“Be good. Be kind…” Turn every story you love into a creative project.
At least that’s what I have discovered since I started streaming tabletop roleplaying games weekly and, one by one, falling in love with casts, characters, and stories. One stream stands to become a novel, one a roleplaying game setting, but the first stream I ever played? That’s becoming a podcast.
EDENfall is a scripted audio drama based on EDEN, a cyberpunk campaign streamed on Scratticus Academy using the Cypher System game. Technically, it’s been in preproduction for about four months. Really, it’s mentally been in preproduction since the stream first ended. I’ve never worked on an audio drama before, and I’m sure there’s no truly right order, but the elements of preproduction for this project are challenges that make EDENfall unique. Those elements are what I believe makes this project special–what will make the podcast incredible.
The story isn’t mine, it’s the cast’s. The world was created and the story was guided by one person, a game master, informed by the decisions of five fictional characters, each of which were created and embodied by five different people. They each are a fundamental part of this process, and they’ve shared their support, effort, and intellectual property to make this project a reality. This podcast started as an actual play stream, so the six of us wrote–lived–the story together. This story is ours.
The story is written, even though the scripts are in their first drafts. The story is complete. Start to finish, we played through the entire plot in a streamed game. At minimum, it provides a story skeleton. Beyond that, it informs the script. The relationships between characters were established in the stream. Pivotal conflicts already have set scenes. It’s limiting and yet freeing. Some of the podcast is decided already, but the rest, we can explore. EDENfall can dive deeper into those relationships, those conflicts, even if all the while, we know where our story leads.
The main cast is reprising their roles, but I’m casting as many NPCs as possible. The main cast created and performed their characters for the stream. It only feels right that they return to their roles. Then there are the other characters created by the GM, the non-player characters. Since the world was already established, we’re embracing the depth and variety within it. It’s a large cast filled with many voices. Maybe it comes from the fact that community was so involved in the stream, including live chat and tips that could influence the story, but I want to include community in this podcast.
There are still some things that feel “normal:” commissioning cover art and character art, long conversations with the composer, assuring legal documents are all in their place, combing through casting calls, communicating with the cast, and scheduling a timeline. It’s amazing how much work goes into it all, truly. I know I’ve done it before with my first podcast, Fate and the Fablemaidens, but when it’s all outlined and in front of you, the project is… incredible.
So maybe it’s a different preproduction process than my previous project. Maybe I even feel weird about the order of things sometimes. And like with any preproduction process–or production process, for that matter–there are obstacles along the way to overcome. There are so many moving parts, so many pieces to fit into place. There are elements that are both challenging and positive all at once.
And as I write lines from the EDEN stream into the EDENfall script–“Be good. Be kind.”–and think about the podcast all these elements will ultimately become, I can’t help but feel like it will be incredible.