I actually read this story a few years ago in Fantasy Scroll Magazine, and when I got in touch with Jarod I suggested it could make a good radio story. It has a strong narrator, a nice twist, and – most importantly – it ain’t too long.
This episode marks the first one of our second season, and also a chance to work with a lot of new talent. I’m always impressed by the quality of performers and writers in Columbus, and I know I haven’t scratched the surface:
- Writer: Jarod K. Anderson
- The Clerk: Stefan Langer
- The Receptionist: Emily Turner
- The Production Manager: Tony Goins
- Adapted and Produced by: Tony Goins
Both Emily and Stefan are well-known actors around town – Stefan most recently appeared as Thomas Jefferson in Red Herring Productions’ production of Discord and Scaramouch in The Emperor of the Moon with Actor’s Theatre of Columbus. Emily is a playwright and actor whose full-length show, Girl, In Progress was recently produced by Red Herring Production, and she was the playwright-in-residence at Curtain Players Theatre as part of its 2019 New Works Initiative.
Jarod K. is a familiar podcaster around town, probably best known for writing and performing “The CrypoNaturalist,” a kind of Marlin Perkins for the supernatural. That show is always at the top of my queue whenever he releases a new episode. It’s about finding beauty everywhere around you – arguably the opposite of Distress Frequency, but it’s a great show.
One last piece of good fortune for this piece: I had a chest cold when I recorded the Production Manager. I felt like crap, but it really helped for the performance. I also benefited from having Stefan and Emily on hand while I was recording. They urged me to do it with more menace, and you can hear their direction in the final edit.
I’d like to talk more about Emily’s work as the Receptionist – it’s a short part, but she really sets the tone as the Clerk steps into the supernatural. She gave us a half-dozen different approaches to that role, ranging from bored to sassy to creepy. I’m working on another piece so you can hear how the different approaches would’ve made it a very different piece, so look for that in your feed.
I had a heck of a time nailing down the conveyor belt sfx. I searched Freesound.Net, tried a bicycle chain, I tried to gimmick up something with a length of chain … nothing worked. Then, I went to my friends’ annual apple cider party. What you’re hearing is actually an 1870s-era cider press. It’s a crank-driven mechanism that crushes apples for apple cider.
So the whole sound works like this: First, you hear a screech that’s from the swingset at the park down the street from our house. Then, you hear a thrum I downloaded off Freesound.org. Then, you get the cider press, and it’s topped off with an “air brake” sound I also got from Freesound.
Bottom line: Nothing in that sfx is related to machinery or conveyor belts. Sfx is often about how a thing *should* sound, rather than trying to get a real-life recreation of the thing.
I threw a link up to the original cider press recording on Freesound.org. it’s creative commons if you want to use it for something. Drop me a line if you do; I’d love to hear it. It looks like it’s been downloaded 20 times so far!
Here are the Freesound.Org sounds you hear in this piece, gratefully acknowledged: