In apocalyptic fiction, the downfall of the human race is often presented as the ultimate tragedy. Typically, creators don't spend a lot of time imagining a world beyond humanity's sorrowful twilight. Once the world of man is eclipsed, many stories seem to suggest, existence will likely dead-end in a featureless cosmic wasteland.
Which brings us to Earth under Gold (or Au/E for short), a nine-part audio series that presents a world in which humans are sidelined while giant birdlike aliens resuscitate Earth's flatlining ecosystems. To be sure, the invasion was a Ragnarok-scale event for Homo sapiens, and the remnants of the species are mired in genre-standard post-apocalyptic ennui and dread. However, for everything else on Earth -- including mankind's synthetic companions -- the aliens' arrival merely signaled the dawn of the post-Anthropocene era.
Earth under Gold is about the moments after humanity has left the center of the lens. How will people fare in a newly opened world? Will they pass through with grace -- or will their demons drag them down again? The aliens may have salvaged the planet's waning ecosystems, but they could not banish the specters of hatred and authoritarianism from the human soul. Life carries on; mankind's redemption remains an intraspecies affair.
This series is the product of a lengthy collaboration between Matthew Edward Gustavsen and Paul Michael Christian. Our cast was assembled in Minneapolis, MN. Recording began in 2016 and proceeded in spurts for several months; in 2017, as expenses began to creep beyond our original budget, we hit the pause button.
Which brings us to you. A successful campaign here will enable us to compensate our people fairly and finish all nine episodes within a reasonable time frame. We believe in this project. As an anxiety-ridden writer, Mr. Gustavsen often flees from any discussion of his work; as an obsessive consumer of sci-fi content (of the original-concept and franchise varieties), he is proud to say that Earth under Gold is the kind of thing he and his peers crave: an ambitious, genre-bending series driven by the words and deeds of cold-hearted technocrats, lovable weirdos and whiskey-swilling rogues.
Every contribution will be a blow struck for independent creators. Mr. Christian has independently recorded, mixed and mastered several albums, and our cast's indie-film and -theater cred would make Hal Hartley blush. We don't need the keys to some corporate studio coffers -- we just need you.
You can help ensure that our actors get paid. You can help us get the support we need to craft a rich, memorable soundscape. You can help us spin our myth.
Enjoy the preview (headphones recommended):
Risks and challenges
From the beginning, our greatest challenge has been the management of our own expectations. This project was conceived as an audio series/podcast -- because the podcast medium is still a strange, uncharted country. We knew we'd be able to try some things that are all but impossible in your garden-variety cinematic universes and prestige dramas.
But worldbuilding is a tricky business, especially when you're working with so many sci-fi/fantasy tropes. If you're not careful, you'll wind up aping your heroes in a windowless room. You'll lose the thread and, with it, your audience.
So we've endeavored to be careful storytellers -- to not get carried away, to not get distracted by the bright colors and pretty sounds in our heads. We believe this strategy will pay off big-time -- and that the final product will out-weird your wildest premium-cable dreams.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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