On this week’s Slice of SciFi, we talked to Dan Freeman, the executive producer, writer and director of The Minister of Chance. Over the past several weeks, we’ve had the chance to talk to several of the creative team behind this new audio drama.
This week, as The Minister of Chance counts down to the release of the second episode of the series (it hits their site and iTunes on May 12), we talk to Clare Eden, the executive producer of the audio drama.
Slice of SciFi: How did you become interested in The Minister of Chance?
Clare Eden: A mutual friend introduced me to Dan Freeman, the writer/director/producer, and he mentioned one day that he’d had the idea of the series – next thing I knew we’d decided our skills were very compatible and that we should just go ahead and make it!
Slice of SciFi: What were some of the challenges of working on the series?
Clare Eden: There’s no doubt that the biggest challenge as Exec Producer was having no
budget! There is no commissioner here – no government or arts council funding -it’s funded by overdrafts which means a perennially delicate balancing act of ensuring we always maintain a very high quality but without bankrupting anyone. There is also no precedent for this kind of audio drama release so even something like contracting the cast is uncharted territory.
Slice of SciFi: Tell us a bit more about creating the audio drama and what the fans can expect when they listen to the show.
Clare Eden: We set out to make high quality audio drama directly available to the public so they could listen at any time that suits them – it’s the first time anyone has done this. Dan’s used a variety of techniques and has quite rightly had some incredible reviews for his amazing soundscapes.
Slice of SciFi: The series brings together several icons from British television. What was it like working with them?
Clare Eden: I have been an agent for most of my working life – whether for actors or directors/ designers – so am very aware that whatever someone’s reputation or standing, as a performer they need the right environment, and the right kind of support, to feel they can just do the job well. I’m very proud of this whole cast – and it’s a group of lovely people to work with as well as being very talented so was genuinely great fun. Some of them already had a high profile, some are only recently out of drama school, but everyone just got on with it.
Slice of SciFi: Was working on this different from other audio projects you’ve been involved with?
Clare Eden: I’ve never worked on one before! It’s odd to have spent so many years negotiating
contracts for other people to work in this field but now done it myself.
(6) What did you find most interesting about being involved in a “radiophonic
Clare Eden: the whole thing is such a new concept that its journey has been peppered with us having to endlessly explain to people what we were trying to make! Fortunately, the actors we wanted, and their agents, had the imagination to see this could be the way of the future and to take a gamble on us. We’ll always be grateful to them for their confidence in us and for taking that leap of faith. It’s been a challenge but it’s exciting for anyone to be a ‘ground-breaker’!
Slice of SciFi: What do you think is the future for this type of audio drama?
Clare Eden: We know the world of dramatic performance will always now be in competition with the distractions modern technology also offers – we have a whole generation glued permanently to facebook, apps and ipods in the way we used to be to books, theatre, tv – but I’m hoping that merging the two worlds will allow technology to add another dimension to the arts instead of just suppressing them. I think we have to accept that a new era is ahead and find a way of embracing it – and if we create a hunger for good story-telling and encourage imagination & creativity through any medium, it cannot help but spill over into an appetite for other aspects of the arts too.
Slice of SciFi: Minister of Chance is following a path similar to Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog by going directly to the audience and asking for support. How do you think that helps the series?
Clare Eden: there’s no doubt that there is something liberating about not having an arduous commissioning process to navigate !
Slice of SciFi: When can fans get their hands on episode two?
Clare Eden: We delayed the release of Episode Two because of an exciting development with iTunes! We couldn’t originally sell through iTunes but they’ve just approached us saying they are so impressed with the quality and the innovation of the series that they wanted to find a way round it so that’s taken a little while to sort out. But as of this month you can now buy Episode One via our website (www.ministerofchance.com) or iTunes, whichever is easiest ! Episode 2 will follow on 12th May via both routes too. Each episode is 35 minutes long and costs £1.29. If someone is coming to this afresh they should also get the 9 minute Prologue first – via iTunes or YouTube…
that’s completely free.
Slice of SciFi: What’s the best way for fans to find the series and show our support?
Clare Eden: Well buying the episodes of course – and we hope we’ve made that easy to do and easy on the pocket too… When something’s funded by overdrafts you are also very dependent on word of mouth and any social media support – we can only afford to make more if there’s an audience wanting to buy these so anyone recommending it to friends and colleagues too helps us enormously. Buying the t-shirts and posters also helps fund production. This first production is sci-fi – we want to carry on the adventures of the Minister for seasons to come, but we also have lots of other drama
and comedy ideas too – the ultimate goal would be an audience knowing they can always go to our site, at any time that suits them, and download something they feel sure will be high quality!
You can find more on The Minister of Chance here. You can view a free prologue to the series and the first episode is now available for purchase and download