How I Produced A Fiction Podcast In A Pandemic: Part One – Cast

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The Glam Gizmo was my biggest foray into audio fiction in my time as a volunteer at SYN Media, and by the time lockdowns hit Melbourne in early 2020, volunteering from home was highly encouraged rather than putting all projects and broadcasts on hold.

By this stage, I had already produced the first four episodes of Season 1 and had three more mammoth episodes that needed to be conquered, each with their own stylistic challenges in sound design.

My original approach for Gizmo was to have it all recorded on-site and in studio, but this soon became unattainable as acting talent was difficult to acquire. I soon discovered StarNow, a free online acting agency where I could create an ad for the podcast and offer “auditions” for actors. It was here I found the bulk of my cast across Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and as far as the UK and US as well.

As I wanted to make sure the podcast was up to a high standard, I was incredibly fickle about microphone use and quality to make sure each actor’s vocals matched their partnering characters in each scene. Because I was also working against different time zones, I gave detailed directorial notes to each of my actors for delivery but also allowed enough room for creative interpretation.

In the first season I was probably more lenient and not as assertive in my directing so I often let this slid. In the case for Season 2 however, I have been more transparent by jumping on the phone or zoom calls with an actor to vocally articulate or demonstrate what I’m looking for. In one case, I had an actor who was *too* prepared and smashed out all his lines for the first episode but missed the mark. We re-recorded his lines while I was present on a call and the extra time spent made the end product all the more worth it.

As I have continued with the series and this model, I have become more confident as a director and have been able to give more detailed angling on character and delivery via voice mail and numerous Zoom calls, and this has bettered the quality for the incoming third series.

Once I receive all my vocals from each cast member, I place them in a folder system which is distributed by character and episode:

This allows me to locate everything with ease as well having a clean-access storage for archival purposes as well.

I also use the same system for my sound design and music track selection, which I will talk in more detail towards in a future part.

You can listen to Seasons 1 and 2 of The Glam Gizmo on Spotify , Apple, Amazon Music and Audible.

Published by Tom Denham

I produce and direct fiction podcasts, specialising in creative storytelling with sound.

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