We’re Alive: A Story of Survival, The First Season

We’re Alive: A Story of Survival, The First Season  

created by Shane Salk and Kc Wayland; written by Kc Wayland
12 podcasts  performed by a full cast
10.30 hours

Michael, Angel and Saul are three soldiers in present day Northern California ordered to report for duty: to restore order to their beleaguered city which is ravaged by “zombies.” The infected are necrotic bodies that can only be truly taken down by fire or beheading and, the transmutation of the corporeal states is triggered via a bite from one of the infected.

We’re Alive: A Story of Survival, The First Season is a collection of twelve podcasts that details the story of Michael, Angel and Saul as they make their way through  the new landscape where the infrastructure is crumbling and other survivors are recovered. The survivors hold a position in an abandoned apartment building, referred to amongst themselves as “The Tower.” Here, the military triumvirate fight to provide food, clothing and shelter as well as security against the zombies and “Mallers.” The Mallers are the convicts from a local prison who  have holed up at a local mall and who pose a threat with their unchecked violence and ambitions to seize the Tower.  The Tower residents and the Mallers are the antithesis of the other, representing civilization and anarchy respectively.

The production quality of We’re Alive: A Story of Survival, The First Season is very much in the tradition of foley inspired radio drama. Sue Zizza of Sue Media Productions, once coined the phrase “testosterone grade sound effects” when describing the heavy usage of sound effects like guns, squealing tires, etc. in an audio drama and, in the case of We’re Alive: A Story of Survival, The First Season, the description is apt. This is not to say that the “testosterone grade sound effects” aren’t appropriate; only that subtlety is not in play. The sound effects take an almost equal place in the sound track as the characters’ lines, as opposed to underscoring or used in service to the action or dialogue.

Jim Gleason, Shane Salk and Nate Geez, as Michael, Angel and Saul respectively are noteworthy in voicing their roles convincingly, naturally and without getting into excessive hyperbole. However, the pulp tenor of the story lent itself to a temptation that many of the other performers could not resist: to drop into over-characterization or stereotyping. Mostly, this works to keeps the characters distinct; but occasionally, a performer’s choices didn’t work out quite as well as might have been expected: Claire Dodin plays Riley, a French restauranteur/survivor/Tower resident. Ms Dodin seems to have had a little trouble settling into a French accent, which seemed to have come by way of  Britain and Asia; all of which left the character of Riley as something of a enigma until the story spelled it out as to who she was and where she came from. Datu, a Filipino who worked as the apartment building’s maintenance supervisor before becoming the Tower’s engineer, sounded more like Apu from The Simpsons than he did a native from the Philippines. There was no question as to who was speaking when any of the performers rendered their lines; it was just a bit jarring when a performer didn’t really seem to be “in character.”

There is plenty of action, adventure, and “testosterone grade sound effects” to galvanize the listener to the story: There are no guarantees as to who will survive and what will happen next and the unexpected twists in We’re Alive: A Story of Survival, The First Season will keep you on the hook for Season Two.  

05/24/2012 – Correction: Strikethrough of the word “Northern” in the first line. Bell, CA is a town in Southern California. 

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Other Stuff:
We’re Alive: A Story of Survival – The First Season (created by Shane Salk and Kc Wayland; written by Kc Wayland; performed by a full cast) qualifies for:

I borrowed a LIbrary CD edition of We’re Alive: A Story of Survival – The First Season (created by Shane Salk and Kc Wayland; written by Kc Wayland; performed by a full cast) from Blackstone Audio, Inc. I had no involvement in the production of We’re Alive: A Story of Survival – The First Season (created by Shane Salk and Kc Wayland; written by Kc Wayland; performed by a full cast.) I receive no monies, goods or services in exchange for reviewing the product and/or mentioning any of the persons or companies that are or may be implied in this post.

9 thoughts on “We’re Alive: A Story of Survival, The First Season

  1. So….the French woman had troubles falling into her natural accent?

    Wow…you're totally a qualified reviewer. Good job, Billy!


  2. Dude, the French woman is portrayed by an actually French person who was born in France. The Filipino guy is played by a man of Filipino heritage. I don't think you could get more authentic than that.


  3. Reviewer's working knowledge of the French accent must be from Peter Sellers films. Way to pay attention. I'll ignore this website in the future.


  4. Yep, if Ms Dodin is indeed French, then she had trouble settling into her own accent. There were points at which she sounded like she was trying to be British, i.e. landing a huge “caaahnt” right in the middle of her dialogue in one of the episodes and; in another section. delivering her lines in a small mouth way which made me wonder if she was trying to emulate an Asian accent. Only when Riley's back story is told, does Ms Dodin relax and settle into her character.


  5. You can see my response to Ms Dodin's performance above and; I also happen to be of Filipino heritage – which only means that regardless of heritage of the performer or listener, Datu still sounds more Indian than Filipino.


  6. Well, everyone seems to be angry about a good review. From the beginning, I honestly pictured Riley as an African woman from one of the many nations that speak French. It turns out I was far off, but that's what she really sounded like to me, and I was a bit disappointed when she wasn't what I pictured.

    I know a great deal of Filipinos where I live, and not a single one of them sound like Datu. I don't even think it's a problem with sounding authentic, it's more of an issue of fluency delivering his lines. And ethnicity certainly doesn't convey a natural accent. I'm part Inuit and I couldn't do an Inuit accent to save my life.


  7. Just remember folks. We Americans have MANY accents in our native culture, which we also must take into account…the immigrant population. Whenn in common speech….or heaven forbid, presented with scripts, read aloud opportunities or taking on, characters or such, not everyone stays in their own regional dialect consistently…and for start up programs…characters develop over time. Et al..anyone ever watch the very first SIMPSON shorts on Tracy Ulman? Uh, something tells me there is a drastic difference. Characters are sometimes developed over time because actors get comfortable. Othertimes, it might be direction, writing or coaching. We're Alive picks up steam after starting from the Bell, CA launch and actually DOES look back..at it's backstory. It's all good. Give it time and a chance. Even the haters you meet in life, just might grow on you if you adjust them..JUST right. Shirley…you know what I mean… – Burt –


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