Have You Heard? is a series in which the team from Pod Bible meet the people behind the podcasts you may not have heard of yet. While the Oh. My. Pod. section in the magazine gives a quick shout out to shows of that ilk, Have You Heard aims to go deeper in an effort to spread awareness for shows that deserve more exposure! In this week’s edition we sat down with Laura Sahvin to discuss her podcast, The Offcuts Drawer.
POD BIBLE: Who are you, what is your podcast called, and what’s it about?
LAURA SHAVIN: I’m actress and voice over artist Laura Shavin. My podcast is called The Offcuts Drawer and it features successful writers sharing their projects that didn’t make it. We hear a bit of each piece performed by actors and then the writer shares the stories behind them – what were they trying to do, why didn’t it work, what DID it lead to ultimately? The writers come from all genres – comedy, novels, TV drama, journalism, film, sketch shows, theatre, radio, standup… although right now there is a bit of a skew towards comedy because that’s my area of experience.
PB: Why did you decide to start podcasting in the first place?
LS: When I originally came up with the idea I thought it would make a great radio show but there are so few outlets for this kind of speech programme that I realised it would be easier to create the content and put it out myself rather than wait to be commissioned. That way I also get to choose things like the length of the show, how many episodes I do, who I have on and I don’t have to censor my guests if they get a bit sweary. Plus my day job is being a voiceover artist, so I have a professional studio and the skills to edit and produce the show at home.
PB: What’s the first podcast you ever listened to?
LS: I don’t remember, I’m afraid. I’ve been listening to podcasts for such a long time, at least 10 years. Much as I love radio, I hate commercials (ironic considering my day job) so as soon as I heard about podcasts, that’s all I listened to. WTF was probably one of my first. I used to be in a BBC radio comedy called The Now Show and Marc Maron was our guest once, so maybe talking to him was what got me started.
PB: Which podcasts do you take inspiration from?
LS: The Guilty Feminist was inspiring – that live format was what I was aiming for when I created The Offcuts Drawer. I’m very much a one-track-minded person so whatever I’m working on at any moment, I’m consumed by. I used to listen to a lot of comedy shows because of my acting work, and now I’m obsessed with ones about podcasting. I’ve always been a fussy listener though – I subscribe to loads of podcasts but I cherry pick the episodes that interest me. One of the only podcasts that I will download every episode is The Truth – an American series of short one-off dramas. They are uniformly excellent: absorbing, often funny, and so naturalistic – feels like listening to a mini film. It makes most UK radio drama sound OTT and stagey. And every time I listen to it I think “I should get in touch with Jonathan Mitchell (the producer) and see if I can audition to be in one of the episodes” but I never have.
PB: Who’s your dream guest for the podcast?
LS: Oh, so many! JK Rowling, Richard Curtis, Marian Keyes, Jed Mercurio, Charlie Brooker, Phoebe Waller-Bridge – I’ve got a list of about 100 and it grows bigger every day. My ideal would be to travel round the world interviewing the greatest writers in the grandest theatres. Stephen Sondheim would be a dream come true, Stephen King, Mel Brooks, Tina Fey… The problem isn’t coming up with writers but finding ones who hold onto their old material (and remember where they put it) and who are happy to be in the spotlight themselves for a change.
PB: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far as a podcaster?
LS: I’m pleasantly surprised at how nice the podcasting community is. In other entertainment fields people aren’t always keen on what they see as competitors entering their field, but so far other podcasters have been nothing but generous and welcoming with their help and advice.
PB: Which episode would you say is the perfect introduction to your podcast?
LS: If you don’t mind a bit of smuttiness then I’d recommend the first episode – the only live one so far – with Jon Holmes. He’s really funny and the material’s great. Don’t listen to it near small children though, unless you want to answer some very awkward questions. Otherwise start at the second episode with novelist Jenny Colgan – she was fascinating and very entertaining too.
PB: Where can the Pod Bible readers find out more about you?
LS: If you visit offcutsdrawer.com/insta-links/ you can listen to the episodes on whichever app you prefer. Twitter it’s @offcutsdrawer and I’m @laurashav. And my own website is fvo1.com.
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