As already revealed, B7 Media have announced plans to crowdfund a third volume of its critically-acclaimed Dan Dare: The Audio Adventures, coinciding with Eagle comic hero Dan Dare’s 70th anniversary in 2020. Here, producer Helen Quigley offers an insight into the appeal of audio dramas – and urges your support for the project…
I initially sat down to write this piece on the theme of the perils and pitfalls of producing audio drama. Then I realised that as someone who loves listening to and producing audio drama, shouldn’t I be championing its joys and merits?
I’m not new to audio production. In the last twenty years, I’ve produced podcasts for Comedy Central, national radio trails for the BBC and worked with voices and actors both in the studio and out of it. But I’m new to audio drama and while the skills are all transferable, it’s a new, highly creative world I’ve yet to fully uncover. Since joining B7 Media eighteen months ago, I’m proud to now have my name attached to several projects with more to come, including the Dan Dare series – of which more below.
Audio has the best pictures. You colour in your own soundscapes, design your own sets and cast your own characters, purely on the basis of what you hear. That’s incredible. So just imagine what it’s like for us to be making those “Hollywood” movies – at the fraction of the cost.
However… We have to create the illusion of Hollywood scale on significantly less than Hollywood budgets. But in our favour, we’re not bound by the same limitations.
Making a giant space epic for cinema? Sorry, the budget only allows for three CGI spaceships. Making the same for audio? Go nuts!
Podcast dramas have opened up opportunities to performers whose only other route to audio drama may have been via the BBC. Just listen to Sioned Jones in DILATION, (a stand-alone scifi drama from B7 Media and Par-sec Productions, released earlier this year) for the kind of performance that makes listening to an actor skilled in audio so special.
Which takes me onto the relative ease of hiring big names. Shooting a film with Benedict Cumberbatch? You’ll need him for days, if not weeks. Makeup. Costume. Travel. Time to learn lines.
Audio drama? No need to be off-script for recording, no costume, no makeup, in and out of the studio in a day (sometimes) and bus fare home. Though I doubt Benedict rides the bus much these days.
I’m being glib, but fundamentally, it’s true. Due to its relative simplicity to produce, audio drama can include and attract big names, involve big set pieces and epic sound design. Sound studios are fun places to work too. Relaxed, (if you’re lucky!) no massive sets, fewer people to deal with and biscuits. Usually.
Speaking of epics… This brings me to Eagle comic legend Dan Dare, his 70th anniversary year and our plans to round off his Audio Adventures with Volume 3.
The first two volumes were privately funded and made back to back, with a view to funding the third from the profits. However, despite the series being bought by the BBC and broadcast on Radio 4 Extra, getting the episodes out to a wider audience meant distributing them on major platforms like iTunes and Audible, who take a hefty cut of the retail price as their fee. Profits and Volume 3 became a distant dream.
Having witnessed the success individuals and small companies have had with crowdfunding for audio, (comedy Wooden Overcoats and Robin Ince’s “Shambles” podcast universe are just two that come to mind), we realised Dan Dare would be a perfect fit for similar crowdfunding.
With two critically acclaimed and successful volumes of Dan Dare: The Audio Adventures already behind us and the wealth of experience B7 Media has in producing great audio drama like I, Robot and The Martian Chronicles, Dan Dare and epic audio are in safe hands.
Even better, you can be a part of it this time! Using Indiegogo as our platform, we’ll be launching our crowdfunding drive to produce Dan Dare: The Audio Adventures Volume 3 in early December with a number of exciting perks and incentives to get him off the ground once more. Take a look at our pre-launch page for a more information in the meantime.
We can’t wait to make more Dare Dare, because we already know you love listening to it.
Helen Quigley is a Voiceover Artist and Producer with nearly twenty years’ experience in producing audio for broadcast. As a Producer, her work includes network radio trails for the BBC’s flagship TV programming, including Poldark, Gentleman Jack, The Apprentice and Blue Planet II.
Previously she was a Continuity Announcer and Podcast Producer for Comedy Central UK, working with up-and-coming comedians who are now far too famous to call her any more.
As a Voiceover Artist she records commercials, web training, telephone messages for major tech companies and narration – from corporate to comic – including the worldwide viral hit, Porn Sex Vs Real Sex: The Differences Explained With Food, viewed more than 18 million times on YouTube.
• Dan Dare Audio Adventures on AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)
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