Dim the Lights for The Dark Knight

This far removed from the era of vintage radio fiction, you don’t hear about voice actors being “the definitive actor” to play a character as much these days.

But the sad news of the passing of Kevin Conroy, longtime voice of Batman across multiple animated series and video games reminds us that for so many, he is the definitive Batman (and Bruce Wayne).

You can read some remembrances at NPR and the New York Times… and, in a fun homage, Gizmodo featured a collection of favorite Batman moments voiced by Conroy.

For all his friends, family, and fans, may his memory be a blessing.

Real Secret Societies You May Not Know

What with the casting going on for our show Quorum, we have secret societies on our mind, but what about the actual ones?

As Jackie Mansky writes for Smithsonian magazine, actual secret societies are often centered around good causes (certainly as far as the members are concerned). Not only that, but these days, they’re not too secret. Indeed, their existence is often in plain sight even if their purposes might seem mysterious.

Yeah, a traditional secret society in Quorum would totally be a front organization designed to throw people off track.

Or is that what we want you to believe?

Casting 15 Roles for Three Episodes of Quorum

We’re getting ready to record the next installments of our award-winning, puzzle-laden crime series Quorum, and we’re looking for a more than a dozen voice actors to join our cast.

All roles are paid, recording will be done both in-person and remotely with the director, and we’re looking for audition submissions by Saturday, November 5th.

Details below.

Quorum: The Harbor Pilot’s Tale

The Series and the Episodes

Quorum is a slow-burn mystery where various Hitckcockian protagonists find themselves caught up in the machinations of a global cabal bent on… what? While we aim to keep the twists and turns and connections to real-world events entertaining in and of themselves, curious listeners pick up additional clues with each episode.

“The Harbor Pilot’s Tale” is a standalone installment that starts connecting pieces of the Quorum’s ultimate aim during a particularly action-packed stormy night in Switzerland.

“The Attorneys” and “The Physicists” are ‘found footage’ installments that build out the world and characters of Quorum in anticipation of season 3.

Recording Locations and Dates

We have two recording spaces in the Washington, DC area where the majority of our shows have been recorded for the past few years. Since the pandemic, we’ve also started doing remote recordings with the voice talent’s home recording setup.

All sessions, whether remote or in-person, will be directed live by Quorum writer/director, William R. Coughlan.

If you plan to record remotely, please make sure to record your auditions with the same home recording set-up you plan to use if cast. While we’re asking for auditions in mp3 format, our show recordings are mastered as 48k 24-bit WAVs.

Recording sessions will be scheduled between November 19th and December 20th, 2022.

Compensation

We originate on the non-profit, low-power FM station WERA-LP in Arlington, Virginia, so our pay scale is more in the ‘stipend/honorarium’ range than commercial range. It is not covered by a SAG-AFTRA agreement.

There is a base rate of $75 for each recording session plus an additional rate per line (e.g., you’re the protagonist with more lines, you get paid more). We anticipate all the roles for this casting will require one recording session.

Submission Instructions

For convenience, the character descriptions are listed below and a full PDF of all the character descriptions and their sides may be found at this link.

You may submit for as many characters as you feel you are a good fit for.

Record with your best available recording setup, especially if you plan to record remotely if cast.

You may record up to three takes of a given character’s lines if you want, but we’re also fine with just one take.

Please export the files in mp3 format with the naming convention “CHARACTER_YOURNAME.mp3”

Each character should be a separate mp3 file. If you’ve done more than one take for that character’s lines, please have them in the same mp3 file.

Once you’re ready to submit, send us an email to casting@teamjabberwocky.com with the subject line “Quorum 2022 Casting – YOURNAME”

In the body of the email, please include:

  1. Which character(s) you’re auditioning for.
  2. If you prefer to record in-person or remotely
  3. If you prefer remotely, some details about your recording setup
  4. Attached mp3 files of each character you’re auditioning for with the naming convention “CHARACTER_YOURNAME.mp3”
  5. Attached acting/voice actor resumes, attached demo reels, or links to publicly available demo reels — which are entirely optional, but may be useful for this or future casting.
  6. Anything else you think we should know about you.

Auditions must be submitted by Saturday, November 5th, regardless of time zone (yes, we know procrastinating Hawaiian voice actors have the advantage here).

We plan to make casting decisions by mid-November in order to schedule recording sessions between November 19th and December 20th, 2022.

Everyone who submits will be notified when casting decisions have been made.

We look forward to your submissions.

The Characters

Note: Besides some of the obvious accents, some of the characters have entire lines in German. Sprechen Sie gut Deutsch? Machmal gut? Gar nicht gut? Doch, Erlichkeit ist gut.

Below are the character descriptions only. Full sides may be found at this link.

THE HARBOR PILOT’S TALE

Klaus Brunner (male, early 60s) is the episode’s protagonist, a former merchant marine captain due to retire from his career as a harbor pilot for the Schweizerische Rheinhäfen (the Port of Switzerland) in Basel — and at least somewhat eager to do so after recent health warnings from his doctor. His voice is raspy, weighted with age, and he speaks English with a pronounced Swiss-German accent. As our story begins, he has been called back from his trip home to enable the urgent late-night departure of the river cargo coaster Liparus.

Simone Laplace (female, late 30s) is a French physicist working at the Geneva CERN facilities who finds herself held captive inside a metal cargo container aboard the Liparus. Upon her discovery by Brunner, she struggles to piece together the rationale for her abduction while evading her captors — and worrying about the fates of her missing husband and daughter. (Note: This character will also appear in a bonus sponsor-exclusive episode exploring some of her back story, and may also recur in future seasons of Quorum.)

Lachlan MacKinnon (male, early 50s) is the Scottish captain of the Liparus, and speaks with a pronounced accent peppered liberally with Scottish slang. He is trusting of his core crew, and generally comes across as amiable, but is somewhat thrown by Brunner’s unexpected presence, and is cautious not to reveal too much. Though nominally in command, in reality he must accede to the demands of formidable passenger Francesca Salazar.

Francesca Salazar (female, 40s) is the Spanish representative of multinational corporation Camellirosa Shipping (and possibly another, less overtly acknowledged role), traveling aboard the Liparus and personally supervising a special cargo shipment. She is unashamedly demanding and authoritative, with a voice almost serpentine in its barely-constrained authority. (Note: This character is expected to recur in future seasons of Quorum.)

Herbie Pitt (male, late 30s) is the Australian second mate of the Liparus, largely tasked with ship’s navigation, but easily distracted by his latest mobile-game obsession. Outgoing and gregarious on the surface, his personality can switch on a dime once crossed, unearthing a more sinister, even sociopathic aspect.

Curt Colepaugh (male, early 40s) is the American chief mate of the Liparus, in charge of cargo operations. Experienced and outwardly businesslike, but wary of the ship’s new client, Salazar, and the uncertain lines of authority that her presence introduces.

Lynette Brunner (female, early 50s) is Klaus’s English wife, who left her life in England behind when the pair were married. Though not pushy, she strives to be a voice of reason in the face of Klaus’s obstinacy, and is eager for the pair to reach some level of normality in their lives once he retires.

Hans-Rudolf (male, 50s) is a German-speaking Swiss pilot boat operator and longtime friend and coworker of Klaus’s. This night he is charged with picking Klaus up from the Liparus once the latter has steered the vessel safely out of port.

Baskin (male, 40s) is an intimidating Eastern European enforcer working under Camellirosa executive Francesca Salazar. A man of few words, he is more apt to allow the array of destructive weaponry at his disposal speak for him — without necessarily thinking through the consequences.

The Broadcaster (any gender, any adult age) is a German-speaking navigational radio operator for the Port of Switzerland in Basel, belatedly checking on the whereabouts of pilot boat driver Hans-Rudolf following the departure of the Liparus.

THE ATTORNEYS

Allen Hill (male, 30s) is an ambitious Deputy-in-Charge of the Real Estate Fraud section of the LA County District Attorney’s office. After being tipped off to a series of criminal activities, he is eager to close his case with the help of his key witness.

Abril Ramas (female, 50s) is the lead attorney for Anton Kreitzer, a high-powered capitalist who has recently left the country after being unintentionally caught up in a criminal conspiracy.

Henry Cumberland (male, 50s) is the Fraud and Corruption Prosecutions Director of the LA County District Attorney’s office. Eager (or at least willing) to pursue the truth, but well aware of the political constraints in taking on a high-profile prosecution in Los Angeles.

THE PHYSICISTS

Michelle Andreoli (female, mid-20s) is an American graduate student brought on board Dr. Laplace’s quantum entanglement team at the CERN laboratories. She is eager to take on this challenging work, but may know more about the project than she initially lets on.

Jean-Phillipe (male, 30s) is a French CERN engineer assisting Dr. Laplace in her experiments at CERN.

Again, the full sides are available at this link.

Questions?

If any of your questions have not been answered, feel free to email us at casting@teamjabberwocky.com.

Broadcast Time Change on WERA

If you’re one of the folks who listen to us live on the air (including live streaming over the internet), we have news!

Starting this month, Jabberwocky Audio Theater is moving from Sundays at 4pm ET to Sundays at 3pm ET.

WERA, live on the air

This is part of an overall move on the station’s part to consolidate similar programs, so we’ll still be followed by our fellow audio fiction show The Hawk Chronicles, but now follow Paul McGehee’s Time Machine.

Now you can enjoy a big block of audio fiction and history every Sunday afternoon. That schedule again is:

  • 1:30pm ET – Paul McGehee’s Time Machine
  • 3:00pm ET – Jabberwocky Audio Theater
  • 3:30pm ET – The Hawk Chronicles

JAT Jot # 17: September 2022

JAT Jot

An update for September 2022 including:

1) A thank you to everyone who supported us for the People’s Choice Podcast Awards. (There’s always next year)

2) We’ll be airing at the Minnesota Webfest from September 25th to September 28th.

3) We’ll be airing at the Miami Web Fest from September 29th to October 2nd.

4) You can sign up for our mailing list on our web site

5) You can get dozens of bonus goodies by backing us on Patreon.

Going Rogue

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 ChronicleI first heard about entertainer Brian Brushwood when he was interviewed for the Skepticality podcast back in 2009. A sort of cross between magician, comedian, and sideshow performer, Brushwood had an ongoing stage show called Bizarre Magic, appearing regularly at college campuses across the country. He also hosted a YouTube show called Scam School, in which he would good-naturedly perform close-up magic or brain teasers at various San Francisco-area bars and restaurants, soliciting drinks in exchange for explaining the mystifying secret behind the trick or puzzle. His bizarre, spiked hairstyle and gregarious personality made for entertaining viewing, and I learned quite a few tricks from him — even teaching my then-nine-year-old daughter some of them so she could amaze the whole family with her magical talents.

In fact, everything Skitch does in “All That Glitters” is completely factually accurate… Jimmy’s shock at how simple — and inexpensive — this process was definitely mirrored my own.

In 2012, after Discovery Networks purchased Division3, the publisher of Scam School, Brushwood took advantage of the transition to move the show’s base of operations from San Francisco to his home city of Austin, Texas. Once there, Brushwood was more regularly able to bring occasional guests onto the show, frequently other magicians who would demonstrate their close-up magic skills. But in addition to magicians, he brought in experts with skills in other areas — notably picking locks.

Brushwood had discussed lockpicking before, likely a logical outgrowth of the “escape artist” school of magic, during the San Francisco run of Scam School. In fact, I first learned about using the “bump keys” Jimmy makes passing mention of back in a 2010 episode. But it turns out there is an entire community in Austin — the Longhorn Lockpicking Club, led by lockpicking champion JGor — that picks locks competitively. JGor and other members appeared several times on the show, demonstrating how to pick everything from door locks to bicycle locks to padlocks and even handcuffs with simple, everyday items. (One thing that became abundantly clear was just how inaccurately the process of lockpicking is normally depicted in the movies — but for the record, Linda Hamilton gets it pretty close to right in Terminator 2). Brushwood would eventually open an online merchandise shop — called, appropriately enough, Scam Stuff — where he would make available many of the tools of the lockpicking trade, including not just bump keys and lockpick sets, but transparent padlocks and full lockpick-training setups. (I may or may not have availed myself of some of those learning opportunities.)


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

JAT Jot # 16: July 2022

JAT Jot

Here in July 2022 to let you know three things:

1) We should be back on the terrestrial airwaves this month

2) This month’s Patreon bonus segment is about the origins of Quorum character names.

3) This month, we need you to go to https://www.podcastawards.com/ and nominate “Quorum” in the Fiction category for the People’s Choice Podcast Awards.

It’s time for the People’s Choice Podcast Award Nominations!

Okay, the JAT Phone technically isn’t a thing, but if it was, it’d look something like this:

Will you answer the call?

Why’s it ringing? Because the 2022 People’s Choice Podcast Awards are upon us and we need your help!

What can you do?

  1. Go to the Podcast Awards website
  2. Register for free (this allows you to nominate now and potentially vote on finalists later).
  3. Nominate “Quorum” in the “Fiction” category.

But please take the time to do it now! The nomination period and the registration deadline to be able to vote on the finalists is Sunday, July 31st, 2022!


In case you want some screenshots, here you go.

First go to the Podcast Awards website. You should see a screen that has a blue box for nominating podcasts:

After you click on the blue box, you’ll be taken to a registration page:

Don’t forget to check that checkbox near the bottom about being randomly selected to vote on the final slate in August! Hopefully, Quorum will be among the finalists.

Once you’re registered, you can log in and see the categories listed alphabetically, so you’ll likely need to scroll down to see “Fiction” and select Quorum. Feel free to nominate shows in other categories you’re interested in, but you don’t need to nominate someone in all the categories.

Once you’re sure of your selection, you can click the “save” button at the bottom of the screen and it will lock in those categories you selected. You can always come back and add nominations, but we don’t know of a way for you to unlock your saved nominations, so take your time.

Then, we wait for news of whether we’ve made the cut.

Thank you all so much for your support and we hope to have good news in August!

Where Everybody Knows Your Name: The Characters of “All That Glitters”

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 ChronicleThe primary character-naming convention of “All That Glitters” started as a kind of inside joke. By way of background, the scene where Jimmy impresses a big-time L.A. venture capitalist — initially named “Bob Lawrence” — appeared in the very first draft of The Gambler’s Tale, way back in early 2011. At the time, the story had Jimmy hastily departing Las Vegas for Los Angeles — with Big Mike, no less — immediately following the car bomb that apparently took Will Archer’s life. At the time, I was envisioning the tale as a single story arc, as opposed to subdividing it into separate “seasons.” But once I opted to keep the action in Las Vegas for the inaugural story arc, now called “Outstanding Debts,” this scene quickly ended up on the cutting room floor. But I knew I’d be bringing the character back in season two.

The decision to make Malone a corrupt police detective came fairly late in the process, but served to add another element of menace — not only would he be physically untouchable, but he would also be, to a large degree, immune from legal consequence.

Even before I finished that initial script, I worked up a “story bible” for the series, a sort of master blueprint to make sure I kept the plot and characters consistent. Not a complete script, or even a full outline, but mapping out the major beats for each season and defining the key characters. So now, I started developing this investor character in greater depth, working out his key personality traits. He had to be engaging and personable, but with a ruthless quality — something lurking beneath the surface that would only come to the fore when he was crossed. Not quite so simple as turning a switch on or off, but still a transition that could happen surprisingly quickly. At the risk of going into some vague spoilers, while we see hints of that transformation in “All That Glitters,” it promises to become more evident in our third-season story arc.

For some reason, an old Cheers episode popped into my head, 1989’s “The Two Faces of Norm,” in which barfly Norm Peterson is taken advantage of by his painting-business staff, who see him as a lovable pushover. To whip his team into shape, he invents a fictional “business partner,” Anton Kreitzer, who can be the hard-nosed taskmaster while Norm remains the affable, good-natured buddy. At one point, Norm even has to adopt the Kreitzer persona in an attempt to keep up the ruse — which naturally falls apart in typical sitcom fashion. Amused, I penciled in the name “Anton Kreitzer” for my venture capitalist and didn’t think much more about it. Later, rewriting his introduction to the story, and having already added Eleanor Wallis to the scene, I realized I needed another character in the mix, to provide an additional point of potential conflict. And if I had one character named for Norm, why not name this new character for Norm’s near-constant barstool companion? So Cliff — short for Clifford — became Ford.

From there, throughout the entire writing process, I started sticking in Cheers character names. MaloneChambersBoydPantusso — that’s Coach’s last name, by the way — and even a bunch of secondary characters, like Tom, Paul, Drake, and Gittes, who’s actually named for Harry Anderson’s flim-flam character rather than for Jack Nicholson’s Chinatown protagonist. None of the Quorum characters are really anything like their Cheers namesakes, but once I got rolling, it just sort of stuck. I even threw in a reference to a “Screaming Viking,” a fictional drink featured in the show.


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