Sunday, November 2, 2014

Well, that was fun!

MacLeod Andrews records The Sounds Below - Once more, with feeling!

Did everyone have a lovely October?  We certainly did and, as is usually the case, now that it's over we're feeling slightly melancholy.  Somehow a table full of turkey and stuffing doesn't sound as exciting as a table full of candy.  So as we move on into November - the month where you don't shave and you write a novel - we can ease into it by taking a dip in the treasures October had to offer.  If you haven't heard The Sounds Below yet, be sure to check it out.  The lead, MacLeod Andrews blew us away with his performance and we definitely are inviting him back.  That is, if he's not too frightened.  

We also locked MacLeod in a room with our interview-cyborg (we all pitched in in building the thing which is half human, half David Brinkley, half robot).  Here's what Interview Cyborg (aka ICY) was able to glean from MacLeod!

ICY:  You've worked in movies, commercials, and many other media, but your chief claim to fame is your work in audiobooks. When did you learn that your voice could really bring a story to life?

MA:  I always enjoyed reading aloud.  In elementary school I often chose to keep my hand down whenever a teacher asked, “who would like to read this for the class?” not because I was shy, but because I didn’t want to appear too eager in front of my classmates.  I think I channeled that impulse to read into an interest in theater.  I specifically became interested in voice over and narration when I was about 24 and booked some promo spots and my first audiobooks.

ICY:  Your character, Chris, seems to be in a pretty bad place in our story. What excites you the most about exploring dark material as an actor?

MA:  Generally speaking what’s fun about darker material is how unrestrained it can be.  There’s screaming and crying and insane laughter or on the opposite end of the spectrum you might play a sociopath and do an end run around all feelings of empathy.  But I think what’s most enjoyable is that, in a safe environment, you get to play with circumstances and behaviors most of us avoid at all costs in our day to day lives.  It’s like bumper bowling with your id.

ICY:  What projects are you working on right now that you think our listeners would love to know about?

MA:  We’re about to finish up post production on a film called They Look Like People which I’m really proud of.  It’s about two friends struggling with trust and mental illness.  It has elements of horror but is a drama at it’s core.  I’ll be doing a play by Charlotte Miller with Rising Phoenix Rep in LA next Spring called Thieves.  It’s a rural family drama.  Very excited about that.  If you’re in the area come see it!  Short run from March 18- April 4.  

On the Audiobook front, I recently recorded the sequel to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, a Star Trek spoof called Willful Child, and am about to start recording Firefight: the next Brandon Sanderson novel in The Reckoners Series.

ICY:  What sounds give you the biggest heebie-jeebies?

MA:  Fingernails on chalkboards.  The sound of a big bug skittering across something crinkly like a paper bag.  The dead people who talk to me.  

ICY:  Is there a sci-fi/fantasy/horror novel that you would sell your soul to narrate?

I’ve gotten to narrate some pretty awesome sci-fi.  I really wish I was British and Stephen Fry so I could do Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.  I’ve always loved Frankenstein.  “I should be thy Adam!”  “Glut the maw of death...” and what not.   

Very nice.  Nice guy, great talent.  Have a good November everyone, we'll be back soon with a piece that's a bit different, titled BUBBLES... We think... we think that's happening.  You'll just have to stay tuned.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

New Episode Tomorrow!

Spot Art by Kevin Necessary for Nicholas Thurkettle's "The Sounds Below."

We spent the weekend doing some work on the Christmas episode.  That's right - The Christmas Episode...  Suddenly we feel like those stores that stock up on Holiday decorations before The Great Pumpkin has even had the chance to disappoint Linus.  Anyway, here we are in the climactic week of our favorite month, so let's focus on that, yes?

First off Over Halloween is a HUGE success.  Everyone flocked to it in the first weekend and we reached benchmarks of downloads faster than any other episode in the sites history so THANK YOU.  And a reminder that we still have limited edition prints of the spot art signed and numbered by comic book artist (or just plain artist) Megan Hutchison.  This is the very first in what we hope to expand on - a gallery of art based specifically on the shows and available to purchase/collect/oggle/freakyouout.  Click here if you want to know more about that coolness.

But what have we done for you lately?  Well - the spot-art at the top of the page isn't exactly an indecipherable clue.  We have our second Halloween episode due TOMORROW and, if the recording is any indication, this one is going to be an amazing, amazing creation.  Written and directed by Nicholas Thurkettle, "The Sounds Below" will be the perfect companion piece to all the horror-themed entertainment you've no doubt been indulging in this month.  It might even be the best. 

So stay tuned, we'll let you know when it goes live.  Have an excellent week, people.  Something you might want to think about before you take in tomorrow's new episode:  What are you afraid of?


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Episode 12 - Over Halloween

Erika Lebeaux is not a big fan of Halloween - too many bad memories of a pretty nasty one when she was little.  So it comes as a bit of a surprise that she would be here to interview the man w ho made the film that's pretty much the definitive icon of the holiday.  A man who is infamously cranky and who, in success, seems to have created his own monster.  A man who is totally, completely, absolutely - OVER HALLOWEEN.  

And so we're off on our 12th episode of Earbud Theater.  We've always liked the scary and we've always wanted to do a piece directly tied to the holiday.  About a year ago we thought, "Hey, what if we asked xxxx if he wanted to write or at least participate in developing an Earbud idea?  Everyone thinks of him when they think of Halloween."  So we reached out to him.  He never answered.  But through that failed run at the master of horror (well, one of 'em anyway) we came up with this wonderful little idea.  We're super pleased with the results and as always, we have a great, talented crew that helped out with this.  Without further ado - THE CREDITS:

Written and directed by Casey Wolfe

Performed by
Daheli Hall as Erika Lebeaux
Jared Rivet as The Director
And introducing
Buzby as himself

All songs by Kevin MacLeod can be found HERE.  The songs used are:
Gathering Darkness
Gloom Horizon
Static Motion
The Escalation
Echoes of Time

Engineering and Demon Summoning courtesy of Craig Good

Amazing Mind Blowing art by Megan Hutchison.  We have a limited number of watercolor prints available for sale email us for details.

Arright, time to put this to bed.  Now, you go to bed, plug in your headphones and enjoy Over Halloween.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Pre-Show Warmup

Art by Megan Hutchison
You know what that is?  A couple of sinister looking fiends?  Yes.  An amazing piece of art that captures the essence and fun of the Halloween season?  Yes.  But it's also the spot art for our next podplay, Over Halloween.  Yes, the edit is finally finished.  It was torture, it was hell, but it was worth it - and we don't mind going through hell and being tortured if it means something great for you, listener.  And for the very first time, we have a limited number of watercolor prints signed and numbered by the artist that will be available for purchase!  Ask for details

Be on the lookout for the release within the next 24 hours.  And don't worry, we'll absolutely let you know when it's up and live.  We'll ride to your house on the leathery wings of night creatures if necessary.  

But you can't wait?  You need something now?  Well, you're in luck - because here are some recommendations to put in your October Playlist, some homegrown and some from friends.

First, we have our top horror podcasts that you should check out, revisit or share:  Bea Little, Shift, Beneath the Basement and Ethan Burrows are the podplays that lean towards the more horrific and creepy.  

Second, we have recently become obsessed with The Truth podcast - you probably know it already, but it's the brass ring in terms of audio storytelling.  Real quality stuff.  Here is their archive list - go there and check out the Halloween episode they did last year called The Devil You Know.  The one about the 'dentist' freaked us the hell out.

Finally, gather round the campfire - Campfire Radio Theater that is!  They just released part one of a two-part Halloween episode called RIP, but we'll also recommend The Philadelphia Xperiment

So there you have it.  Tricks and Treats for your ears.  As well as a visual tease to get you ready and primed for Over Halloween.  (Who is the girl?  The house looks familiar too... And what's with the two... what are they...?  Stay tuned.)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October One. Bring the horror.

Daheli Hall and Jared Rivet killing it.  

Hey so a couple weeks ago THIS happened.  Two very talented individuals, Dahali Hall and Jared Rivet, were put through the wringer in the subterranean, soundproof booth where Earbud nabs its screams of horror and shrieks of pain.. and occasionally - certainly in this case - kick ass performances.  It was a lot of fun and a lot of hard work.  It's always impressive to see people giving their all and then more after that.  This particular episode is one of TWO that we're unleashing on you for the month of October simply because it's our favorite time of year.

We'll keep you posted on the titles and release days of course, but in addition to that we're going to have some recommendations for other superscary podplays you should check out. Because you can never get too much horror in your head when it's Halloween season.  Right guys?

Well, it's not QUITE a centipede, but that's okay, you're not quite human.

To get you kicked off, we'll recommend a classic of our own making, the straight-up horror podplay SHIFT.  Our first release and one of the more terrifying entries.  Check it out.

And welcome to October.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Episode 11 - Escape! (The End of Humanity Song)

"You're married...?  To a guy named Bananforth?"

Hey, what does the number one movie of the summer and our latest podplay have in common? Besides both of them being awesome?  I'll let you make the connection.  What we have here is yet another outstanding Earbud Theater production written and directed by Nicholas Thurkettle.  Escape! (The End of Humanity Song) is an absolute blast and we wouldn't blame you if you stopped reading and went straight over to listen- HEY!  Where do you think you're going?  We've got some credits to get to here, don't you want to know the talent involved? Well, all right then:

Escape! (The End of Humanity Song) written and directed by Nicholas Thurkettle

Produced by: Casey WolfeAaron Drown and Branon Coluccio

Performed by:
Austin Rogers as Alex
Jim Van Over as Garland
Tosca Minotto as Perla
Jill Cary Martin as Jan Maloof
Matthew Henerson as Dr. Marlin Labat

Spot art by Kevin Necessary (who you can read about further below).
End Credits Music: Lá Lá é Lé Lé by Bohemios da Cidade
Special thanks to Rupert Holmes

Okay, now you can go listen.  And don't for get to mosey on over to iTunes (Earbud Theater) and subscribe.  And if you haven't already - please feel free to rate and/or write a review.  Those things really help expand our reach.  Thanks, cats.  NOW you can go listen.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Kevin Necessary - Spotlight on the Artist

So, tomorrow sees the release of Nicholas Thurkettle's Escape! (The End of Humanity Song) and we'll go into greater detail on that then.  But for now we want to set aside some time to focus on the talented man who did the art for this particular episode (heads up: we're going to be expanding our artist focus in the next few months so pay attention - some neat stuff should pop up).  Since he knocked it out of the park with his piece for Habitat, Nick was all to eager to invite Kevin Necessary back and Kevin was gracious enough to accept.  Without further ado, let's unveil the "podart" for the episode that you may pour over it, analyze it for plot clues and just plain admire a kick-ass piece of art:

Look!  Art you can drink!

Lovely isn't it? But what does it mean?  WHAT.  DOES.  IT.  MEAN?  You can find that out tomorrow, in the meantime a big thank you to Kevin and here's a little interview Nick conducted with the artist himself:

Q:  Who are some of the major influences you draw from when it's time to come up with an image?

A:  Who are some of my influences? Yikes. How much space do you have? I love simple, effective design work, like the stuff Saul Bass created back in the 1960s, to the Frank R. Paul, who illustrated these garishly wonderful pulp magazine covers in the 1920s. I've been heavily inspired by cartoonists such as Bill Waterson, and my hometown hero (and friend), Jim Borgman. I find inspiration from as many sources as I can. Though I do my best not to emulate them, I try to find what it is about that work that fires up my imagination, and do my damnedest to express those emotions through the prism of my own work.

But if there's one artist that has truly influenced me, it was Ralph McQuarrie. He was the first concept artist on the original Star Wars Trilogy, and I was exposed to his artwork almost as soon as I was exposed to the films themselves. His concept art helped me go from wanting to be Luke Skywalker, to wanting to be the one who creates the world Luke Skywalker lives in.

Q:  You seem to resonate strongly with the sci-fi/fantasy/horror material that Earbud traffics in. Can you give us a very brief history of your relationship with this genre and what some of your own favorites are?

A:  One of the first books I remember my parents reading to me was The Hobbit. I don't remember a time when I wasn't watching, reading, or listening to science fiction and fantasy. And I really do love the old pulpy stuff. The Twilight Zone ("Five Characters in Search of an Exit" and "The Lonely" are favorites). Forbidden Planet. Stories such as "The Cold Equations" by Tom Godwin, and "The Hell-Bound Train" by Robert Bloch. Dune, the Foundation Series. And I've listened to a ton of X-Minus One.

Q:  In the early days of pulp sci-fi, sometimes the writers came up with their stories based on the artwork as opposed to the other way around. What do you love to draw that could easily be the subject of an Earbud podplay?

A:  I'll throw two images at you.

I've had an image in my head for years about a Ming the Merciless-style villian, the type you'd find in any 1930s serial, with a shocked look on his face as he stands over the smoldering body of the story's hero -- who was shot by one of the henchmen and is now quite dead. Also gaping in surprise are the damsel in distress and the hero's sidekick. None of them know what to do. I think it'd be a funny story.

The other image: A man sits by a porthole in a darkened room on a space station. Visible in the window looms the dark blue eye of Neptune, casting dim light onto the scene.

Q:  Where can our listeners go to see more of your work and buy some of it?

A:  I don't have anything for officially for sale -- yet! But you can visit my site,, and if there's something there you see that you want, drop me a line and we'll work something out.

Q:  And lastly - if you were at a bar when the world was coming to an end, what would you order at last call?

A:  I would order the best bourbon they had, neat. Guess I'd better make sure I'm at a decent bar when the world ends. I don't want to be stuck with only Jim Beam as a choice.

Very nice.  Great work, Kevin.  And we'll see you all back here on September 5th for the release of "Escape!  (The End of Humanity Song)."