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Author Topic: "Highly produced" episodes  (Read 9965 times)

mavjop

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on: May 09, 2008, 04:15:39 AM
Hello everybody,

I've been listening to Escape Pod since mid-2007 (I subscribed and told iTunes to "get all episodes" at that point). It doesn't seem like that's a lot of time, but on the other hand I feel like I've been listening forever. I love Escape Pod. Thank you for all the fantastic stories! I started listening at Episode 90 (How Lonesome a Life Without Nerve Gas), and have listened to everything since, but a while back I also started going through all the back-episodes, thanks to Escape Archive (thanks! really).

Now, on to why I'm writing this comment:

It seems a bit lame to be moved to post to the forums for the first time ever with a negative comment, but I just listened to Episode 64 (Head of State, read by Wichita Rutherford) the other day, and I hated it.

Now, to explain ... the story, I think, was excellent, but the reading and production were terrible.

The accent was hard to understand, especially with loud bed music, but that wasn't really the most significant problem. The biggest problems were:

  • (1) that the mode of speech took away from the story by having the exact same emphasis in each sentence,
  • (2) the music tried to force us into feeling a certain way rather than subtly aiding in the feeling conveyed by the story, and
  • (3) the reader colloquialized the text in a way that I'm almost certain was not as written (which would leave me utterly furious if I were the author). Not just lines of dialogue, but exposition. Ugh. If that's how the story was written, then that's different, but I'm nearly certain it was not.

To expand upon #2, good "bed music" in a story subtly aids in fostering feelings the story evokes in us. Usually less is more, in terms of in-your-face-ness, but in "Head of State" I felt like the music was trying to drag me around and tell me "NOW. YOU WILL FEEL RELIEF."

Perhaps this was to make up for the lack of conveyance of relevant emotion in the reading of #1 where every sentence ended dramatically. It seemed odd since it really didn't depend on the content of the sentence. It annoyed me and tired me out and outright made my wife angry. (I was going to use caps in this paragraph to imitate the style of delivery, but it was too jarring for me to want to inflict on you all).

My wife also expressed concern about the podsafeness of the bed music as she thought she recognized things which she thought would not be.

Regards,
Stephen


birdless

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Reply #1 on: May 09, 2008, 02:34:34 PM
1. Welcome to the forums!

2. I hate starting a new thread and not getting any responses. It's like offering a handshake no one returns. So...

3. I haven't listened to that episode, so I can't really contribute to this discussion, but see #2. ;)

I didn't understand your last statement, though. Can you expound?



stePH

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Reply #2 on: May 09, 2008, 02:43:07 PM
I don't clearly remember that episode so it didn't really make much of an impression on me, other than that I don't care for Wichita Rutherford, who also read one other story for EP that I didn't think much of.

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eytanz

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Reply #3 on: May 09, 2008, 03:42:40 PM
Actually, it would probably good if Russell applied some moderator magic to turn this thread into an official episode comment thread. It's been a while since there was a new thread for a back episode.



mavjop

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Reply #4 on: May 09, 2008, 05:08:10 PM
I considered putting my comments in a post/thread about the specific episode, but in the next episode when Steve read comments about it he talked about "highly produced" episodes in general, and so my intention was to discuss the idea of episodes with a lot of production, a la bed music, and not just that one episode ... but I confess my post did end up being rather heavily about the particular episode. Oops. I'm sorry if it was inappropriate for this part of the fora.

Oh, and thanks for the welcome, birdless. :)

Regards,
Stephen


mavjop

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Reply #5 on: May 09, 2008, 05:23:53 PM
I didn't understand your last statement, though. Can you expound?

I'm not certain if you mean the last sentence in my message, of point #3 (the last enumerated item), so I'll answer both.

Last sentence: "My wife also expressed concern about the podsafeness of the bed music as she thought she recognized things which she thought would not be."

Some of the opening music sounded to her like it was pulled directly from a Twilight Zone episode, and at some other point, she said it sounded like there was music she recognized from a Spielberg movie (she doesn't recall now which). I am afraid I am personally unclear on all of it, and I don't think I'll be able to persuade her to listen again to gain more detail. Hopefully there was not in fact any un-podsafe music and it just sounded somewhat like un-podsafe music.

Point #3: on colloquialization

Things like, "... they wuz gonna ..." and "ain't" all over the place. The story did not seem like one where "ain't" would be widely used in the text, and I have a great deal of trouble believing it included phrases like "they wuz gonna". A lot of things like that came across as "let's inject quaint little characteristic idioms of the reader". Idioms of the character are totally appropriate, but not of the reader!

Regards,
Stephen


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Reply #6 on: May 12, 2008, 07:04:54 PM
Connie, Maybe (the other story read by Wichita Rutherford) is my second favorite EP episode ever. Give it a shot. Wichita's reading style is a perfect match for that story.

While I understand your objections about Head of State, I don't share them. I thought the story was entertaining nonsense, and a fun listen; not one of the best EP episodes, but not one of the worst either.



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Reply #7 on: May 13, 2008, 12:43:22 PM
Put up a thread for EP064.



Ocicat

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Reply #8 on: May 22, 2008, 11:27:37 PM
I really enjoy the "Highly Produced" episodes when they do them.  It doesn't always work well (a lot of Head of State fell flat for me too), but I hope Steve still tries for music and sound effects in stories that seem to call out for them...



stePH

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Reply #9 on: May 23, 2008, 12:45:26 AM
I really enjoy the "Highly Produced" episodes when they do them.  It doesn't always work well (a lot of Head of State fell flat for me too), but I hope Steve still tries for music and sound effects in stories that seem to call out for them...

Both Variant Frequencies and Nobilis' erotica podcast have used music and sfx to good effect.  Not that I think it's necessary, but it's a nice touch when done well.

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milo

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Reply #10 on: May 23, 2008, 12:55:15 AM
I loved both "Connie, Maybe" and "Head of State". I definitely think there is room for a colloquial accent every now and then, especially if the reader doesn't go too fast. The theme for Escape Pod is Have Fun, after all, and fun, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. When I run into an episode that isn't fun for me, I fast forward to the ending credits, and look forward to next week. I haven't been disappointed too often.



Rain

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Reply #11 on: May 23, 2008, 03:19:32 PM
I think there is a fine line when it comes to episodes like that, Head of State was fun and i like hearing Wichita speak as long as he is not overused, but if you go overboard in the "highly-produced" direction then you end up with something like A Small Room in Koboldtown where i simply couldnt understand what was being said



goatkeeper

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Reply #12 on: May 28, 2008, 02:19:49 AM
Steve really tries to respect the story by not getting too much into the bells and whistles.  IMO, the story and the reading make the cake- sound effects and production are like icing if you use them tastefully.



wintermute

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Reply #13 on: June 10, 2008, 12:01:02 PM
I've been working my way through the back episodes, and I just got to Head of State, so:

I was a fan of Wichita's reading of Connie, Maybe; his country drawl really worked for that story and brought it a je ne sais quoi that would have been lacking, had Steve read it. But in this one, it seemed less appropriate. In addition, I found that the barber's lines were too quiet - I had to keep turning the volume up to hear what he said - and the sound effects and music were too distracting, frequently overpowering the actual text of the story. The Great Old Pumpkin used sound effects in a way that I found more effective, as they didn't get in the way of actually listening to the story.

Of course, my perception of this might be influenced by the fact that I didn't think that Head of State was a particularly great story.

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stePH

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Reply #14 on: June 10, 2008, 02:57:10 PM
I was a fan of Wichita's reading of Connie, Maybe; his country drawl really worked for that story and brought it a je ne sais quoi that would have been lacking, had Steve read it.

I must admit Rutherford was the perfect reader for "Connie, Maybe", but I haven't yet heard any other stories that are well suited to his reading.

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Listener

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Reply #15 on: June 10, 2008, 08:54:55 PM
I really enjoy the "Highly Produced" episodes when they do them.  It doesn't always work well (a lot of Head of State fell flat for me too), but I hope Steve still tries for music and sound effects in stories that seem to call out for them...

Both Variant Frequencies and Nobilis' erotica podcast have used music and sfx to good effect.  Not that I think it's necessary, but it's a nice touch when done well.

Nobilis has an erotica podcast?  No one told me!  (or did they, and I missed it?)

I totally have stories to submit.  And that wasn't entirely a play on words. :)

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stePH

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Reply #16 on: June 10, 2008, 09:39:22 PM
Nobilis has an erotica podcast?  No one told me!  (or did they, and I missed it?)

It's been mentioned.

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AarrowOM

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Reply #17 on: August 02, 2008, 10:28:12 AM
Though I admit it's been a while since I listened to Head of State, I don't recall having a problem with it in terms of production values.  It is true that every so often something does go wrong with the audio production (i.e. EP071: The Capo of Darkness).

Personally, I would like to see more episodes with additional production work.  I like single-reader episodes fine, but I also enjoy full-on audio drama-type episodes or the more practical multiple voice actor episodes (such as EP169: How I Mounted Goldie, Saved My Partner Lori, and Sniffed Out The People’s Justice, EP32: Alien Animal Encounters, or EP028: Your Corporate Network and the Forces of Darkness).

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