Meet Robert Cudmore, one half of YAP Audio Production, along with Matthew McLean. They’re the audio drama production company behind “Aftermath & Other Audio Drama Stories” which tells tales of the post-apocalyptic, horror, sci-fi and comedy; now blending their two-series post-apocalyptic drama Aftermath with a series of short, one-off pieces.
Ryan Watson, who runs the Juice Festival Blog, wanted to find out more.
Could you tell me a little bit about YAP Audio and your role in producing the podcasts?
YAP is basically two guys; me and Matthew McLean. We more or less do everything ourselves between us.
Having said that, our roles have somewhat diverged; I do a lot more of the writing and Matthew does a lot more of the production. We both went to university to study Radio Production and Sound Production respectively. It’s made for a nice blend.
How does getting the script made into an actual audio drama work? Did you have this great idea that you just had to make, or did you decide “we’re going to make something” and then work out the specifics?
When we first met at college, we realised we both loved the post-apocalyptic genre. Matthew discovered audio dramas, and got me into them. It seemed like a great idea to write something of our own. We still laugh about how easy it all seemed in theory, back in 2011.
How do you go about getting others involved? Particularly if they’re far away?
We couldn’t have gotten this far without the wonderful audio drama community which has given us access to many great actors around the world. Basically, we asked those actors from the audio dramas we first listened to (and still do), and we still work with a lot of them now.
That said, we’re in the middle of writing another series called Valenhigh and we’re actually trying our best to get actors in the studio here with us as much as possible. Remote recording can work well, but nothing beats the real thing when you want to direct your actors.
How do you go about sharing it and getting it heard?
We share our projects through social media and amongst the audio drama community. It’s a niche interest so we don’t go to great lengths to promote it the world over – most people don’t even know what an audio drama is yet.
I’m also really interested in what the process of getting the podcast on iTunes is like. How do you go about doing that and did you have to ‘jump through any hoops’?
iTunes is really just a directory – you need a host site like Libsyn. Yeah, there’s a sort of rigmarole to go through but there are tutorials available. Like anything, it’s easy enough when you know how, and it’s worth the effort.
There’s two series of Aftermath (I’ve listened to the first) and more recently it looks like you’ve been working on one-shot stories. Is that the kind of thing you’re doing for the foreseeable future, or are you planning anything else serialised?
Look out for Valenhigh towards the end of this year, hopefully. It’s a new series in a fantasy setting and I’ve been writing it with a colleague in Boston for the past 9 months. Matthew hasn’t even read it yet because he’s going to be working purely on production.
We’ve managed to get enough funding to bring actors to Scotland from across the UK for recording in the studio across two weekends in July. We’re very excited about it. But yeah, still working on small one-off dramas that don’t take up much time to write and record.
We were commissioned to produce an independent documentary but that appears to have fallen through, sadly. On the other hand, I just bought a brilliant new studio microphone which I’ll be using to narrate some audiobooks so I won’t be bored any time soon!
You also produce another podcast called “The Audio Production Podcast” – could you say a little bit about that?
We’ve been putting it out every week without fail for nearly two years now. We’ve built up a brilliant following of professionals and beginners alike. We’ve probably learned more from our listeners than they have from us. We cover everything from writing and production to directing, finding music – even cover art.
Why do you think it’s important that you do that?
Audio Drama is still in its infancy. If I’m brutally honest, that means there’s a lot of stuff already out there that could be a heck of a lot better and there’s no reason why we can’t all improve together. That’s the ethos of the podcast – sharing best practice so we can elevate our art form into the mainstream.
Podcasts, and by extension audio drama, are seeing a huge spike in popularity in the USA, thanks to modern technology. Touch wood, the same is going to happen here soon.
And, as always,
Stay productive, stay awesome!