Audio Drama Lab Manual

About the Manual

To demonstrate a path forward from idea to release, we developed this manual. It is a fairly barebones guideline that anyone can use to have a form of structure they can use as they build their audio drama. It is broken up into five stages, and within each stage what is necessary, and what is optional (but is very helpful!).

  1. Development
  2. Pre-Production
  3. Production
  4. Post-Production
  5. Launch


Where you think about making stuff.


Show Bible

  • This can contain a lot of things, but at minimum you’d want:
    • Title of show
    • A list of your characters including name, role (protagonist, antagonist, supporting character, etc), voice type, and demographics as needed (age, pronouns, nationality, etc)
    • An outline of your first season which contains a list of your episodes with at least a plot summary for each one. This may be less important in an anthology, but the theme that connects all the episodes should still be hammered out.
  • This will guide you as you work on the story.

More information on creating a Show Bible:

Rough Draft of First Episode

  • This doesn’t have to be perfect, but having words on paper, in script form, that resemble a story is the idea. With this, you’ll have something to get feedback and ideas on in order to polish and refine in the Pre-Production stage.

More information on creating a rough draft:


Show Bible

  • Like we said, it can contain a lot of things. Here’s some other stuff you can put in a Show Bible to help yourself along:
    • Log Line – In a single sentence, this summarizes why people should listen to (or take part in) your show, because it contains 6 essential parts to tell people about your story:
      • The Setting
      • The Protagonist
      • The Problem
      • The Antagonist
      • The Conflict
      • The Goal
    • Introduction – This is where you say why you wrote the story.
    • Show Structure – How is the story being told? Single narrator? Found audio? Full cast? Non-linear? What’s the tone?
    • Theme – What is the heart of your story?
    • World – What kind of world is this story taking place in?
    • Characters – Yes, this was listed before, but there’s more you can do than just list them! Tell us about them. What do they do? What’s their personality like? What are their struggles? What are their goals?
    • Story – Once again, we already listed an outline of the first season, but tell us what the story is about, tell us where it will end, and say what could happen in the next season should you decide to go that route.
    • Style – What are the vibes? You can include images and audio samples here.
  • Show Bibles can contain a lot of elements, and those elements can be written in many different ways. There is not a single right, perfect way to do it.


Where you start working on making stuff.


Final Draft of the First Episode

  • Your story should be clear and polished, ready to record at this stage. Just know that revisions may happen as actors start making your lines sound weird.

A Budget

  • This can be $0, but whatever it is, you should have the number figured out and planned for. Some things to consider:
    • Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) – what you use to record, edit, and mix the audio like Audacity (free), Reaper (cheap), Audition (subscription), etc.
    • Podcast hosting fees (there are free hosts like Anchor, Red Circle, and Acast, or paid hosts like Libsyn, Buzzsprout, and Podbean, to name a few).
    • Hardware costs – microphones like the Samson Q2U (cheap dynamic USB + XLR microphone), audio interfaces like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (connects XLR microphones to your computer), treating your recording space for sound with blankets, sound panels, etc.
    • Paying your cast and crew (if you’re going to).
    • Sound library fees (there are free ones so long as you give proper attribution like Zapsplat and, paid ones like Soundly and Epidemic, or you can DIY).

Cast & Crew

  • Disregard if you’re going it alone, obviously. Some roles in production:
    • Actor – they perform what you write and bring your characters to life
    • Director – they guide the actors, drawing out the best in them
    • Producer – they manage budget, scheduling, and more
    • Writer – they plan and write the script, and revise as needed
    • Audio Dialogue Editor – they edit just the recorded dialogue to line everything up right and naturally
    • Sound Designer – they create the audio environment
    • Sound Engineer – they track (record), mix, and master the audio so that it sounds good on your earbuds and in your car
    • Marketer – they create promotional copy, manage social media, network with other shows, manage advertising campaigns, and connect with media outlets for possible features
    • Graphic Designer – they create show art, episode art, and any promotional artwork
    • Showrunner – they have the grand scheme of the show in mind, and ensure all of the various episodes are consistent to the theme and plot of the show
  • These are not all required, maybe can be combined, and you may be doing one or more (or all) of them. That’s A-OK.


Draft of All Season One Episodes

  • If you do it now, you can help prevent delays in production and give all of your cast and crew proper expectations about the amount of work that’ll be involved, as well as potentially offer better performances from actors as they will know their characters’ arcs, and more excitement from everyone as they know where things are going.


Where you make stuff.


Episode One Recorded

  • Woohoo! Your director has directed your actors, your sound engineer has recorded your actors, and your actors have acted all of the dialogue.


All Episodes Recorded

  • Future you will thank past you


Where you make stuff actually work.


Episode One Edited and Mixed

  • Make the dialogue sound good, and bring the environment to life!

Podcast Art

  • This can be as simple as something made for free in Canva, or you can pay (or barter) a professional artist (or friend), but Apple requires art and has some guidelines for it.


All Episodes Edited and Mixed

  • Again, future you will thank you. It puts a lot less stress on you when it comes to release deadlines.


  • Having a full transcript of your episode(s) makes your show accessible to the hearing impaired, as well as increases your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which can make your podcast more easily found.

Content Warnings

  • Giving people a heads up about what time of potentially offensive or triggering content can be found in your podcast can help prevent negative reviews and improve the listening experience.


Where you made stuff.


Podcast Host

  • There has to be a way of putting your work online, generating an RSS feed (which is what podcatchers like Apple Podcasts and Spotify use to grab your show), and distributing it to the podcatchers. Podcast hosts like Acast, Anchor, Podbean, Libsyn, and more all do that (or you can self host if you’re technically inclined and have the time to manage it… that is more advanced, though).



  • This helps search engines to find you more easily, and puts you in control of what your online presence is.

Press Kit

  • The good news is that if you made your Show Bible, you’re a good way towards having this done already. This is something people who write about your show can use to reference it consistently. Some things to include:
    • A trailer
    • Log line
    • Plot synopsis
    • Cast and crew
    • Graphics press can use
    • Basic production information