Moonbase Theta, Out is an audio drama told through short updates sent back to Earth from a base on the Moon, with each update adding new layers to the characters and story. We talked to writer & editor, DJ Sylvis, about how plans change when fans get on board.
Audio dramas are becoming more and more popular as listeners show an insatiable appetite for serialized storytelling. The great thing about the medium of audio is that it allows creators to take on any crazy idea, play with formats, and take listeners anywhere in the universe. The result is a diverse varity of really unique shows, like the one DJ Sylvis, of Monkeyman Productions, has created. I caught up with DJ to talk about his podcast, Moonbase Theta, Out, which is tells its story via short recordings sent from the Moon to Earth.
Moonbase Theta, Out is “an audio fiction podcast… that’s short format, about five minute episodes. It’s science-fiction set in the year 2098 on the last existing moonbase that is being shut down.” Each week, “Roger Bragado-Fischer, Communications, reports to management” on the twenty-week closing process of this final base. “As you can imagine, things go a bit awry,” DJ said. The show has finished its first season and is now working on its second, but the journey to that first season was what I was curious about.
“This was my first foray into the genre,” DJ explained. “Monkeyman Productions started out as a theater company here in Toronto. We produced sort of geeky theatre for a while: science fiction, zombie apocalypse plays, stuff like that.” But putting on live shows is becoming more and more expensive and the company wanted something different to experiment with while still keeping with the geekiness. “This was our first experience with podcasting so I think I just wanted to try something small,” DJ said. “The title actually came to me first, just something fun and sci-fi-y. I thought about a guy sending broadcasts back to Earth every week or so. I figured it would just be a short, summing up of what’s going on.” Of course, from there the story fell in place and fans were quick to demand a second season from the creators. Well, once they found their fans.
“Because we had never really done this before, starting out I was expecting it to sort of be like theater where we would just sort of create something and put out a notice that it existed and people would just find it on their own,” DJ said. Of course, that just led to half a season of waiting and hoping with very little to show for it as far as download numbers.
But DJ started seeing how other podcasters were finding and cultivating their audiences and began using similar strategies, namely getting on Twitter a lot more. “For the first half the season we had less than a thousand downloads and now we’re up to fifty-five-hundred.” Finding their audience may have taken some time but once Moonbase Theta, Out did that, they had the opportunity to hear what the people wanted
And the people wanted more than DJ had planned. Moonbase Theta, Out was originally supposed to be “a short little thing” that allowed DJ to learn about podcasting and play with the medium a bit. But when fans started asking for more content, plans were quickly changed. “We’re doing kind of an interesting thing for the second season. The first season was all these official reports from one character just kind of mentioning the other people around him,” DJ said. “For the second season, instead of moving forward in time we’re going to fill in some of the gaps with personal logs from a bunch of different characters from the same time frame.” And don’t worry, the episodes will stay around five minutes in length, so catching up on the entire story will take you less than two hours.
So if you love sci-fi, fiction, great stories, and don’t have a ton of time, listen to Moonbase Theta, Out and leave a rating and review to let DJ know what you think!
Chasing Pods is a Podchaser blog series dedicated to letting our readers know about podcasts they may not have heard of or provide a sneak peek into the making of their favorite podcast. We talk to podcast creators about their journey into podcasting, the creation of their shows, the ups and downs of the work, and what they’re looking forward to for their podcast
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