A Jury of Her Peers by Susan Glaspell

Here’s the script and links for this episode of 19 Nocturne Boulevard:

Doc:  jury of her peers
download episode19nb - Jury - 700px - high

This has a kind of funny history for me.  I was listening to short stories from Librivox, and heard “A Jury of Her Peers” and it instantly started writing itself as a script in my head.  The whole thing was so very perfect and dialog-heavy, and the underlying meaning was so poignant.

It wasn’t until I was either nearly finished or finished with the script that I looked up the story – to see what else Glaspell had written – and found out she had originally written this as a play “Trifles”, then adapted her own stage play into a short story. No wonder it was so perfect.

There are several other adaptations available, both in short films (check youtube for “Trifles”) and audio drama.  I added or changed very little except what I felt would help really get across the time and setting of the story, and thus the possible isolation in a time most people think back on as being exceptionally social (at least, compared to today).

Another Susan Glaspell story that I love a lot is “How the Prince Saw America.”  I would record it, but it makes me all teary and that doesn’t make reading easy.  Here’s the Librivox recording.

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Published in: Uncategorized on June 22, 2019 at 7:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Retro episode of the day: Jack. In the Box.

Another new listing, so I can attach the script to the episode and its links.

One of my earliest scripts, written with the idea of performing it in my OTR group, this is a sweet classic.

Link:  http://traffic.libsyn.com/nineteennocturne/19Noc_Jack_in_the_Box1.mp3

Script:  Jack_In the box

19nb - jack in the box - 700px - high

Published in: on June 18, 2019 at 6:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Liking the Unlikeable

[A discussion of a certain kind of characters, not asking why people like my show]

Why do people first listen to your show?

Answers vary – but often settle down to genre, friendship, fandom, or boredom.  Meaning that they like space operas, they know someone who worked on it, they follow your writer or actor(s), or they ran out of other things to listen to.

Now the more important question:

What makes them come back?

If you surveyed a hundred people, I’d bet the answer would come down to the plot or the characters.  And while good characters can carry a difficult or dull plot, it takes a great plot to carry difficult or dull people.

This is why it’s so vital to have likeable, recognizable characters, right out the gate.  You can always kill them off later, but giving characters some kind of hook that people can remember, sympathize with, and hang onto until the next episode comes out helps get the listeners invested in the story – makes them want to know what happens (at least to that person).

But we love antiheroes, right?  We love the contrary bastards who it takes time to get to know.  Luke Skywalker is a pale wussy shadow of Han Solo, who in turn is a puppy compared to Avon of Blake’s Seven or Riddick of Pitch Black.

[You will notice I’m going to use primarily male examples for this, as this has been male character territory for a long time…  this is not to exclude female characters from this type, just to acknowledge what we’ve grown up with – the cultural assumption that unlikeable female characters are just unlikeable.]

However, these more complicated and not easily likeable characters take time to grow on people.  How many times have we heard someone say “oh, I didn’t like him at first, but ever since ________ happened, he’s been my favorite!”

A big part of the reason it takes time to get to know these unlikeable characters is that they are almost always set against the obviously “heroic” characters, only working together out of pity, or for the money, or because they hate the enemy for their own deep dark reasons, and you know they would throw the hero into the mouth of hell if it would buy them the chance to strike a final blow.

But they do need to be redeemable.  They must have some spark of humanity, however deep inside, to keep them tuned to the audience.  If they don’t then they should remain in the category of “characters we love to hate, and would love to see bad things happen to, but don’t want to die and be gone.”

One of our favorite quirks that make bad people entertaining is being clever.  We love Hannibal Lector or The Joker, and despise or pity the nameless and gormless thug who doesn’t see it coming.   It’s a classic moment when head neurosurgeon Stig Helmer (The Kingdom) storms into the hospital’s superintendent and demands “Where are our noses?  If you are making this place a circus, we want noses – big red ones with elastic bands!”*

We’ll put up with a lot for a truly clever but irritatingly obstreperous or morally grey character.

Somewhere in between, is the irritating character – the annoying voice, overly stupid, just a bit too quirky, or cowardly, or brave – for whatever reason, they grate on listeners and heroic characters alike.  Irritating characters are often someone that cannot be left behind or sent away – whether it’s because they have necessary skills, they ARE the point of the quest (escorting them somewhere), or because the group is stuck together for some reason.  These types are best served by a long slow redemptive arc, pushed along by a couple of horrible shocks that adjust their basic attitude, until they are pulling with the team and may even do amazing things.

Worst of all is the hopelessly boring character.  The bland dialog, the lackluster back story.  The “nothing to see here” person.  Even a good actor can’t always breathe life into the truly dull.  If it’s only for a line or two, no big deal – even Shakespeare didn’t bother to name every messenger, or give quirks to every “lord”.

On the other hand, look what he did with a gravedigger…

*slightly paraphrased due to translation and memory…

 

Published in: Uncategorized on June 15, 2019 at 7:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Scripts? Would people like scripts?

I’ve noticed that a lot of shows nowadays make transcripts available, and while I don’t have that, I have the original scripts.  The difference being transcripts presumably follow any changes made during the editing process, and may also be more descriptive of event effects.

I also can’t change the old site, since the software is on an old computer, and I’m not a web designer, and there’s no budget to pay someone else,…. blah blah blah.

So I’m going to link to episodes here, and also include the script(s) for that episode.  I hope that will give people a bit of what they need.

It may be a slow process, since there’s like a hundred shows to get through, so have patience, but also I have no problem with people dropping me a line here, at 19nocturne<at>live(dot]com, or on facebook to request episodes you’d like to have the script fro sooner rather than later.

For now, I had this in my head recently, so let’s have some PROMEVIL!!!!

Polky

Episode 1: http://traffic.libsyn.com/nineteennocturne/19Noc_PromEvil_1.mp3
Episode 2: http://traffic.libsyn.com/nineteennocturne/19Noc_PromEvil_2.mp3
Episode 3: http://traffic.libsyn.com/nineteennocturne/19Noc_PromEvil_3.mp3
Episode 4: http://traffic.libsyn.com/nineteennocturne/19Noc_PromEvil_4.mp3

And the scripts:
PromEvil part 1
PromEvil part 2
PromEvil part 3edited
PromEvil part 4

Please note that the openings with short quotes from the characters are not in the original script.  There are a few other changes throughout, due to things like difficult sound effects to make or find or get across, etc.

Published in: on June 14, 2019 at 6:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

A grand new adventure…

If you call “trying to be organized about prepwork” for my new show “an adventure”.
LOL
I learned a lot by my mistakes and afterthoughts when making season 1 of Hancock House, and I am much better prepared (I hope) to crank out my new serial “The Decadence of Borrowed Silk”.

Among the many things I have been working on while I get all the actors’ voices gathered up, is making a list of all scenes in the entire series, and where they take place, so I can prepare all background ambiances before I am even ready to drop voices into them.

I am seriously thinking of giving each major character a distinct noise – creak of leather, rattle of jewelry, etc. – as well, so when they’re sneaking or walking, or whatever, the audience can tell who’s there….   Still thinking about that, though.

But clearly sound-delineated locations will help a lot with keeping the flow going without having to re-set everything in the audience’s minds eye every time the scene changes.

The vast majority of other shows I’ve done, however, have been modern – or at least 20th century or forward, so many of the sounds can be machines, even in different rooms of the same house – a TV, any number of clocks, the hum of a fridge, even a fishtank in one – but for my new fantasy historical setting, none of those will do.

So I’m left with more basic natural noises, and most of the places I’m defining are interior rooms of one sort or another, which leads to some problems.

I decided the Queen has birds.

The Emperor’s room has a fountain.

The Crone, deep in the catacombs, has a pot always on the boil.

The Dungeon has a drip.

The Throne Room will always open with a gong.

And the Inn’s wind chimes will be heard from different directions throughout the Inn.

etc.

I can make up these simple sound beds, with their attendant music (if any), and have them ready to go.

 

Published in: Uncategorized on June 13, 2019 at 1:33 am  Leave a Comment  

More Short Sharp Shocks

My fabulous casts for several more of my shows!

THUMBING THROUGH
Nikki, driver – Angelique Jazz
Walsh, hitcher – Karim Kronfli
Radio – Chris Hart

FICKLE DICTATES OF FATE
JOAN Willow, secretary – Julie Hoverson
PHOEBE McMurtry, witness – Tanja Milojevic
Jack GORDON, detective – Chris Hart

YOU BET MY LIFE
Melvin – Cary Ayers
Ruby – Emily Dinwiddie-Cole
Dickie, lotto salesman – Michael Hall
Tina – Miranda Hartnell
Weldon – Thomas Rippert
Mabel – Julie Hoverson

GETTING TO THE HEART OF IT
Lewis – Austin Beach
Liddell – Shannon  Perry
Supervisor Dinah – Julie Hoverson
C-80 – Rhys Torres

 

Published in: on June 10, 2019 at 1:29 am  Leave a Comment  

The Rats in the Walls

I realized I haven’t got a cast list online for this rather impressive episode.

19 Nocturne Boulevard presents

The Rats in the Walls

From the story by H.P. Lovecraft – adapted by Julie Hoverson

CAST
Mrs. Delapore – Julie Hoverson
Capt. Edward Norrys – Will Watt
Sir William Brinton – John Lingard
Alfred Delapore – Danar Hoverson
Blackie – Reynaud LeBoeuf

Tea Ladies
Eugenie – Jennifer Dixon
Viola –  Judith Moore

Servants
Millie – Fiona Thraille
Mr. Stott – Alex Gilmour

Other Experts
Dr. Trask – Robert Cudmore
Thornton – Michael Hudson
Prof. Carnegie – Shayne McGovern
Ludlow – Gareth Bowley

Letter from the Army – Felbrigg Herriot (Cthulhu Podcast)

Locals
Matt Dixon
Gregg McLaughlin
Caitlin Sneddon

Children’s Chants, cats, etc.
Beverly Poole
Mike Campbell
Kimberly Poole

Published in: on May 30, 2019 at 9:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Naming names…

Continuing my abstract critique of things I have encountered when checking out many of the new shows as I get back into listening to recent audio dramas, I want to talk about names.

And, oddly enough, about trademark law.

I worked for 20 years as a word processor in a firm that handled primarily trademarks and patents, and while I am not an attorney, I understand the basics.  I want to use one of the most basic precepts of trademark law – what makes a good strong trademark – to help explain what makes a good name.

Trademarks, in general, are the words or pictures that define the source of a product – i.e., tell you instantly who made it, the brand, etc.  Trademarks must be protected by their owners, or offbrand copies (presumably with lower quality) can make their way to market and damage the original company’s reputation.

Typically, potential “word mark” trademarks (those without a picture or piece of artwork incorporated into the mark) fall into three basic categories:  Descriptive, suggestive, and fanciful.

A descriptive name for something is simply that – you want to sell a can of soda and call it “soda can” or “fruit soda” or something else where the words just describe the product.  These are generally untrademarkable, since you cannot ever claim exclusive use of a word or words that are purely descriptive because you cannot make it impossible for a competitor to use those same words to describe a similar product.

A suggestive mark is one where the words imply the product but do not necessarily describe it.   For example, “heavenly bubbles” could be a name for a canned soda – but “heavenly” implies a flavor or experience, while “bubbles” implies the carbonated texture.  It’s a mark where a consumer would have to think for a moment before they figured out what the product might be, if they just saw the name.

Fanciful marks are ones where the mark has almost nothing to do with the product.  “Red Bull” in no way describes an energy drink.  Fanciful marks are the most trademarkable, and the strongest in the market, since they stand out.

OK, enough about trademarks, let’s talk about show names – from a listener’s point of view.

I would set up some slightly different categories for series names, for slightly different reasons, and I would call them Unsearchable, Unmemorable, and Fanciful.

My point isn’t to single people out, or suggest people should rename their shows – but perhaps when starting  a new project, this could be something you take into consideration.

Unsearchable is frustrating as heck – names that have only common words in them, so if you do a search on the internet, it’s still almost impossible to find the show’s site unless you remember the name of one of the actors, or the production company.  Purely descriptive terms like “theater”, “show”, “podcast”, “tales”, etc., are essentially worthless for a search, while words like “night”, “dark”, “horror”, “sci-fi”, “time,” are overused.  Try using at least one unique, recognizable word, alongside some of your descriptive terms.

As a good example, “Pulp-Pourri Theatre” – “Pulp” is more or less descriptive of a genre and “Theatre” (either spelling) is overused,  but merging “Pulp” and “Potpourri” into a unique word that is somehow still easy to remember makes the whole name stand out.

Unmemorable is another form of descriptive, particularly where the words are too easy to synonymize.  “Horror tales” could be “spooky stories” could be “gruesome fables”, and blend together in someone’s mind.  Pick something that stands out, and doesn’t sound quite like anything else out there.

As an example – “Welcome to Nightvale” – “night” is certainly overused, but adding the unusual word “vale” makes it a unique compound word, and adding “Welcome” makes it a phrase, as much as a name, and thus more memorable.

Fanciful once again comes to the rescue.   When I named “19 Nocturne Boulevard”, I already had a motif in mind for the opening credits of someone giving directions, so I came up with an address that sounded kind of sort of maybe spooky (“Nocturne”), but not so much that I was locked into only writing horror stories.

I’m not saying that everyone should just keep adding words until no one can say the entire name of the show in one breath (like “The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade” (generally just called “Marat-Sade”)), but try and find a happy (and unique) medium – the goal is ALWAYS to make sure your show is memorable and easy for new listeners to find.

 

Published in: Uncategorized on May 30, 2019 at 8:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cancelling the radio station

For the one or two people who came to justpasttheautomat.com, it’s been a failed experiment, and just too costly to keep up.  Thank you very much for checking it out, if you did.

I may bring it back some time in the future.  If I do, it will be announced through
19 Nocturne Boulevard’s twitter feed (@19Nocturne) and facebook page.

Published in: Uncategorized on May 27, 2019 at 5:45 pm  Comments (2)  

Geographically speaking….

As I create the world for my new audio drama, The Decadence of Borrowed Silk, I have been pondering location names and how they come to be.  Rather than just assign random collections of letters or generic “Water Town” names, I have been trying to ground them deeper in my fictional world by looking at how names come about in our own world and history, and how they change through time.

Countries, towns, geographical features – naming follows certain patterns, but many factors can become involved in what and who things get named for, and consistency, even within a small geographical area, is not necessarily the norm.

Resemblence or Description

Geographical features are often simply named for things that they resemble – Goat Mountain, Tower Rock, and the Grand Tetons (yes, they were named for boobies).   Towns are then often named for the locale, or some outstanding place close by.  Twin Peaks,  Riverside, Great Plains.  Directions also can play a part, particularly when similarly named places end up confused one for the other – then West Mount  or North Fork come about.

Local Language

Many locations are named in some local language or dialect that may or may not still be in use.   In the Pacific Northwest, as an example, many place names are derived from the languages and names of the indigenous tribes, such as Seattle (named after Chief Sealth), Tacoma, Mukilteo, Puyallup, etc.   Many town names in England and New England – Ipswich, Midwich, Dunwich, etc. – incorporate the suffix “‑wich” from old Anglo-Saxon which probably meant town or market.

Invading Language

The history of a location may also be reflected by who invaded (or sometimes nominally purchased) it, since conquerors often renamed things to establish or bolster their rights.  Constantinople became Istanbul, countless cities were renamed after emperors when Rome expanded, and the new world is rife with old world transplants, among them notably the “new” cities named after old ones back home, like New York, New England, and New Orleans.

Religion / Invading Religion

Places are as often names for gods and saints as they are for queens and emperors, and invading churches are always quick to eradicate any trace of the old gods when they get a chance.  Rome was supposedly named for Romulus, one of the demigod brothers who founded the city, while San Jose, San Bernardino and all the other Sans and Santas throughout Spanish-occupied areas were named for Catholic saints.

Mine, all Mine

And of course, places were always being named after people.  The ones who founded the town, discovered the mountain, or funded the expedition.  Towns also got renamed when rich families came into prominence, heroes or leaders came from their ranks, or special events or inventions arose from that locale.

The Weathering of Time

And, as with everything, time chips away at words the same way it changes terrain.  Names get shortened, bastardized, run together, and the meanings forgotten.  A place once named King Mark’s Head could (centuries later) be known as Kemar Point, or the St. Mary of Bethlehem Royal Asylum for the Insane could end up just plain “Bedlam”.

Published in: Uncategorized on May 20, 2019 at 7:19 pm  Leave a Comment