Hey, here’s a type of smoochy media I haven’t spoken about.
The Audio Play.
Alright, you know, yes, podcasts, they’re a thing, but I don’t really talk about fiction in podcasts. Well, my podcasts are about fiction. This isn’t about those, which tend to be by definition, long form and serialised. This is instead about short, ten to twenty minute long audio plays of a conversation with someone who is implied to be not a love interest, but your love interest.
Note: I’m not going to provide any specific examples here. Just check youtube or soundcloud or your space of choice for Audio RP and look for tags that you like, because I can’t vouch for anyone in this space.
You might have seen these, certainly if you’re in the ASMR space. There’s a lot of different ASMRtists, who use roleplay as the core of the video narrative – they’re your bartender, or they’re drawing your picture and talking to you, or they’re cutting your hair – but those tend to be definitionally professional? It’s interesting how many ASMR plays are about ‘has a nice conversation with someone doing their job’ because I guess anxious audiences have anxious fantasies.
Woven in, though, in amongst those, are some people doing second person narratives that are explicitly about telling romantic stories; specific key moments in familiar narratives, performed and executed by one or more voice actors. Usually, it’s one actor – that lets the creators make a large body of work without needing to rely on collaborators.
You might find these super embarrassing! That’s okay, I understand that. Not everyone responds to the same kind of media. But it’s entirely possible that you’re interested in voice acting, or you’re interested in stories that you can listen to that need all the hard spots shaved off. You may just want to watch a romantic comedy and fastforward to the kiss – well, this is an entire genre of that kind of stuff. Of romantic meet cutes and sweet deepening relationships, of confessions and love and comfort and the sound of hugs.
It’s also hard to vet. These plays are definitely long and a lot of the creators are definitely private about their lives and identities – which sucks, because they kinda need to, because women (usually it’s women) who do things on the internet like this can get the attention of bad weirdoes, and that can lead to things like people having to lose their jobs. But this also means that it’s hard to see if anyone in this space is secretly, like, transphobic, or about to say something awful as a casual joke. Can’t promise anything there.
I think the reason I bring up these kinds of stories is because they’re an interesting format that asks for a skill I don’t have. Not that I don’t have a capacity to voice act – I know I’ve tried it, and I know I’ve done a lot of podcasting. What bothers me the most about my voice is even when I’m doing ‘a voice’ I can still tell, listening back to it, that it’s my voice.
You don’t have to release this stuff to a full audience.
You don’t have to share this with a hundred people.
You can just make it, and share it with friends who are receptive, and see what they think. You can test it out, and if all you have is one person, and a microphone, and curiosity… this is an avenue that’s open for you, to tell a story that’s just made out of those small bits that you want to tell.
There is a category of these audio plays, by the way, that are not Youtube friendly, and they’re usually built around sex. These are harder to direct people to, because for a start, sexual content is way more likely to be content warningy.
But, and this is important, people who use their audio play platform to do sexual audio plays, even for money, are absolutely valid and I’m not here to hear you talk shit about them for doing it. People make porn, sex work is work, don’t be an asshole.