The NoSleep Podcast is Pure Entertainment
Podcasts are a form of digital entertainment where first impressions carry a heavy impact. A Podcast relies on capturing the listeners interest quickly, whether it’s by subject matter, or the narration having a mesmerizing effect. It needs to.
The human attention span is a fragile trait, but it’s also an efficient tool for measuring a Podcast’s quality. A Podcast generally has a small segment of time to suck you in and make you a return listener. It’s this very reason that successful Podcasts stand out. they give a listener an instinctual nudge to want to return and hear more.
My journey into Podcasts started with the show Serial, but that was before I knew that a horror option was even available. I am a fan of all things horror. When I looked into horror Podcasts the number one thing that I ran into was the fact that very few could capture my interest past an episode or two. If I was to cast a label as to why, granted it would be a personal opinion, it would be due to narration that I just couldn’t get behind.
Then one day I tripped and fell into the wonderful, chaotic realm of the NoSleep Podcast. It’s my personal opinion that NoSleep defined the genre of horror Podcasts and has developed it into a work of pristine art.
“Through the Mask,” season 6 episode 6 was the first episode I listened to and since then I have become a season pass member. NoSleep is the only Podcast that I’ve paid for to experience their full episodes and I can say that it’s money well spent.
Check out the episode that got me hooked by clicking here.
Behind the Curtains of NoSleep
The NoSleep Podcast is an entertainment venue that is made possible by an incredibly staff. Over the course of time I hope to get in touch and learn more about the people who put in the time, effort, and passion that make every episode such an incredible experience. I can think of no better place to start than the owner, David Cummings.
David has always been great at getting back to me and I want to state here, thank you for that. You’ve created an incredible Podcast, developed an amazing community, and it’s a shared fact that you make a countless number of people’s lives more fulfilling because of the work that you do.
The following is a Q & A with the mind behind the NoSleep Podcast:
How did NoSleep start out and what advice would you give to people looking to break into Podcasting?
A: Back in 2011 an idea was put forth to create a podcast where some of the top stories on Reddit “Nosleep” subreddit would be narrated. I volunteered as a narrator. When no one else was stepping up to produce it I offered to get the first episode off the ground. I have continued to produce each episode to this day. So, I kind of fell into the role but was able to run with it.
Starting a podcast today is a very different process. I believe it’s harder for independent creators to get heard in a sea of podcast networks and celebrity shows. But if you have a vision for your show the best advice is to simply start it. Get it going and develop it as you go. There are many great resources out there to help with the details but nothing will help more than actually doing your show.
What would you say to someone that hasn’t listened to your show as a way of encouraging them to check it out? What’s the metaphorical “selling point” NoSleep offers to potential listeners?
A: We offer a good ol’ horror storytelling experience as if you’re sitting around the campfire listening to someone tell you what terrifying thing happened to them. We add good quality music and sound design which let’s the listener use their own imagination to make the story particularly frightening to them.
Each of your Podcasts show a lot of hard work has been put into them, but I imagine Podcasting is something that is going to constantly evolve. With that being said, where is NoSleep trying to improve? Additionally, are there areas that you would be comfortable stating NoSleep has perfected its execution?
A: In some ways, we’re taking the age-old tradition of simple oral storytelling and making it available via a modern medium like on-demand audio. We will try to evolve by making our presentations better quality in terms of voice acting and audio production but at some point, you can only enhance the written stories so much. I don’t think we’ve perfected any aspect of our show but there isn’t much point in trying to evolve with audio gimmicks or distractions. The show as it is today is pretty much where I want it to be in terms of presentation. Now we just want to do every aspect better.
The story roles that take place in your entertaining tales, is there a particular method of assigning your narrators to them? I know Marcus Damanda and Jessica McEvoy have a history of working together. Outside of pre-established teams do you look at the content of a story, the characters, and then decide who you think who could play the part best?
A: We have an established team of voice actors now so it’s easier to know whose voice suits a particular role. Certain authors, like Marcus, write characters who fit a certain voice. For other stories, it’s more about the tone of the character. Nikolle Doolin has an elegant voice suited for a strong female role. Peter Lewis plays a sinister character flawlessly. Erika Sanderson can do countless voices/accents/ages so she can fall into any role with confidence. All our actors have a style that makes it easy to know which characters they’ll play. It may be corny to say, but in a way, the role chooses the actor.
What is your personal favorite theme for horror tales and why?
A: I’m a big fan of the traditional haunted house story. I love it when characters are in a location where strange things are happening and they can’t figure out what’s going on while circumstance get more and more oppressive. Things that go bump in the night will always appeal to me – as long as they don’t visit my house.
I’m sure a lot of people would love to be hosted by your talented team and hear their stories come to life. What is the best advice you can give toward those who want to submit content? General rules of thumb here would work as well as common pitfalls that you may have noticed over the years of production.
A: Stories which adapt well to our show have good audio cues. Sounds which we can emulate to set the tone and atmosphere of the story. Good dialogue is another strong trait. It helps establish the characters and their personalities while helping to convey the emotion of the scenes. And, of course, a story which is genuinely frightening will always work well. A story should be told well. It doesn’t have to be high literature with fancy flourishes throughout but it needs to be crafted with some style as opposed to merely sentences strung together as a matter-of-fact reporting of events.
How much time is actually put into a full episode? I know first hand how challenging narration is, do any narrators stand out in terms of slipping out of character and goofing off during a recording? Any funny stories worth mentioning?
A: It’s difficult to say how many hours go into each episode. It’s probably approaching 40 hours these days. We have all our actors working separately so the audio they send us is usually production ready. I’m sure most of us vent some weird stuff during our recording sessions but it’s usually deleted before it corrupts any unsuspecting ears.
Final question: Is there anything you’d like to say to your listeners as well as potential new listeners in closing?
A: I feel it’s worth mentioning that with the horror genre the audience must meet the story halfway. Horror is unique in the sense that it tries to evoke a negative emotion. Laughing at comedy is positive. Swooning at romance is positive. Cheering the action hero is positive. But being terrified and fearful is something we try to avoid in real life. Thus, with horror, you have to allow yourself to be scared and use your imagination to place yourself into the story’s setting. Doing so will make it a much more rewarding horror experience; a place where you can experience terror safely and come away from it having genuinely enjoyed that ‘negative’ emotion.
The NoSleep Podcast is more then just a Podcast, it’s an experience. It’s a digital stamp in the world of horror that any enthusiast should be a part of and experience. The NoSleep Podcast is an opportunity to become a part of a community that is passionate about all things horror and something everyone should sample, especially with Halloween being right around the corner.
Do yourself a favor and don’t miss out. Tune in, prepare yourself, and don’t forget to dim the lights.