Happy new year from all of us!
First off, apologies that we didn’t manage to keep the newsletters releasing during the holidays as we had hoped – several of us who help to make them were struck with winter viruses.
But we are back now, as is The Hidden People! And it is the final four episodes of the season! If you are not caught up with the show, beware of spoilers for episodes up to and including season 3, episode 19: “Ms Robot.”
And before we move on, let’s take a moment to recognize that this is the ninth newsletter. As you may know, NINE is a very important number in Norse mythology, and it occurs many, many times throughout The Hidden People, going back all the way to season one, well before we revealed the identity of the Storyteller. You can find nine, nines, and multiples of nine in places like the details of the Reaping and even in the other Mackenna’s prisoner identification number (you might say that she is one for nines).
Latest from The Hidden People
It was a few weeks ago, but you remember the picture of the DWM T-Rex puppeteering a smaller dino? It was obviously referencing the giant Marionette Mackenna (shudder, but boy did I have fun scoring that bit! – Katie).
If you are interested in how those puppet sounds were actually made – and hopefully it won’t entirely kill the creepy for you – here we go… Click here to read more
We hope this finds you well, wherever in the world it reaches you!
It is our penultimate newsletter of 2022, and we’ll be discussing events in season 3, episode 18 (“Never Let Me Down”), which was released on December 8th, so please consider this your spoiler warning!
We’ll also be hearing from Megan about her process, getting a sneak peek at new DWM shows, and meeting some more of the DWM dinosaurs.
We’ve spoken to the performers who play Riley and Robin. We complete this mini-series of cast interviews by hearing this week from Stephen Gogol, who plays Alfie.
We’ve taken away Alfie’s parents and now Riley; how has your approach to him changed over the seasons?
Starting out, I played Alfie very much the comic relief. I wanted to put humor in where I could, make straight lines funny if I could, and ultimately give a happy foil to Nissa and Mack. Over the seasons, season 3 especially…
We join you today with just five episodes left of this season of The Hidden People! Events are moving fast in our story now.
We have lots for you in this edition, including another interview with a great cast member, plus some wider DWM news. Katie will be in the Artists’ Corner slot this time around, temporarily booting out Chris for a week to discuss the use of BIG music in audio drama.
Your spoiler warning for this newsletter extends up to season 3, episode 17 (“For He’s A Jolly…”).
Last week we heard from Riley’s voice actor, Erin. This week, we catch up with Jacob Anderson, who plays our new most hated baddie, Robin Goodfellow.
Well, I’ve voice acted in a handful of indie video games that you can find on Steam or Itch.io. Recently I’ve been in a role-playing game called Killer Gin as a small number of minor characters, and most notably I’ve been voice acting regularly for the visual novel company Woodsy Studio since 2015, and I’m actually reprising my original role with them as the sycophantic and coy Reuben Jeridar in their upcoming remake of “Serafina’s Saga”!
DWM Newsletter #6
Hello and sorry.
If you know why we’re sorry, you won’t need telling.
If you don’t know, then I suggest you get caught up on THP up until the latest episode, which is season 3, episode 16 – “A Piece of Fate,” (released on the 10th November), before reading on!
Happy belated Hallowe’en!
You find us getting spooky in some spooky woods right now… and on that note, before you read on, beware of the scariest things of all – which are spoilers, obviously! This time around, spoilers will be up to and including THP season 3, episode 15, which was released last Thursday 27th October.
We learned a lot about the legend of Morgan/Morgana last time! To add to the interesting picture constructed on “What the Folk(lore),” I present some further Morgan trivia for you.
My (Katie’s) first encounter with a version of the character Morgan was when I read T.H. White’s The Sword in the Stone, aged 9-ish! So, I looked at Wikipedia to see what other versions were out there… and I counted 367 fiction series, books or short stories from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries listed there that contain some version of the legend of Morgan!! I might have miscounted, though. There were a lot.
In the 19th century, the ratio of depictions of Morgan as a morally good character to evil Morgans was about even. However, in the 20th century, the ratio seems to be about 18:1 evil to good. The 20th century idea of Morgan seems to be fearsome and terrible.
Hello from all of us!
If you’ve not caught up with The Hidden People up to the latest episode (which is season 3, episode 14, released on 13th October), beware of spoilers before reading on.
Speaking personally here, this is a part of the plot that I was waiting on for… a while. (Yes, I don’t get told a lot of what’s going to be in the scripts for a season until they are finalised, so I get to enjoy some of the twists, too!)
I, like many of you, had been vaguely curious about Nissa’s parentage and the potential for a supernatural backstory since… a while ago. For example:
“I know who your father is, Nissa.” (season 1, episode 3 – “Official Statements”)
“We aren’t afraid of you –” / “She speaks the truth, Magister.” (season 1, episode 15 – “Two Roads Diverged”)
“And you looked me right in the eyes and said that he…told you who your father was.” / “Oh.” (season 2, episode 16 – “Date and Switch”)
“I… genuinely do not know why the computer is beeping.” / “She doesn’t have the power to do this. None of them do.” (season 3, episode 6 – “Two Truths and a Lie”)– The Hidden People
How much I enjoyed, then, reading this so very human story as the payoff to these teases. I should have known. This has never been a story where fathers are the special ones. It is an… anti-patriarchal story.
I found much authenticity in the portrayal of Nissa absorbed in processing her mortality, both in the script and in Luna’s sensitive performance – which made me believe in the many thoughts and memories constantly happening under the surface of this super-intelligent person.
This is one of the many occasions on this show that I found myself adding music to express some of what I felt was suggested but not spoken in the dialogue. From the notes I sent to Chris about my first draft of this episode:
‘All music [in the second half] is derived from the new, more subdued and contemplative, development of [Nissa’s] music that I introduced in her scene with Shaylee in the previous episode. As you will hear, I wanted to give her a tune, and eventually – perhaps rashly! – decided to use vocals for this, to represent Nissa’s unspoken private thoughts. The final version of it has some fuller textures and a lot of internal movement – I was thinking of mental restlessness, turmoil?’
Hello again! October already, and The Hidden People is now two episodes into the second half of season three. Meanwhile, writing and dialogue editing are still going on behind the scenes on future DWM shows, while I – as ever! – am bringing up the rear as I complete all the work of the whole team on season three of THP.
As always, if you’ve not caught up with The Hidden People up to the latest episode (which is season 3, episode 13, released on 29th September) beware of spoilers before reading on.
Does Alfie have superpowers, then?
And if it could possibly be true, what on earth might they be?
And why (and how) did he acquire them?
I’ve seen some superb Alfie-related theories out there over the years…
“Alfie is a halfling” … “Alfie was sent by the Hidden to spy on Mackenna” … “Alfie is a werewolf” … “Alfie is the season 1&2 narrator with his voice disguised” (OK, so not that one, I guess!)
Suggest your favourite theory now that we have this new development, and if we get any wild ones we’ll run a poll to find out if there is consensus on this serious and important issue!
In honour of Alfie, here is my favourite depiction of him, in Bitmoji form, made by Emily Kallenberg! Can you possibly guess which one he is? 😉
As a bonus to Patreon supporters, check out the next Patreon post to hear how difficult it can be to play a character with a specific voice and get your lines right.
I thought we’d try out something new!
It’s wonderful that so many of our listeners are creatives themselves, and we love to talk about creating.
We’d like to think out loud about some of our favourite ideas, techniques, and approaches to storytelling – and we hope you find them interesting and/or informative. Please join in the conversation!
Chris (our lead writer) is going to share thoughts on writing each week. Here is what he says on how to handle all the information when constructing a loooong story.
Callbacks. When you make as many episodes as we have so far (57 released episodes so far, not counting bonus episodes!), you run into some benefits and drawbacks. On one hand, we have been able to do so much worldbuilding over the past few years; the worlds of Mackenna Thorne and the Hidden People are well-established at this point, with dynamic characters arcs and rich backstories (will we ever learn the truth about the Fried Chicken Story?), but this also creates the problem of memory. How can we expect you, our loyal fans, to remember all of these details? Even the writers struggle to keep all of the lore straight!
The answer is to put information into two categories: essential and supporting. Essential lore is the stuff you need to know all the time. This includes the basic character traits of the cast, like how Mackenna defies authority, Thomas is a softie, and Alfie is a goofball. Other essential lore would include the magic we use most often, like stepping sideways. We made a very specific sound effect for that and use it regularly enough that the audience cannot forget what it means; it’s in nearly every episode.
Everything else becomes supporting lore. This is the stuff that you may or may not remember, like the rules for entering Arcadia, the dream Nissa’s mom had, or how Fack got her barghest. You might not remember any of those details, but that’s okay! They served their purpose at the time, and they aren’t necessary to remember in order to keep enjoying the show. But sometimes, we need to dip into the supporting lore. When we do, we also need to remind you about it. You might have forgotten that the Storyteller (Big W) didn’t know how Alfie could trick Ailsa waaay back in episode nineteen of season one. We knew this was going to be VERY important for the future, but it wasn’t something we needed to constantly remind you about. So we just brought it up again when it became relevant in the most recent episode.
And here’s the big secret about supporting lore: sometimes, we WANT you to forget about a detail we planted early on so that we can surprise you when we bring it back later and connect it with the story. Perhaps, for example, some other seemingly random details from back in season one will soon become very, very important.
Ooh, what can I tell you about next week’s episode?
It contains some of the music I’ve had the most enjoyment from writing this season, a new development of the music for possibly my favourite character. (Possibly.)
Aaand let’s give you a line or two from it, shall we? Gold star if you can correctly guess which two characters say this in the next episode:
“It’s need to know.”
“Yeah, and my unbridled curiosity and thirst for knowledge need to know.”
Until next time,
Katie and the DWM creative team
Hello, everyone; I hope you’ve had a great two weeks!
As ever, if you’ve not caught up with The Hidden People up to the latest episode (which is season 3, episode 12, released on 15th September) beware of spoilers before reading on.
We hope you enjoyed this season’s “Fetch-isode,” which was released last week! Since the Master of Shadow tried to use Fack’s competitive feelings towards Mackenna to get in Fack’s head and undermine her, it seems a great moment to share this magical image of Jordan Lopez with… Jordan Lopez, taken from the official Hidden People photo shoot. Jordan, of course, plays both roles on the show.
This photo is by Amy Parrish.
(Picture #1 descriptive text at end)
Anyway, nice try, Master of Shadow, but I think Fack was always going to be too tough to fall for that one. I wonder how else the Old Ones might seek to undermine our heroes while Wodan sleeps off the effects of an excess of Well?
A final extra bonus for episode 3.12 for Patreon supporters: check out the Patreon post to hear our cast consider the implications of bringing Fack and her journey into Covid times.
All dialogue edits for The Hidden People are now complete (meaning that I am now the only person left working on this show!). It seemed like a good time, then, to introduce you to Mckinney Botts, our dialogue editor for season 3 of THP.
Mckinney has a music business degree and studied and trained in music production in Nashville. He has worked as an assistant engineer with Grammy-nominated producer Kent Wells (Dolly Parton) and Grammy-nominated engineer Patrick Murphy (Dolly Parton, Kenny Chesney, The Grascals), as a mix assistant with Billboard charted J. Hall of JHall Inc in the rock/pop world, and as an assistant engineer and mix engineer in with Billboard charted producer and artist Joshua Barber in the metal genre.
He now runs his own business, Winter’s End Audio Productions.
To continue the Mack/Fack theme, we’re showcasing this wonderful depiction of them by Hidden People fan Leon C. I adore the lost, vulnerable look in Mackenna’s eyes in this picture, which just seems so perfect for the Mackenna of the start of season 1. I also find I get sucked into those eyes in a way that makes me truly believe that – despite her flaws – people are drawn to Mackenna.
(Picture #2 descriptive text at end)
This preview of episode 13 is a very well-known song!
This version of The Star-Spangled Banner is performed by Tara Browne, who plays Morgan on the show, with a band creeping in at the end there. Why on earth might Morgan (last seen fighting the vough and, before that, being the latest character to pulverise Mackenna) be singing the US national anthem, you ask? Well, you know the answer to that, of course: stay tuned and learn next week!
Until next time,
Katie and the DWM creative team
Picture #1 descriptive text: The background of this picture is a circle of silhouetted winter trees, viewed from the ground looking up towards a grey sky. In the centre, we see the same young white woman pictured twice, depicting Mackenna and Fack. Mackenna is dead-centre. She has long brown hair and wears a brown jacket, a leopard print scarf, a white top and black jeans. She is holding a huge scythe that fills the left third of the picture. She looks at Fack, who stands off-centre, shoulder to shoulder with and a little in front of Mackenna. Fack has long blonde hair and is looking to the left ahead of Mackenna. She is dressed all in black. Neither woman looks impressed with the other. The whole picture is overlaid with a semi-transparent silvery leaves effect that resembles snowflakes.
Picture #2 descriptive text: This is a drawing of Mackenna and Fack back-to-back against a pale background. In the front and left we see Mackenna’s head and shoulders. She looks out to the left. She is young, white and has long black hair that frames her face. She has big black eyes with an expressionless look, and wears a white buttoned-up blouse with a close-fitting royal blue sweater over it. Behind her, Fack is facing away from Mackenna and from us, and looks to the right. We see only some of her blonde hair, the outline of her face and her right shoulder, in a black top.
We’re trying something new, as we prepare to resume our third season of The Hidden People. As such, welcome to our new Dayton Writers Movement newsletter! We hope to be sending our news out to the world every other Thursday on the weeks when we’re not releasing an episode.
If you can think back to March 17th, and the end of the first half of the season, you’ll remember that we finally found out the identity of that strange voice we kept hearing: Mimir, the figure in Norse mythology known for knowledge and wisdom.
Now (according to Wikipedia, anyway!), Mimir was beheaded in the Aesir-Vanir war and Wodan(/Odin) preserved and enchanted his head in order to preserve Mimir’s wisdom and to benefit from his counsel.
You’ll perhaps not be surprised to hear – if you have listened to any of our cast and crew commentaries on Patreon, anyway – that our own Chris Burnside’s imagined version of Mimir’s origin story, as relayed to me (Katie – hello!) when we worked on his character’s theme music, is a little darker than this. Chris says:
“His headcanon backstory is that he was once a quiet scholar who hid from people because they always wanted his knowledge of the future. Wodan spent years slowly gaining his trust. Mimir thought he finally found a true friend. But Wodan betrayed him and beheaded him for his knowledge, ironically binding them for eternity.
“Ha. ‘Headcanon.’ “
Whatever we make of that little piece of heart-rending tragedy, it would seem that Mimir is not unfriendly to our heroes at all – in fact, he seems to be an ally. I don’t know about you, but it was a relief to me to finally get some good news in this season! Anyway, we’re all looking forward to you learning what his little hints to Mackenna and Alfie will mean as the story goes on.
In the past months, the following has been happening:
· DWM’s dialogue editor McKinney Botts and I (sound designer, composer, season 3 mixer) have been turning the recordings of the second half of season 3 into episodes for you.
· DWM writers have written the first season of a new DWM show…
· …which was recorded this summer, with Darlene Spencer (of Liliana fame!) directing. McKinney is now working with Darlene on the first edits of the voices for that, and it will be released after THP season 3 is done. More on this in due course.
· Work has begun on further DWM shows, some of which the writers are already writing as I, er… write. (And I’m glad that they’re more elegant with their words than I am!)
We do so love seeing the fan art, fan fiction, Hidden People memes, cosplays, and other reflections of the story out there, so I want to showcase someone’s work each time I write one of these newsletters.
This week’s featured art comes from THP fan Anne. Check out Anne’s Tumblr, too.
Here is Anne’s take on Goth Mackenna!
And here’s a sketch of the night that Mackenna, Nissa and Alfie met Shaylee in season 1, episode 2, which Anne associates with the Goth Mackenna picture because of the contrast between the Mackenna of Shaylee’s imagination and the real-life Mackenna!
For a bit of a teaser from the most recent episode, check out this version of the Hidden People theme tune, which I produced a while back, especially for the last episode. If you haven’t listened yet, I’ll leave it to you to imagine why we might need such a thing…
And that’s it for now! It’s great to be back. Thank you all so much for your ongoing support of our work – we genuinely couldn’t do it without you.
Katie and the DWM creative team
In case you want to have a listen to our latest episode, here it is:
The Hidden People, season 3, episode 12: “The One with the Fetch”
Written by Chris Burnside
Directed by Chris and Megan Burnside
A woman adjusting to life outside of Arcadia (and prison) navigates job interviews and saving the world. Her kooky band of buddies tags along for the ride. Transcript.
Dayton Writers Movement Brings Modern Fantasy to Dramatic Audio Production
Dayton Writers Movement (DWM), known for their first audio drama Unwritten and now The Hidden People returns May 14th with season 2 of its fiction podcast. Airing through all major podcast outlets across the globe, The Hidden People breathes life into a fantasy for the modern era with a cast of more than 30 acclaimed Miami Valley voice performers and a score by award-winning composer Katharine Seaton.
The Hidden People is an ongoing audio drama or fiction podcast that has been serving up its epic tale through 30-minute episodes. With 22 episodes from season 1, the show has hit over 200,000 downloads across 100+ countries. The Hidden People adds to its dramatic and emotional story with comedy, action, and fantastical characters with 22 more episodes beginning May 14th and releasing bi-weekly throughout 2020.
DWM is proud to call both Dayton and Ohio the home of its audio drama with its core writers having deep connections in Dayton, Ohio—including five who graduated from the University of Dayton. Dayton is a town that celebrates acting and theater, and we are proud to celebrate our performers as well. The Hidden People is performed by 30+ talented Ohio actors—who have performed with theater groups including Human Race Theatre Company, Magnolia Theatre Company, Dayton Playhouse, Springboro Community Theatre, and more.
In addition to the actors, DWM is honored to have England-based Katharine Seaton as the composer and sound designer of The Hidden People. Recently, she has joined forces with others of The Women Composers Collective to raise awareness and money for domestic abuse victims who find themselves trapped in unsafe homes now that we are under the COVID-19 lockdown.
The group of womxn composers, music producers, song writers, sound designers and audio engineers who make up the Women Composers Collective has crafted and is releasing an album called Her Indoors. It will raise money for domestic abuse victims in the UK.
Whether in Dayton, London or any other city across the globe, this issue is important to DWM, and it is honored to have music from The Hidden People represented in and raising money for a worthy cause. For just a few dollars, an album of 48 songs is currently available for pre-order: http://womencomposerscollective.bandcamp.com/album/her-indoors
What is Dayton Writers Movement?
Dayton Writers Movement, or DWM, is a production company dedicated to bringing opportunities that showcase the artistic talent of Dayton, Ohio. Our mission is to produce well-written creative content that is engaging to audiences and encourages conversations around social change.
“Dayton Writers Movement was formed to give a platform to the voices of local artists,” said DWM co-founder, Chris Burnside. “So many brilliant stories are currently hiding in desk drawers and stagnating on hard drives, unable to reach any audience beyond their authors’ loved ones. DWM produces these important stories so they can reach audiences ranging from local theater-goers to international podcast junkies.”
With the inaugural creative piece, DWM formed to ensure the talent of emerging writers had a medium through which to be produced. Bringing it to life are 30+ local actors and actresses vocally performing a dramatic, serialized podcast that will be distributed internationally.