At a very early age, I knew I wanted to be a storyteller. I wrote my first story when I was five. In elementary school, it was all about writing short stories. In middle school, it became about poetry and novels. In high school, I moved on to writing and producing stage plays and screenplays. And that stayed with me through college and into adulthood—the visual form of storytelling became my absolute passion.
And then I fell into podcasting.
I am still a filmmaker; I haven’t let go of that yet. But I have found the world of fiction podcasting to be a bit addictive. With podcasting, I have the chance to write more in-depth stories than I could ever do in short films. I’m also putting the work out there in the world and actually experiencing feedback from a larger audience than I’ve ever had with my short film work.
There is also a freedom in a world purely created through sound that doesn’t exist in the visual medium. The audience isn’t hindered by the storytellers images of the characters and the world. They get to create those people and places in their minds, making a customized version of the story; which, in turn, means that you the storyteller aren’t hindered by the limitations of a visual medium.
As podcast storytellers, we’re creating an intimate relationship with our listening audience.
People associate sound with emotion more so than they do with visuals. That’s why certain sounds are manipulated or enhanced in films. In podcasting, especially in fiction podcasting, that’s all you’re doing—eliciting an emotional response through sounds. And those emotions can be stronger because your listener usually isn’t sitting in a large room experiencing the story with a crowd of people. They’re alone, with the sounds spilling into their ears through headphones or floating from speakers in their homes or enveloping them in their cars. At that moment, those sounds—those emotions—are just for them.
While that freedom in auditory storytelling is wonderful, there’s also a lot of challenges, especially for someone who spent decades writing for the screen. How do you express character emotion strictly through the voice? How do you explain the vastness of something without visual representation? I love the challenge of finding the answers to those questions. I’m sure I’ve failed in places, but I know that I’ve also succeeded. And, along the way, I’ve become a stronger storyteller because of it.
My favorite quote about writing is from F. Scott Fitzgerald. “You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” And I’ve obviously had something to say a majority of my life.
I’ve always used writing as a way to work through my problems—whether it be journaling or writing fiction. I always wanted to express my opinions. While sometimes I did, most of the time I couldn’t find the courage or the words in the moment to say them as myself. So I created characters to say it for me. Those characters lived on the pages of short stories, my novels, my plays, and my screenplays, but they rarely made it into the public eye. Now, with podcasting, my characters—along with their darkest secrets, deepest desires, hopes, dreams, and nightmares—are out there for anyone.
Just pop on a pair of headphones and fall into the world I’ve created for you.