Pod_together is a challenge where authors and readers will work in a partnership, the author writing a story specifically to be podficced, and the reader recording it. At the end of the challenge, the text version and the audio version will be posted simultaneously.
(Open, Unmoderated, Unrevealed)
What does a story written specifically to be podficced look like?
That's up to you! Part of the goal of this challenge is to explore answers to that question. It's possible that you'll decide it looks like a monologue from a play, or that you'll request two readers who can work together and script out dialogue. Or maybe you'll write your story out in more informal, conversational style. Maybe it will be just like a normal fic, but with extra attention to the rhythm and sounds of your words, or written to be customized to the acting strengths of a specific reader. Or maybe you'll come up with something entirely different. There's no wrong way to do it, but if you want a place to start, you might look at this post about ways to make a story easier to perform.
Why are you doing this?
Reason One: A lot of podfic meta talks about the connection between podfic acting and TV or movie acting. But there haven't been many stories written specifically for podfic before. This challenge will give us a chance to take that analogy a step further, and also dispel some of the sense that podfic is nothing but a format shift for stories intended to be read on paper.
Reason Two: We think it will be a fun and interesting challenge for authors to write something specifically meant to be performed. For podficcers, the interesting challenge will be figuring out how to adapt to this format and bring the story to life.
This is something we've been talking about for the past couple months, but the impetus for doing it now came from pennyplainknits's recent collaborative podfic project Spring Fling. We thought the whole thing was very inspiring and wanted to take the next step into making reader/author collaborations a part of fandom.
Okay, so how exactly will the collaborations go?
Again, the specifics are up to you. After matchups happen, we'll make a post so everyone can brainstorm ways this might go. Here are a few ideas we've had, though:
-Podficcers could give authors a list of their strengths as an actor, so the story can be written with those in mind. This might included character voices that the podficcer feels particularly confident about.
-Authors could send drafts to their podficcers for test reads. The podficcer would record a reading of the draft, send the recording back, and the author could make edits based on listening to it.
-Because the story is written to be performed, authors may decide to leave some details out of the written text (e.g. adverbs in speech tags) and could instead include this information in a note to the podficcer. Podficcers would then add those details into their performances.
-Podficcers could send drafts of the recording to the author for feedback and could make adjustments based on the author's comments.
These are just suggestions, though. This should be an equal collaboration, where neither side has more power than the other (although ultimately, the author gets the final say over the words of the story and the podficcer gets the final say over the performance). Beyond that, the details will be yours to decide. Be creative, have fun, and see what works best for you!
What is the Timeline?
May 16th individual sign ups open.
May 23rd group sign ups open.
May 27th sign ups close for both individuals and groups.
May 28th assignments go out to individuals.
June 17th check in #1.
July 1st check in #2.
July 10th fics/podfics due.
July 11th posting starts.
Posting will end depending on how many people sign up. Once all podfic/stories have been posted we will post a master list of them all.
Is there a minimum and maximum length for these stories?
The minimum length is 1000 words. Authors will need to talk to their podficcers to decide on a maximum length, since it will vary from one podficcer to another how much they can do in the allotted time. Here are a few statistics that might help with this decision: 1500 words is about 10 minutes of podfic, 10,000 words is about an hour, and one minute of finished podfic takes anywhere from 3 to 20 minutes of editing.
What’s the difference between Individual sign ups and Group sign ups?
If you sign up as an individual, the mods will assign you to a group. If there are authors and podficcers that already want to work with each other, they can sign up as a group rather than have a mod assign them to one. Group sign ups start a week after individual sign ups.
For individuals, when you sign up, we’ll ask you to list the fandoms you’d be interested in working in. Because this is a multifandom challenge, we encourage you to list as many fandoms as you’d be willing to work in. If you only list one or two rare fandoms, we run into the danger of not being able to match you up with anyone.
I signed up as an individual, but now I have a group, what do I do?
First of all, make sure you sign up at the group post sign ups. Group sign ups open May 23rd.
To cancel out your individual sign up, please leave a comment in response to your sign up comment stating that you’d like it withdrawn and a mod will screen it for you.
If you’re feeling adventurous you can leave your individual sign up as is and get a second group when assignments go out.
Will all groups be just one author and one podficcer?
Not necessarily. Since this is our first year running this challenge we’re not quite sure what the author/podficcer ratio will look like. When people are signing up they’ll be asked if they’d be willing to do more than one assignment if needed so we’ll hopefully be able to make sure everyone’s in a group that way but if need be we might assign more than one podficcer per author.
Which opens up all kinds of possibilities, like script format for multiple voices. If you’re at all interested in that kind of thing, we encourage you to leave a comment to that effect when you sign up.
If you’re signing up as a group you can have as many people in your group as you want. If you want to write and podfic your fic on your own, sign up as a "group" of 1. If you have multiple authors/podficcers that want to work together, go for it!
I’ve gotten my assignment, now what?
We strongly encourage authors and podficcers to start discussing their project right away. Find out what kind of story you both want to tell. You may share more than one fandom, there may be squicks that have to be considered. Even though it’s ultimately the author who writes the story, podficcers should be open about what kind of story they excel at recording and what they maybe struggle with. For example the reader might be awesome at crack but have trouble with sex scenes. Or maybe they are great with description but find dialogue harder.
Authors can help their podficcers out by talking about what kind of mood or atmosphere is in their fic, what the characters are feeling, etc.
Groups will also have to figure out what kind of time line they want to work with. We’ve given groups 5 weeks from start to finish but we haven’t said when the author has to get the story to the podficcer. Some authors/podficcers are really quick others are slower. You’ll want to talk amongst yourselves to find out how much time each will need and what length the story is going to be to get things done on time.
What are the check in points?
There are 2 scheduled check ins. We’re not setting specific dates as to when the fic must be finished and given to the podficcer, we’re hoping that groups can communicate their needs clearly to each other. The mods don’t want to have to babysit you but we want to be there if anyone needs help. Check ins help you make sure you’re on track to meeting your deadlines and also give you the chance to ask for help if you need it.
On the date in question one of the mods will make a post asking teams to check in. Comments will be screened so you can let us know privately if there’s anything wrong or if you’re on track.
What if I need to drop out?
Please let the mods and your group know right away. Please remember this is a group collaboration and if you think you might have to drop out, please consider your group members.
How do groups hand in their finished assignments?
Please email the mods the link to the podfic to: pod.together at gmail dot com If you have cover art please send us that file as well.
Podfics should be mp3 files. You’re welcome to send an m4b file as well; otherwise the mods will create one for you. All podfics will be hosted on paraka's website so we can ensure active downloads/streams when we post. We ask that everyone leave their podfic up for at least 6 months, however after that if you ever want/need to have it taken down, please email paraka at parakaproductions at gmail dot com.
Once the mods have the podfic uploaded they will send back an embed code and download URL that can be used for the podfic.
Authors should upload their fics to AO3 under the pod_together2011 collection with their podficcer(s) listed as co-authors. The embed and download code can be added to the AO3 entry.
When will my group's story be posted?
Once assignments have been handed in, the mods will make a posting schedule so you can know when to expect your story to be posted. Once the story has been made public here at AO3 you are free to link to or it in your normal places.
Podficcers please feel free to use the download link/embed code provided if you wish when posting elsewhere.
If you have any further questions please feel free to ask here or email us at pod.together at gmail dot com.