I Live and Die by Bob Ross
This week I released the season finale Ace Tucker Space Trucker Season One. It was a bittersweet moment when I finalized the MP3 and hit upload. I had spent roughly 500 hours of the past several months recording myself talking in silly voices, editing, scoring, more editing, etc. to create the greatest feat of audio creation I had ever done. Before that, I had spent more than a year writing a novel that would later become the scripts for season one. So, long story, short, I had devoted a huge chunk of my time and energy to make this wild show and it was now over. At least temporarily. Ace Tucker will live again in Season Two. But first I need a little break because making this stuff is @$^% HARD.
You might be asking, “If it’s so goddamn hard, why do it?”
Well, Chachi, I do it BECAUSE it is hard. Making cool stuff is hard (see my previous post about how I went around a giant tree for 20 years to get to where I am today). I do it because I get to use almost every color in my creative spectrum. Writing, acting, editing, audio engineering, songwriting, scoring... I smear it all on a digital palette and use it to PAINT with sound.
As made famous by Bob Ross, I live and die by the “happy little accident.” I take hundreds (some sometime thousands) of individual snippets of sound and combine them to make a logical, (hopefully) entertaining and immersive story.
When I decided to tell this story as an audio drama, complete with sound effects, music, scoring and multiple characters all performed by myself, I decided to do it 17 individual episodes. It takes me anywhere between 20 to 40 hours to create each episode of Ace Tucker Space Trucker. I might do another post or maybe *gasp* a podcast in the future where I break down my process from start to finish but for now, just know I do it little by little, layering things on top of each other one by one until it sounds “right.” It’s almost all educated guesses and happy little accidents. I have to experiment with everything at almost every point in the process. Since this project (Season One) is so massive, I have to move FAST.
You might think 20 - 40 hours per episode is far from moving fast but let me tell you, if I succumbed to my inner critic at every step of the way, I’d STILL be working on episode one! I have to get things to where I assume they make sense and sound good, then move on. End of story. There is too much to do to allow for second-guessing.
I am fortunate in that I do have a bit of a safety net if my manic decisions send me over a ledge. I make my wife listen to every episode, to make sure everything sounds right and makes sense. She has a great ear and is a casual sci-fi fan (far from the super dork I am). She’s made critical suggestions along the way to make things more understandable for listeners. She also lets me know when I have the music too damn loud. I tend to mix it way up because, ya know, I like to ROCK.
Speaking of music, here’s a little fun fact about Ace Tucker Space Trucker: both the first and the last episodes of Season One featured a cover of the classic Ramones song “Rockaway Beach” recorded by my band, Red Hot Rebellion.
Our version is a little more raw than the original, as we tried to inject our signature rawk n roar style in the song. Ivan Chimpanov, the Ramones-loving Russian cyborg chimp, would approve of our version, I think.
The track is not currently available for sale but as a THANK YOU for being awesome, I want to give it to you for free - no strings attached. CLICK HERE to download.
If you like the track you might also consider subscribing to the Ace Tucker Space Trucker podcast (links to podcast aggregators at the bottom of the page), rate/review the podcast, and/or checking out Red Hot Rebellion’s album, The Mission. It is a 13 song concept album and 60 page graphic novel about a band of aliens who come to Earth to save the world with the power of Rock ‘n’ Roll!! Believe me, you’ll dig it. Fun fact: it actually takes place in the same shared universe as Ace Tucker Space Trucker. Crossover potential? I dunno. Maybe. Probably. Some day.
Please stay tuned because I have a lot more music and crazy stories to share with you. We’re just getting started.25 September 2017