Building the L.A. of “All That Glitters”: Obsessing Over the Details

This article excerpt, part of a series entitled The Quorum Chronicle, appears in full — along with expanded audio content — exclusively for our Patreon backers. See our Patreon page for further details.

The Quorum ChronicleAs an author, when crafting any new story, it’s important to make sure your environment is fleshed out as much as possible. For one thing, even if much of that background material is never explicitly referenced in the final result, it helps you avoid inconsistencies — which careful readers, viewers, or listeners will notice, no matter how much you might try to convince yourself otherwise. For another, it gives you a foundation on which to make revisions — and rest assured, no matter how confident you are in your initial outlines, there will be revisions. And finally, it ensures that your world has the same kind of tonal consistency as your story and characters.

The Hall of Records is a genuine location, and one I couldn’t readily fictionalize without breaking the illusion of reality… but for the sake of storytelling, I opted to retain the location while dramatizing its contents.

The first season of The Gambler’s Tale, “Outstanding Debts,” was set in and around Las Vegas, and I took great pains to make sure my representation of the city was as thorough as possible. That’s not to say it was completely, factually accurate, but it was based in reality — which meant that any time I deviated from reality, I did so intentionally, and made sure that within the bounds of my tale, everything remained consistent. The casinos and other locations may have been fictional, but I made sure I knew where each of them was situated geographically, even to the point of checking traffic routes and distances between them. Anyone who’s spent any time in Las Vegas — and, admittedly, my time there has been limited — will know there’s a big difference between the classic casinos on Fremont Street and the Strip-based megaresorts.

This season, The Gambler’s Tale heads to Los Angeles with “All That Glitters.” And once again, I wanted to make sure to present the city in as detailed a manner as possible. Again, that’s not to say it’s exactly accurate in the strictest sense, but any alterations to reality are made with deliberate intent. For example, we feature several real-life locations and landmarks — such as the Griffith Park Observatory, the Roosevelt Hotel, the Exposition Park Rose Garden, the L.A. Civic Center, and the viaducts crossing the Los Angeles River — but just as many fictional ones. As a general rule of thumb, in cases where I’d be depicting these locations as they appear in real life — or where they were too iconic to reimagine as fictional alternatives — I would go ahead and reference them directly. But in instances where the location was purely fictional, even if comparable to some real-life location, I’d take the time to give it its own distinct flavor, while still anchoring it alongside its real-world analogue (or analogues).

Be sure to check out the complete article, in both text and enhanced audio formats, along with the rest of The Quorum Chronicle series, at our Patreon page. And thanks so much for your continuing support of Jabberwocky Audio Theater!

— William R. Coughlan, writer/director of Quorum

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