Creator Spotlight: The Signal

1. Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you? What do you do?
Well, my name is Leslie Rice, Lee to my friends, and what I do is a… complicated issue. You see, I DO have a day job. It mostly consists of allowing elderly people to scream at me because their medications are not completed as quickly as they wanted. Although you like horror stories, I strongly suspect that you aren’t terribly interested in hearing about that. You’re probably more interested in my other life-the one that I consider my real calling. For a little more than half a decade, I’ve been trying to establish a career as an entertainer. I’ve always loved media… Films, books, plays, audio drama; you name it, I’ve watched, read, listened to or experienced it and found something about it that’s clicked with me. I started a comedy-based video series where I review horror films in the hopes of kickstarting that, and I’ve actually had a lot of success. Terror Obscura has been picked up by several well-known websites that specialize in similar programs, like The Agony Booth and Channel Awesome. While I’ve subsequently left both of them, I’m going to be featured on GeekJuice Media soon! Apart from that, I’ve recently started two new series-Game Over, which is the same type of schtick as Terror Obscura but in the world of video games, and The Signal, a horror fiction podcast that got me on this show!

2. Why did you start the The Signal?
Well, I was initially dubious about podcasting, but after listening to, and subsequently becoming addicted to, Welcome to Night Vale, I began to investigate. I’d already stumbled across audio horror channels on YouTube as a way to alleviate my boredom at work, and I was delighted to discover a whole galaxy of them in podcast form! Still… I felt there was a lot of untapped potential. Some would scratch a certain itch, others would scratch another, but there was nothing that satisfied my craving for EVERY type of audio horror. My then-fiancee offhandedly mentioned that I could probably do that, and after mulling over exactly what kind of show I WOULD make, here we are!

3. What is it about a story that makes you think, ‘Ah, I want that story on my show!’?
There are a number of criteria that make me reach out to an author. First, is it well written? And I don’t JUST mean sentence structure and spelling. I mean, do they use cliches? Trite turns of phrase? Are they consistent in terms of tone, theme, message? Second, is it fresh? If I’ve heard the exact same story under a half dozen profiles, I’m going to pass. If it follows the formula these things tend to too closely, I’m going to pass. Basically, I want stories that offer either a new tale, a new perspective, or plotting that refuses to color inside the lines. If it’s stale, it’s out. If it’s a breath of fresh air, you get an invite. Third, is it weird? If you can show me something utterly bizarre that still ‘works’ you’ll have my respect and admiration.

4. What is your vision for the show and the reddit?
My vision? Honestly, I want an empire. Right now, we’re in the infancy, but we’re going places just as soon as we reach enough people. They may not be places people are prepared to go… But we’ve got sights to see. First and foremost, we’re going to focus on finding the best talent. Second, we’re going to try to bump up the profits and pour them back into improving the show’s quality even further. After that, solidify the schedule. Quality content will have an audience at any time, but retaining them requires consistency. Word of mouth is the key for any podcast, so we’re going to be doing contests, community involvement projects… Whatever it takes. From there? Merchandise… Moving into shorts.. Films… Publishing… I want to change the face of horror, and this is the place to get my foot in the door.

5. How did you get into podcasting? Why did you choose that path?
Well, I kind of already went through what got me into it, but as far as WHY, I’d say that it’s because the medium offers so many advantages. For a VERY long time, I’ve been a film guy. I love horror movies, and I’ve even written several scripts that recieved some positive buzz despite not going past the ‘option’ stage. Podcasting is the theater of the mind, though. You don’t need a colossal budget, just enough for a means to record at a decent level of quality, and a way of editing it. You can get started for less than a hundred bucks, and because your audience is bringing their own special effects department between their ears, you can kick any big budget blockbuster to the curb if you just write boldly enough!

6. Have you ever written your own NoSleep story? If not, would you like to?
I HAVE written stories before, but NoSleep‘s somewhat restrictive rules tend to hamstring me. I DO have some that would fit all their criteria, but right now, writing the frame story and narration segments for The Signal, as well as my other two shows, eats up most of my time. Maybe when I’m making enough to turn this into a career, I’ll have more of a chance. Till then, I’ve got three notebooks full, cover-to-cover, with ideas.

7. What has been your favourite experience so far whilst running both The Signal show and reddit?
My favorite experience is, as with my other projects, listening to the finished project, and seeing all my self-doubt and loathing melt away. A half-finished project never sounds good, but when gold starts pouring out of my speakers… God, it’s amazing. A close second is meeting all the talented artists of various stripes and fields that this project has put me in contact with.

8. If you could have anyone feature as a guest narrator or voice over for the show, who would it be and why?
Anyone? Well, there are always big names you’d want… Jeremy Irons… Jeffrey Combs… But, for me, I’d honestly love to find a talented unknown actor or actress, and give them a shot at something big. One thing about horror is that people connect better with unknown and lesser known actors, and I’d also love to be someone’s springboard into the limelight! My show is as much about bringing new things into the world as it is about being popular.

9. Are there any other content creators that you look up to? Why?
Well, there are always the pioneers and the people who have accomplished the dream of going full time, but I think that if you get too deep into hero worship, you wind up trying to be the next them, and neglect being the one and only YOU.

10. What are your goals for 2018?
In 2018, I’d like to build a strong base for The Signal, dedicate more time to the other shows that I’ve had to neglect to create my new offerings, and raise my show income by 300% through the various means available to me. Not enough to go full time, but still enough to offer better pay to my long-suffering companions.

11. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
The ability to ‘edit’ reality, fixing the fabric of the universe as though it were a story.

12. What is the one thing you can’t live without?
My loving wife, Ashley Webb Rice!

13. Vampires, werewolves or aliens?
Be a werewolf, fight vampires, hang out with aliens.

14. The internet has been destroyed. The world is in chaos. What do you do now?
Pick up a damn book. My work here is done.

15. Promo time! Let us know about you, your works, where we can find you, anything at all you want to say, here is your space!
You can find The Signal at www.signalhorrorpodcast.com, and my other shows on YouTube and Vimeo. Please take a chance to check out all our talented staff on the website, and maybe hit them up if you like their work! If you’d like to donate to the show, you can do so at www.patreon.com/signalobscura, and if you want to contact me directly, I’m available at thisisthesignal@gmail.com. As far as what I want to say, only that I hope you check us out, and if you do, I hope you enjoy the show!

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