Listen to the audio blog version of this post.
A few months ago I got an idea in the middle of the night. It bludgeoned its way into my half-conscious mind and I was left breathing quickly, scribbled-on Post-It notes all over my bed, sweating. It was one of *those* thoughts that stumbles into your mind unbidden and then suddenly you can’t think about anything else until you’ve done something with it.
I wanted to make a podcast series that would stretch my writing and performance abilities. I wanted it to be difficult. I really wanted to write and perform in different genres and try out ideas that might, if the planets align, evolve into other ideas in other formats.
I had the idea of writing a series of story podcasts that hung on a single concept – the idea of ‘the seventh thing.’ Each story would be about reaching the seventh thing…it could be a marriage, a planet, a house guest, a victim, an answerphone message – anything at all. I wanted the vibe to be quirky, curious and unexpected. And I wanted every story to be about what happens to the character when they arrive at their seventh thing. Each story would be self-contained so that a listener could just dive into a single episode without having had to listen to any of the others. I wanted the concept for this podcast series to go anywhere, any way, with any thing and be set in any point in time.
I’ve called it WHEN WE GOT TO THE SEVENTH.
I started to come up with story ideas and characters and I ran them past my great mate Rik Watson. We’d spoken lots about making audio that told stories and I thought he’d ‘get’ what I was on about. He said he’d like to be involved so we set about creating the tone and sound for the series. I also asked me old mucker Eddie Delag if he’d like to do some production too.
Working with Rik and Ed is bloody fantastic. They understand the mad notes I write in the sound design direction in the scripts, even though some of it (I admit) has been a bit batshit crazy.
I wanted to make little audio movies, so that the listener can fill in the colours and shapes they’re imagining in their ear’s eye.
I wanted the writing to do a few things. Firstly (obvs) to tell a story, and to give the audience an immediate sense of the character I’m portraying. I wanted the sound effects to be illustrative but minimalist enough for the listener to project their own perception of the characters and story onto what they’re hearing. I also wanted to tell a story from the character’s subjective point of view that might not actually be the story that’s being told; I wanted the audience to read between the lines and see ‘the truth’ of what’s being shown.
Anyway. I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out. As I write, we’ve completed Series 1 and it’s being pushed through the podcasting publishing pipes onto all the platforms that exist across the world. Eventually, I’d love for this series to develop into something that isn’t just my voice. I’d love to write for other actors who’d like to be a part of this. Let’s hope, eh? Fingers crossed.
I really hope you like it as much as we enjoy making it.
Here’s the Series 1 trailer. It was produced by Rik Watson and it’s his voice on there too. Enjoy!