In honor of Mardi Gras, we are proud to release a new production for our Foley Marra Presents podcast, Carnival Jangle, adapted by studio member Cat Hammons from the beautiful short story A Carnival Jangle by writer Alice Dunbar Nelson. She is hailed as "One of the few female African American diarists of the early 20th century, she portrays the complicated reality of African American women and intellectuals, addressing topics such as racism, oppression
, family, work, and sexuality," according to the Poetry Foundation website. As we prepare to record the full-cast production of Carnival Jangle, I realized that
the newest and most exciting aspects of our studio were a direct response to the crisis of the pandemic in the entertainment industry. We asked ourselves, "how do we stay sane, creative, and connected?" Let me give you some background...
At the time of the pandemic, we had just started production on our first TV pilot Wino, written by Studio member Margaux Mireault. This was a step forward for us and we had high hopes for the success of this production. Well, I'm sure you've heard variations on the story: we managed to get off one day of production before everything shut down. I won't go into a blow by blow of the ensuing months because you lived them as did we all. What we as a company came to understand is that if we stopped producing content, it was just too easy to drift off and lose the momentum that existed pre-COVID. We did manage to make a short film in those early days called Toast the Ghost which is currently making its way around the world in a wide variety of festivals. While it was a delight to be able to complete this scaled-down production, we knew that we couldn't continue to turn out the quality that we wanted until the pandemic was under some degree of control. And then the mind of one of our company execs lit up light a fuse.
Todd Gajdusek, an accomplished voice performer in addition to his myriad skills as an actor, producer, and writer, discovered the work of Wyllis Cooper, a radio dramatist whose work aired in the 1940's, starting on the Mutual Broadcasting Company and finishing its run on ABC. His stories are both wonderful and funny, disturbing and prophetic. Quiet Please is the predecessor to shows like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and Amazing Stories. Because of Todd's experience with voiceover, he organized our first podcast production: Nothing Behind the Door, performed by Maddie Rose, Alaina Raja, Jessica Leigh, and Todd Gajdusek. What could have been considered a temporary measure to keep the creative juices flowing and stay sane during isolation has become an important cornerstone
of the studio's output. We are now four podcasts strong and growing. In addition to our Quiet Please and Foley Marra Presents (short stories adapted for radio dramas), we are also very proud of our industry-specific podcasts: Trust Me for estate lawyers and Inside the Casting Studio for professional actors. The work never stopped for us, it just expanded.
So when people asked us how we handled the production freeze during the pandemic, Foley Marra Studios is proud to say: we just built a bigger boat.