We are delighted to have Eli McIlveen on the 5 Levels of Fear team. Eli is the creative force behind the Forgery League podcast. He is also the creator, playwright, and director of the award-winning audio drama Alba Salix.
Eli has been recording strange noises since he first “borrowed” his dad’s cassette player as a kid. During his five-year stint at CKMS-FM (University of Waterloo), he was a producer, actor and occasional writer for the weekly comedy series Philler, and went on to host a weekly radio theatre showcase. Since then he’s been sound designer and operator for a raft of theatre productions in Toronto.
Eli is the line producer for Radio Drama Revival, a bi-weekly podcast showcasing the best in modern audio drama. He is also a dialogue editor for 11th Hour Audio Productions and has appeared in Jim Robbie and the Wanderers and Radiation World playing mostly invertebrates and nerds.
Whether I assume the role of a writer, director, producer, or sound designer my stance is and has always been the same in regard to audio drama and other expressions of the writing, visual and performing arts: Art has value.
And I don’t just mean the intrinsic kind. Good art is worth compensating, whether that art is that of the writer, painstakingly crafting each word, each beat, each rhythm on the page.
Or that of the actor, not just reading the words, not just speaking the lines but imbuing a character with life and breath and action.
Or that of the director, who sees more possibilities in the scene than could have been imagined by the writer alone.
Or that of the sound designer who can not only use sound to punctuate the dramatic action but helps us to make that leap of faith into a suspension of disbelief by immersing us ourselves into the icy cold waters of our protagonist.
Or that of the Dialog Editor, who makes every actor sound exactly the way they would want to sound and better, by taking the best bits, even chopping mid-word to get just the right cadence, and just the right pace.
Or that of the composer, who takes motion and action and drives us emotionally, not through patching some random pieces of music together, but because it had to be this music and it had to be this place.
I could go on. Great productions include many many talented artists at all levels. Great productions are driven by talent. Great productions demand it.
If you value your productions, paying your talent should be your number one agenda.
Pay yourself, last.
That comma is there for a reason.
Pay yourself. Absolutely, you need to find a way to pay yourself for what you do. But only after you’ve paid everyone else. Because this is your story and your pet project. Please remember that it is your pet project, not their’s. And that others deserve to be compensated for helping you to see your dream come to life.
If you are a producer and looking at everything you can do for free on the backs of others, you are already approaching art as if your art has more value than their’s. When I start a project, it is always with the intent of paying, and I believe all producers should have this intention. If you cannot pay them now and are trying to pay in “exposure” or “residuals” on a show you haven’t even got a budget for, you are starting off on the wrong foot.
Treat your talent like you owe them something. Because you do.
Also, stop trying to do everything yourself. This is an extension of number one. If you’re doing your job correctly, you only have time to do one or two things in the course of a production. Let the professionals handle the rest. I have had the pleasure of working with some of the top audio drama producers in the world. It’s a rare privilege that has afforded me the insight that if you want excellent results (and for the sake of your well-crafted writing and excellent ideas, I should hope you would want excellent results), it’s worth paying the best people you can afford to pay.
If you can’t pay them. Don’t make it. Yet.
Hell. Let it simmer. Let it stew. Good work improves with age. Give it a year, then edit it into something that is worthy of paying to make. Work with a few other people to raise money to make your own show. This is how I paid for 1918.
But as long as you devalue art and the artists who make it that can’t be a thing, because nobody wants to pay for talent so nobody wants to pay you so nobody every gets paid and suddenly you’ve ouroboros-ed yourself into your very own hegemony where no one ever gets paid, because no one ever has gotten paid.
By the way. Members of your cast aren’t the only talents in your corner. There are writers who can write it better. Directors who can direct it better. Designers who can design it better. A mixer that can open up your sound. Whatever your weakness is (which should be whatever your specialty isn’t), there’s someone out there that deserves to get paid, if only a little, to do it better than you can do it yourself. Your work depends on it. Your success as a storyteller depends on it.
The only thing not paying and not looking for the right crew does is hurt you in your own pursuits. 1) You’re concentrating on so many things you aren’t able to improve your chosen craft. 2) You’re telling everyone your work isn’t worth paying for since you weren’t willing to pay your talent and crew. 3) You are telling yourself that your art has no value because you’re not willing to pay someone to do what you cannot do to make it right.
A lot of times even paying an artist is meeting them halfway. Amy Bormet gives me way more for my money than I know she is worth. But we like working together. And we compromise on the price. And when I do get the production with the bigger budget and the more pay, Amy gets that, too. And so on until she’s bored or unavailable.
The Value of Paying
When you start paying for something, it has more value to you, yourself, as a producer. You start realizing that “good enough” isn’t a thing. That everything you do is an investment in something good, something awesome, something bigger than yourself. And you find the work that you love and value so much has more value because pf the talent that has left their marks upon in When you pay others that help you create your art -those insane geniuses who lend you their craft for a pittance – you are telling yourself that your production has value and worth asking others to pay for the result.
Audio Drama producer Aural Stage Studio (11th Hour Audio, Intensive Care, 1918) has teamed with Award winning Jim French Productions’ writer Sable Jak on a 5-episode audio micro-series, 5 Levels of Fear:
Abandoned and untouched for a century a mansion is breached by three urban explorers searching for its story, only to find a hidden floor, rows of beds with restraints, and walls that leak moving shadows. Run.
We are seeking three voice actors to play the lead roles of Jack, Conner and Jill:
JACK HOLLOWELL: Early 30’s. Sharp, quick, not a smart ass, but can dish it out. Tuned in to his surroundings. Braver than he thinks.
JILL JOHANSEN: Early 30’s. Adventurous, athletic, smart, not easy to scare. Conner’s older sister. She’s been an Urban Explorer before she knew what the term meant.
CONNER “CONTROL” JOHANSEN: Runs the ground crew from his wheelchair. He used to explore with Jill until a fall sidelined him. NOTE: Conner is always on filter as he is not with Jack and Jill but only monitoring them on a com.
Aural Stage Studios, Inc. is excited to partner with Walt Disney World® Resorts to bring you the opportunity be a holiday hero this season. Head over to http://auralstage.com/contests to enter for your chance to win Four Walt Disney World® passes! One lucky winner will be drawn on December 24th!
Don’t forget to make your amazon purchases through out charitable link. The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases. Same Amazon, same prices + knowing that you’re supporting the arts!
Sometime back in September we decided we wanted to produce a quick horror audio drama, just for fun.
We asked some of the fellow audio drama producers living in the Northeast if they wanted to be a part of some #worldaudiodramaday mayhem. The response was a resounding “Hell Yes!”, And 11th Hour Audio Productions was born.
Twenty-three different people, representing eleven different audio drama and podcast production groups converged to celebrate what we love about modern audio drama…
Standing around and looking confused; I mean… telling stories.
Buffalo writer, Justin Mullane, volunteered a script idea he had been kicking around for a while and within a week, had written 30-minutes of strange, horrific fun. With the rough draft in hand Monique Boudreau began editing the script for audio, while Matthew Boudreau and Richard Wentworth began casting.
In a very short time they had almost all of the roles cast and Mr. Wentworth began location scouting, while Aural Stage Studios, Inc. began gathering equipment and props.
On October 23rd we traveled to historic Lowell, Massachusetts to meet up with some outstanding, creative and crazy people to create a little last minute mischief and horror.
On this special day for Audio Drama we would just like to take a moment to thank every person who volunteered their time, energy and enthusiasm for this project! This show was made entirely out of determination, schmeared with love (or was it insanity?) for nothing more than the opportunity to meet and greet some fantastic people in Audio Drama.
Written by – Justin Mullane
Michael McQuilkin as Gary Seana Carmody as Shelly Featuring Rich Wentworth as Dr. Maidenthorp Steve Schneider as Bill Bryan Lincoln as Steve Sarah Golding as Operator Matthew McLean as Adam Owen McCuen as Adam Robert Cudmore as Paramedic Sibby P Wieland as Television News Reporter Matthew J Boudreau as Paul and Hank Pete Lutz as Testimonial Katey Falvey as Barbara and David Jarvis as Television News Reporter Score by – John Carl Toth Music by Matthew and Javert Boudreau VWT (Lucas Messier) Ithaca Studios Dialog Editing by Eli McIlveen Sound Design and editing by Matthew J Boudreau Script Editing and Artwork by Monique Boudreau
Henry Wentworth, Matthew J Boudreau, Fred Greenhalgh’s Rode NT4, Rich Wentworth, Scott Hickey, Bryan Lincoln, Pete – Throat Warbler Mangrove Sweet Butts -Lutz, Audrey Wentworth, Javert Boudreau, Steve Schneider’s Shovel, The Watermelon, Rebekah White, Mr. Body and Katey Falvey