Since I love how Welcome to Night Vale plays with the local radio form, I have been trying to think of other, primarily audio-based forms that have not been lampooned or exploited for fiction and humor yet. Really, I’ve been trying to think of an audio form that I could use to develop my own project, without being derivative of WTNV’s distinctive style.
Some possibilities that I’ve considered making fictionalized/parodic versions of include:
- AM Talk Radio
- Advice-based Call-in Shows (ala Savage Love, Dr. Ruth, etc)
- This American Life-style storytelling
- Guided Meditation Tapes / Self-Help Tapes
- Class Lectures
- Crossfire-style News Debates
- International News (PRI’s The World)
- Prairie Home Companion style storytelling/variety shows
- Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me style quiz shows
- Factual Podcasts (ala Stuff You Missed in History Class or Grammar Girl)
- Local Morning Radio
A lot of comedy/fiction podcasts currently on the market exploit the discussion/interview format. In fact, that format has pretty much been run into the ground. Every fucking stand-up comedian in existence has an interview-based podcast, some of which utilize improv or sketches, some of which are played straight.
But there are so many audio programming formats that haven’t been exploited for comedy or fiction yet! Sure, some people toy with old school radio drama, but that’s about it. Part of what makes Night Vale so revolutionary is the way it uses a familiar (if dying) audio programming style to create a narrative and build a fictional world.
So I’ve been thinking about this. And trying to find a programming format that would play to my own inspirations and strengths. And then it hit me.
PowerPoint is just about the least artistic medium a person could conjure. It is formulaic, banal, used to death, and is associated with the blandest, lamest situations imaginable. School. Work Meetings. Conferences.
Think of the artistic potential. Tumblr has already started to use PowerPoint for creative ends, but always in the form of humorous, intentionally poorly-written photo sets of slides.
But I think there’s a way to toy with the medium further, and create a full on, balls out idiotic, parodic class lecture that also tells an ongoing story. The story of a fucked up neurotic adjunct professor, and the bullshitty, fictionalized academic field she works in.
I’m an academic. I’m a course instructor. I’m a writer. This stupid project would be the perfect marriage of my different selves. I love academic satires, I love Night Vale’s innovation (but do not want to crib from it), I know how to make the most hilariously bad PowerPoint presentations possible and embarrass myself in front of students by disclosing too much personal information.
I’m interested in the pilot, as long as there are some sweet flying text animations, and themed bullet points.
Okay, Oklahoma! is complete and as I slowly nurse the post-show hangover and emotional detritus, time to start sorting through the rubble of the rest of my life. Big things on the horizon for The Riddle Boxas I finish the final re-writes, start getting the first drafts of the cover design – I had my first public appearance ever as a writer at Avid Bookshop, here in Athens – that was a crazy thing…
I have seen your mouth transfigured
By the fragments of ancient fevers.
It was a wild, strange sound.
I have heard the wind in white cedars
And black poplars.
It was the colour of wet narcissus.
I have tasted the petals of acanthus
And Thessalian iris.
They were but circles of salt."