'Covers' And The Benefits Of Unpolished Audio Drama
Covers is a new, ongoing experimental audio drama project. It consists of a series of monologues, complete with original sound design and music, inspired by old book covers found in this article by Public Domain Review: 'The Art of Book Covers (1820–1914)'.
Each entry in the series is a standalone audio drama piece, written, recorded and edited entirely on the Tin Can Audio Twitch channel (also archived on Youtube), with no overall genre or structure in mind, allowing the creative process to be guided entirely by the book cover inspiration.
The first episode, How To Swim, is inspired by the cover of an 1899 book of the same name written by Captain Davis Dalton and is a meditative story that follows a submariner who spends the entirety of their shore leave hiking up mountains, reflecting on the difference between being so high up, and being so far below.
Each episode of Covers is written on Monday's stream and recorded, edited, sound designed, and scored on Wednesday's stream, with the final piece released either Thursday or Friday on Bandcamp (for free or pay-what-you-decide) and the Tin Can Audio Presents podcast feed.
The idea behind Covers was to endeavour to be more spontaneous and experimental with audio drama production and to provide a more bite-sized educational resource for those interested in learning how to make audio drama compared to the roughly 28 hours long process of making our last audio drama, Anamnesis.
On a more personal level, I'm now at the stage in my career as someone who works in audio full time that the simple act of wanting to make an audio drama now comes with a very long production process and a not-insignificant amount of paperwork. This is a good problem to have, and it's allowed projects such as the latest entries into The Tower and Folxlore to be some of my best work (at least I think so).
The other side of it, however, is that it takes longer for ideas to become scripts, and for scripts to become recordings, and for recordings to become episodes, and that can sometimes grate up against my impatient, slightly cantankerous, and quite anxious side. It's refreshing to be able to make something from scratch to completion over the course of a week, it feels like what I used to do with music back when I was a student an ever-increasingly long time ago.
In The Communist Sister Interactive Manifesto by narrative game designer Freya Campbell, Tenet Five posits that:
'Ten rough games and preferable to one polished game for learning and variety of expression. If the last 10% of a game takes 90% of the time, that's 9 more pieces you could have made.'
And I think that's what I'm trying to embody with Covers. To learn by letting go of perfectionsism and being okay with releasing things that are a little rough around the edges.
I hope you enjoy these quick little audio dramas, and I hope that the process of making them is useful to people.