DWM Newsletter #2

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.

Latest from The Hidden People

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.

Latest from DWM

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.

Fan Art of the Week!

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.

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Coming up next week

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.

DWM Newsletter #1

Hello everyone!

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.

Latest from The Hidden People

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.

Latest from DWM

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!)

Fan Art of the Week!

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!

Our Latest Episode

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.

The Hidden People Season 2 Premieres May 14

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

Season 1 and Season 2 are available through: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google PlayPodbeanStitcher, and more!  

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. 

Two Roads Diverged

Continuing with our look back at our latest episodes, let’s talk about Episode 16.
Two Roads Diverged, Episode 16 of The Hidden People, gives us a better look at the villains of the show and what motivates them. Cari Zahn wrote a poignant yet still intense episode that builds both sympathy and fear. Her script gives us quite the emotional ride as we explore Thomas’s confusing relationship with his murderous sister, the only blood relative left in his immediate family. Jordan Lopez and Stephen Kallenberg give powerful performances during their confrontation.
We also get more of The Magister and Liliana, brilliantly played by Jim Brown and Darlene Spencer. We’re so lucky to work with these phenomenal professionals who bring so much depth to these cruel villains. I seriously cannot wait for everyone to hear what they do with these characters in the rest of the season. What an honor to work with such a talented cast.
Katharine Seaton‘s powers are on full display here with her incredible score going from nail-biting tension to sympathetic pathos as Thomas races to catch his sister. Katharine’s work has been one of the highlights of the show for me. It defines The Hidden People as much as the performances and the story.
— Chris Burnside

Our Wayward Journeys Continue

A large and stony cave is at the foot of an opening to something...perhaps episode 15 of The Hidden People. Along with the c ave we have the usual underlay of the hidden people forest / trees looming in the background and the title of our latest episode in a green bar across it all stating" Wayward Journeys: Episode 15 of The Hidden People.
We’re taking a step back to give praise to the great work of our last few episodes. First up: Episode 15.
Wayward Journeys of The Hidden People really ratchets up the excitement as two different pairs go on dangerous adventures.  Stephen Kallenberg delivered an action-packed script packed with monsters, battles, ancient vaults, booby traps, and famous mystical well. The show fully embraces its fantasy side with this episode and its quests.
In addition to writing and playing Thomas, Stephen showed his incredible creative range by also voicing the vough in this episode. While we used some minor effects to add to the wispy nature of the vough, nearly everything that you’re hearing was just Stephen’s take on this monstrous mythological creature.
The full range of what The Hidden People has to offer is now on display: tragic drama, gripping suspense, and all-out action and adventure. We may have slowly eased into this new world of modern fantasy with the first half of the season, but trust me, we won’t be taking our foot off the gas for a long time.
— Chris Burnside

Meet Black Annis in Ep 14

The latest episode of The Hidden People introduces us to the monstrous Black Annis. Alexa Fett Fisher wrote another wonderful script, this time featuring the aforementioned witch as well as great scenes for Liliana (Darlene Spencer) and the Conley police chief (Chatam Miracle).

Danielle Gunther brought Black Annis to life with her intense and terrifying vocal performance. We used almost none of the Hidden People “accent” (the vocal process used for those who have lived in the Hidden world) because her performance was already so rich and evocative. When I researched Black Annis many years ago, I could hear her scratchy, creepy voice in my mind. I’m so happy that Danielle was able to completely exceed my expectations for how this unique character would sound. Katharine Seaton – Music‘s sound and music add even more life to the scene. Let’s just say that we loved Black Annis so much that she will be back.

The next episode finds all the characters following their respective quests and leads. Some will walk right into danger, while others will be mysteriously pushed away from it. The action intensifies. We’re building toward an epic season finale in episode twenty-two. Stay with us. Bring your friends.


All in Favor?

3 weeks ago, we released Episode 13 “All in Favor?”

This episode of The Hidden People further explores the world that exists just out of our sight. Megan Burnside wrote a well-paced script that deftly mixes important information with genuinely entertaining scenes. This episode was important to me because I like to know the rules of fantasy stories. What exactly can magic do and not do? Who are the villains, and what are their strengths and weaknesses? While we leave a healthy amount of mystery surrounding the Hidden People and their world, we want to make sure the audience understands the way the mechanics work. This also pays off many curious things throughout the show, as Megan had the idea to go back through everything from the church bell to the fence post to the birthday cake.

In our next episode, we delve further into the Hidden world and meet the fabled Black Annis. Trust me that things are going to get much, much stranger.

– Chris Burnside

The Pieces Fall Into Place in Gestalt Shift

Gestalt Shift: The signature forest circling and closing in dark in the background with glowing orbs of light changing our view of the dark forest

We’re back! Episode 12 of The Hidden People firmly establishes the prior eleven episodes as the first act of a much larger creepy modern fantasy. We answer many questions here in order to propel the story forward, but don’t assume this means we don’t have more mysteries and surprises for you. Cuz we have many, many more. But now that you know who the Hidden People are, you know just how scared you need to be when you hear them arrive.

This week, we really get to meet Shaylee (who she actually is) for the first time. And that puts Xander Hildenbrandt in the spotlight. Xander’s talents for performance, character-building, and storytelling are immeasurable and incomparable. She plays so many different versions of Shaylee in the show (we’ve only scratched the surface), and she makes each one unique. I’m so thankful to work with her (and to Jordan for basically casting her months before we wrote any scripts or held auditions).

We also welcome Aaron Brewer to the cast as Dane. Aaron’s enthusiasm is infectious, and he’s so much fun to have at the table. We have many more snarky conversations between Dane and Shaylee/Mackenna to come.

We’re back in two weeks and every two weeks after that. This season is going to get big and explosive. And I mean that rather literally.

So, be sure to listen, subscribe and share with your friends. Also, send us your feedback and let us know what you think!

– Chris Burnside

Fetch Our Mid-season Finale

Fetch: Episode 11 of The Hidden People; Red fireworks over dark sky with trees

We’ve finally reached the big mid-season finale of The Hidden People. And as promised, it changes everything. This show was never really a murder mystery. Everything until now has just been the first act of a much bigger creepy modern fantasy. From here on out, the show will be pushing into wild and unexpected places.

I guarantee that the next episode when the show returns from a short mid-season break will have TONS of answers. We will learn exactly who the killer is, where she comes from, and why she looks like THAT. We will learn who Shaylee is and what she’s up to. And we’ll learn why some of the characters have weird voices. We’re not just trying to be cool and edgy–we have actual, story-related reasoning.

Katharine Seaton – Music takes center stage in this episode with sound design and music that is truly breathtaking. This episode wouldn’t have anywhere near the impact it does if we just used stock sounds and royalty free music like many shows do. Katharine elevates every second of the show with her brilliant and unique work. That fight scene…wow!!!

The Hidden People will be back for the second half of season one very soon. In the meantime, subscribe on Patreon for bonus content, including our first bonus episode. https://www.patreon.com/hiddenpeoplepodcast

– Chris Burnside

Bucket List Draws Us In

Bucket List - Episode 10; Woman looking to the distance

Episode ten of The Hidden People brings us to the brink of many explosive revelations. The next episode, our mid-season finale, will completely change the show in terms of pace (it’s faster), excitement (it’s greater), action (it’s louder), and even genre (it’s magical-er).

This episode features so many scenes I was thrilled to write and direct. Jordan Lopez and Xander Hildenbrandt on the water tower remains one of my most favorite moments. Luna Madison and Stephen Gogol arguing about Mackenna shows that their range goes far beyond comedy, and Stephen Kallenberg and Emily Kallenberg gave us some really special foley work.

Who is the killer? Who is the next target? Who will survive? Get ready. The next episode is the game-changer.

Make sure to join us at https://www.patreon.com/hiddenpeoplepodcast to hear the first bonus episode of The Hidden People, exclusively available to supporters.

– Chris Burnside