When the new podcast Bad Money dropped in November, it made its way onto several ‘Best podcasts of 2022’ lists. A joint production between Vespucci (an international production company with blockbuster production values) and Kindling Media (creators of the Secret Leaders podcast) it mixes the two companies’ expertise with in-depth storytelling about how power and money really work.
Its first season of six episodes mixed international politics and Hollywood-levels of drama by bringing us the story of Big Spender – an infamous criminal mastermind from Hong Kong who took on billionaires and governments. With the background of Hong Kong reverting to Chinese rule, it’s no exaggeration to say that the story of Big Spender is worthy of a movie – in fact, more than one film has portrayed his misdeeds.
The choice of narrator for the Bad Money podcast is fittingly blockbuster worthy. Jason Wong has starred in Guy Ritchie’s The Gentleman, and he’ll soon be seen alongside Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez and Hugh Grant in the new Dungeons & Dragons blockbuster. His addition to this show is an example of pulling in talent from other media to redefine what a ‘crime podcast’ can be.
We asked Jason a few questions about his experience at the helm of a podcast for the first time…
Jason you’re known for both tv and big blockbusters, but I believe this is your first podcast – how do you like podcasting?
I absolutely adored the whole process. Bringing life to the narration and learning how to push the narrative forward to engage the listeners. It’s something I’ve always admired from radio plays and calm sleep apps. I get the ability to merge and blend both in the podcast world.
What was it that drew you to this project?
The story of Big Spender- he was just so outrageous with his antics and adventures. Big Spender, managed to get away with so much but also paid the ultimate price. The audacity of his actions was bold and no Hollywood film could come up with what he did. The story showed the darker side of humans, greed, money and power. I guess this is why we love watching Scorsese films or Andrew Lau films in Asia. We always want to champion an underdog.
The sound design on this show is really interesting, but as the narrator you must have been quite in the dark about it during recording – what was your reaction when you got to hear the final show?
It is definitely something I was new too- adding background sound really changes the energy of the podcast. I’m in the booth reading, trying to inject energy to what I’m saying. The soundscape breathes life into the story and helps it become a more immersive experience for the listener.
Are there any podcasts you listened to in preparation for this project?
I listened to a few like Blood Ties by Geoffrey Wansell and Molly Wansell. That’s the only true crime podcast I’ve listened too.
Lastly – now they’ve made it possible, do you feel ready to add ‘Podcaster’ to your IMDB?!
Absolutely. Podcasting is a great way to consume a story- and being dyslexic I’ve always found reading challenging. Anything audio based to consume I will!