April 24, 2019

Is an Audio Drama a Viable Narrative Medium? Ask William Gibson's 'Alien 3'

A lesser-known chapter in the popular franchise gets another life on an interesting platform

Audible has just revealed that they are turning William Gibson's unproduced Alien 3 script into an original audio drama, which is exciting for Alien fans but also perhaps a signal that if you can't get your narrative to the screen, maybe you can settle for audio drama first, and see where that takes you... 

Are you likely to get the listens this Alien 3 script will? No. But that didn't stop many a cinematic storyteller from gaining traction with original content in graphic novel or book series form before selling the big or small screen rights. 

More platforms and more outlets being popularized by major names and franchises can mean more viable ways for you to get your story to audiences. 

What else does this particular audio drama have going for it? Well, Michael Biehn will return to his role as Corporal Hicks, whom he played in 1986's sequel, Aliens. The audio drama is set for a May 30th release.

Gibson's script is already legendary within the fandom. He leaked his original draft in 2013 via Twitter, revealing the Cold War-style horror-thriller that could have been.

The produced Alien 3 ended up a mess of a project. It was director David Fincher's feature debut, and he shot it without a finished script when it was already over-budget. Although Alien 3 now has some die-hard advocates, many fans were much more delighted with Gibson's leaked draft.

The script was adapted as a comic series from Dark Horse Comics last year, but now it lives once more in dramatic form  rising again like that pesky, unkillable xenomorph.

Using the audio drama as its format, the franchise is essentially retconning itself in favor of what will hopefully be stronger material.

Although it might be viewed as several steps down from a feature film, TV adaptation, or even a webseries, the audio drama/podcast format can be affordable, still allows the production to incorporate strong actors, and, through Audible, has a good chance of reaching a wide audience. 

Credit: 20th Century Fox

This is just another example of media seeking unique platforms to tell stories. It is an interesting trend, as dramatic podcasts continue to gain traction and listeners. And who knows, maybe if Alien 3 gets popular enough, it could cross over again into a visual medium, much like Homecoming eventually ended up on Amazon.

What do you think? Are audio dramas a viable alternative? And are you excited to listen to Alien 3    

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3 Comments

Hell yes!

April 24, 2019 at 4:32PM

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Jason Hellerman
Copywriter
Writer

The students in my high school AV class write and perform a "radio play" as part of their script writing unit. Results vary with my students, but forcing them to remove the visual element emphasized the importance of the various story elements. I'm considering letting them listen to excerpts from the Alien 3 production to help inspire them. Can't wait to hear it myself.

April 24, 2019 at 5:48PM

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So really this is just an e-book ... using a movie script? ... or did I miss something. There will be a market ..yes .. but lets face it, we live in a visual, sited world. Who doesn't want a big time movie made of their favorite book ... assuming, of course, they are true to the story !!!!!!

April 25, 2019 at 8:45AM

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