Interview With Sean Young, Author of Blood Of Socorro County
For season 11 of the HorrorAddicts.net podcast, we will once again feature an 11 episode audio drama. Our latest ongoing story started in episode 124 of the podcast and is called Blood Of Socorro County. The play is written by Sean Young, who in the past, has participated in our annual Masters Of The Macabre contest. I asked Sean a few questions about his new drama and here is what he had to say:
What is the plot of Blood of Socorro County?
The story follows a couple of different subplots, but the main plot covers the attempt of an ancient werewolf who escaped persecution in Europe to re-establish a new clan in the relatively lawless area of Socorro County, (the Southwestern part of New Mexico). New Mexico was still a Territory at this time, and is one of the wildest areas of the old west.
What was the inspiration behind it?
I always liked the Old West, and spooky stories of the Old West are the coolest. I work at Knott’s Berry Farm, a few miles away from Disneyland in Southern California. Allow me to digress for a moment and explain a bit about Knott’s Berry Farm for the benefit of those not from the Southern California area. It is the first Theme Park in America, and still going strong after 75 years. Walter Knott and his wife Cordelia started a berry farm in 1920, and was the birthplace of the Boysenberry. They opened a chicken dinner restaurant in 1934, to help make ends meet during the Depression. The restaurant became a huge success, and lines for the restaurant were literally 4-6 hours long in some cases, like on Sundays. Walter, ever the entrepreneur, decided to pursue a dream project of his; to create his own Ghost Town, complete with authentic buildings, maze-like streets and cowboys and Native Americans to populate it. The Ghost Town was based loosely on the real ghost town of Calico, off the I-15 on the way to Las Vegas. Over the decades they added rides and other themed areas. I grew up in the area, and often visited it as a child and throughout my adult life. I think my love for the Old West came from going to that park.
My inspiration for Blood of Socorro County is two-fold. Firstly, I work in the Entertainment department in Ghost Town, at the attractions Panning for Gold, the Jail, (voicing the feller in the jail named Sad Eye Joe) and the Western Trails Museum. The Western Trails Museum has an amazing collection of everything from the Old West, Mining, and Pioneering days. We have authentic guns, tools, rock specimens, saddles, bits, spurs, clothes; if it came from c.1850-1900 we probably have it. Being surrounded all day by the gravitas of history kinda rubs off on a feller. Seeing a real McCoy Colt Dragoon, Winchester M73, and an 1875 Colt Single Action Army Civilian Model (a.k.a. the Peacemaker) hanging on the wall, you can’t help wondering what stories they would or could tell if only they spoke.
Secondly, Knott’s also claims to have the first Halloween event, called Halloween Haunt and changes its name to Knott’s Scary Farm. This event is awesome, and I’ve been going to it off and on for over 30 years, as well as working 7 of the more recent ones. The last two years, I worked as an outlaw cowboy in a fantastic walk through maze called The Gunslinger’s Grave. The 2015 version of the story featured werewolves, skinwalkers and us Red Hand Gang outlaws, scaring the living bejesus out of the people who come through. Werewolf Cowboys? Hmm…
When is Blood of Socorro County set?
1885. The famed Lincoln County Wars had pretty much just burned themselves out with the death of Billy the Kid in 1881, so I thought it would be interesting to have that as a rich, local background to draw on. (Maybe a Zombie Billy the Kid?)
Why did you choose the setting?
The American Old West has always been a popular subject matter. It was an era of explosive growth, unregulated conflict, and a vision of prosperity and a bright future that has generally not been seen since. (Unless of course, you were on the losing end like Mexico and the Native Americans). Plus, it was a flash in the pan. In the brief span of merely 50 years, there were multiple Gold and Silver strikes, one of the most catastrophic Civil Wars fought with the most terrible weapons the world had ever seen, and what was the frontier between Missouri and the West Coast became settled and a Transcontinental railroad connecting it to the Old States back east. Such an area of conflict and change has always sparked the American sentiments of progress, self-reliance, and independence, transforming this country, for better or for worse into the United Stated of America that we know today.
How many episodes will there be?
There will be Eleven episodes all told. The first few will introduce most of the main characters, and then it all hits the fan in the last 3-4.
Who are some of the people involved in the production?
Everyone, other than myself and some of my family who appear in the show had all answered my casting calls from a few different internet sites. So far, I have lined up, in no particular order: Sean Wisner, Steven Leonard, Justin Fife, Steve White, Jeff Moon, and Megan Kelly. There will be a few more characters and voices to come in future episodes.
Production-wise, I wrote, did a few voices, and produced the whole thing. It’s nice to have Creative Commons websites to get music and SFX from, otherwise, there’d be a lot more folly editing going on!
How long does it take to produce an episode?
For me the writing probably takes the longest part, at least it seems like it. Each episode is only about 4 pages long, which equates out to about 6 minutes per show, and I can get one of those done in just a few hours, if I’ve already worked out most of the scene. Some of the other episodes, like episode 7 right now, have gone through some, “How the hell do I get from A to B moments”, but the rest should be finished shortly.
On the Audio end, it probably takes longer, but it seems shorter. I love editing and balancing and fiddling with stuff, a carryover from my Film School days. Of course, doing the VO parts takes a while, not too long, but finding the right take and getting it to feel right takes time. But when it all comes together, with music and SFX and the right dialogue, I still geek out over it. With all of the SFX, music and dialogue having been ready before I started to put it all together, Episode One maybe took 4-5 hours of fiddling.
Can you tell us about skeleton productions?
Skeleton Productions is kind of a joke name that I started back in Film school for my movie credits. It started out as Skeleton Films, and then was Skeleton Games for some computer games and board games I produced, and now Skeleton Productions just kinda stuck for the audio work I’ve done. Under that title, I have done The Epic Adventurers, a show that is a tongue-in-check high fantasy tale incorporating many jokes and funny bits from decades of playing Dungeons and Dragons and World of Warcraft. I also competed in the Master of the Macabre contest last year, with a short Audio Drama called “Hungry as Hell”, which featured a nuclear apocalypse, ghouls set to devour the entire dead population of the Earth, and a sassy-ass Devil.
What are some of your inspirations?
Other than the exhaustively aforementioned Westerns, Sci-Fi, Horror, and Fantasy are the main genres I like. Authors I dig are, again in no particular order: Robert Heinlein, Alan Dean Foster, Isaac Azimov, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clark, (Ya know, the ABC guys) J.R.R. Tolkien, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe, Clive Barker, many, many more, but those are the ones I geek out about the most. I also owe a huge debt to Dungeons and Dragons, which made me think of EVERYTHING as a scene in an adventure.
Where can we find your work online?
Most of my stuff is, and will be posted on Skeleton Productions. The Epic Adventurers! is also on YouTube, but there are about 3,000 other things with a similar name. Other notable acting roles I did are for MILLY FOSTER, MACABRE INVESTIGATOR: Ep 2 “Games People Play”, where I got to play a killer who murders people over board games, (tee hee!) and a Federation starship captain in Star Trek – Tales from the Border Episode 1 – One World’s Monsters, Part 1 on YouTube.