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Help us make a free, eight-episode audiodrama anthology inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft!
Help us make a free, eight-episode audiodrama anthology inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft!
100 backers pledged $3,047 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$3,047

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NEW STRETCH GOAL!

We were initially reluctant to set stretch goals for this project, but we've decided to add one here in the final days of our campaign, and it's a doozy:

A SECOND SEASON OF TALES FROM THE BLACK VAULT

YES! If we manage to make the stretch goal of $3,000, we will have enough to pay for the production for another full eight episodes of Tales from the Black Vault! It's an immense task - we'll need to raise almost $200 per day for the last four days, but if you'd like to hear twice as many spine-tingling tales from our talented cast, now is the time to dig deep, and share the word with your friends and family.

Listen to our demo episode, which was produced with few (zero) resources, and imagine what we could do with access to actual studio time and proper equipment!

The cast of The Black Vault has been improvising Lovecraftian horror stories onstage since 2012. We terrified and severely creeped out audiences in an acclaimed two-month mainstage run at the Hideout Theatre in Austin, Texas, delivered sanity-blasting performances at improv festivals as far-flung as Juneau, Alaska, and turned up in numerous enigmatic guest appearances and inexplicable mash-up shows on stages everywhere.

And now, we would like to record a podcast. 

For this project, we will improvise a set of eight brand-new, twenty-minute audio performances in a recording studio. Then we'll add scoring, add sound effects, and distribute the series online for free!

Lovecraft fans, this is a chance to hear some completely original stories set in the style of the master of cosmic horror.

Improv fans, this is a chance to make a new type of improv podcast—an improvised narrative with top-of-the-line recording and post-production. If we can blaze this trail, other troupes can follow.

And everyone should listen to our first demo episode and check out the rewards to the right.

For more information, check out the FAQ below!

The current cast of The Black Vault features a murderer's row of Austin-improv talent. 

This year, Jessica Arjet, Marc Majcher, and Jayme Ramsay are all up for B. Iden Payne Awards (our local Tonys) for improv shows they've created. 

Emily Breedlove has performed opera across the country, and improvised in genre shows ranging from the Arabian Nights to improvised Doctor Who. 

Jay Michael co-created Start Trekkin', the longest-running improvised genre show in Austin. 

Brad Hawkins created Trust No One at the Institution Theater. 

Justin Davis created The Next Chapter and The Professor, a Doctor Who-inspired improv show.

Andreas Fabis directs Pick Your Own Path at the Hideout, and performs with Marc in The Escorts. 

Peter Rogers is a renowned improv narrator who's appeared in countless mainstage shows. 

Paul Normandin, Ryan Hill, and Jessica have been touring and teaching across the country as part of In Our Prime. 

And Roy Janik is the artistic director and one of the owners of the Hideout Theatre.

Lindsey McGowen is heading up the production side of things. She comes to improv from the world of a cappella recording, where she has considerable experience with audio engineering. 

Peter Rogers—who, in addition to being in the cast, is also the tech wizard who built most of the Austin Improv Wiki—will be helping her out.

(Note: if you see us live, you'll get to see stunning improvised tech from Neal Tibrewala, Cindy Page, and Michael Yew—they'll be consulting with us on this project. And while Clay Towery has passed on from this world, he shall always remain a Member Emeritus in the next.)

When we're finished, we will unleash eight brand new recordings of horrible tales in the style of H.P. Lovecraft that the world never heard before. These stories will be professionally engineered and completely free to anyone who dares listen. If you help us bring this project to completion, you get more things!

Exclusive Early Access!

Everyone who donates to our project—even a single dollar—will be given access to the finished episodes before the rest of the world. Who knows? there may even be some bonus material that nobody else will ever hear...

Video Thanks From The Cast!

We'll create a special video thank you just for our backers and let the whole world know who helped call forth these new abominations.

Your Own Lovecraftian Monologue!

You get your choice of one of five  Lovecraftian monologues recorded by a cast member, a little bedtime story to help send you off to phantasmagoric dreams.

Cast Photo!

A cast photo signed by everyone here at Tales from the Black Vault, suitable for framing and delivered to your doorstep.

Spooky Voice Mail Message!

The cast of Tales from the Black Vault will record a selection of messages for you to use on your voicemail to unsettle any prospective callers.

Ominous Handwritten Letters!

You may be one of the unlucky few to receive a handwritten letter in the mail, describing the obscene and unknowable horrors that await you.

We'll Include You In The Story!

We will use your name for a character in one of our new stories (within reason, of course—sorry, Professor Booger Stinkybutt) or take a suggestion or image from you to inspire the tale.

Indescribable Relics!

Our servitors overseas have been hard at work, and these profane idols and indescribable blasphemies have just been piling up here at the Tales from the Black Vault headquarters. We will allow you to take one of them off our hands... for a price. 

Record With Us!

If you live in Austin, Texas, or have the capability to record high-quality audio, we will invite you to add your voice to one of our stories. Practice your gibbering, slobbering, and inhuman cries!

The cast and crew of Tales from the Black Vault thanks your for your patronage, and we hope to bring you our new series of horror radio drama in the coming months. The stars are right, so please lend us your support today!

Video Credits

This promo video includes photos from Control Images and Steve Rogers Photography, fonts from the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Society (cthulhulives.org/toybox/propdocs/propfonts.html), and Mike Koenig's "TV Static" sound from soundbible.com/1611-TV-Static.html. Thanks, guys!

Risks and challenges

Tales from the Black Vault will be improvised, and that comes with its own risks and safeguards. On the plus side, our current cast has a dozen experienced improvisors, so if scheduling goes awry or a cast member develops a crippling fear of microphones, we can still easily fill our recording sessions with capable performers. On the other hand, there is always the risk with improv that the stories we improvise won't be that good—one safeguard against this is that the troupe has a very good track record of consistently delivering engaging performances.

In addition, our current plan is to actually record *ten* stories and produce the best eight, ensuring a quality set of recordings.

There is also a risk that our outstanding audio engineer, Lindsey McGowen, may be consumed by eldritch abominations or something. Lindsey is taking time off from her busy improv-tech schedule to make sure she has enough time and energy for this project, and we'll be training up assistant editors who can take up the slack if anything goes wrong.

Finally, this project is uncharted territory. No Austin improv troupe has ever done a podcast, let alone a podcast with this level of production quality. As far as we can tell, no troupe anywhere has attempted a project quite like this. That means there could be 'unknown unknowns' that make things unexpectedly difficult. To guard against that, we've already produced a demo episode on the cheap, and we will keep backers apprised of our progress with regular updates.

The upside is that, if this project succeeds, it can provide a blueprint for other troupes who want to pursue similar projects. Austin alone is full of enough genre improv for many, many podcasts.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    A thank-you shout-out on our social media, and access to the finished episodes one week prior to public release!

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    14 backers
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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A thank-you video from the cast, plus early access to the episodes.

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    13 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Your choice of one of five Lovecraftian monologues performed by one of our cast members on mp3! (plus the $5 and $10 rewards)

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    16 backers
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Signed cast photo (plus the $5, $10, and $15 rewards)

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    19 backers
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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    We will record a scary message for your voice mail. (plus the $5, $10, and $15 rewards)

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    3 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    An ominous handwritten letter delivered to you. (plus the $5, $10, and $15 rewards)

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    10 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    We use your name as a character in a story, or take your suggestion to inspire a story. (plus the $5, $10, and $15 rewards)

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    Limited 7 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    An indescribable handmade relic or ancient scroll. (plus the $5, $10, and $15 rewards)

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    Limited 1 backer
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    An invitation to be part of a podcast* (plus the $5, $10, and $15 rewards) *You must be in Austin, TX or be able to record audio at home.

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Funding period

- (31 days)