“How could you not like books?” a seventh-grade version of me asks as I pull my nose out of the pages I am currently devouring. “They are amazing. They’re like movies in your head.”
“Yeah, well I prefer my movies outside of my head. And on a screen.”
Was this very disinterested boy attractive? To my eyes, the very most attractive. Am I now ashamed that I had a major crush on someone that hated books? Yes, very much so. Do I still believe that books are amazing and resemble movies in your mind? Absolutely.
And, eight or nine years later, someone finally agrees with me! Jonathan Mitchell is the creator and producer of the podcast The Truth, which he describes as “movies for your ears.” Yeah, I know, it’s not exactly the same as what I said, but it’s still a movie in your head and not on a screen so it’s pretty close. Plus, this podcast makes the same magic in your mind that books do, so I think Mitchell and I have the same thing in mind.
Mitchell and a team of talented writers, along with lots and lots of actors, create and curate “an anthology of dramatized audio stories.” Mitchell started off working in radio and, after twenty years in the industry, began making The Truth to prove that there was an audience for an original podcast (one that wasn’t just radio shows rebroadcasted, which were most podcasts at the time).
Podcasts are completely unique in that there is no barrier to entry… You put it out there and it goes around the entire world.
After years of work, an episode of Mitchell’s show was featured on This American Life and gained a wider following.
It was crazy. The day before it aired we had maybe five hundred downloads and the day after there were around twenty thousand downloads a day.
From there, Mitchell was able to have a successful fundraiser and then, later on, be picked up by Radiotopia, enabling him to make The Truth his full-time job.
Despite the growth, the goal of The Truth has stayed the same:
It’s all driven by the story and what we feel is going to embody it most affectively.
From working collaboratively on stories and recording on location in order to make each scene feel as immersive as possible to doing free takes that allow actors to improvise and using actors from beginners to Broadway stars, Mitchell does everything he can to make The Truth feel like “everything is just sort of happening and you’re eavesdropping on it.”
From funny to heart wrenching and everything in between, Mitchell and his team create stories that are always captivating and wrap them in realistic voice acting and sound effects to completely immerse listeners. So, if you’re looking for a good story and don’t have time for one of those two-hour films or three hundred page books, check out The Truth and try a movie for your ears.
Here are the episodes Mitchell says any new listener should check out first: That’s Democracy, The Dark End of the Mall, Can You Help Me Find My Mom?.
Visit The Truth on Podchaser to listen with your favorite app, and leave it a rating and review.
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