Starting with This – And Carrying on

“I’ve always wanted to do this but I just <insert a variety of reasons here>.”

Sound familiar?

I cannot believe it took me so long to get to this podcast. Regardless, I thought it’ll be doing myself a disservice to not share. So introducing what I’ve been listening to for the last few months:

Start With This (Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor)

If the names sound familiar, it’s only because these couple of guys are the same people who created and continue to run Night Vale Presents (the organisation behind “Welcome to Night Vale” and “Within the Wires”). Piled on by numerous requests and questions about how they started their audio fiction podcasts, the two of them, together with their team, started Start With This so that we can, well, start with that.

Post Image 2019.4 - START WITH THIS.png

Why I Love This Podcast

I’ve been listening to a good few weeks and I’ve been liking the pointers and especially, the assignments so far. The presenters – Joseph and Jeffrey – cover various stages of writing and real-world struggles creatives do face through relatable anecdotes in 30-45 minute chunks that you can just listen to (once or repeatedly). While these conversational sections were inspiring, the call to action was a lot better – you have a “Consume” assignment and a “Create” assignment, both incredibly doable regardless of the medium you prefer to work with.

So to both flex some creative muscles and to give you an example of what you can get up to while listening to this podcast, here’s my “Create” assignment for Episode 1: Idea to Execution.

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“Create” assignment:

Set a timer for 60 minutes, then write a story or write out an idea you have been wanting to start for the longest time. After that, post it up (channel of your choice or on the “Start with This” forum.

Assignment Title:

The Saccharine Vote, Episode #001: The Plan of Final Hope

SOUND EFFECT / SFX: The click of a recording device. The hum of a driver recording starts and stabilizes.  

NARRATOR (IDA): (Clears throat)

Flavour Chronicles Report, Audio Recording 001.

For the Central House Archives, the Year is 2065.

(Inhales)

Replica, noun. The United Areas Common Language dictionary defines the term, ‘Replica’ as a noun with several meanings. Namely:

An exact copy or model of an item, usually made on a different or smaller scale.

A duplicate.

Or a meal replacement cube in light of the Global Crop Failure following the First Purge of the Post-Modern Era.

(Pause)

(Exhales)

Area 65 was the area that developed Replica, a meal replacement cube to feed the masses and increase efficiency in light of the Era of Hunger – the period preceded only by the global crop failure, one of the results from the First Purge of the Post-Modern Era.

In Year 2050, the Central House of Area 65 made a decision that was to change the way our people ate, worked, and lived – a result from an executive decision made to ensure the survival of an Area, and hopefully, the rest of the globe, when the international crops failed on a massive scale. These decisions resulted in what the researchers and archivists, in the Central House Archives of Area 65, to record as the Flavour Chronicles.

SOUND EFFECT / SFX: The click of a recording device. The hum of a driver recording slows down.

INTRODUCTION MUSIC

SOUND EFFECT / SFX: The click of a recording device. The hum of a driver recording starts and stabilizes.  

NARRATOR (IDA):

Before you peruse these files, please note that the following reports may cause distress, trigger unpleasant memories, and will be told from several points-of-view, primarily from the individuals who were directly involved in the events contributing to the re-feeding of the Area.

The Central Archives would like to thank the King Clan, affiliate organisations, and affiliated individuals for their generosity, time, and honesty in putting the Flavour Chronicle project in place. As requested, this is dedicated to the late Tobias King Sr., Architect, Spymaster, Foster Father, and the Second-to-Last Leader of the King Clan.  

This is the first of many parts to the complete report of interviews, recounts, and oral history compiled by the Central House Archives, accurate as of the date of recording.

SOUND EFFECT / SFX: Papers ruffle.

NARRATOR (IDA):

The Central House Archives, an organisation and national building set up by former Area 65 Spymaster Brianne, of the King Clan, has since been re-opened for the education of Area citizens. Please approach your nearest educator should you have more questions and/or require further references to provide more information on the Area’s journey to its current state today.

This report was recorded by Central House Archivist, ID: A01806527F.

SOUND EFFECT / SFX: The click of a recording device. The hum of a driver recording slows down.

EPISODE BREAK

SOUND EFFECT / SFX: The click of a recording device. The hum of a driver recording starts and stabilizes.  

NARRATOR (IDA):

Report #1.1 (one-point-one): The Central Information Building. State your name, please.

NARRATOR (REZA):

Reza, of the King Clan.

NARRATOR (IDA):

What was your role in this report?

NARRATOR (REZA):

I was one of the individuals involved in this operation.

NARRATOR (IDA):

Thank you. Please proceed with your recount.

SOUND EFFECT / SFX: The hum of air-conditioning and someone typing quickly, but as soft as they can manage. The typing continues as the individual exclaims.

REZA:

Come on, come on!

SOUND EFFECT / SFX: The hum of the air-conditioning continues and the machine whirrs a little louder. Reza lightly taps the keyboard.

REZA:

(Pause)

(Nervous Breathing)

SOUND EFFECT / SFX: The door to the room slides open with a ding. A couple of technicians walk into the room. The footsteps

REZA:

(Gasps)

TECHNICIAN 1:

(Distant) What a week!

TECHNICIAN 2:

(Distant) Easy for you to say, you’ve been missing third shift!

TECHNICIAN 1:

(Distant) And that means I don’t get my ass kicked either way. Yes.

SOUND EFFECT / SFX: The footsteps stop.

TECHNICIAN 2:

(Semi-whisper) What?

TECHNICIAN 1:

(Semi-whisper) Did you leave a station open?

SOUND EFFECT / SFX: Another few footsteps.

TECHNICIAN 2:

(Semi-whisper) That’s restricted.

SOUND EFFECT / SFX: Another few footsteps.

TECHNICIAN 2:

(Semi-whisper) We don’t have clearance.  

SOUND EFFECT / SFX: The footsteps quicken.  

REZA:

(Nervous breathing)  

SOUND EFFECT / SFX: Reza clutching his satchel tighter as the footsteps quicken and grow louder. The footsteps slow down nearby and stop.

TECHNICIAN 1:

(Semi-whisper) Wh-

SOUND EFFECT / SFX: Someone falls from the top vents and stuns both technicians with a two-sided stun baton. Both technicians gasp and both of them fall one after another, one thud on the ground each. Someone steps over them and walks closer to Reza.

IDA:

(Exhales) You really need to calm down.

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To be honest, this assignment gave me that sense of fun that I haven’t felt in a rather long time. If anything, it allowed me to plunge into the world of ‘The Saccharine Vote’, the title of my novel which I’m hoping to publish soon (PLUG!). That being said, I thought it’ll be interesting to revisit this blog topic every September (birthday month, new year, etc…) just to see how my writing and ideas have changed (or not). So while this may be my first quick-shot here, it’ll definitely not be my final.

Stay tuned!

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Titles / Serials used as Examples / References in this Post:

  • Start with This (Jeffrey Cranor, Joseph Fink, Julia Melfi)

What You Can Do / Your Challenge:

  1. Subscribe or listen to the “Start with This” podcast!

  2. And that’s all, really. If you want to, you can also challenge yourself with their assignments.

  3. Have fun!

Content Download

I don’t have much for you this month, only the link to the “Start with This” podcast here, and the link to join the “Start with This” community. Have fun!

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Want to share your work but are afraid of bombardment (or the lack of it)? Need external reinforcements to help with creating your work? Do share your experiences or link me to your posts in the comments – I’d love to hear from you.