To be frank- I’m going through a season of discontent. The regular gig isn’t rewarding these days and my calendar is currently very open. So I’m bored out of my mind and going stir crazy. In times like this, it is very easy for me to wallow in self-pity. Which I absolutely have been, I won’t try to deny that. Times like this also drive me to take a step back, and assess my short and long term goals. Am I making active efforts to make them happen? Or am I just soothing my emotional pain by watching hours of YouTube videos?
What am I doing to improve myself as a person and as an artist?
Then once I force myself to look at things differently, I think about what I can do to change the current situation. Go to every audition? Submit to every casting call I find online? Sure. There are some emails I’d really like to see in my inbox this month. But I can’t spend all my time refreshing my Gmail. Thats a pretty pathetic hobby.
So its time to do something new. Something that allows me to strengthen different skills, and maybe even learn some new ones.
Camp Stories is an anthology series, a fictional narrative podcast. Season 1 is written as the personal journal of Liz, a first-time summer camp counselor. Each episode spans a week of her summer at Camp Harwood as she navigates personal and professional challenges and opportunities. Honestly, it reads more like an audiobook broken up into weekly chapters than a podcast, but I have no plans to release a print version.
I know that some listeners will assume this season is a thinly veiled autobiography. After all, once upon a time I was a camp counselor. And if you’ve made it all the way to my blog, you’ve definitely heard me tell stories about my time at camp. But they won’t be a part of this podcast. This is a work of fiction. Are there similarities between myself and our leading lady this season? Absolutely! But her story is one that I hope all kinds of people can connect with. Its about starting a new adventure, self-discovery, and having the courage to live a story worth telling. Those are feelings I experienced when I first started working at summer camp in 2010. They are also feelings I’m experiencing today, as I plan out what the next chapter of my life will look like. There will be plenty of Easter eggs and references to my time at summer camp, but no characters or plot lines are based off specific people or events. Trust me. My time at camp was phenomenal, but it isn’t the story I plan on telling through this project.
Production-wise, I’m experimenting. I’ve been sitting on this idea for years, unsure if it will translate well for an audience. Each script is written in the same week as it is recorded and published, as if we’re catching up with Liz at the end of each week at camp. I’m recording on a $20 microphone from Amazon, piecing the tracks together on GarageBand, and uploading to Soundcloud. Artistically, this allows the character to come through, as if Liz is recording the entries and uploading them herself. Functionally, this makes it possible for me to produce in my desired schedule. It won’t be fancy, but I think it’ll be a lot of fun.
I don’t know if you’ll like it, hate it, or pretend it doesn’t exist. Whatever the outcome, it’ll be. I’ve made something. All me! Not under a cartoon alias in someone else’s costume. Written by Maddie Hammond. Read by Maddie Hammond. Produced by Maddie Hammond. Uploaded by Maddie Hammond.
I have a few personal goals for this project. I want people to enjoy it. It’ll be great background audio while you’re driving, folding laundry, or taking a bath. It isn’t meant to be provocative, or make you think. Its just for fun. Easy listening. I also see this as an opportunity to improve my writing, vocal strength, and storytelling. That way, the next project I take on can be even better. I’ll be even stronger.
Plus, my biography needs some spicing up. Xin Xia Ji!