original vs. rehash

So a long time ago we had a policy to only have original stories. We thought this was a good idea I mean even if we could muster up a way to get the approval to use some of these characters etc. from the series what pray would we do with them?, every conceivable angle has pretty much been played out, but the demand to do cross-over stories and stories involving aliens monsters and enemies from the series was so high we decided to try to do them. But how? aren’t all of these under copyright? Well simply yes they are, but we received information from a copyright expert and they said ‘these things aren’t absolute’ with this stated

‘there are many ways to get around it, copyright is to protect an idea entity, but several things like an idea entity reaching so big it becomes public domain and fan fiction that aren’t for profit or that are sufficiently different from the original source can avoid copyright infringement’

So how much is original how much is rehash?, and how much sometimes come from other inspiration like current events? A bundle of doctor who stories, like lots of good sci-fi, show us the ramifications of man’s impact on the environment etc., and reflect cultural changes, and changes and advancements in science and technology. Original stuff is going to have an edge on rehashed material in the regard that it is new or innovative; rehashed shows you can adapt a used character and give them a new spin, so it not a clear cut case either way.

Now as to ripping people off, To be clear we would not wish to rip anyone off (especially musicians we pay and get proper permissions from those we wish to use via city parks ability to play music as all radio stations do) we just wish to do ideas, characters etc that we think will be entertaining to create “a world in your ears”, now this isn’t simply us going oh lets do whatever the heck we want no, this is a tough task and discussion about the issue (we certainly wish to credit everyone for any ideas we do) but the fact is comes down to completion and exposure (so even if we credit someone they may never know due to our limited exposure). Simply put we can not compete or get the exposure b.b.c does due to budget restrictions because we are only volunteers working, as the b.b.c used to, to make a doctor who  fan-fic audio drama on a shoe string budget. So lets say we do a redo of the chase, even if we did it, it would not be the same – we could only do this as a two parter at 15 mins each, and the audience that’s going to hear it at best is not even one millionth of what the b.b.c would get if they re-aired it.

and the question becomes how bad are we, how much in comparison is ‘ripped off’,  we could go on and make a list so keep you eyes peeled for that

anyway please tell us your thoughts.

2016 Parsec Awards Winners & Finalists

oh golly miss molly who knew there were sooo many sci-fi podcasts? I’ve decided to trawl about and add links for all of these as time permits ( ie: no more until I finish ep10 ) since the award givers themselves have neglected to do it on their website ( i’ve been under a rock obviously with no idea either that people gave out awards for audio drama – so yes we’ll be putting our hand up for one of them thanks!) They were sometimes hard to track and warning – some contain very adult content and this is a work in progress not all links have been added yet

Best Speculative Fiction Comedy/Parody Podcast – Improvised Star Trek -“The Voyages of the USS Sisyphus”

by Christopher Rathjen and the USS Sisyphus Cast & Crew (Improvised)

Finalists:

Best Podcast about Speculative Fiction Content Creation

The Journeyman Writer by Alastair Stephens

Finalists:

  • Archer & Armstrong: The Production Journals by Pendant Productions
  • Axanar: The Official Podcast by Robert Meyer Burnett & Alec Peters
  • Literary Treks by Matthew Rushing & Dan Gunther
  • The Round Table Podcast by Dave Robison

Best Speculative Fiction Fan or News Podcast (Specific)

Verity Podcast  by Deborah Stanish, Erika Ensign, Katrina Griffiths, L.M. Myles, Lynne M. Thomas, Tansy Rayner Roberts

Finalists:

  • Country Bear Collector Show by Grant Baciocco
  • From There to Here by Trek.fm
  • Piper’s Picks TV by Adam Feinsilver & Piper Reese
  • PodCulture: TARDIS Interruptus by The TARDIS Interruptus Crew
  • The Orb by C. Bryan Jones and Matthew Rushing

Best Speculative Fiction Magazine or Anthology Podcast

The Uncanny Magazine Podcast  by Lynne M. Thomas, Michael Damian Thomas,

Erika Ensign,  & Steven Schapansky

Finalists:

  • Seminar by Pendant Productions
  • Strange Horizons by Anaea Lay
  • The Pendant Shakespeare by Pendant Productions
  • The Wicked Library by Daniel Foytik and Nelson W. Pyles

Best Speculative Fiction Fan or News Podcast (General)

The Incomparable  by Jason Snell

Finalists:

Anomaly by Angela Flournoy & Jen Rhodes

Assembly of Geeks by Scott Murray

Nutty Bites by Nuchtchas

Slice of SciFi by Summer Brooks and Team Slice of SciFi

Best Fact Behind the Fiction Podcast

Universe Today’s Guide to Space by Fraser Cain

Finalists:
Astronomy Cast by Pamela Gay & Fraser Cain

Meta Treks: A Star Trek Philosophy Podcast by Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison

Skeptoid by Brian Dunning

Talk The Talk by Daniel Midgley

Best Speculative Fiction Video Story

The Ultimate Nerd-ament  by Grant Baciocco & Russ Walko

Finalists:

Grant’s Advent Calendar by Grant Baciocco

The Uncle Interloper Show by Grant Baciocco

Best New Speculative Fiction Podcaster/Team

Uncanny County  by Todd Faulkner & Alison Crane

Finalists:

ars PARADOXICA by Daniel Manning & Mischa Stanton

Liberty: Critical Research by Travis Vengroff & Kaitlin Statz

Nova Dark by Justin Fife, Ron Rose, & Trevor Wood

The Witch Hunter Podcast by Domien De Groot &  Audio Epics

Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Long Form)

Uncanny County  by Todd Faulkner & Alison Crane

Finalists:

ars PARADOXICA by Daniel Manning & Mischa Stanton

Hadron Gospel Hour – “This Particle, Doomed!” OR “The Incident At Universe 603-X” by  Rich Wentworth & Mike McQuilkin

Return Home – “Home At Last / Whatever Lies Behind The Door / Running Wild” by Jeff Heimbuch

Starship Excelsior by James Heaney

The Cleansed by Fred Greenhalgh &  FinalRune Productions

Wolf 359 “Mayday” by Gabriel Urbina &  Kinda Evil Genius Productions

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Large Cast (Long Form)

Reading Out Loud -“Property Damage Claim #1-1403986” by Ryan P. Duke

Finalists:

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eneasz Brodski

Young Avengers Live -“The Epic Adventures” by M

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Long Form)

After the Plague by Mike Bennett

Finalists:

The Black: Arrival by Paul Elard Cooley

The Enoch Pill by Matthew William

The Twilight Histories -“The Winged Victory” by Jordan Harbour

The Witch Hunter Podcast by Domien De Groot & Audio Epics

Worm by J.C. McCrae

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Short Form)

Tales to Terrify -“Graves” by Justin Cawthorne

Finalists:

Beneath Ceaseless Skies – “The Sweetest Skill” by Tony Pi

Far Fetched Fables – “While the Gods Laugh” by Michael Moorcock

The Lift – “The Basement” by Nelson W Pyles

The Lift -“Dark Music” by Scarlett R. Algee

The Lift -“Why I Take The Lift” by Mark Nixon

Best Speculative Fiction Audio Drama (Short Form)

The Galaxy Quest Restoration Project -“Balance of Darkness” by David A. Mackenzie

Finalists:

Aaron’s World by Aaron and Mike Meraz

Milly Foster, Macabre Investigator – “Oh Where, Oh Where Can She Be?” by Mike Murphy

Ray Gunn and Starburst by Holly Rose

The Moonlit Road by Craig Dominey

Wooden Overcoats by Audioscribble & David K. Barnes

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Large Cast (Short Form)

The Voice of Free Planet X  -“Oddfellows Local” by Jared Axelrod

Finalists:

Beneath Ceaseless Skies -“The Punctuality Machine, Or, A Steampunk Libretto” by Bill Powell

Journey Into… “Evermore, I Told The Raven” by Ken Scholes

The NoSleep Podcast – “The Whistlers” by Amity Argot

The Voice of Free Planet X -“Wolf Like Me” by Jared Axelrod

Sounds of Silence

14720430_10153954628567647_2673775829999032432_nYay season two is underway and this time we are working with several remote recorded artists. The studio is still the best so our main characters are recorded there, but Terry is still has no spaceship so he continues at home between jackhammer blasts from the construction site next door. It’s a bit of a miracle sometimes created with cushions and blankets.

The audio for some reason is better in video – either using an actual video camera or weirdly using Recordable app on my Samsung tablet. This app takes a video of another random app screen ???? and then gives you the audio as a wav file. I tried the straight recording app or two and their audio didn’t stack up – go figure. He bravely actually recorded a portion of episode 8 while in hospital – luckily we needed canteen noises – but stitching this in amongst the other voices to sound reasonable was a small nightmare. Smooshing a shopping mall ambience behind it helped considerably, then adjust equalizer, normalize.

mmmm bacon

The backbone of  the dialogue track is stitched together by one of the team. We rub out any overly long pauses, cut out the pops and breaths, the actors apparently need to breathe but its not always a pretty thing next to a mic, then add other pauses for drama.

Then follows creating a space for ambient background to talk to you is as important as the actual speech. We are subbing one sense for four others. check out this highly instructive TEDtalk if you are into soundfx.

Being on alien worlds poses a design issue – i often pick foreign ambiences with no recognisable speech. Avoiding obvious earth based technology cars, telephones, music, animals and so on is really hard. Episode 9 takes us to a desolate mining colony on the edge of the future human galactic expansion whose hills will be alive with ‘brown noise’.  In audacity there is a silence/noise generator which I’m trying out for the first time to place a background ambience for the rock world rather than use a field recording.

Previously we had a lot of studio ambience which is unaturally quiet – you should always hear something, machine hums, wind, traffic, voices and birds. the slight rustle of your own clothing. Some of the remastering in season one takes care of this thanks to the many free foley effects on the internet ( see individual shows for links).  Here’s a sample pack of room tones from a sound recorder whose work we have used in season one and two klankbeeld

You can’t say that!

16729048_723127234526168_4987826414004503233_n
scary virus worm from episode 4

The City park radio programming guidelines are strictly G so we had to invent an expletive Terry could say on air – he is after all a male 20 something bogan and aliens are shooting at him, so our actor Michael came up with flip! for our f word. The sound editor shall fire a handy blaster shot any time he tries that s word.  

Testing the Translation Circuit

It’s science fiction so there are long technical explains and worse – alien words.  The Questr is equipped with a handy translation device that magically works at a distance. So we can stick with english as the truly universal language, and use fake alien accents – the radio equivalent of a Dalek costume 🙂

However it’s always a surprise to a script writer as to which innocuous little words trip the tongues of the voice actors. Star shines will become shar stines, capacitors morph into capacitators, and time saving efforts turn into marathon recording sessions. After handling the periodic table with ease Rowena created the Thornhill capacitator, our take on a flux capacitor. So now its super special. “fruity tropical lime with a hint of hazlenut character” that was a little line i got off a bottle of Josef Chromy chardonnay and seriously regretted. Took a dozen takes and script writer was about to be strangled since the bottle was empty and we couldn’t just drown our woes.

Our script writers actually dodge creating alien names. just alien 1 alien 2 etc… They have no problems creating characters and convoluted plots but were so pleased I found this handy thing online fantasynamegenerators.com I haven’t yet tried hustling them into making up a language as involved as say Dothraki. Maybe season 3.

Mixing Audio 101

 “See 1 do 1 teach 1”

A quick behind the scenes look at how we take our voice actors onto alien worlds. Did we mention we are all amatuers and volunteers?

rowena-d Firstly the lines are recorded by Adam Brooks the director with the actors in studios at City Park Radio Launceston using Audacity. Audacity is an audio editing program that’s completely free which I found useful for recording streaming audio lectures broadcast at inconvenient o’clock  so I could play them back later. Download it here for mac pc linux audacityteam.org   It’s quicker and easiest to do each actor separately, in case they fluff their lines and its very flexible – there are no rehearsals needed, it fits in with everyone’s busy schedules, minor changes to the script are often made on the fly with several versions recorded. And it allows collaboration at a distance. With a  very quiet room and a good microphone Terry’s lines are recorded at his home on video and then the audio is stripped off and shipped thru cyberspace to be pasted together with the rest by Adam. Use the free VLC media player to do this by simply converting video to a pure audio format audacity understands like OGG Vorbis or mp3 ( the conversion tool is in the media tab).

“sleep is for the weak”

Next we optimize the voices following the basic algorithm of this youtube tute https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYF5ytMDFpA – maybe a bit of treble boost for the females, both bass and treble for the blokes and a pitch shift for Izzy. For the aliens a few more effects are applied over whatever accent our vocal talent Brooke Maloy has come up with.

izzy-phaser-settings
eg. Trevor edited Brooke’s Izzy voice on episode 6 with these settings
inside the type 40 Questr time machine
inside the type 40 Questr time machine

To get them aboard the Questr the sound effect “reverb” using the preset “voice II” is applied to the appropriate sections of the vocal track. The pre-recorded background hum is then imported onto a separate track to the vocals. Next any other sound effects or music are added – either cut into the vocal track, or layered as more separate tracks with their volume lowered by the envelope tool when someone is speaking so as not to overwhelm the storyline – see  this tute  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXfVKSx7WtY  by Alan Levine who teaches aspects of it as part of an open online course in Digital Storytelling called DS106 http://ds106.us/open-course/ based on previous syllabi taught at the University of Mary Washington. These guys are funny, the community is great btw. If we get time we then compress and normalise the volume.

kevin_macleod_1
a creative commoner 🙂

If we didn’t foley them ourselves, the sound effects come from a variety of creative commons licensed sources – mostly freesound.org . The full attribution is listed on each episode page. The cinematic soundscapes are from the generous folk at machinimasound.com and Kevin MacLeod who is responsible for a mass of free youtube scores incompetech.com

Lastly the lot is exported as a .wav file for broadcast later at City Park in the good old fashioned way over the airwaves.

PS to save youtube tutes for offline viewing i use http://www.converttoaudio.com/

star wars cross-over

a while ago a story idea came to me, the synopsis is, there’s this rouge sith who’s moved to the outskirts of town on a far off world and suddenly the doctor turns up asking for directions or whatever when Jedi turn up to fight the sith on behalf for the towns people

Cating roles 3

Roles for the Doctor and the Vortex of the Nix

Narrator*

1stDoctor* (f)

Companion, Terry Fowler (m)*

IS-Bot*

Buttler-bot*

Roles to fill for the Doctor and the Vortex of the Nix

slug alien shopkeeper

slug alien commander

slug alien police officer

rat alien comander

rat alien 1

rat alien 2

* Semi-permanent role

 

comunity radio Tasmania

we may get our recordings put out to other community radio stations, and get broadcast state-wide via them

here’s a list of the community radio stations in Tasmania

093.7 & 100.3     FM         Star FM                Break O’Day

106.1 FM                              Coast FM             Wynyard

099.3 FM                              Edge Radio          Hobart

106.5 FM                              ultra106five        Hobart

095.7 FM                              Heart FM             Northern Midlands

105.3 FM                              Way FM               Launceston

098.9 FM                              TYGA FM             Derwent Valley

096.1 FM                              Hobart FM          Hobart

095.3 FM                              Tamar FM            George Town

103.7 FM                              City Park Radio  Launceston

097.1 FM                              Mid FM                Oatlands

098.5 FM                              Huon FM             Huon Valley

097.7 FM                              Tasman FM         Tasman Peninsula

0864 AM                              RPH                        Hobart

you should be able to hear our audios on one of these, here or on our facebook site as they are posted

canonisation

Canonisation is an idea that exists in a unique way within Doctor Who fandom, in theory, it means an individual can create a body of work that is established on the already existing body of literature that can be drawn upon[1], but it is more commonly thought as what a fan considers what forms part of the Doctor Who universe, or what “really happened”. This is often a personal choice, one which is endlessly discussed and argued about in just about every Doctor Who-related forum or message board that exists on the internet.

we are an alternate universe apart from the overall Doctor Who canon, this is a deliberate move to create separate canon and the copyright of Doctor Who with none of the Doctor Who elements, aside from the doctor and the time machine, our series begins as the 1st Doctor flees her home world of Gallifrey, her travels through time and space are random owing to faulty components in her time-machine.

First female doctor series

I’m getting pretty excited about the series it’s pretty far out to think we are going to be the first with an original female doctor series I mean I know some people have done short stint webcasts and live plays as Tom Baker’s doctor, David Tennant’s doctor and Matt Smith’s doctor etc., but no-one has had an original character or had more than a few bit stories

story 4 details

Recently we got a submission from somebody for a story with a lost person form another dimensional reality the Doctor must find a way to get her back to her own universe, and it seems this idea has a lot of traction with us and looks like becoming story number four

copyright issues

it has been said that what we are doing is illegal as it is a copyright issue, at our site we take BBC’s copyright seriously and I would like to assure everyone that we have sought legal advice, and since we are a not for profit volunteer community group and aren’t using the Daleks or other monsters from the TV series (this is why we want original script ideas only)  we can produce our fan series without breach of copyright

web casts

though we are recording with City Park Radio in Launceston we still don’t know if they will broadcast the series, if they chose not to we will still record with them, either way we will have internet web casts of each episode for the series’