Give These People Your Money: Night Terrace

Night Terrace is a series of hilarious, smart and witty science fiction comedy audioplays about a terrace house that travels randomly in space and time with a retired superspy and a door-to-door power company salesperson inside it.

It stars Jackie Woodburne (aka “Susan from Neighbours“) as Anastasia Black (the superspy), Ben McKenzie as Eddie Jones (the salesperson) and Petra Eliot as Sue, a mysterious disembodied purveyor of cryptic sometimes completely unhelpful advice who may actually know quite a lot about the house and why it does what it does. But why waste words describing Night Terrace, when you can listen to Episode One of Series One for free for yourself?

Following on from the success of Night Terrace Series One (including recently receiving an Aurealis Award), Series Two is currently being crowdfunded, with around a week to go to reach its target. If listening to Episode One (see above) isn’t enough to get you pledging to the creation of even more Night Terrace, here’s Night Terrace co-founder Mr. John Richards to elaborate on the show and why you really should back it.

Was doing a second season of Night Terrace always part of the plan?

John: I was always focused on just getting season one made, but others in the group (looking at YOU, Lee Zachariah) had other ideas. There’s actually something important about Season Two planted in the first two minutes of the first episode. And we know what Season Three will be about now as well. But as a deeply scientific-leaning man I worry about jinxes.

Had you worked in scripted audio/radio plays before working on Night Terrace?

John: David Ashton (co-creator, writer, Master Of All Sound) and I used to be part of The Third Ear, a radio comedy team. We did a sketch show for years on RRR, and sketches for various ABC stations including a half-hour sitcom for Radio National. I’ve also written some sketches for BBC radio (none of which made the final cut of the episode, but which delighted dozens of listeners at the live recording!). We all have a deep love of audio drama and content, especially from our Spiritual Fairy Godmothers at Big Finish, who have been extremely generous with advice and support.

What inspirations did you draw on when creating Night Terrace?

John: This was interesting for me, as we actually started not with an idea, but with an audience for an idea, which I’d never done before. We were coming to the end of Splendid Chaps, our startlingly successful Doctor Who live show/podcast project, and we loved our audience so much we wanted to keep them!

We’d built such a fantastically engaged body of listeners, people who were smart and funny, that we wanted to come up with a project to suit them. We had background in comedy and narrative drama, so that seemed the next logical step, and we wanted something that would appeal to Doctor Who fans while still being original. So our first meeting was to come up with something that ticked all the boxes of what we were interested in, without copying anything else.

We had an idea for a U.N.I.T. style comedy about The D.E.P.A.R.T.M.E.N.T. but I felt that would be too close to Graham Duff‘s Nebulous. And we had to avoid being too much like Hitch Hikers, or Red Dwarf, or My Favourite Martian, or Quark… we had a big list of all previous science fiction comedies! And we knew we wanted a female lead. So the idea of a show that was a bit like a female-led Doctor Who but with a vague X-Files-y backstory ended up being the one. I think Ben came up with the idea of a moving house and we went from there. Of course later on you pointed out there’d been an Australian kid’s sitcom with Ron Blanchard in it back in the 1980s that did that, so there’s no new ideas!

What’s your favourite episode from Season One?

John: I really love Season One in it’s entirety! Of my three episodes it would have to be “Sound & Fuhrer” [set on a New-Zealand-built asteroid theme park staffed by android Hitlers], mostly because I didn’t have to set anything up or finish anything off so I got to just write a big adventure story (with some discussion of how we see history as the subtext). I love Lee’s “Starship Australis” [set on a spaceship built to resemble the “best bits” of Australia], which is such a huge production, it sounds epic. Ben’s murder mystery one, “Time Of Death” [a time-twisted 1920s murder mystery] is brilliant, especially the scene-chewing from the awesome Virgina Gay as 1920s murder-solving heroine Miss Baker. And “The Outsourcing” [set on a planet whose corporate owners have taken outsourcing to a recursive extreme] was one that really grabbed people and which makes me laugh from beginning to end (especially when the fantastic Toby Truslove gets to play a butch space marine type). I can list the other episodes as well, if you like…

What’s the best response you’ve had so far to Season One?

John: Hearing people spontaneously say “HE WAS YOUR LOVEEEEERRRRRR!” in the style of Miss Baker NEVER gets old. Also, we won an award. Did I mention we won an award? We’re award-winning now.

Give us a quick teaser for Night Terrace Season Two.

John: Anastasia and Eddie are back, now joined by the less-mysterious-than-last-time Sue. We’re going to explore the difference between being a tourist and being a traveller, and taking responsibilty for your own actions. We’ll learn more about how the house works, and it won’t necessarily be good. We’ll be visiting the past, the future, and outer space. And Jane Badler will return!

Why do you think people should give you money so you can make Season Two?

John: This sort of content will not exist unless we all will it into life, especially in Australia. So if you want more science fiction comedy (and especially female-led science fiction comedy) then $25 for 4 hours of it is a pretty good deal. This literally cannot exist without the largesse of our listeners. Audio is a lot cheaper than television, but we’re still paying for actors, studios, etc. Also, it’s funny. You can check out episode one in its entirety on the kickstarter to see if it takes your fancy. And did I mention the award?

If you want to find out more about Night Terrace, or if you just want to give the Night Terrace team some money so they can make Season Two, head over to their Kickstarter page now. They’re currently sitting at around 90% funded, but they have some awesomesauce stretch goals if they raise over their funding goal, including a live episode and a musical episode too.

And I don’t say “give them money” only because I want to be able to listen to a second season of Night Terrace (not only) – I want YOU to be able to listen to it too.

Just not quite as much as I want me to be able to.

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Posted in i would like to recommend these people's writing

“Lip Tongued Hot Sex”

I’ll admit that self-googling is a bit indulgent, but this is not what I had in mind when I set up alerts for my books.

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Posted in crappin' on about the inconsequential, hee hee hee hee heeee, Not Quite the Man for the Job

The Best Possible Follow-up to That Blog I Wrote About That Poem I Wrote

The one I rambled about here? I got an email over the weekend from Australian Poetry Journal asking for a bio to go with the poem because they want to publish it in (I think) the July issue of APJ. Which is really unexpected, given my track record in recent years for successful poetry submissions, but hey four days is definitely less than ninety, so that’s pretty nice.

Of course the irrational lizard part of my brain is now determined to test the association between that blog post and this quick turnaround, and it’ll be hard hard hard not to post another snarky blog about how long it takes to hear back about submissions the next time I send anything out into the scary big world of journals.

Anyway, gettin’ published: yay.

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Posted in crappin' on about the inconsequential, i would like to recommend these people's writing, the writing process

Favourite New Who Episodes by Doctor (because why not right?)

Friends of mine on Facebook were talking about a Doctor Who rewatch night they had to celebrate 10 years since the first episode of the new series was screened back in 2005. They voted among themselves to decide which episode featuring each of the four actors to play the Doctor they would watch, and came up with this list:

  • For Doctor #9  they picked “End of the World”, in which the Doctor and Rose travel to the future to watch from the safety of a satellite as the earth dies.
  • For Doctor #10 they picked “Blink”, in which the Doctor and Martha meet/escape from the Weeping Angels by recording a bunch of DVD easter eggs and using them to matchmake a young woman and a videostore nerd.
  • For Doctor #11 they picked “The Eleventh Hour”, in which the newly-regenerated Doctor meets Amy Pond twice (once as an 11-year-old and once as a twenty something), then chases off an escaped alien prisoner and the alien race that imprisoned it.
  • For Doctor #12 they picked “Mummy on the Orient Express”, in which the Doctor and Clara get caught up in a retro-1920s whodunnit on a train in space involving an ancient space-mummy curse.

All fine episodes, eminently watchable. Which I plan to do myself very soon. But it got me thinking about what my own 10-years-of-Having-Doctor-Who-on-Telly-Again one-ep-per-Doctor watchback list would be, and I came up with this (spoilers obv):

Read more ›

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Posted in crappin' on about the inconsequential, Me and my opinions

So I wrote a new poem today

and I really think it’s a good one so I sent it off to a few magazines and lets see what they all say right?

And all of the automatic responses from submittable came back bam bam bam bam which is great that’s using automated systems in a smart way all of the autoreplies very kind and polite and based on all of those kind autoreplies it looks like I’m not going to know whether any of them want this poem UNTIL JUNE AT THE VERY EARLIEST.

Oh and PS in the meantime please don’t publish it on your blog or we don’t want it any more.

Like I said I’m pretty proud of this wee poem and I’m jonesing to get some kind of reader response about it and it’d be great to have it published in print somewhere or even dare I say it get paid for it too but hot damn that’s a long time to have to wait for anyone to see the freakin’ thing.

I get it, I mean, but I’m just sayin’.

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Posted in crappin' on about the inconsequential, Me and my opinions, new poems, the writing process

Behind the Scenes: The REAL AR Fox!

Originally posted on Aramis Fox:

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 9.19.39 pm

I didn’t know this when I started writing Aramis Fox, but there’s a wrestler out there who’s got the same name as my twitter account: AR Fox. I found this out when fans of his started “@”-ing me.

Like a lot of people on twitter, I keep close track of when other people mention me, so I was onto it pretty quick when the @arfox notifications icon started getting all red-number-y. Who could it be, mentioning my little twitter fiction experiment? I wondered. What could I have done to have merited mild accolades from random people (or possibly my friends) on the social media? 

Short answer: nothing.

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Posted in writing

Reviewed: Secrets of the Photocopier vs. Jutchy Ya Ya #48

David Prater just posted up a review of
all of the reviews his latest poetry book, Leaves of Glass, received in 2014
, noting that even though there were only 5 for the year, that’s a pretty good swag for a book of contemporary Australian poetry.

Many books never get so many as that. That they’re all effusively complementary, and placed in undeniably venerable journals, is certainly a bonus, David says.

It got me thinking about the world of the zinemaker and the even more precarious likelihood of anyone ever reviewing your work ever, ever. David may be rightfully stoked to have scored 5x reviews for his poetry book in a single year, but from my perspective I’m 100x more stoked when I hear about even one review of any of my zines in a single year.

No matter whether it’s negative or positive, the simple acknowledgement of existence that’s embodied in a zine review always leaves me with a warm glow. Hence this link to Secrets of the Photocopier’s review of Jutchy Ya Ya #48.

Elle may have concluded that my zine is trying so hard to be nice, quirky and humble that it ends up being smug and annoying, but I’m of the school of thought that this conclusion is largely a matter of taste, choosing instead to be pleased that someone took the time to read one of my zines carefully and with deliberation, describing it in enough detail that any independent reader of the resulting review could easily make their own mind up about whether or not to risk the time and effort it might take to chase down a copy so they could experience Jutchy Ya Ya #48 for themselves.

Which you can also do by clicking here, if you’re so inclined.

Edit: Elle read this and got in touch to clarify with me that she doesn’t think I’m trying to be nice – she thinks I am nice, which can still be annoying all the same. Which I totally understand and which is also very sweet of her.

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Posted in i would like to recommend these people's writing, jutchy ya ya, the writing process, zines
Like what you read?
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Also I Write This Twitter Fiction Thing Called Aramis Fox
Quelle Grammage!
The Brothers Beetle Blue. My makeshift standing desk companions for today. Spidey-nappin'. See Reverse for Details. Yeah nah, nah yeah.

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