Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Bright Eyes Project Podcast + Interview with the Creators

*glances around surreptitiously*

I probably shouldn't be talking about this.

There are probably scary space things that will find me after I click "publish", and this post and my blog and me will all disappear to wherever the scary space things live. Not that I'd know, or would tell you if I did.

I really shouldn't be giving you this information, but there's a new thing out there.  Out there in a world full of broken gum ball machines, disappointingly-empty chip bags, and cute sweaters that unravel the first time you wear them....there's something more.  Something stellar.

Brought to you by the highly feared esteemed Athena Institute, I give you -

Described as "X-Files meets space", this chilling and relatable podcast debuted just a few days ago!  I stayed up till midnight so I could listen was so worth it.  Episodes will be released once every two weeks in 30 minute (ish) installments.  And I am here to give you everything you need to know (and might get in serious trouble for knowing). Don't blame me if you disappear or find yourself suddenly asking questions you never knew had always plagued you. You chose to keep reading.

My dear fren Aimee Meester is the evil mastermind behind this beautiful thing, and I am very proud of her amazing creation. She is joined in her scheming by Sydney Fontaine (the voice of Trish) and  Cyrus Fontaine (music and sound effects).  Stacia Joy is responsible for creating the blessing that is this beautiful cover art.

"Throughout a year of hyper-realistic scenario simulations and practical opportunities, students in the Bright Eyes Project will be tested and challenged in their assigned field of study. They will grow in their abilities as crew members and future heroes, within the contexts of the chain of command, official protocol, and diplomacy. Upon graduating from the project, successful students will be fully prepared to enter the next stage of their lives and shape the future of humanity in increasingly advanced ways."

You aren't ready for this.  I am not ready for this.  Trish Odessa, finally going out into the world to prove herself, probably isn't ready either.

from Aimee's website. chilling, isn't it? go there to see even more classified info!

(As a rule, I absorb all of Aimee's creative endeavors with a great deal of caution, because she seems to have a penchant for writing really intense, emotionally-gripping stuff that usually ends in the tears of me and all of our friends. Thank you, friend, for the tough love, I didn't need those characters to survive anyway.)

If you want a visual idea of what The Bright Eyes Project is about, the  Pinterest board for it is spectacular.  And here's the Spotify playlist Aimee listens to as she plots our doom this great podcast that won't destroy us at all definitely not.  Listen to it and be inspired in a creepy way.


// stars //
// silence and doubt //
// blue and purple and white //
// and a splash of red //
// questioning everything //
// this was a mistake //
// forging ahead //
// fear // 

AND NOW, for your further enjoyment and intrigue, I have temporarily abducted Aimee, Sydney, and Cyrus for interviews and forced them to give me all the gifts gifs.  PLEASE WELCOME THESE GENIUSES WITH WILD APPLAUSE.

What is your foremost emotion at the moment?

I've been surrounded by so much hype and encouragement and kind words and support since even before this weird little thing came out, and it's honestly unreal right now. I'm riding this wave of TOTAL ABSOLUTE HYPE and getting so much feedback and drowning in nice Twitter messages, so this is me hugging all of you. I love y'all.

What was your original inspiration for Bright Eyes?


It was actually Star Trek: Beyond! I came out of the theater after that movie feeling a renewed love for all things spaceships and sci-fi, and my brain started working. I wanted to write a novel that was a bit Star Trek, a bit Ender's game, and then the whole fiction podcast thing started to fall into place and it went from there.

How is writing a podcast different than writing normal fiction?


You think it's going to be easy -- you just have to change the style, right? 

It is not easy. 

The thing I have to remember is that I'm not writing a fiction novel, I'm writing essentially a TV script. Every time I sit down to write an episode I have to remember that I'm writing for just a voice, and a specific voice at that. I have to keep in mind Sydney's tone and the way she says things and write in a way that's going to compliment that. I have to give 'stage directions' for sound effects and such, but I have to remember that it's all audio, that I can't describe things and it has to sound as natural as someone talking fairly normally. It uses a totally different part of your brain and requires more thinking (somehow) right from the start, and it takes some getting used to.

Is this going to make me cry (again)? *glares*


It is 100% going to make you cry again. It's making me cry again. There's so much coming and honestly, not even the rest of my team knows about the worst of it, so they're probably going to hate me too.

Can you see yourself somewhere in this podcast - in one of the characters, in the story, etc.? What part of this project reminds you of yourself?


Absolutely! So much of this podcast is about being a teenager and what it's like to be a teenager, navigating a messy confusing world while you're still growing, and a lot of those feelings come from my personal experience as, y'know, a teenager. The characters you'll hear in this podcast are heavily influenced by me and the people around me, and something that especially comes from me is this theme and feeling of feeling like you need to be the best, you need to prove yourself, you need to be enough. Most of these characters are really chased by the idea that they have to pull it together and be perfect and prove that they're ready for all of this, and that's something that they struggle with very much. So much of that is from me and it's definitely one of the main themes.

What was the most fun part of working on Bright Eyes? The most challenging?

​Not gonna lie, this whole thing has been a blast. Probably the most unique fun I'm having with this one is the feeling of collaboration! It has its own challenges, but when you're working with people who get the story you want to tell and mesh with you perfectly, you get something beautiful out of it. I love hearing Cyrus put music and effects to my words and change it from something flat to something alive. I love working with Sydney and creating a character together, with me building off her voice and her building off my words until we come up with something amazing. I can't get enough of it. It's so much better than it would have been on my own.

Of course, it's challenging, too, and the most challenging part is the actual writing of it. I'm getting better at that, I think, but I've always been a novel-writer, and this is a very different type of storytelling that requires very different skills and parts of my brain. It's often extremely hard to figure out the right way to say a thing so it sounds natural and to keep everything bare-bones and minimal.

When you were young, what did you want to "be" when you grew up?

Y'know, I...never had a particular thing I wanted to be? It feels like most people do, but I never did. I wasn't a very ambitious kid. And then I started writing and it all went out the window. 

What is your foremost emotion at the moment?

Mostly SUPER EXCITED. There's such satisfaction in working on something for months and finally having it out for everyone to experience.

Can you see yourself somewhere in this podcast - in one of the characters, in the story, etc.? What part of this project reminds you of yourself? 

I definitely do. I really think Trish's story relates well to most young people. We have all experienced being right on the cusp of something and feeling utterly unprepared and small. For Trish, she's facing a literal massive expanse. For me - I don't know. Life is scary sometimes. We gotta face stuff that's difficult and mysterious but we do it and we grow. I love how this story exemplifies that.

What was the most fun part of working on Bright Eyes? The most challenging? 

The most fun part for me has definitely been the collaboration, the problem solving and just getting to take a concept and words and make it a thing. I've loved getting to know Aimee and becoming team mates and friends - she's such a gem. I've loved how we each have a finger print on the final project with each episode. The most challenging part for me has been getting into Trish's headspace and figuring out how she's going to act and react. It's so interesting to play a character that's so unlike myself. I love this character so much and wanting to do her justice and really get to know her has been a really mind bending, fun challenge.

When you were young, what did you want to "be" when you grew up? 

Prepare to be surprised. The two most prominent occupations that I aspired to were writer (not shocking) and TRAIN CONDUCTOR. I have no idea where I got that idea but I was always fascinated by trains. It didn't work out but I still love trains.

How do you think voicing Trish's character allows you to shape her personality beyond what’s written on the page?

Well first off, it's been a blast just kinda developing Trish between my literal voice and Aimee's voice as a writer. I feel like we've been able to play off each other in that sense. But I think words and intonation in general are so powerful, and it a different experience to hear this story spoken then when I'm in preproduction reading the scripts. So I think really a lot of development happens just in that process. I also find that Trish really wrestles with herself and her feelings about what's going on around her, and you can really start to feel that underlying tension as the story progresses.

What is your foremost emotion at the moment?

Right this very moment? I'm in the place between over caffeinated and running on adrenaline. Today was a show day for my band, and as I'm writing this we're on our way home. Of course, I'm also incredibly excited for the release of the podcast! It's been so incredible working with Aimee and Sydney and creating something we're really proud of!

Can you go into detail about your role in the podcast with sound/music?

My main responsibility on Bright Eyes is composition. I read the scripts, and write themes and ambiances for different characters and scenes. Working with Aimee, this mostly mean writing scary sounding music! I also take care of sound design. I a character sets down a coffee cup, or an alien eats an MC, I come up with a sound effect and mix it in with the voiceover. As an audio engineer, this is like being a kid in a candy store. I can't tell you details, but I can tell you that I've already used recordings of pouring milk in an upcoming episode.

Can you see yourself somewhere in this podcast - in one of the characters, in the story, etc.? What part of this project reminds you of yourself?

I have a deep-seated love for angsty YA drama. I geek out over '90s cartoons and Harry Potter in a big big way, and in a sense this project reflects those interests. There's also a character named Milo who you hear a bit about in Episode 1 that I relate to as a person. He's a little aloof and artsy. That's me in a nutshell!

What was the most fun part of working on Bright Eyes? The most challenging?

I think the most fun part so far may be the collaboration. Of course, I love the music and the challenge of making the show sound compelling, but it has been so much fun just being on the team. We all have a lot of common interests, and on our off days we do stuff like watch Lost and group text about it. The most challenging thing is definitely the file management. I have to keep track of dozens of audio clips for every show, and I'm a disorganized mess on the best of days! Still, it's been a growing experience for me. I'm devising a file system that works for me and keeps files from getting lost!

When you were young, what did you want to "be" when you grew up?

When I was young I wanted to be a chef. When high school rolled around, my interests shifted to animation and film, and programming and a million other things. It turned out to be good, because I use most of those skills to some capacity now almost on the daily. But I still love to cook! My word of advice to young people is always to learn to cook. No matter where you are at in life, you don't need much to make yourself a good meal. It's the simplest way to improve your quality of life!

Thanks for your time, mah wonderful podcast frens! I wish you all the good times in continuing with this project, please have mercy on us, and don't report me to the Athena Institute for writing this really informative post thanks love you bye.
Everyone else - say hi to Aimee, Sydney and Cyrus in the comments below! Give them all the love and beg them for mercy + another episode very soon aka in two weeks. And let me know -

Is anyone else terrified that Aimee is already requiring milk-pouring sounds this early on??! 0.0  Have you already listened to the first episode (FANGIRL WITH ME)?  Are you equally scared that The Athena Institute is reading this post and is going to send the scary space things after me - and you, for reading it?  What are you doing to pass the time while we wait for the next episode?

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