Created during the COVID pandemic, Sporadic Phantoms is an immersive science fiction/comedy/drama multimedia project involving audio drama, live zoom events, social media, interactive websites, and audience interaction.
It can be considered a work of "unfiction", that is, according to the Night Mind Index,
"a form of fictional storytelling that utilizes varying measures of interaction, immersion, or multimedia delivery beyond traditional bounds of the mediums used to conduct an experience under the roleplaying premise, "this is (not) a game"
Though as a whole Sporadic Phantoms can be considered a collective creation, I wrote, directed, and edited all episodes, and performed as the character Robin.
The story of Sporadic Phantoms is primarily told through an audio drama (available on all podcast platforms) framed by its characters as a true crime/investigative podcast, therefore framing the events as if they were really happening. There is very minimal reference to the actual creators of the audio drama, and the story's events happen in real time.
Three environmentalists start a podcast to cover issues of deforestation, forest fires, and illegal logging practices in California. They soon realize that a seemingly innocuous community organization has ties to funding an illegal project in a national forest, which then leads the environmentalists to switch their focus to investigating this organization, The Sharing. The podcast pivots into an investigation of what they soon learn is a cult.
From there, stranger and stranger things occur, and the cult may even be far more sinister and than it initially seems.
This is the initial, basic story of Sporadic Phantoms. But Sporadic Phantoms invites the audience to play, because in fact the main audience already understands what this cult is, and its motivations, because Sporadic Phantoms is based on Animorphs, a children's sci fi book series from the 90s- though the events of the podcast take place in present day and reflect the realities of the pandemic. The three investigators know nothing of what the audience knows to be true.
Every website, phone number, or other contactable thing mentioned in the audio drama is an actual website to interact with, email to message, or phone number to call or text. The audience is able to interact directly with the characters of the podcast, and to some extent, influence the events of the story, and even attend live virtual events held by The Sharing. An episode of the podcast was also livestreamed as if the fantastical events of the story were happening live, and listeners could interact with each other, live react in the moment, and speak with some of the characters via Discord.
Over time, listeners themselves could become their own characters and choose to interact with the story, with each other, and with the characters of the audio drama, through Discord, Twitter, emails, voice messages, phone calls, etc.
Rather than professional voice actors, the performers in Sporadic Phantoms are primarily fans of the Animorphs book series. Sporadic Phantoms would not make sense if the people behind it weren't fans- as ultimately its purpose is to bring people together to immerse in play, imagination, connection, and nostalgia, during a time of isolation and pandemic.