All Ears, produced by Mathew McLean and Robert Cudmore

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Yap Audio, 14 July 2013
Since I began the Radio Drama Reviews blog nearly four years ago, I have been struck by the sheer range of material available; not just on the BBC, but also in podcast form produced by independent outfits large and small.  I've managed to cover quite a lot of it, but it seems that sometimes I've only scratched the surface, so to speak.
Hence a documentary such as All Ears fulfils an important function of providing listeners with a good introductory guide to audio dramas online.  It consists of a series of interviews with producers, actors and mixers: sometimes these roles are all fulfilled by one person.  Interviewees include Julie Hoverson (19 Nocturne Boulevard), Jack Kincaid, Christof Laputka (Leviathan Chronicles), Rich Matheson, Fiona Thraille and Kc Wayland (We're Alive).
What struck me most about all the contributors was their enthusiasm for the genre.  While some have enjoyed more success than others (in terms of internet downloads), they all believe in the democracy of audio drama: anyone can become involved in it as an actor, writer or a mixer, so long as they are equipped with a computer and access to the internet.  If they have a story to tell, then audio drama offers a cheap and accessible means to tell it.
The documentary also paid tribute to the ingenuity of most drama producers, as they searched for ways of representing action through sound alone.  They maintain an almost childlike desire to experiment; to sit in front of a screen experimenting with new combinations of sound, as well as going out into the street and recording the minutiae of everyday life.  I was reminded of the early days of silent film, when producers would go out to make works on shoestring budgets.  It didn't matter too much about the production values; the experience of filmmaking assumed far more importance as a way for producers and directors to improve their technique.  The same also applies to audio drama: the more work you produce, the more sophisticated you become.
All Ears was liberally illustrated with clips from several dramas, including Fatal Girl, Edict Zero FIS, Dixie Steinberg and Children of the Gods, none of which I have hitherto reviewed.  If Yap Audio could add links to these works online, I'd be very happy - as would anyone who has enjoyed listening to this enthralling documentary.