Radio Days or When I Was a DJ or Finding Voices

Claudius was hereI used to have nightmares because of Latin class.

I took Latin when I was in school for three years, between 7th and 9th grade. I was drawn to the classes, not because of it being a gateway to other languages, but more because of its literary history.  See, by this point, I was reading everything I could get my hands on, and usually my focus was on the classics, not what typical junior high kids were devouring. “No, thank you. You can keep your Stephen King, I’m re-reading Hemingway this week.”

Latin was a tie to great mythology, it was a connection to those random quotes in a novel that I had no idea what was being said. In a literary sense, it felt like the opportunity to dig around the base of a tree and see the root underneath.

The teacher of the classes was Mr. Black, and looking back over those three years with him I still can’t put my finger really on his personality. He could go up and down pretty quickly, did he like to teach or hate it? Did he even like us or hate us? Now I almost wonder if he was bipolar, and that could explain the oddness of the experience. (He would also show us I, Claudius in class, if you can believe it. He would run up with a big piece of paper to cover up the screen whenever the “naughty bits” would come on; of course, most of the time he didn’t get to the TV in time.  Yes, he taught kids like me all about the history of Caligula.)

Mr. Black would have the students recite and speak Latin in class, and while I was basically average in reading Latin on the page, I couldn’t do it aloud. It was too much for my tongue. It is those moments that used to haunt me, standing up, hands sweaty, all of the eyes on me as I tried to recite a passage perfectly. The other students would sometimes hide their laughter, many times they didn’t. And there was Mr. Black in the front shaking his head, frowning, with almost a mocking smirk hiding behind his eyes. Continue reading

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Episode 9 of The Dante Experience (including an interview with executive producer, Dana Dyer Pierson!)

Today brings us the penultimate episode of The Dante Experience! What a long, crazy ride through Hell it has been.

Today, I am also proud to share an interview with Dana Dyer Pierson, executive producer and sound designer for The Dante Experience! So to begin you can listen to episode 9 here:

Share and enjoy!

Dana Dyer Pierson

Dana Dyer Pierson, along with her husband Joel Pierson, created the award-winning Mind’s Ear Audio Productions. They created such nationally honored productions as French Quarter, Children’s Zoo and The Dante Experience. Besides producing Dante, Dana also created the sound design; a series that included everything from a musical number in Hell, to a boxing match, to a TV talk show! Every time I listen to the series I am just floored by her work on the series.

What inspired you to work in radio?

I chalk it all up to lazy babysitting, honestly. When I was little and my older brothers tired of me, they would plop me into a wingchair, put some headphones on my tiny head, and drop the needle on one of their sound effects records. I was entranced by these random noises—and would unconsciously start creating stories to make sense of them. Thus, by accident, a sound designer and playwright was born. Continue reading

Episode 6 of The Dante Experience

It is friday and Hell is calling you for episode 6 of The Dante Experience. Take the call, this is one of my favorite episodes in the series. Here is the link:

You can find links to the previous episodes (as well as read about the writing of the series) via the links on the Dante 3 page (top of the page, right up there^). And remember, you can find the series on amazon (here) or by contacting the production company that made it, Mind’s Ear Audio Productions.

Here is the next chapter in the writing of the series:

Moving Right Along

Frankly, I moved on.

While others may have left the Midwest Radio Theater Workshop that year inspired to make their own radio dramas, I left feeling like I had just finished a funeral and everyone else didn’t know the host was a corpse. The fact that a few years later the MRTW disbanded because of internal conflict didn’t surprise me. There was definitely a power struggle among their different heads, and each seemed to have their own vision of what radio drama can be used for. Continue reading

Episode Five of The Dante Experience

It is Friday and time for another trip to Hell. Here is Episode Five of The Dante Experience, the radio comedy I wrote that was produced by Minds’ Ear Audio Production. You can listen via this link:

You can catch up on the previous episodes via The Dante 3 page (link above). On The Dante 3 page you can also get more information where you can find the series.

Midwest Radio Theater Workshop

So I was busy into the writing of The Dante Experience, feeling like I had clear plan ahead of me for getting the work produced. Initally, I was more than happy with the idea of doing it on just the local Michigan State radio, I had no delusions of grandeur… yet.

Then I got the call from Joel Pierson and that changed in a hurry.

OK, to back up, I need to say something about myself and writing. See, at this point in my life I was always entering writing competitions- short stories, plays, screenplays, etc. If there was a competition and a reasonable fee for entry (not over 40 dollars) I would enter one of my work, cross my fingers and hope my check doesn’t bounce. Contests are a great way to build some name recognition and do something about the writing resume. Continue reading