Happy New Year to everyone in the Space EdVenturing community! Have you ever wondered what some of the Space Center veterans are doing these days? Sure, they retired from Starfleet years ago but they're hardly past their "sell by" dates. Many are living useful, productive lives planetside. Some have found a way to keep their feet in the science fiction / space drama / simulation pool by joining Nathan Young's Desolate Eden Space Extravaganza! And what a production it is. I listened to the first part and am impressed, nay amazed, nay floored by the quality and professionalism. Well done to everyone involved.
This is something which deserves your support. Please read the following update written by Nathan Young - and when finished, join the Discord, listen to the tracks (the link is below) and if possible, donate some of that Christmas money you found in your stockings.
To sum up, I'm calling the space center diaspora to find a way to support our friends in this endeavor.
And Now, Nathan's Update...
We are SUPER excited to share Desolate Eden, our MASSIVE audio drama. We just put up the YouTube versions this week, though the Spotify, Audible, and Apple Podcasts versions have been up for a month or so now. I thought it’d be fun to share a few behind-the-scenes photos from the production process with your readers! (Not to mention brag about the cool Space Center people we roped into it!)
What is Desolate Eden? First, you can find links to your favorite platforms at https://celestialhorizons.io/. And the good, old-fashioned YouTube release playlist can be found here:
Desolate Eden is a history podcast from the future, where a trio of historians reconstruct the “truth” behind events that took place hundreds of years before they were born. Note, however, that these narrators may not be entirely reliable. Some of their sources are heavily redacted, and others are – by their own admission – entirely fabricated.
The narrative is brought to life by a large cast of voice actors, an original score, and unique sound design. The YouTube release has visuals that give new context for the events of the story.
To help make it easier to listen to, we broke it into 3 parts – each of them a continuation from the last.
THE STORY (Don’t worry, no spoilers here.)
During a golden age now long past, humanity spread itself amongst the stars. But while enthusiastic colonists were on their way to their new homes, mission control cut all communications with them.
Now, centuries later, their descendants are given the opportunity to return to Earth, to make contact with their lost cousins, and attempt to discover why they had been abandoned.
Desolate Eden is designed to stand alone, so although it ties in with other podcasts we’ve put out, you don’t need to know anything to be able to jump right in. We think of those other podcasts more as test runs as we were preparing to tell this story. That means that if you find you really like Desolate Eden, you can go back and get a more in-depth look at the events that led up to it!
Rachel Harken was one of the people who gave me feedback on the script, providing helpful comments like “ooooh Alice is SPICY,” “you should just throw all of this ((REDACTED)) out, cause it sucks” and “this scene was good, but it could be, like, 100x spookier. Get on it.” Legitimately helpful comments, all the way around! You have her to blame for that sequence.
Rachel from her Space Center days
In the words of the great Connor Larsen when flying “Escape” in the old Magellan, “Holy Cow, ya’ll.” We sent out a casting call on twitter... and were FLOODED with submissions from all over the world. In the course of 1 week, we had NEARLY 1200 submissions. This is a screenshot of HALF of the readings we had for ONE character...
This is what the actors would record and send to us – it's called a “side.” I designed it to serve as a litmus test – if the actor could nail (or surprise me!) with one specific line, I’d listen to the rest of their audition. They’ve got 3-5 seconds, (in some cases, two words!) to convince me they get it and can do it, and then I will actually listen to their take. I could teach a whole class on how to handle callbacks, but for brevity’s sake, I’ll say it left me looking like this:
It’s heartbreaking, having so many talented people to choose from, and having to make cuts based just on how you want all the parts to fit together. Casting is INCREDIBLY difficult for large pieces like this.
Our final cast has people from all over the English-speaking world, from New York to Canada to the UK to Australia. But a lot of them came from Utah! (Though many of them resisted sending me pictures...) Space Center people may recognize some of the names on there, including...
Natalie Brianne, the pen name for Natalie Anderson, former Odyssey set director, as Tasella Lamoreaux, first officer of the main ship we spend our time on in the show, who appears at the end of part 1.
Chris Call as Odyssey Set Director
Chris Call, the real name for Chris Call, former Odyssey set director, as Hession Poctoli, captain of one of the other ships in the fleet, who appears in Part 2.
Nathan Young, the True Name for Nathan Young, former Odyssey set director, as Vasan Vandariel, appearing at the end of part 1.
Christine Appointing Emily as her Replacement Odyssey Set Director
Christine Smith, the married name of Christine Grosland, former Odyssey set director, as Zilnara, one of the other ship captains, appears in Part 2 (See a pattern here? No, I didn’t realize this trend until I was writing this up... but I will say, if there are any other Odyssey set directors who want to audition for anything of mine in the future, I’d say your odds seem to be in your favor...)
Jon Parker (who needs to introduction other than to note that he has never been Odyssey set director,) played one of the crew members in part 1.
Lindsey Hatch was a reporter in part 1.
Stacy Harken and James Smith were both additional voices in part 1.
Now that it’s all cast, I needed to give them notes, as everyone would have to record at home. Here are some samples of the things I would write:
I made a binder full of all of the themes. When it came time to score the whole thing, I’d listen to the dialogue, and play along with the scene. The goal was to create more of a “live” feeling to the performance, rather than something perfectly synthesized and static. I’d flip back and forth through the sheet music, improvising variations on each theme, and then would go back through and add new instruments, fix mistakes, and “put some meat on those musical bones.”
What’s next for us? Great question! Right now, I’m doing a lot of reading, research, and outlining. I’ve got a few smaller things (zoomed-in looks at different parts of the universe, like the Alice Corp., the situation back in Hypatia, and the head of the Cyprian state,) that I’ll be producing in the next few months. The proper sequel, however, is still very up-in-the-air.
It took me about 1350 hours to make this over the course of 8 months, on top of my day job. I probably won’t survive doing that again... (at least, not in any timely manner.) And while we produced this for easily 25x less than what it would cost a full production company to do, it still cost us a couple grand in tools, paying actors, etc., so we’re also kinda waiting until we can raise some more money. As fun as paying out-of-pocket for everything is, I’m running out of meals I can skip to make ends meet!
So if you enjoy it, be sure to like, share, subscribe, send it to your nerd friends, leave a review, etc. Also, if you have any rich eccentric relatives who are looking for somewhere to throw a lot of money, maybe send it to them too. We’ve submitted it to some competitions and award shows in hopes of increasing its visibility, so we’ll be sure to share any good news that comes on that front. The further we can spread it, the better the odds that we can do this again!
And if anybody wants to learn more about the production process, the project as a whole, or just say hi, feel free to join our discord server (link on the website) or shoot me an email at
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