Podcasts go for the feature treatment

We’ve reached the inevitable in the world of podcasting.

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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.

Brain screen
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.”

Day players
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.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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