Ah, the sweet peace of the eye of the storm. We take a break from the story arc and talk about things we love to listen to! Give this episode a listen and let us know what you think.
An off-arc episode! We get to talk about audio dramas! Audio dramas definitely constitute one of my favorite topics, and there are a lot of exciting things to cover, so cover them we shall.
This is actually a really long episode, too. Easily twice as long as average. We had such fun – and we got so into it – that we just didn’t want to stop! That may have something to do with the fact that this was the last episode I wrote before we started winding down production for the upcoming hiatus, but regardless, we enjoyed ourselves immensely.
So go listen! You shan’t regret it.
(By the way, Paeter Frandson! What a great sport! I’m fairly certain he had no idea what he was getting into…)
Malex: Hey there everybody!
Linus: Bet you all thought we were in New Civilatham, headed to meet the Riding Squirrels in the top floor suite of the Hotel Vertex.
Mara: You might think that…
Malex: A– And you’d be right.
Snufflefungus: But we’re taking a break!
Malex: Yes, we’re taking a break. We’re taking a break to talk about all the incredible new audio dramas we’ve discovered!
Linus: Well… I don’t know if I’d call them incredible, per se.
Malex: That’s okay, you don’t like pizza either.
Linus: I’m a laptop! I can’t eat pizza!
Mara: More’s the pity.
Malex: So first, everybody, the latest episode of The Weekly Impulse has come out, and you simply must check it out. It’s–
Malex: –been over a year since–
Linus: You’re a little late to the game on this one, aren’t you? I mean, this Weekly Impulse came out in November. Of last year.
Malex: (Defensive.) Well, I– I mean it… It’s been really busy! And– And we’ve had this big story arc to deal with!
Snufflefungus: It has been a really big story arc Linus! I get to be a face bearer!
Malex: (Announcer voice.) Anyway, this latest episode of the Weekly Impulse is called The Weekly Impulse Episode 2: The Ghost Train of Gorgon Gulch or Don’t Get so Steamed, Punk! And it’s available now at WeeklyImpulse.com!
Mara: What are you doing, auditioning?
Linus: Give it up, Michael Crandall’s better than you are, and he would never work with you!
Snufflefungus: Malex! Malex! Malex!
Malex: Y– Y– Yes?
Snufflefungus: (Insistent.) Malex?
Malex: Yes, Snufflefungus?
Snufflefungus: Are we gonna talk about the other sound fun times we listened to?
Malex: Uh… Yes.
Snufflefungus: When, Malex? When are we going to talk about the other sound fun times?
Mara: Snuffy, if– if Malex wants to take his time, we should probably let him.
Snufflefungus: (Disappointed.) Oh.
Linus: Or we could just force the issue and scream if we don’t get our way.
Malex: What exactly is your way, Linus? I’ve always wondered.
Linus: It’s a dark and terrifying place.
Malex: So I’ve gathered.
Snufflefungus: (Hopeful.) So, Malex, is it time to talk about sound fun times?
Malex: (Parental.) Yes, Snufflefungus. Yes it is.
Snufflefungus: (Excited.) Hooray!
Malex: So, I’ve just become aware of another Christian, independent audio drama production company, called Spirit Blade Productions!
Mara: (Cheesy.) Really, Malex? Tell us more!
Malex: They have three audio dramas available right now with several more in the works.
Linus: (Sarcastic.) Oh boy.
Malex: First I want to talk about Pilgrim’s Progress Episode One: Similitude of a Dream. This is the first of a series of audio dramas which, altogether, constitute a brand-new re-imagining of John Bunyan’s classic, epic allegory.
Mara: (Sarcasm. Verbal nod.) Because we all know what that means.
Malex: (Explaining.) Uh– Well, John Bunyan wrote a super-duper book, and it is well-loved by millions. But it’s pretty old now, and a lot of people might have trouble interpreting all of its rich–
Linus: –and completely incomprehensible–
Malex: –richly-incomprehensible language. Right. And this audio drama brings it up to speed in a way that is completely engaging and fun to listen to!
Mara: So it’s a classic, well-loved story, but told in a way that doesn’t alienate every human being alive?
Snufflefungus: It had to be done.
Malex: I have to say, I don’t quickly endorse products of any sort, but I would heartily recommend the Spirit Blade Productions version of Pilgrim’s Progress for anybody interested in treating their ears to a good time.
Linus: You know, Malex, I know you enjoyed it, but what makes you think that I would enjoy it?
Malex: Nothing, Linus, in the many years of experience I have as your friend, could possibly make me think that you would enjoy this. Or, really, anything else.
Linus: Yes, well, tea’s nice, but this could be a bitter cup indeed.
Mara: What does that even mean?
Linus: Well I don’t know, I just said it. That doesn’t mean I can derive meaning from it too. My credibility is failing, isn’t it?
Malex: It’s just possible.
Linus: Alright, look. I didn’t even listen to the episode, but the trailer is pretty cheesy. Doesn’t that mean the episode has to be terrible?
Malex: (Laughing.) Oh Linus, haven’t you ever heard that you never judge an audio drama by its trailer?
Linus: I can’t say that I have.
Mara: He’s right, Linus. That first episode of Pilgrim’s Progress is really great! It’s a lot of fun!
Malex: Now, before we go any further, I should mention that although Pilgrim’s Progress is suitable for children ages 12 and up, the other Spirit Blade Productions audio dramas are not. The Spirit Blade Trilogy is much darker, and is probably only suitable for–
Snufflefungus: I loved it!
Mara: You listened to those?
Snufflefungus: Yes! (Sing-song.) Merikk is my hero! Merikk is my hero!
Malex: I– I’ve been shirking my parental duties, haven’t I?
Malex: Wasn’t it pretty intense?
Snufflefungus: It was so scary!
Linus: But let’s be honest. The Spirit Blade Trilogy is a great sci-fi / fantasy story, but it’s a musical.
Malex: (Defensive.) No, well, now, it’s not a musical exactly, it– it’s a– it’s a, “science fiction audio experience.”
Linus: Oh yes. I experienced the musical.
Mara: (Dismissive.) Oh Linus…
Snufflefungus: It’s a techno musical! (Starts beat-boxing.)
Malex: Yes, see, it’s a two-for-one deal. You basically get a really good synthpop album along with an incredible story!
Linus: You’re just being defensive because it was your secret childhood dream to produce a techno musical.
Malex: Hey! Don’t betray my confidence!
Linus: (Dismissive.) Whatever.
Mara: It’s okay Malex, keep it together.
Malex: Right! So the Spirit Blade Trilogy consists of Spirit Blade, Spirit Blade: Dark Ritual, and an upcoming third installment which will wrap up the trilogy. Again, these audio dramas are very intense, occasionally disturbing, and not suitable for children under the age of 13. But, if you are a teenager or young adult, I highly recommend the Spirit Blade Trilogy. It’s exciting, action-packed, thought-provoking, and if you listen to it, your ears will be eternally grateful.
Mara: What do grateful ears do for you?
Snufflefungus: It’s SpiritBlade.net everybody! S-P-I-R–
Linus: Don’t let Snuffy do it! He’s got a speech impediment!
Snufflefungus: I do?
Linus: Let me! SpiritBlade.net, everybody! That’s S-P-I-R-I-T-B-L-A-D-E dot net!
Malex: Check it out! You won’t be disappointed!
Snufflefungus: So, Malex, is that all the time we have for today?
Malex: Not quite! In fact, I’m very excited to say that we have Paeter Frandson – owner and operator of Spirit Blade Productions – on the phone with us right now!
Snufflefungus: (Gasps.) Really?
Malex: Hello, Paeter! How are you today?
Paeter Frandson: Very good, Malex! Thanks for havin’ me–
Snufflefungus: (Gasps again.) Merikk! Malex, it’s Merikk! He can’t die! And he’s the leader of the Liberation! Merikk, you’re my hero!
Paeter Frandson: Well, uh… I’m– I– Thank you. Uh, it’s– I’m not really… I mean, I dunno if you know, but it’s like actually an audio drama. I’m not really Merikk, I– that’s like a… It’s a– It’s a character.
Malex: I– I apologize for Snuffy’s intrusion, Paeter. I– I’m so glad you could join us around your busy schedule. You’re, uh, working on how many projects right now?
Paeter Frandson: Uh… It’s hard to keep track. I’ve– I’ve got, uh, let’s see… Um, I’m working on a pro– a– a release of the songs for Spirit Blade and Dark Ritual, and then I’m also working on a secret project, which – unfortunately – I can’t unveil yet. And then I’m also helping produce stuff at the, uh, Spirit Blade Underground Alliance, which is the volunteer, uh, audio drama production group that, uh… we sponsor at Spirit Blade Productions.
Mara: Wow! And– And when can we expect to see the next Spirit Blade Production released?
Paeter Frandson: Well, the secret project is, uh… the next thing that’s gonna– (as far as audio drama) that’s gonna be coming out. That’ll be… some time in 2010; I’m aiming for this summer, but uh… You know, I’m not very good with, uh, deadlines and projecting that kinda stuff, so… But that’s what I’m shootin’ for!
Malex: Well that sounds amazing. Now, is it– Is it true that you write, direct, produce, and star in most or all Spirit Blade Productions?
Paeter Frandson: Yeah, it’s kind of, uh… a one-man operation here, um… It’s, uh… It’s– It’s basically just me and my wife – she does all the smart people, accounting, number-crunching stuff, and I do all of the creative stuff, and then, uh… and then of course I do have actors come in and– and, uh, record their parts, and– and now and then I get some musicians in too to help out like with guitar parts on the music and stuff, but uh… Mostly it’s just me, alone in my little room, crankin’ things out, here…
Malex: Wow. That sounds like a lotta work. So, where do you get your inspiration for it all? What– What’s your motivation?
Paeter Frandson: Um… Well, as far as inspiration, I’m just a huge geek. Like, I like comic books, I like crazy, sci-fi, action, and fantasy movies–
Mike: (Interrupts.) Hey– Hey look! I– I got somethin’ weird on my nose!
Malex: W– What, Mike?! I– I’m– I’m sorry– I’m sorry, Paeter. Mike, how did you get into the studio? We’re conducting an interview!
Mike: But– But the door was open, and– and my nose–
Malex: That’s nice, Mike. Look, you– you don’t have to leave. Why don’t you just sit over there and be quiet. (Sighs.) Linus, can you watch him?
Linus: (Weary.) What am I gonna do? I don’t have any hands.
Malex: Just– His– His hands are occupied with his nose. You’ll be fine. Paeter, I am so sorry. Please continue.
Paeter Frandson: Oh, no. That’s alright. That’s alright. So, you know, geeky stuff in general is– is, uh, kinda where I get my creative inspiration… And, as far as motivation, the– the whole, kind of, idea of Spirit Blade Productions is to kinda present, uh… the Bible to people in a way that they’ve never experienced before, that uh… that maybe they’ll be open to, in a way – you know – in a– in a way that they otherwise would not be, so that’s… That’s all– that’s all I really wanna accomplish is to get the truth of Scripture into the ears and minds of people that, uh… in a format that they’ll really dig.
Mara: Wow, Paeter, that’s really inspiring! And uh, how did you get started doing all this?
Paeter Frandson: Well, um… I– I started out– I mean I– I– I chose audio drama as a medium because I just think that’s the– the area where I could produce something that was gonna meet – or hopefully even exceed – the– the standard in the– in the mainstream industry; you know, if I tried to do a movie, I knew I couldn’t summon the budget or the talent I needed to make it all happen, so uh… I’ve– I’ve known about the concept of audio drama and old-time radio and stuff for a long time. And with the advent of podcasting, and uh… and digital media… uh, it just seemed like the right time to really, uh, get– you know, throw myself into this, so… Ever since about after college I started writing a– a– a novella that then became a script, and the Spirit Blade universe was born!
Malex: Wow. So, what would you say to a young person who is just starting out and wants to glorify God with his or her creative talents?
Paeter Frandson: Well first I’d say that that is the… the absolute right perspective to have on your talents; to direct them to glorifying or, uh… displaying who God is – as the word ‘glorify’ implies – you know, and revealing, uh, what we can about God’s character. That is– That is, uh, the ultimate source of satisfaction in life, so the– they’re on the– the right track just with that desire. I would say, um, to work hard at their craft and develop it, um… because, uh, what’s– what’s going to honor God the most is when we give our best effort and the absolute best that we have. And then also, surround yourself with people that are able to give you objective feedback on what your skill set is – what you’re good at, um, and what– so you can play up your strengths rather than trying to hammer away at something that doesn’t represent the best that you have to offer. And I think that that combination, uh… is– is gonna result in some– some really great stuff that God’ll use in– in wonderful ways.
Malex: Wow, Paeter. Uh… Like Mara said, that’s, uh… That’s really inspiring stuff. So, I think that’s all the time–
Linus: I have a question! (Highly confrontational.) Merikk, sir, where do you get off claiming that you can’t die–?
Malex: –Uh, that’s– (Clears throat.) That’s definitely all the time we have for today–
Linus: Think of the children! (Muffled grunting.)
Malex: Paeter, thank you so much for joining us!
Paeter Frandson: (Chuckles.) My pleasure!
Malex: Alright, everybody, be sure to check out SpiritBlade.net for the audio dramas and information about future releases!
Mara: And have a great day!
Producer and Director: Alex Markley
Writer: Alex Markley
Voices: Markley Brothers, with a guest appearance by Leela as Mara.
Post-processing director: Leela
Illustration: Peter Markley
Release manager: Peter Markley
Recording assistance: Oz
Thanks to everyone for their help and support.