How a creator-led storytelling podcast is supported and funded.

Introduction

Stories from the Hearth is a fledgling, creator-led, fictional and educational storytelling podcast and community. I started it in January of 2021, and have watched with humble joy as it has grown ever more popular since. However, running an entire podcast as just one person is physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding in ways I could never have envisaged, whether I’d read every advice article on the internet before starting or not.

I thought I would take a moment to talk a little about Stories from the Hearth – what it is, why I produce it, and how I keep it going. Hopefully in doing so I can offer a little advice to those looking to start their own podcast, or soothe the anxieties of those who already have but are – like me – still at an early stage, in which everything still feels excruciatingly ‘make or break’.

Continue reading “How a creator-led storytelling podcast is supported and funded.”

All we have is our pale blue dot

A look behind-the-scenes of Stories from the Hearth’s first ever collaborative episodes, and the making of The Pale Blue Dot (E07/08)

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us… The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.”

So said Carl Sagan, when describing the pixel-sized speck of almost nothing that was Earth, floating in a tiny pocket of an immeasurable vastness of space, in a photograph (taken by the Voyager 1 space probe in 1990) which became known as ‘The Pale Blue Dot’.

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Community, History, and Escapism: A Mission Statement

Stories from the Hearth is not just about storytelling, it’s also about building community, telling the history of storytelling, and rekindling our collective passion for this most ancient of traditions. This is our MISSION STATEMENT, detailing what we do, why we do it, and where we’re going…

Episodes are currently released every three weeks, with Episode #2 released on Sunday 31st January (31.01.21). You can tune in, follow, like, and subscribe on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, and almost any podcast app you use.

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Stories from the Hearth – Listen Here!

Chinese Shadow Puppets – TWB S2 E3 Stories from the Hearth

By flickering candlelight, Chinese storytellers have been telling tales with exquisite, colourful shadow puppets for over two-thousand years. Surviving war, famine, regime changes and revolutions, this is one of the world's oldest and most intricate storytelling traditions. I look at the music, singing, and puppetry of the artform, the training its mastery requires, why it has a decentralized, anarchist structure, how it survived its tumultuous history, and what a future version of Chinese shadow puppetry might look like.Welcome to The Wandering Bard, a bonus historical series on Stories from the Hearth examining the history of storytelling. This month’s episode is the third in a season asking "Who are the storytellers?" Today we examine the shadow puppeteers of ancient and modern China.The next story episode from Stories from the Hearth is out on 26th September. Next month's Wandering Bard bonus episode will take a look at the Arabic rap-battles of Lebanon called Zajal.The aim of Stories from the Hearth is to rekindle its listeners' love for the ancient art of storytelling (and story-listening), and to bring some small escapism to the frantic energies of the modern world.Support the podcast from just £2 ($3) on Patreon, and get early access, exclusive content, bonus story-episodes, in-episode shout-outs, and the chance to become part of a wider community. Simply click here: https://www.patreon.com/storiesfromthehearthpodcastToday's sources: chineseshadowpuppetry.com, China Puppet and Shadow Art Society, UNESCO, travelchinaguide.com, Google Arts & CultureVideo links! – Traditional Chinese Shadow Puppet Show, Bazhong, ChinaBallerina – Chinese Shadow PuppetryClever Monkeys – Chinese Shadow PuppetryPuppet Master Liu Laoshi Shows Off His SkillsInstagram: @storiesfromthehearthTwitter: @Hearth_PodcastYouTube: Stories from the HearthEmail: storiesfromthehearthpodcast@gmail.comFire Daemon Character Artwork by Anna FerraraAnna's Instagram: @giallosardinaAnna's Portfolio: https://annaferrara.carbonmade.com/Thank you for listening. Please consider following, subscribing to, and sharing this bonus episode, and please do tell your friends all about Stories from the Hearth.
  1. Chinese Shadow Puppets – TWB S2 E3
  2. Caveworm: 2/2 (Fantasy Drama) – Story #9
  3. West African Griots – TWB S2 E2
  4. Caveworm: 1/2 (Fantasy Drama) – Story #9
  5. Hawaiian Hula Dancers – TWB S2 E1

Welcome to Stories from the Hearth, a short-story podcast to help you escape the chaotic energies of the everyday; a podcast in which every episode you will encounter a brand new, original story – be it romantic, historical, or science fiction, fantasy, or speculative horror; where you will encounter stories packed full of adventure, misfortune, peril and triumph, loveable villains, roguish heroes, and all those in-between.

Continue reading “Stories from the Hearth – Listen Here!”

Samhain/Limen (Halloween 2020)

‘Samhain/Limen’ is a short, spooky, unsettling Halloween film, created by amateur filmmaker and writer Cal Bannerman. It was filmed entirely on location at the Glasgow Necropolis, Glasgow, Scotland in October 2020. Music by Soularflair, ‘Even In My Dreams’ courtesy of the Free Music Archive, with permission from the artist.

Samhain is the name for the ancient Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season, and the beginning of the “darker half” of the year. Samhain was a liminal festival (hence ‘Limen’), when the boundary between this world and the Otherworld thinned, meaning that spirits could more easily come into our world on the night of Samhain. In more recent history, this pagan festival merged with the Christian ‘All Saints’ Day’ to become Halloween.

Anomaly (The Script)

Watch my short scifi film, here!

ANOMALY

CAST

Pan – ship engineer on a solo cross-galaxy routine maintenance check (boring stuff); androgynous, non-binary, dressed casually (imagine spark or bricky or plumber, but in space)

Dual – ship’s computer, advanced AI, Pan’s companion

Distress Caller – unknown person in distress

SETTING

Cockpit of a small shuttlecraft. It is cramped and dark, with a single, small window facing out, from which comes a little light. The semi-circular desk for piloting the craft is a mish-mash of knobs and buttons, switchboard and computer parts. Pan is alone in their swivel chair at the flight desk, backlit by a couple weak cabin lights.

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Idols Lost – The Interpreter’s House #75

Today – 9th October 2020 – my short story Idols Lost is published in issue #75 of The Interpreter’s House.

Idols Lost is a story of love in the aftermath of cataclysm, set in a black-out apartment in a crumbling Tokyo, whilst satellites fall from the sky to shatter in the atmosphere like fireworks.

You can read my story, and a host of other beautiful stories and poems, in The Interpreter’s House #75, here: https://theinterpretershouse.org/issue-75

Anomaly (2020) – Sci-Fi Short Film

Watch my film here!

In Anomaly, humanity scours the far reaches of the cosmos for asteroids to mine and planets to inhabit, building spacestations as they go. For Pan, lone engineer, tasked with maintenance of the remotest outposts, life in outerspace is a drag. It’s hardly made more bearable by the constant presence of her AI companion, Dual – an acerbic autopilot with a dry wit and little else. When a rogue frequency promises an injection of adventure into an otherwise dull and lonely life, Pan leaps at the opportunity to track it to its source. Hyper-jumping to an unexplored region of space… what could possibly go wrong?

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Before the Cataclysm

‘I miss music the most. Real music. Synth. Bass. Heavy bass. Trance. Keys. Sub whoofers. Ecstasy. I miss ecstasy. Goose-bumps during work that day. Half a pill to get you ready. Meticulously crafted bombs, timed to bring you up as your heel hits the dancefloor and the track melts, entering your consciousness by osmosis. Baggies to dab from, keep you level, keep you on an even keel, keep you purgatoried between twilights. Glacial water on tap to swill powdered bitterness from your mouth, to run against the back of your neck and raise the hairs on your arms. Nothing but you and the DJ who, for all you care, is the messiah.

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