You haven’t heard from us for a long time. We’re sincerely sorry for the silence. However, it is for a Really Good Reason. We’re deep in the editing phase, and it is slow going.
During our weekend in Minneapolis, we recorded a little bit over ten hours of data in two days. Now, Lindsay is sorting through the files in Garage Band, editing out the mistakes and hiccups. Once an episode’s file is clean, she passes it on to Vince.
Vince is using Logic to mix the episodes, adding the sound effects and making magic. This also is slow going.
“How slow is it?” I’ve been using The Pomodoro Technique to stay on task and productive, because otherwise my spine whines, my eyeballs complain, and I start gnashing my teeth and screaming at myself when I make mistakes. Episode 10, alone, took 20 Pomodoros. I’ll let you do the math.
One of the things we’ve learned is that there are very good reasons to record actors separately, in their own sound booths. It makes things much easier to edit and mix afterwards. However, if it comes down to a choice between carefully picking apart a sound wave to separate where one performer talked over another, or having the actors separated in performance, I’ll gladly pick the former. Good actors can always imagine environment, stakes, other characters. It’s why Bob Hoskins was engaging in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, or why Benedict Cumberbatch’s Smaug is more than just an animated lizard. But, in our case we had a choice, and that choice was to have the performers able to look each other in the eye.
Almost all of the dialogue editing is complete. This isn’t really important right now. What is important is…
I promised that letters would go out late in the summer. They will. I’m going to send out a backer survey very soon to those who picked the letter option, and soon you’ll receive your one-of-a-kind tangible personal art object from the Jarnsaxa Rising character of your choice.
In the meantime, stay tuned, there’s more to come.
Vince and I are now back in Philadelphia. We have to get the house back in order and deprogram our pets, who seem to have been convinced we would never return. Soon I’ll post some more about the recording process and what we learned. Suffice it to say, the experience was amazing. The people who worked on this are the most positive, productive people I’ve ever met. But right now, I need to shut my eyes and meditate on this for a bit. We have our editing work cut out for us.
Jarnsaxa Rising’s Indiegogo campaign is complete. As I write this, we are in Minneapolis*. Tonight, we have our first table reading with the cast and director. As I’m writing this, Vince is taking a well-earned nap, for putting up with an over-excited playwright. I’m watching raindrops on maple leaves outside the window, and getting all my notes and administrative stuff in order.
Thank you to everyone who contributed, who passed along links to the campaign, who clicked “like” and “share” buttons, and who patted me on the back when I said, “crowdfunding is scary.” Thank you to everyone who made me explain my ideas so I could focus and clarify them, including my thirteen year old friend Archer, who, at one point, said, “Is this a comedy?”
Speaking of since fiction and comedy, we also have to thank the creative team behind The Hadron Gospel Hour. I started listening to their podcast a few months ago, and enjoyed it enough that Jarnsaxa has been taunting their characters on Twitter. They were kind enough to promote our Indiegogo campaign, and I didn’t even had to ask them. Like our characters, The Hadron Gospel Hour’s Dr. Oppenheimer and Mike travel through space and time trying to make things right. However, they’re less vengeful, and funnier.
There is no playbook for, “let’s travel halfway across the country to record a science fiction revenge tragedy audio drama serial,” and the risk has been nerve wracking at times. Having people say, “Of course this is a good idea,” gives us strength and courage.
Thank you again for helping us take risks and bring an unusual story to life.
*If you’re saying to yourself, “Self, doesn’t that mean that their house is unguarded?” then you can guess again. If you’re casing out our house, you have probably already met our police-trained and extremely dangerous house-sitter. He waters plants, cuddles cats, and strikes without warning. Good luck with that.
Winter will come, and stay. Feuds will break out. All morality will disappear. The cock will crow, and the wolf will devour the sun. Heimdall shall blow his horn, summoning the Aesir to the field of battle, and Ragnarök shall begin.
-a handwritten thank-you note from the character of your choice (a one of a kind work of mail art. your character might even draw. not very well, though. none of these characters are good at drawing, even though they enjoy it).
– Your praises sung (textually) on social media
-Access to the secret, members only section of our web site, with behind the scenes content.
If you prefer, you can receive membership benefits, but keep it a secret that you supported us. Some people prefer their privacy, and that is 100% fine with us.
Delta Rae Giordano will portray Jarnsaxa Rising’s alpha and omega of magic and theology. As Sister Margareta, she’ll dispense early Christian justice via a witch trial. As Vala, she’s the spiritual seer, official speaker, and legal advisor to Thrym, King of Jotunheim. That’s a lot of power, but she’s a powerhouse.
Viking society depended on women for strategy and cultural cues. The oldest and best known poem in Scandinavian culture opens The Poetic Edda. This poem, The Völuspá, is a seeress’ vision of the creation and end of the world, told to Odin. These prophetesses went by several different titles: völva (wand carrier), fjolkunnig (magical knowledge), or spækona (seer). As followers of Freya, they travelled, often in groups, to provide advice and ritual, particularly in time of crisis. Not only were their rituals performed with wands, but also the distaff and loom were used, to spin or knot spiritual threads. The Osenberg ship, one of the best-preserved archaeological relics of Viking culture, included the bodies of women, one or both of whom may have been a völva (relics found included a wand made of wood). Vala, seer to the King of Jotunheim, does not travel, but has nearly the same status as the king. Her visions give her authority over public policy and The King’s decisions. However, visions are not always perfectly clear, and Vala’s interpretation may be biased by opportunism.
Sister Margareta represents some of the early Christian influence in Scandinavia. This process had a longer establishment than on other parts of the world; maybe because of the cold, maybe because early Scandinavians were very happy with their system of beliefs and resisted change. During the middle ages, many missionaries found compromise with pagan beliefs worked better. Places sacred to the Norse Gods were consecrated to saints, and imagery of Mjölnir was incorporated with the cross. This character is named for Margareta, a Swedish missionary who practiced in the late 14th and early 15th centuries. She was from the Sami people (also known as Laplanders)m and fought hard to convert them from polytheistic paganism. This hard fight worsened when Thomas Von Westen burnt their sacred objects and destroyed many of their sacred places in the 18th century. Margareta was said to have visions, for which the church investigated her, unable to determine if the visions came from God or Satan. She must have been a fierce woman.
Delta Rae Giordano is pleased to join the cast of JARNSAXA RISING and embark on her first collaboration with writer Lindsay Harris-Friel and first podcast project. As a freelance actor in the Twin Cities, Delta has performed with Theatre Pro Rata (EMILIE: LA MARQUISE DU CHATELET DEFENDS HER LIFE TONIGHT, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW), Illusion Theater (three tours of MY ÁNTONIA, FRESH INK: MIRANDA), as well as Teatro del Pueblo, Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company, Nimbus Theatre and several others. She was a company member with Theatre Unbound from 2004-14 and appeared in more than a dozen productions including the world premieres of SILKWORMS: A NUN PLAY, THE GOOD FIGHT and FRANKENSTEIN INCARNATE: THE PASSIONS OF MARY SHELLEY (directed by Carin Bratlie). Most recently she participated as an actor and an adoptee in the ADOPTION PLAY PROJECT with Wonderlust Productions. Originally from California, Delta is a graduate of Los Angeles City College Theatre Academy and the University of California at Santa Barbara.
What made you decide that you wanted to do this project?
It was a chance to work with Theatre Pro Rata again, as well as some firsts for me — working with writer Lindsay Harris-Friel, learning more about Norse mythology, and doing a science fiction audio drama.
Who’s your favorite character from Norse Mythology?
I don’t think I know enough to say I have a favorite, but maybe Skade who is described as the “goddess of skiers.” I was reading about how she loved the mountains but had to marry Njord who loved the seashore. They tried living at the beach and then in the mountains, and later decided amiably to live separately in the places they loved. I’m from southern California originally and love the coast but I’m in awe of people who can ski well.
What are you reading these days?
I’ve been to California a few times recently, and I like to read stories about places where I’m traveling, so I’m finishing up one of the Lew Archer novels by Ross Macdonald, The Way Some People Die. Archer has to track a case from L.A. to Palm Springs to San Francisco and gets into some dicey situations. MacDonald’s descriptions of people and places are physically detailed with some social commentary thrown in.
Also I checked out D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths from the library as research for this project, and as soon as I saw the illustrations I realized that I must have read this book when I was a kid.
What’s your favorite pre-performance ritual?
It depends on the material — I might spend more time warming up physically and vocally for some shows than others. I usually try to have some quiet time before jumping in.
What’s under your bed right now?
Mostly clothes, but not a random pile o’ clothes because we have a bed with storage drawers.
Want to be part of something exciting this summer? Of course you do. You should join Jarnsaxa Rising’s Indiegogo campaign. Besides being gluten-free, fat-free, sugar-free, non-alcoholic and hypoallergenic, here are some more reasons you want to be part of The Next Big Thing.
1) Audio drama provides unique sensory stimulation and possibility for imagination not experienced in other entertainment. It frees your mind to supply visual elements, while letting your eyes and hands do other important things, like knitting.
2) You can receive a one-of-a-kind, handmade gift; a thank you letter written to you by one of the characters from the story. If you choose, it can also be a love letter, a poison pen letter, or a memo firing you from the Corporation. Who doesn’t want to be taunted in writing by Loki?
3) Membership has its privileges. When you join us at the $20 level or above, you get the password to the section of our website containing behind-the-scenes interviews, photographs from the rehearsal and recording sessions, and recordings that won’t be made available to the general public. It’s like going to a backstage party, but without the hassle of transportation or parking.
4) Listening to podcasts before going to sleep helps your mind wind down, and may cause more exciting dreams. They also make great companions for commuting, exercise, house cleaning, gardening, laundry, and litter box scooping. Night or day, our story is here for you.
5) This podcast will be made available in the fall of 2015, and it will be free for everyone. However, you’ll be one of the people who knew it in its infancy, with a special connection to its genesis. Can you say that about Serial or Welcome to Night Vale? Wouldn’t you love to be able to say, “I made that project possible?”
6) You can have your name mentioned in the podcast credits once, or multiple times if you’re a higher-level donor. If you run a business which relies on word-of mouth advertising, this can get the name of your organization in an awful lot of ears.
7) Wind farms have been described as majestic, helpful, and a nuisance. Just how ugly is the battle for sustainable-energy supremacy? We’re digging around and finding a lot of conspiracy and controversy for this story.
8) Jarnsaxa is one of the more mysterious characters of mythology. Marvel says one thing, SyFy says another. It’s high time somebody dug deeper and let her have her own saga.
9) This project combines the work of artists in Minneapolis and Philadelphia, and has supporters from Devils Lake, North Dakota, to Melbourne, Australia. It’s a wide-ranging community, and we are mighty. You can be part of our team and our story.
10) Every time someone contributes, you make a writer want to stretch her brain further and make this story better. You help an artist give a unique voice to a rare character, and you give someone a story to lift them out of their mundane life. You’re rolling positive energy forward into productive action and more great ideas.
Vince is composing and recording Jarnsaxa Rising’s theme music. This process isn’t much to look at, but it sounds amazing.
More proof that I am living in the future: As I type this, pages of sheet music, that Vince has just written and recorded, are coming out of the printer. It’s like flying cars, except the destination comes directly to you.
“You kids have it so goddamn easy. Back in MY day…”
Right now we’re both at the part that doesn’t photograph well. It’s not glamorous, mostly a lot of typing, scribbling, and/or pointing and clicking. But, the script proceeds, the music is good, and in 42 days, we’ll be sitting down to rehearse with Carin and the actors.