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Meet Michael Herman and Josie Lapczynski of The Call of the Void in DTLA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Herman and Josie Lapczynski.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Michael and Josie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
A few years ago, Josie and I had the incredible opportunity of finding the audio drama “Rabbits” by the Public Radio Alliance”. It tells the story of a young woman trying to find her missing friend after she starts playing a mysterious augmented reality game. We loved the idea of telling a story inclusively through audio and we immediately started to look for ways to bring our own story to life.

Right around this time, we also fell deeply in love with Lovecraft and weird fiction in general. The idea that horror comes from the unknown, the indescribable, is such a delicious idea to us. And ripe for our modern social climate. We started to dig into our own minds for what was truly mysterious and horrific and that’s where the idea for The Void came to life. What if there was a thing, a creature, something you couldn’t quite describe, hunting and changing people. And so…The Call of the Void was born.

Since then, our show has spread to over 75 countries around the world, with over 50,000 downloads. Listeners follow the journey of Topher and Etsy, a tour guide and a psychic, as they dig deeper and deeper into the mystery of their own past and a creature in the swamps of New Orleans. Ultimately, this is a story about courage and forgiveness, and how necessary those emotions are to the genre of science-fiction and life.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Yes and no. Josie and I love working together. In fact, we are getting married in July 2020! And we are so excited about that! But the journey for The Call of the Void has been tricky, to say the least. Our show is fully scripted so every scene in the story is meticulously designed and crafted for a specific purpose, often several purposes. Neither of us had ever told a story of this magnitude before and we frankly didn’t know if it was possible.

A major setback was when we finally had all the audio files recorded. It was hours of multiple takes and sound effects. These files actually sat on our computer for a few months because we simply didn’t know how to begin. It was scary to begin. We both had limited audio design experience and bringing this story to life was something neither of us really knew how to do.

But…we started, and we re-wrote, and re-recorded, and made all sorts of sounds in our studio until we had the product that people hear around the globe today.

Please tell us about The Call of the Void.
The Call of the Void is a fully immersive audio drama experience. There are lots of podcasts in the audio space, but we wanted to make a show that was like television for your ears. If the characters are in a kitchen, you’ll hear the teapot whistling, if they are in a car crash, you’ll hear everything down to the way they collide with the inside of the vehicle. We are careful to make our show as fully immersive as possible.

Apart from that, The Call of the Void is also a fresh re-ramp of Lovecraftian themes. Much of Lovecraft’s work is profound, but he was a racist and sexist writer. We wanted to step away from his bigotry and modernize what cosmic horror could and should feel like to a modern audience. Audio became the perfect medium to explore this unknown horror. With only your ears, listeners are forced to imagine much of the horror in their heads. This allows the “fear of the unknown” to really shine in our story.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Collaboration. Making a show that has over 15 people in the cast, hundreds of sound files, and hours of content, requires extreme collaboration. When Josie and I are building together, we are at our best, but…when we start to compromise the story starts to fall apart. Collaboration, sharing ideas, is the single best way for us to grow as artists and sound designers.

Some people think compromise and collaboration are the same things, but they are totally different. With compromise, both people are dissatisfied with the outcome, they both sacrifice a little. With collaboration, you have to listen and grow together, building off each other’s ideas. We are very collaboration friendly with The Call of the Void. We want to hear ideas before we reject them. And I believe that is why we are excelling as artists.


  • The Call of the Void is free to listen to anywhere you can find podcasts

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Acorn Photos

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