A Radio Drama About A Zombie Apocalypse Gains Traction During Pandemic
As social distancing continues, an old medium of storytelling is back in the spotlight: the radio drama.
David Benedict is the Atlanta resident behind Mercury: A Broadcast of Hope, a radio drama that tells the story of a college radio station during a zombie apocalypse.
Benedict's series is updated with a short, new episode each day. He said the brevity of each episode is why listeners have been eager to tune in.
"That's one of the ways we're able to maintain the daily schedule," he said. "So, five to seven minutes is the target and we have a number of listeners who have told us that they love the idea that they can wake up in the morning listening to the daily episode and then get out of bed."
The parallels between the themes of his story and the current pandemic aren't lost on Benedict. The series has always been about finding hope in tough situations, but that's taken on a heavier meaning now.
"Now that we're in sort of a semi-quarantined situation, it's gotten a lot harder because like all of us personally are having to go through our own challenges," he said. "And so some days it's really challenging for me to get up."
The cast and crew have had to change how they produce the show in order to socially distance themselves. Whereas they once had table reads and recording sessions at a local studio, they're now recording each episode over Skype.
Tony Sarrecchia is another dramatic podcast creator, who is currently finishing production on Scarlet Hood, a modern day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. He argued that now is the perfect time for a resurgence in the medium.
"As a culture, we're addicted to stories. It's in our DNA," he said. "So I think, you know, quality stories told via podcasts are just what people need."
With movie theaters shut down, Sarrecchia said that people now have time to seek out new forms of entertainment.
"Hollywood shut down. You're not getting any new any new media out of Hollywood," he said. "So people need the arts. No matter what anyone says."
Scarlet Hood is a story focused on Little Red Riding Hood as an adult.
He hoped the story would provide a narrative about a strong female character finding strength to keep moving on, especially during a difficult time like this.
"It's a story about a girl who killed a wolf who ate her grandmother," he said. "It's like, 'How did she come back from that? How did she find the strength?'"
For Benedict, he thinks now is the perfect time to dive into a new story.
"People have time on their hands that they did not have previously," he said. "That's why people gravitate to this."