Horror comes in many shapes and forms from books, movies and TV shows but one of the classic true staples of horror has to be the radio show. Now it has been taken to the next level with the podcasts as there are a few to choose from. Chilling Tales for Dark Nights has done some great podcasts and now they are embarking on a new project to inject even more horror in your lives.
Craig Groshek, a University of Wisconsin graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, is the CEO and director of Chilling Entertainment, LLC, the media company responsible for brands including Chilling Tales for Dark Nights and The Simply Scary Podcast. He is also a voice talent, graphic designer, website administrator, editor, author, devoted husband, and the father of three boys. Groshek’s project began not as an audio entertainment project or as a podcast, but rather, as a literary concept, until 2012 when, during audio book production, he met a string of independent voice actors. Things were never the same again. I recently had the chance to chat with Craig about Chilling Dark Tales for Dark Nights and their Kickstarter campaign.
TR: How did you get into the world of podcasts?
CG: Somewhat by accident, actually. The transition from producing a literary collection of stories to producing an audio book of my own work was a logical step. However, the transition from producing one-off stories to producing a segmented, show-like format, with a host, was a bit more involved. 2014 was a rough year for everyone on YouTube financially; revenue was down, and everyone was trying to find new ways to expand into other mediums, get the word out, and collaborate. It was at that time that my team and I discussed the matter and decided to move into the realm of podcasting, where we could hopefully reach a larger, more mature, and more well-to-do audience, with a vested interest in the type of high-quality audio entertainment we produced. Within a few weeks of having serious discussions, we were approached by a musical label executive turned audio book promoter, who then introduced us to the head of the podcast network, PodcastOne. That resulted in being contracted with PodcastOne and producing Chilling Tales: The Podcast. Regrettably, that agreement didn’t work out in our future, so we respectfully asked that it be terminated, so that we could have a go independently. And that’s when The Simply Scary Podcast became a reality. We’ve learned a lot from the entire podcasting experience: how to work on a schedule, how to interact better with listeners, how to work together as a team, and how to manage insane workloads, often on a part-time schedule.
TR: Tell us more about Chilling Tales for Dark Nights.
CG: Here are some bullet points about our great show:
- We’re not new: we’ve been producing audio horror for 4+ years
- We’ve produced more than 800 audio book style productions over the years, many with sound effects and original scores
- Our YouTube channel has over 170,000 subscribers
- Our videos have been viewed 18+ million times
- We release the critically-acclaimed and 5-star iTunes rates Simply Scary Podcast (iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-simply-scary-podcast/id1164228167
- We’ve featured guest narrations by Markiplier, Tay Zonday, Patrick Rothfuss, Cryaotic, and Rob Dyke
- We’ve adapted work written by Bram Stoker Award winners and New York Times best selling authors
- We almost exclusively feature the work of independent, unpublished authors
- All of our productions feature exclusively independent voice over talent
- With rare exceptions, our team members have never spoken to one another in person, or met face-to-face
- We are a true product of the Internet age: the members of our team are from several countries throughout the world, and from many of the U.S. states
- All of our productions feature custom scores and sound effects
- This Kickstarter campaign marks our first foray into producing animation on our own
TR: You recently started a Kickstarter please tell us more about that.
CG: Kickstarter is our chosen method to fund our most ambitious project yet: an animated series spin-off of our audio entertainment, which we’ve been producing for years.
I would refer you here for the Kickstarter details: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/craiggroshek/chilling-tales-for-dark-nights-the-animated-horror
The above explains why we chose Kickstarter, and what the exact goals of the project are. We spent days working on the verbiage, so everything you need is there.
TR: Other than this Kickstarter if it goes well do you have plans for other projects in the future?
CG: We always have plans. Currently, we are planning to expand into producing several more podcast-style programs, including one hosted by Otis Jiry, our resident “master storyteller,” as well as one themed around purportedly true scary stories. Aside from this, we plan to get into book publishing – both print and eBook – in 2017. And we are also in talks with video game developers to launch a CTFDN themed line of games this year and beyond.
TR: What would be a project you would love to work on?
CG: Besides the above, one of our goals is to work on a serialized podcast and graphic novel series, featuring an ongoing plot, which would offer our voice acting team an opportunity to play recurring roles. Think Welcome to Night Vale, but CTFDN style, with a nice blend of terror and dark humor thrown in.
TR: Any closing thoughts?
CG: Again, we recommend you visit the Kickstarter campaign page and our websites for info. Much of what you need to know is on there already, or in the article I attached. I hate to point and say, “go there,” but we worked hard on the Kickstarter campaign page verbiage, to make sure things were worded properly, and would like that content to be discussed.
Aside from the above, I’d just like to say that to us, the move to an animated series seems like a logical next step. Whether we get funded or not, we intend to begin producing more visually-oriented content, whether that be fully animated shows, graphic novel style videos, or simple, illustrated books.
Whatever the future holds, we’re going to go into it with the full force of independent creativity, and with a small army of supporters, and some exceptionally talented individuals backing us up. We’re confident we’ll achieve our goals, whether they’re funded by a crowd, or through other means. We built everything you see with virtually no budget, and lifted ourselves up by our own bootstraps. We don’t see that changing anytime soon.
If you haven’t already you need to check out Chilling Tales for Dark Nights on YouTube where they have tons of creepy stories and some great original content. Point your browser over to: https://www.youtube.com/user/chillingtaleswi and get ready to turn off the lights and turn on the dark.