What does representation mean to me?

It’s Pride month! Over on Twitter I’m marking the occasion with #PodcastPride, a daily celebration of queer characters and creators in podcasting. And I love these characters. I really, really do. But sometimes I’m acutely aware of what’s missing from those celebrations. People of colour. Disabled people. Trans and nonbinary people. Not to mention people to experience intersections of the three. Sometimes it feels like those gaps can never be filled, because our voices get drowned out.

But there are people speaking up. There are people doing the work to make sure that marginalized folk within the queer community are given the space that we need. And there are obviously much larger concerns than just representation (I would love to not be scared of assault, personally). But representation of marginalized groups in media can affect the real world.

I still cry when I find out that characters are trans. I get choked up when there’s a queer man in media, especially stuff that’s more mainstream. It normalizes my life. It tells me that my experience is real. That I exist. That I’m not broken or wrong.

You may think that podcasts, especially fictional podcasts, are such a small part of media, that the representation contained within them doesn’t matter. But it does. I had a panic attack when a show people promised me was good had people misgendering the trans characters and saying that they weren’t really the genders that they said they were. When I found out that a character that I had related to strongly and saw myself in was also a queer man, I burst into tears.

Representation will have an effect on people whether you think it will or not. It’s your chance whether you want it to be a good effect or not. And I for one sincerely hope you make it a good effect.

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Review: Strange/Love

★★★

An anthology about all the strange ways we fall in love.

Strange/Love is an anthology podcast of love stories (of all kinds) that are more than slightly out of the ordinary. Each episode focuses on different pairs at the end of their love so that the listener gets the complete story.

The sound editing for Strange/Love is absolutely gorgeous. There’s usually soft music playing in the background of episodes, but it never overpowers the speaker. The most recent episode, “Waiting to Die in a Tent, A Few Thoughts on Valhalla”, also features an Icelandic folk song.

The actors all have soothing voices that pull you right into the story. The episodes are the perfect length: they don’t drag, but you also aren’t left annoyed because the story wasn’t fully explained. I really appreciate that the stories aren’t solely focused on romantic relationships.

But it just wasn’t my thing. There is nothing bad about Strange/Love. They have strong writing, editing, music, acting, everything. The stories just weren’t for me. I’ll still keep listening to the show because it is really good, and I definitely still enjoyed the stories, even if they weren’t my cup of tea. And who knows, maybe one of the future stories will absolutely blow me away (and judging by the future episodes section on their website, there’s a good chance they might).

Overall, Strange/Love is a fantastically produced show about the weirdness that is love and how little control we can have over our lives sometimes. I would recommend it to people who like stories about weirdness hidden in the shadows of our world like Archive 81 or stories that play with reality like The Six Disappearances of Ella McCray.

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Content Warnings: violence, death, suicide, body horror, spiders, murder, NSFW, alcohol, fire, existential talk, drowning, war, not safe for driving, grief, injury, blood, insects

Interview with Alex Brown of The Bridge

So a couple weeks back, I got the UNBELIEVABLE opportunity to interview Alex Brown. Alex is one of the co-creators of The Bridge, my all time favourite podcast. It’s a spooky atmospheric show about a crew of people living in the middle of the Transcontinental Bridge, a bridge connecting both sides of the Atlantic. There’s sea creatures, cults, and gays. I love it so so so so much. This was a huge honour.

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What appeals to you about writing horror?

Ohhhh good question! I think that when horror’s done right it can shine a light on a societal issue in an interesting way. Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” and Jennifer Kent’s “The Babadook,” are both my go-tos for horror that’s terrifying and poignant because they take these very real things and give them a tangible form. The protagonists have something to either fight or reconcile with and we, as the audience, get to cheer them on but also acknowledge how messed up their situations are–especially as the layers get peeled back and complexity/horror of their situation starts to unravel.

On the less academic side of things I also just really love ghosts and spooky atmospheres in general. If any piece of horror has a paranormal slant to it I’m 100% there! Ghosts, in particular, are so interesting to me because they’re (in theory) remnants of someone who isn’t around anymore. As someone who doesn’t know a lot of her family history I think they’re appealing to me because they’re snapshots of what came before!

You and Rebecca briefly had a horror movie watch series called The Spooky Movie Show. You touched briefly on there about horror movie tropes. What are some horror tropes that you hate, and do you feel you can combat them by telling a story through audio?

Hopefully we can bring that show back when I have more editing time!!! And time in general lol.

And hmmm. We didn’t get to talk about Annabelle: Creation on SMS (yet) BUT I really hate when horror movies cast their one disabled character as the villain, or as someone who gets possessed by a ghost, demon, etc. I genuinely enjoyed Annabelle: Creation until they decided that their protag, who had a disability, would get possessed and start murdering everyone. That trope can be avoided in all types of storytelling by just…not being a jerk? And asking yourself why you’re deciding to tell that story in that way. And then not doing it because it’s a harmful trope that perpetuates really negative stereotypes and it completely takes away a character’s agency.

Jump scares are also not my favorite thing. I get why they’re used but I love subtle scares more in any sort of media. I think in audio storytelling jump scares can easily be avoided in editing/SFX choices and script work. There are so many ways to elicit a scare or creep someone out just using words and it’s something that we try to do a lot on The Bridge. To me, those are more effective and more fun. Rebecca’s script for The Transcontinental Museum mini-episode was SO CREEPY on it’s own merit, and without any jump scares. Sound editing that was a breeze because the material (and Stephanie’s V/O) were just amazing!

I also hate it in horror movies when one of the spouse’s (most likely the wife) thinks something is wrong/the house is haunted/a kid is possessed and the other spouse doesn’t believe them because that’s just not how I would roll. I think there are more interesting things to explore when everyone involved acknowledges that something spooky is happening but there’s still some grounding involved, for both the characters and the audience.

What horror stories were your biggest inspirations for The Bridge

Hmm. I’ll begrudgingly give Lovecraft a nod even though I’d readily punch him in the face if I ever met him in-person. “The Others” is a very good movie about isolated places and ghosts, so there’s some good stuff there. Honestly, anything that has to do with isolation and spooky happenings so movies like “Alien” and “The Thing” and tv shows like “The Terror” all feed into it somehow. Goosebumps’ “Night of the Living Dummy” definitely contributed to my thoughts and feelings on Persnickety Pete, as well as my thoughts and feelings on dolls/dummies in general. I keep circling back to “The Babadook” because I love it A LOT but definitely “The Babadook” and they way it looks at grief/trauma/mental illness. And that one episode of “Boy Meets World” where they’re trapped in their high school and it becomes a slasher flick, because that was one of the sources I sent to Jake when he was coming up with Pete’s song!

As well as working on The Bridge, you are currently in the revision stages of a book. What do you find are the major differences between working on a story told solely through text and a story told solely through audio?

The biggest difference is that working on a book is a lot less collaborative. The thing I love most about The Bridge is working with all of my amazingly talented friends and showing them off! With the book it’s…just me, for better or worse. It can be a little daunting sometimes, especially when Imposter Syndrome kicks in.

My book also has an arc that only lasts for that one book, whereas we have multiple seasons planned for The Bridge. With this book in particular, there’s only a finite amount of storytelling that I can do. But with The Bridge I can keep the story going for as long as the story needs and not be constrained by only having one season to tell the whole thing.

With The Bridge it’s also easier to get out of the main character’s perspective and get a true sense of what’s going on in the world. We do a lot of heavy-lifting worldbuilding through our folklore and depending on the episode or mini-ep, we could have a different narrator (or a different take on an old story). In a book you only have your main character (or how many POVs you decide on). But with The Bridge we can see what the Watchtower 10 crew is doing, what POSEIDON is up to, how things are going in Ocean View with Frank and Persnickety Pete, what’s happening in Aqua Land with the Hunt Club, etc.

I think having sounds also makes the worldbuilding that much more immersive. There’s something so different when it comes to reading about ocean waves than hearing them and I think that’s pretty nifty!

You’ve made the decision to be very open on social media about your mental health, particularly your depression. You also wrote a mini episode that was entirely about your lead’s struggle with depression. Do you feel a pressure to get everything “right” with this representation?

Ohhh that’s such a good question! I don’t think I necessarily feel a pressure to get things right. For me, my experience with depression is what I talk about on social media and everything I described in ‘Home.’ I put my experiences out there because I don’t think there’s enough rep yet and that, hopefully, someone will find something to connect to. They don’t necessarily have to agree 100% with what I’m saying or how I’m describing the experience because everyone goes through life differently. But it took me a very, very long time to even acknowledge that I had depression and I want to put something out there that might help someone else recognize some aspect of what they’re going through. The stigmas around mental health are so ridiculous and ubiquitous (ohhh and that’s also a horror movie trope that I absolutely hate) but I think we can only push them back and mitigate them by communicating what our experience is. I don’t want anyone to go through what I did–carry around years of depression and trauma without seeking help and going to some very dark places–because they didn’t see it represented somewhere.

The reason I don’t feel the need to ‘get it right,’ is that I’ll never be able to get everything right. Humans, by nature, make mistakes. And I know I’ve made plenty of mistakes and will continue to do so. But my representations of depression are 100% true to my experiences and that’s how they’ll continue to be! And if I ever make a mistake I think it’s important to own it, acknowledge the harm, and not make that same mistake again. We’re all learning and have the chance to do better and be better.

Very little about The Bridge is described in physical detail. The audience isn’t given any indication of what the Watchtower or its crew look like, and even the sea monsters are given very little description. What lead you to make this decision?

Imagination!!! Since The Bridge is in an audio format we wanted the listeners to draw their own conclusions about what everything/everyone looked like. In horror especially, one of the best things a movie can do is withhold the monster for as long as they can because whatever the viewer imagines is going to be 2000% scarier than what it actually is. So, like, if we have a monster that sobs sad music and cries blood I’m not going to go into more detail because whatever response that elicits in you is going to be much more powerful than what I could conjure up with more words. Plus, it’s really fun to see the different takes that people have (shout-out to our amazing fan artists we love you and your creations). Like we never would’ve gotten Bob as a goldfish if we’d straight-up said he looked like Godzilla (he doesn’t…or does he?) or gotten really cool diverse interpretations of the Watchtower 10 crew! I think our philosophy is that we’re creating a playground for anyone who loves the show and wants to play in it–and the rest is up to you!

Also I feel like it makes everything a bit more ethereal and whimsical if we leave a lot of the details ambiguous!

What has been the most rewarding part of making The Bridge?

Selfishly: Being able to stay in contact with my friends and work on a cool project with them! But, putting me aside, it’s hearing that our show–this thing we thought like five people would listen to–means something to people. Hearing from listeners that, say, “Home” resonated with them or put words to how they were feeling, or that they love our goofball angsty children as much as we do has been an amazing thing to be a part of. It’s so surreal that there’s fanfic, fan art, and extensive essays analyzing themes in the show that we didn’t even realize were there. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve contributed to something that’s so much bigger than I am and that has so much meaning and love behind it. Knowing that we’ve changed lives and connected with others through our characters and their stories is something that leaves me in a great amount of awe each day. Our fans are so great and so fierce and I’m very thankful they found our spooky little show!

Horror is obviously a genre where the main characters are going to go through a lot of pain and suffering. With all the real world tragedies around being queer, why did you choose to write a horror story with queer leads?

Precisely for that reason! Aside from my lifelong passion to subvert the ‘bury your gays’ trope at all costs, I think there’s something very powerful in having our queer leads go through some shit and come out of it because that’s what’s happening every day. I think it was in “Home” where I dropped a line that was like “there will always be bad things,” — and this, to me, will always be true. The bad things are gonna come. You can’t stop ’em. But you CAN show people banding together, supporting each other, loving the heck out of each other *despite and in spite of* those bad things. So, yes, our characters will go through A Lot but it’s very important to us that they go through this together and have support systems in place. Rebecca and I both really love the Found Family trope and that’s 100% one of the driving tropes for our show.

I also think it’s important to show the hope in a situation that might seem hopeless. Even though bad things happen to our characters, there’s still humor and levity that can be found. There’s friendship, love, care, and someone playing the piano very badly in order to get her grumpy boss to smile for once in his life. Tragedy will change one’s life. But it doesn’t have to define it. And that’s one of the things we really want to represent with our show.

Why did you choose to voice Etta?

One of the first things Rebecca and I established was that Etta and Kate were queer. Around the time we were making the characters I was thinking about my orientation, so the fact that we gave Etta a huuuuuge crush on Kate was something that I related to but wasn’t quite sure I was ready to admit or say. Etta also wound up having a lot of my characteristics, sense of humor, and flaws, so she was basically turning into a cooler version of me. I wanted the chance to explore who I was through this character and, thankfully, I was able to do just that! Etta has given me so much, including the chance to be more comfortable with who I am. I definitely wouldn’t be the same person if I didn’t voice her!

I was also worried in the beginning that whoever played her would have to sacrifice a lot of their time as she was in the first three episodes so much. I didn’t want anyone else to have their schedules impacted, so that also weighed in on my decision.

Who is your favourite character from The Bridge?

My gut reaction is Persnickety Pete, which is 100% terrifying but like he’s a possessed dummy who loves showbiz! I think Yvette Breckenridge is probably my favorite character. I love endlessly skeptical characters and, with her, the skepticism was fueled and driven by something traumatic that she experienced–the loss of her sister. I enjoy characters who can be in the middle of a haunted location–could see a ghost right in front of them–and they’d need the ghost to prove without a doubt that they were a ghost in order to *maybe* start to believe it. Yvette still has a role to play in what’s to come and I think we’ll get to do some interesting things with her. But vaguely morally gray/driven characters are totally in my wheelhouse and I love them a lot!

If you could travel anywhere on the Bridge, where would you go?

AQUA LAND!!!! Like The Kraken was a disaster but honestly it sounds so cool I’d risk it! Also I want to give the blood-sobbing monster a hug

What are your favourite audio fiction shows that include marginalized characters?

Mabel, The Bright Sessions, The Far Meridian, and The Once and Future Nerd!!!

(I’m also woefully behind on a lot of new podcasts but am hoping to have an updated list this summer! But those are eternal faves!)

What would you like to see more of when it comes to representation in audio fiction? What would you like to see less of?

More neurodiversity, more mental health rep, more trans voices/characters/stories, more experiences pertaining to various diasporas, and just more diverse folx telling the stories they want to tell with who they want to tell it with! While audio fiction is relatively more accessible to creators than other forms of entertainment there are still barriers and I’d like to help bring those barriers down. Identity is so nuanced and intersectional and I still think there are so many great stories out there that people are longing to create. I want more of those stories that people just can’t shake.

In terms of less: people who’ve always had representation need to take a step back and help boost more diverse voices. And harmful tropes like bury your gays, queer baiting, and fridging can also go away!

Addendum to the last one: more stories with queer Happily Ever Afters of any sort!!!

What is your absolute dream story?

Other than The Bridge because it’s definitely a dream story—I really want to do a fantasy that’s inspired by Filipino folklore and being a part of the diaspora! I’m not super sure what that looks like yet but it’s been on my mind for a while!!!

Review: It Was Never Just About The Revolution

★★★★

Disclaimer: While this is a requested review, the opinions expressed below are 100% my own.

Gays revolt and… fail. Whoops?

It Was Never Just About The Revolution follows Jemma Yeo as she flees the failed student revolt that she and her friends led and tries to figure out who betrayed them. The story is told through recordings Jemma left that are now part of a museum exhibit. Each recording is addressed to Cyn, the now captured leader of the revolution and Jemma’s (possibly ex?) girlfriend.

It Was Never Just About The Revolution’s episodes average about ten minutes each, but they feel like they should be longer because so much is fit into each episode. It feels like the series should be much further along with twenty minute episodes because the world of Janalia is so developed and the listener is so attached to Jemma and her story.

Sunny Chang, who voices Jemma, does an absolutely fantastic job. Shows like It Was Never Just About The Revolutionthat rely on a solo voice actor can easily stumble if the actor is not strong enough to carry the show on their own. That is absolutely not the case with Sunny Chang. She pulls the listener fully into the show with her emotional performance. She’s definitely an actor worth keeping an eye on.

Overall, It Was Never Just About The Revolution is a new show with great potential and a fantastic beginning. I would recommend it to fans of short bursts of incredibleness like Moonbase Theta, Out, or shows about corruption in space like We Fix Space Junk.

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cw: grief, violence, death

My Representation Wishes

So, I wanted to do this before I started posting the interviews I’m doing. I’m interviewing marginalized creators about their shows, and one of my end of interview questions is “What would you like to see more of when it comes to representation in audio fiction?” I figured it was only fair that I answer this myself.

I want more trans men voiced by trans men.

I want more trans men written by trans men.

I want more trans men at various points in their transition.

I want more fat characters.

I want more mentally ill characters with mental illnesses other than anxiety and depression.

I want more queer men who are domestic.

I want more queer men who fight capitalism.

I want more marginalized characters who are allowed to express anger over their oppression.

I want more trans characters who are love interests. Who are seen as desirable.

I want more characters who use multiple sets of pronouns.

I want more characters who realize they’re queer/trans over the course of the show.

I want more aro/arospec characters.

I want more adoptive families.

I want more characters who are allowed more than one identity.

I want to see myself.

I want marginalized characters to be written with kindness and compassion. But most of all, I want the real life marginalized people in our community to be treated with kindness and compassion.

Review: Barjory Buffet: The Cruise Detective

★★★☆

More mystery podcasts, please.

“Cruises are the murder capital of the sea, and the sea is the murder capital of the world.” Barjory Buffet investigates mysteries on cruises, and only cruises. These mysteries tend to be murder, and her investigations tend to be more annoying people until they tell her what’s going on.

If you don’t know already, I am a HUGE mystery fan. I love trying to solve them, and I love just sitting back and enjoying the ride. Barjory Buffet offers a good mixture of the two, along with a splash (haha, get it?) of humour the size of a whale bellyflopping into a pool. Some of the mysteries require a bit more puzzling, while others are easy to figure out if you’re paying attention. No matter how you prefer to enjoy mysteries, there will be an episode you enjoy. The mysteries are complex enough to be interesting, but easily solved by Barjory Buffet in a twenty minute episode.

The creators of Barjory Buffet have leaned fully into the strangeness that comes from basing an entire series around murders on cruise ships. The show plays with cartoon humour, with a lot of dramatic and implausible scenarios. But instead of hitting you over the head going “look at how creative we are, laugh now!” they let those moments be just another part of the show, and they’re all the more humourous for it.

While I did enjoy most of Barjory Buffet’s jokes, the main character is definitely one to say whatever she’s thinking, which results in a few less-than-humorous moments when she says something offensive. Another character will typically go “hey, no” but sometimes that is missed. (“Eat the Hand that Feeds You” is particularly bad for this).

Overall, Barjory Buffet is a humorous mystery show for those craving a bit more death in their podcast feeds. I would recommend it to fans of comedic mystery shows like Victoriocity or parody shows like The Continuing Adventures of John Blade: Super Spy.

cw: violence, death, vomiting, murder, alcohol, teeth, death threats, gambling, enclosed spaces, fatphobia, animal death, crowd noises

Review: Quest Friends!

★★★★

Spiders are the Evil.

Disclaimer: Although this is a requested review, all of the thoughts expressed here are 100% my own.

Honestly I don’t know how to describe this besides “the most adorable team of mismatched characters goes to find a missing person and accidentally causes the end of the world and then has to defeat an evil cult and a badass on rollerblades.” Oh, and it’s an actual play.

Quest Friends! has a really cute aesthetic, both in the official art/fanart, and in how the GM, Kyle Decker, describes the settings. They describe it as reminiscent of Avatar: The Last Airbender and it really is. The characters they meet, the cities they visit, and the destruction they cause is all very A:TLA (you can almost hear the cries of “my cabbages!”) It gives you the same warm, fuzzy feeling that A:TLA gives, as well as the rip-your-heart-out-and-make-you-sob feelings (please let MISCHA keep their memories this time…)

The characters are all great, but I want to focus on Elee. Is she my favourite? Absolutely. Was I expecting that? Not at all. See, Elee is set up as being the Tough One With A Dark Past Who Will Kill. And I mean… She’s definitely that. But she’s not the caricature that I was expecting because she has this incredible backstory and this amazing soft lil heart and is completely motivated by protecting her loved ones and that? That shit is my jam. That shit’s so damn good. Also: Elee is an old woman. It is so rare to find elderly characters in fictional podcasts, especially characters that are so incredibly complex. Most are just one dimensional grandparent figures. The only characters I can think of that break this mold are Clint McElroy’s The Adventure Zone PCs.

Quest Friends! only weakness is that they do struggle with pronouns quite a bit. One of the leads and a secondary character both use they/them pronouns, and the players do slip up from time to time. They always correct themselves though, and have issued public apologies when they don’t. It’s clear that they’re trying hard to get the representation right, even if they mess up.

Overall, Quest Friends! is a cute actual play that is sure to leave you with the warm fuzzies and keep you thinking about the characters like… all the time (they’re all very good, not just Elee, I’m just biased).

I would recommend Quest Friends! to people who like more lighthearted actual plays like Prism Pals or stories about strange apocalypses like Queer Dungeoneers.

cws: violence, death, spiders, murder, existential talk, death threats, gambling, manipulation, toxic relationships, grief, drowning, miscarriage, injury, blood, choking

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Why I’m Proud to be a “Hobbyist”

There’s been a growing divide in the podcast community between those who are “professionals” and those who are “hobbyists.” Every time a new article comes out that disregards fictional podcasting, someone makes a comment about how we’re not “hobbyists,” scoffing at the idea that someone could just be a podcaster as a hobby. Like those people are somehow less deserving of respect. Which like… it’s fine if you’re not. But some people just do this for fun.

It’s been almost a year since I started The Podcast Dragon. I started it on a whim because I wanted to write down my thoughts on my favourite shows. I wanted a way to tell my friends about new shows because some of them had talked about how hard it was to find new stuff they liked as their favourite shows were ending. I wasn’t thinking about subscriber numbers, or how to make money, or who might contact me for reviews. That stuff all came later. And I love a lot of it! I like getting cash from ko-fi donations (tuition is expensive) and I love connecting with the community and finding out about amazing new shows.

But here’s the thing. I’m a university student. I run The Podcast Dragon in my spare time because I love podcasts more than anything. I write fictional podcast scripts at night because I have stories I want to tell and this is a way to improve my craft. I got into podcasts because they were something free that I could listen to on my commute to school. I found passion for them along the way, just like I found subscribers and review requests along the way.

No matter how passionate I am about podcasts, this is not my future career. I don’t really want to do reviews full time. I don’t really want to write full time. I think some of the fun would be taken out of it for me. My future career is probably going to be teaching. It’s something that makes me happy when I think about it, and I can pursue writing and sound design in my spare time. I can listen to podcasts on my commute. I can sing along to musicals in the shower. That is what I want to do with my life. Just because I love something doesn’t mean I have to make it my profession.

I totally get the impulse to call yourself a professional podcaster, and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with making money from your show. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with wanting podcasting to be your full time job. I think that all those things are awesome.

But is my work as a reviewer somehow less valuable because it’s my hobby? Should my threads on trans rep in the community be disregarded because I don’t make $100 a month on Patreon? Do I not get to have an opinion on shows just because I don’t know all the fancy sound words? Do I not have a space in the community just because I prioritize school and mental health over The Podcast Dragon or my scripts? Are people allowed to be jerks to me when they ask for a review request just because I don’t pay for a domain name?

If you think that the answers to those questions are yes, I urge you to reconsider. And I urge you to reconsider how you talk about those of us in the community who are just doing this for fun. It’s okay to have fun.

Review: Directive

★★★☆

Zero to one hundred in one episode.

Directive is the story of Frank, a man tasked with looking after cryogenically frozen passengers on route to a new planet. For the next twenty years. And he’s stuck doing this all alone. Well. He has Casper, the ship’s AI. But Casper isn’t really the best company.

Listen: I know everyone says this is an emotional show. And I know that sounds fake cause it’s only six episodes. I know. And the first few episodes don’t really do much to change that doubting perspective but then. Oh. But then. The emotions hit you. Let your expectations drop a little bit though. This is a show that’s been hyped a lot for being super emotional, and you don’t want to overhype it for yourself.

I really loved Casper being really unhelpful and kind of unlikeable. Don’t get me wrong: I love my fifty AI children as much as the next guy. But I’d love to see more AIs that conform to their programming and work for the man, and Casper scratched that itch for me. He’s not flat out evil, but he doesn’t make things easier for Frank and is largely unsympathetic to his woes. It was nice having an AI that wasn’t the lead’s BFF.

Directive is a slow show. It takes a while to get into it, and there’s not a lot of action (I mean. It’s a guy stuck alone on a spaceship. What did you expect?). The pace works for the story that Directive’s telling, but it’s definitely something you need to be in the mood for. Again: this is a show that’s been hyped up as super emotional. Those emotions don’t hit for a while. Don’t go in expecting never ending sobbing from moment one.

Overall, Directive’s a steady show with a strong lead and a good emotional heel turn. It’s short enough to be consumed in one sitting, maybe with a cup of tea? Sounds like an enjoyable Sunday night.

I would recommend Directive to fans of space capitalism shows like Wolf 359 or stories that explore the horrors of isolation like Station Blue.

cw: death, child endangerment, existential talk, medical procedures, blackmail, death threats, enclosed spaces, claustrophobia, gaslighting, manipulation, panic attacks, grief, brainwashing, raised voices, alcohol

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Does it need to be a podcast though?

I love podcasts. I love them so much. But some stuff… It just doesn’t have to be a podcast.

It’s okay. You don’t have to record you and your friends playing DND. Actual plays are great, but not every RPG campaign needs to be a podcast. Heck, most shouldn’t be. If you’re new to role playing, it’s okay to step back from it (especially if half your episode will be people asking about the same rule clarifications over and over again in the middle of an important scene). If you’re not really sure what the plot will be (or it’s a weak plot), you can just play with your friends and see what happens.

If you already have a website or Youtube channel of the exact same thing? It’s okay. You can leave it like that. In fact, many of your subscribers will probably be happy about it. And you’ll have to do transcriptions, so you might as well stick to what you know and keep uploading your articles. It’s probably going to take you more time to make a podcast of it. And we can tell when you’re just hopping in because podcasts are the latest trend but you don’t really care about them. Just… stick to what you know. It’s okay.

You and your friends can just talk about movies together. You don’t need to record your conversations and upload them (especially if you don’t edit it).

I get the urge to monetize everything you do. I totally, completely do (heck, this newsletter was originally just “for fun” and now I make money off it sometimes). But you don’t have to do it. Especially if you don’t actually care about the medium and are just jumping on the bandwagon (We can always tell). Heck, even if you do love podcasts. Some ideas are bad. Some stuff isn’t really what you should be working on. It’s great to experiment and see what you like. But not everything you experiment with needs to be published.