How The Reunion Project Was Developed
The Reunion Audio Drama podcast is based on a story about a Beatles fan immigrant from a communist country.
I was growing up in the U.S.S.R. and in 1990 immigrated to the US. As a Beatles fan since the mid-60s, I tried not to miss any Beatles related movies and books. There’s plenty covering all aspects of the Fab Four music, life and cultural significance. Yet only a precious few about the Beatles fans subculture, how the Beatles permeated their lives and stimulated their thinking, their actions and even effected their fate. Good and rare examples are “I Am Sam”, “Yesterday” and a few others.
Specifically, there’s almost no reflection of the role the Beatles played in the downfall of communism in the U.S.S.R. and Eastern European countries. And that role was huge. The fans behind the Iron Curtain, where I came from, considered the Beatles as the best impersonation of freedom they could only dream about, and their minds opened and changed enough to help fight the communism from within.
So an idea came to me of a fictional story about a Beatles fan who emigrated to the West but then came back to his Eastern European country to reunite with his friends and try to find his first and only love. His story is intertwined with an old, now impossible, but nevertheless beautiful hope of the Beatles reunion.
In the beginning, I brought this idea to my old friend Alexander Melkumov, a 3D cinematographer, and then my brother (and friend) Igor Karash, an illustrator and designer. The former is not a Beatles fan per se, but he was a “sober” head in the team benefited the actual story development. The latter, however, is an avid Beatles fan as myself, I wouldn’t expect anything less from a younger brother. The drawing above is Igor’s work, as well as some other illustrations throughout this website.
The original idea was an almost children’s fairy tale about an old guy telling his story to his granddaughter. We envisioned the implementation as a 3D stop-motion animation movie. Both Igor and Alexander helped to shape the story up and provided a lot of good ideas, some of which are still in the end product.
Eventually, however, I decided to add some dramatic turns and conflicts to the story and it evolved from a children’s tale to a more general fiction. Both teammates either didn’t quite like this transition or became more busy with their own projects, but from some point on I had to further develop and push the project forward by myself.
Movie Script Development
I have transformed the story into a full length movie script with the help from Nicolai “Nick” von Keller, and further expanded it into a novel.
I have submitted the movie script for evaluation by companies getting from them a detailed analysis of every aspect of the story by several professional readers. The initial grade was more positive than negative, but still under the threshold of general acceptance by the movie industry. I have then thoroughly re-written the script looking at the critical comment by the said readers and some of my friends I shared the script with. I have again submitted the final revision for the evaluation, and received the good grade above the threshold of acceptance.
After that, I have decided to make several variations of the story for different potential implementations.
Variations of the Reunion story about a Beatles fan immigrant from a communist country
I wrote the following variations of the original story:
- Movie Script
- Theater Play
- Movie Script and Theater Play rewritten for South Korea
- Theater Play rewritten and translated for Russia
- Audio Drama Podcast
To explain the No.4 above, I have been working in South Korea for five years, and learned about their relations with North Korea. So I decided to write a variation of the Reunion story as a story of a North Korean refugee escaping to South Korea and going back to try to free his first love.
Why Audio Drama Podcast?
I am trying to promote all the six variations above, and looking for a literary agent as well as an agent for a movie script and theater play. The movie script is listed at Slated.com if you’re interested to have a look. If anybody reading this has a suggestion for a literary agent who might be interested in this kind of story, I would greatly appreciate it. This is not easy, especially for the musical aspect of it.
This Reunion Audio Drama podcast is based on a story about a Beatles fan who emigrated from a communist country and includes many songs of the Beatles and some other musicians close to them. A few songs are originals and many are interesting covers. Both types of songs require licensing, not only mechanical licenses, but basically permission from license holders. It is not just the matter of cost but difficulty to get such permission.
On the other hand, Podcast provides a unique opportunity for music inclusion. Both Spotify and Apple podcast platforms allow to include any songs from their multi-million song libraries into the podcast (as a separate item in between podcast parts), using their pre-existing licenses. Any listener will hear 30 seconds of each song, but premium listeners will hear full songs.
The music we included into the Reunion Podcast is discussed in general terms in the “Reunion Project Music” post.
Therefore, despite opposite approach from a movie script (show don’t tell), the Audio Drama podcast approach (tell don’t show) becomes the most realistic and the least expensive way to tell “The Reunion” story.