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A Prompt Contest for Audio Drama Shorts

The relatively new show called “Don’t Write Me Off” is a fresh take on an old favorite of the medium. That being an anthology show. It takes a page from shows like “Untold Tales” where there are multiple authors, but no overarching narrative connecting them. At the same time, it does have a frame. Not a frame like Pendant Productions “Seminar,” but something more along the lines of a meta narrative. An audio drama contest. Awards like Audioverse are great for audio dramas in the same way Sundance is good for films. “Don’t Write Me Off” has an award show as the frame and the stories themselves from writers who are given some they need to use courtesy of the creators and soon the winner of this show’s first season for the second one

The prompt for this first round of stories includes having a quaker as a character, an inciting incident of a magical fountain magically appearing, and a location described as “the end of the universe.” A character, location and an inciting incident are pretty much all the necessary ingredients needed to make any kind of story. The rest and how the story plays out is entirely up to the writer in question.

An Audio Drama Contest with Seven Episodes and Two Stories?

To say the stories lack a bit of variety applies to both the writing and sound design. While I get each writer wrote their own script of no more than 20 pages, there were a lot of similar elements. Having a location of the universe’s end can be taken a multitude of different ways. Making most of them be dream/vision sequences felt unimaginative. There were at least three stories which interpreted the end of the universe as a dead loved one talking from beyond the grave. The results varied wildly.

While the emotional impact of the visions was a mixed bag, how they are portrayed in the sound design is not. Little variation took place in how these dreamlike sequences were created. As if the same reverb settings applied to each one. This wouldn’t be a problem if there was some variety in how each one happened. All the scenes felt very cookie cutter.

For They Will Be Filled… in Oatworld

The first story, “Oatworld,” didn’t so much lay the groundwork for the anthology as it did set expectations for a listener expecting one genre of story. In a non-anthology, the show would a prime example of a broken promise to a listener. The kind where a writer starts off with one thing and ends a completely different story by the original’s resolution. In essence, you have two incomplete stories.

Of course, the people behind the scenes can’t account for the depth and breadth of all the scripts the writer’s submitted. A bit more care focus on the order in which people should listen to the episodes might kill two birds with one stone. The first bird being the back-to-back episodes of similar stories. It’s hard not to have selective hearing or tunnel vision when it comes to listening.

“For They Will Be Filled” and “Oatworld” deal heavily with food. The former of which has two sentient oatmeal cookies as the main characters. While this story is different than the others, it’s easily forgettable. “Oatworld,” which also happens to be the first episode deals with a duo of Quakers trying to convert people. Set in 1650s Pennsylvania, the story shifts to an alternate reality where oatmeal is a religion and it’s as ridiculous as it sounds. Jokes include anachronisms around cereal that hadn’t been created yet, and an actual conversation with God who swears and sounds like he belongs in a fraternity.

7/10 Stars