Friday, June 24, 2011

The Importance of Spaces

With the weather much nicer in Spring I've been walking and listening a whole lot more often. At the behest of Ms. Julie Hoverson, I've been working on going through the back catalog of 19 Nocturne Blvd of and on for over a year now, and I expect at some point to have an initial review of that company.
But one thing that I have noticed 19 Nocturne and many other shows are bad about, is silence or rather spaces.

I'm not speaking about the silence within a scene. Those are difficult judgments and often change the tempo and tone of an audio drama.
Instead I'm speaking about a very simple fix of placing 2-3 seconds of silence as a space before commercial breaks.
We've all watched a particular compelling television show or movie on the TV only to be jarred by an abrupt cut to a television commercial. This not only slaps the viewer in the face of "remember this is just a story" but it also makes it much more difficult to set one's attention back into the story when the promo is over.

Some companies, (19 Nocturne and Icebox Radio come to mind) provide promos in between the acts of their plays. What makes the difference as to how effective they are is how they work their transitions. Icebox, for example often drops in a simple notifier "Icebox Radio will be right back..." reminder to help set expectations. Other companies fade the scene to silence for a couple of seconds to allow a smoother transition. Either way is much more preferable than launching into a completely different topic without any transitory splices.
Remember, your job is to keep your listeners hooked, not sell them products. If your promos take time out of the impact of your play by being just as brassy, you'll probably lose listeners as a result.
Use silence, and more importantly, spaces to your advantage. Leave a good two-three second silence between acts and a three to four second silence at the end of a particularly poignant show. Give listeners time to process your amazing works!


  1. From JulieH:
    Um, which episode of 19 Nocturne did someone slip an ad into? I've never put them in myself.

    I DID have ads in "Bingo the Birthday Clown" and in the four-part story "PromEvil," but never in an actual 19 Nocturne Boulevard episode.

    Just wanted to be clear...

  2. I believe I said "commercial breaks" which is a wider net for anything from promos to advertisements. While I have noticed your ad for your i-phone app (congratulations by the way), but I was speaking more of the promos that occur in your shows.
    I wrote: "Some companies, (19 Nocturne and Icebox Radio come to mind) provide promos in between the acts of their plays."

    I realize now that I wrote, "Remember, your job is to keep your listeners hooked, not sell them products."-- However a promo is also in a wider sense "selling a product". Of course, I don't think that is a bad thing. Just the break between commercial intervals and the actual shows should be more starkly defined, in my opinion.
    I hope that's more clear. Thanks very much for your comment Ms. Hoverson. :)
    ~J. Snowe

  3. Put your money where your mouth is, then, and tell me WHICH episode of 19 Nocturne Boulevard, precisely, has an [ad/promo/anything that isn't part of the actual story/etc.] in an act break?

    If the app ad is going in anywhere but at the beginning of the show (where they said it would go - those are added by my provider, and not by me), then I will gladly cancel the service. Having an app is not worth the annoyance to my listeners.

    I LOATHE act-break [ads et al.] and have never included them in episodes of 19 Nocturne Boulevard.

    [And if I did, say, as an experiment, 50 or 60 episodes back, I guess I need to be reminded of which episode it was so I can correct it, and own up to my mistake!]

    I know that in my early days I didn't leave enough time at the end of an episode, but that's long since fixed. Give me enough specifics so I can fix THIS ...if it's actually an issue.

    How bout I offer to eat my hat if you can name an episode of 19 Nocturne Boulevard with an ad in it?
    Warmly back atcha!