-forgot species – writers.

The Americans

by Tim Goodman
Chief TV Critic, The Hollywood Reporter

I had a week off, ostensibly to do something other than watch or think about TV — and yes, some of that actually happened — but there’s always peripheral brain creep when it comes to television, with everything from highbrow conceptual ideas to lower-brow (but probably more fun) list-making clanging around in my head. A recent random thought that popped up concerned great writing on television. Quickly — in about a nanosecond — four examples came to mind.

The result was oddly troubling. But at least in that flash of a moment, it was clear that I don’t have recency bias.

What’s that? Well, our brains are basically set up for recency bias. Whatever we’ve experienced memorably in the very recent past is what sticks. The best food we’ve eaten or wine we’ve discovered, even the sex we’ve had. If you’re older, nostalgia might be more upfront in the brain pan, or maybe thinking about things like “best vacation memories” takes you back to Paris because Paris is sublime and your last five holidays have been staycation; trip to in-laws in Boise, Idaho; staycation; ill-advised camping trip; much too nearby bed-and-breakfast (and no, thankfully, that’s not my itinerary). But often what’s newest is what comes back in our mental search results.

So why, when a fleeting idea about great writing on television flashed in my head, did I, without hesitation, reel off Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Wire and The Sopranos?

Probably because they are all Hall of Fame first-ballot series, yes.

But they are also, respectively, from 2007, 2008, 2002 and 1999. That’s not recency bias. (And hell, there’s not a comedy in there and I love comedies.) Rather than wonder about the why of it all, I wrote down a list of current, wonderfully written series.

That was harder than originally imagined. Because there are so many excellently written series that I was riffing faster than I could jot them down. The list grew, and grew, to ridiculous proportions. I guess that’s a fine sign for the state of the industry, or the writers in the industry, in 2018.

In the end, I kept it simple: a list of currently produced series, each with more than one season under its belt (otherwise, with the likes of The Deuce, Counterpart and so many others, this list would have no end), whose writing has lingered with me in some way. Not just funny jokes for the comedies or standout emotional scenes for the dramas, but something cumulative where story construction, dramatic tension, intelligence, relentlessly creative humor, poignancy, thoughtfulness and believability, among other fine traits, left a mark. In no particular order, here are the 10 series I chose…:

Read it all at hollywoodreporter.com

How to Write TV Series Bibles

A quick guide to what you need to include in the bible for your next spec series, whether it be on broadcast TV, cable TV, the web, or anyplace else where you need to prove that you’ve touched (as in gently messaged) all the right notes.

Found on bang2write.com, a site loaded with helpful info and writerly insight.


Did you know that  TVWriter™’s PEOPLE’S PILOT pilot script competition is one of – if not the – longest-running writing contests on the web? We’ve been doing all we can to help open the gates for new writers for over 20 years!

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