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An Interview with Michael J. Rocco, Producer and Sound Engineer of Hall of Shadows

by Mike Haberfelner

June 2019

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Your new radio show Hall of Shadows - in a few words, what is it about?

 

Morality. Discovering who these characters are under the worst circumstances.

 

Now how did the show fall together in the first place?

 

It happened in stages - in 2014, Kristina (writer/director) [Kristina Rocco interview - click here] and I released a show under the same name. Instead of radio drama, we would read short stories and featured dark ambient composers. We were big fans of old time radio shows and wondered “what would happen if we made that kind of thing today?“

 

Basic question, why radio drama, what makes this medium perfect for your stories?

 

Radio drama gives us freedom. We can tell stories that require little more than our imagination. I don’t have to worry about budget, CGI, printing costs, etc. At least until post production advertising.

 

What are the main challenges of creating an episode of Hall of Shadows from a producer and sound engineer's point of view?

 

I think one the biggest challenges is getting people interested in a radio play post 20th century. By the late 1970’s, this sort of thing was winding down with shows like CBS Radio Mystery Theater. Another challenge for me is when actors send me their own recordings (as opposed to me recording them in my studio). I need to ensure they sound like they’re in the same room together, when in reality, they’re thousands of miles apart… and have never met.

 

Besides being producer and sound engineer, you wear many other hats on Hall of Shadows - so talk about each of your jobs on the show for a bit, and what do you enjoy the most, what could you do without?

 

Hahaha, someone finally noticed! No, I do spend most of my time editing each episode. But, I also record, mix/master, distribute market, design/maintain websites, and communicate with actors and crew. For me, the one thing I could do without is people on the show who don’t care about this. Kristina and I treat this like our musical projects - more than anything else, including talent, is they have to want to be here. We have a great group of folks involved so far. Most are enthusiastic, promote like hell and always ask if they can do more. Others refuse to even follow me on social media, haha.

 

What can you tell us about your collaboration with Hall of Shadows' writer/director Kristina Rocco [Kristina Rocco interview - click here], and what's your collaboration like?

 

Kristina had the misfortune of marrying me many years ago. We’re mostly known for our musical career together - we’ve recorded dozens of albums and toured everywhere. This project is taking us right back to our roots. Like our music, if she’s writing, I stay the fuck out of her way. If I’m working the show, she does the opposite. We’re perfect together.

 

What can you tell us about about then rest of team and talent behind Hall of Shadows?

 

Right, so shortly after deciding to do this thing, a good friend and colleague reconnected with us (ironically, on social media where we both hate to be). Within a month, Kristina and I made Carl J. Grasso [Carl J. Grasso interview - click here] the show’s casting director. He’s doing a terrific job if you can see past the farm animal fetish. Kidding aside, we love him to pieces. Kristina and I met because of him. We also have beautiful human beings lending their voice talent to a new show. We are all on the ground floor of Hall of Shadows and that makes things more special.

 

With Hall of Shadows being a horror show, is that a genre especially dear to you?

 

Absolutely. I grew up on American International Pictures, Subspecies movies and guttural slamming death metal. In our house, when it’s not Emmet Otter, it’s Maya Deren.

 

Do talk about your show's overall approach to horror!

 

My favorite part of what Kristina does as a writer is her ability to develop characters wholly within a 12 minute episode. I care about these people. They aren’t reccurring characters (so far) yet, I invest in their journey with so little time given. As the producer, I didn’t want to simply throw loud pop-scares at the audience. No matter what we’re doing, we always find the heart of a story. The horror needs to come naturally, otherwise I feel like I’m cheating.

 

You've also been a writer on some of your show's episodes, right? So do talk about your those for a bit, and what were your sources of inspiration for writing them?

 

Kristina writes the vast majority of the episodes and Carl is writing one story as of now. I’ve come up with some of the ideas for episodes and also occasionally rewrite if it doesn’t convey through audio. So much of my time is spent in editing that I’m grateful I don’t have to write. I used to write a lot, but these days, I have the attention span of a gadfly on cocaine.

 

The $64 question, where can your show be heard?

 

We’re fortunate to have access to so many partners. You can find them all on www.hallofshadowsradio.com

 

Any future plans for the show you'd like to share? And other future projects, in whatever medium?

 

It’s been a crazy couple of years. My wife was very sick until recently, so we’re diving into more projects than we can handle to keep busy. We’ll probably release ten or so episodes of Hall of Shadows and see where the three of us are. Carl is also doing a podcast and other things. Kristina and I are always on the road or in studio with music (whether acoustic or doom metal). Right now, we’re just loving every second we have in this chamber of horrors called life.

 

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USA  amazon.com

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Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

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Your/your show's website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

http://www.hallofshadowsradio.com

http://www.newframemedia.com

http://www.kristinarocco.com

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

For the young dreamers out there: Have fun and be grateful - horror fans are cool as shit.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us.

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD