Podcasts go for the feature treatment
The Future. We’ve reached the inevitable in the world of podcasting: podcast movies. The first batch of feature-length, fictional stories arrived in 2021, featuring top talent like Adam Scott and Kiernan Shipka. While the introduction of podcast movies could be a boon for original stories that would cost a fortune to actually shoot, audience habits — either sitting back or multi-tasking — could become a key factor in determining how best to construct a long-form audio narrative.
With the rise of long-form podcasts in talk-variety and interview formats, fictional ones are trying a feature-length approach.
- Podcast production company Cadence13 recently released its first slate of “podcast movies.”
- They included teen horror story Treat (starring Kiernan Shipka) and psychological thriller Ghostwriter (starring Adam Scott and Kate Mara).
- Earlier in the year, Two-Up released the thriller Shipworm (starring Quentin Earl Darrington and Miriam Silverman).
- And in August, Gen-Z Media released the kid-friendly Iowa Chapman and the Last Dog (starring Sway Bhatia and Michael Winslow).
Alix Sobler, who wrote Ghostwriter, explains that this new format is “a little more prescriptive than a book, because you hear voices and sounds, but you can still use your mind’s eye and get lost in it.”
While programming a podcast movie may seem like a difficult sell to both talent and audiences, a host of factors have finally taken away the friction.
- Because of the popularity of premium subscriptions, podcast movies won’t have to rely on advertising soon (which works much better for serialized content).
- Film and TV adaptations of podcasts are taking off, so talent is willing to get in early on a podcast movie if they can reserve the right to star in any adaptations.
- Also, talent can record their roles in a matter of days, which makes locking down top names for a podcast movie much easier than for a traditional one.
Scoring adaptations with that top talent may be necessary in order to finance these experiments — at least from the get-go. Cadence13 co-founder and chief content officer Chris Corcoran said the company plans to make money by selling the adaptation rights for each project.