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’.

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GA(Y)MING

How gaming created the space for me to be queer, before I knew I needed it.

“I want to be honest with her. So if she feels the same about me, there won’t be any surprises.”

So says my spaceship engineer Parvati; a quiet, considerate lass I bumped into when trying to procure a new engine for my ship – she was looking for some adventure, and I happened to be leaving town. Now, she’s met someone: another engineer (another woman). But she’s worried. She’s worried that Junlei Tennyson, chief-engineer aboard the Groundbreaker, won’t understand her asexuality.

Not that Parvati fully understands it, either. All she knows is that, so far, she’s yet to meet someone who will give her the space she needs, to be the woman she is. In Junlei, she thinks she might finally have found that someone.

I’m playing The Outer Worlds, an immersive RPG set in the Halcyon Colony – a dystopian galaxy in farthest space, where you awake after a 70-year spell in cryo-sleep. My character’s name is Jahanara Khan, one kick-ass female captain you do not want to mess with. And as I’m playing, engaging with a mostly-female cast of enemies and allies, encouraging the growth of an asexual-lesbian-partnership between my in-game companion and her sweetheart, I get to thinking.

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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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