Fantasy is an exercise bicycle for the mind.
It might not take you anywhere,
but it tones up the muscles that can.
– GNU Terry Pratchett
Lindsay is an actor, singer, and Shakespeare enthusiast. Originally from a tiny town in the Midwest, now living in Los Angeles. She can be heard on podcasts like Arden , Blackstar Chronicles , and The Insomnia Project . She also has upcoming roles in Primordial Deep , Dining in the Void, Garbagetown and more!
When she’s not emoting into a microphone, she sings with Top Shelf Vocal, snuggles with her pup Winston, or belts musical theatre songs in her car.
Eric Snyder is an international man of mystery.
Austin is a set dresser and prop master in Los Angeles. He’s also screenwriter, and thoroughly perplexed by the series of events that led him to writing this bio.
He has been gaming since he was 16, starting with D&D 3.5 in a friend’s basement. These days, when he’s not running a game, Austin spends much of his time planning future games, picking music for future games, and reading about game systems & settings he wants to run (usually with a whiskey in hand).
…and trying to schedule another game.
Chris is an Audio Engineer, founder of Shortwave Radio, and Executive Producer of Crit Squad. When he’s not doing that, he games, rides his bike to the movies, and occasionally makes videos about how to make your own shows sound good.
The most magnificent moments in his life arise from connecting with people while telling stories. Crit Squad is a pure example.
You may be unsurprised to learn that he frequently cries at movies..
As a professional nerd, both in his day job and free time, John is proud to be a part of the Crit Squad crew both as a character performer and game runner.
When not behind a computer, camera, or microphone, he spends his time rock climbing, traveling, and making ill-timed jokes.
Our first fan art!
From animator Shelley Low
how we started
When we started creating our own addition to the vast pantheon of Actual-Play Tabletop RPG Shows, we had to ask ourselves: What can we add? What can we do to make our addition unique? Our answer came from our combined hobbies and professions: We are sound designers, actors, writers, performers, gamers. So why not mix all that together?
Why not try to create the movie that plays in your head when you’re so into the game you forget it’s tomorrow already?
Why not try to do more than even that?
So we did. And that’s how we ultimately discovered our unique mix of Improv Audio Drama and Tabletop RPG Actual-Play, bringing thousands of people to laughter and tears as we explore our characters through the worst year of their lives, and beyond.
how the squadsage is made
We record in a home studio roughly every other week for a six week period during production. Each game/recording session lasts around 12 hours, and nets between 4 and 6 hours of recorded material.
When a recording block is complete, Chris and Lindsay then mind-meld over breaking that material up into episodes, considering how we might leverage the character performances to create beginnings, middles, and ends for each episode, chapter, and season.
The focus is always on character and story. Other shows thrive amongst the die rolls, clever rules-play, and ‘friends at the table’ vibe. That’s not our bag, so we leave it to the side as much as possible.
Sometimes this means an episode is 23 minutes long, sometimes it’s an hour and a half. Just depends on what makes the coolest experience from the pieces we have.
Once the episode lines are drawn, Lindsay then performs the ‘Dialog Edit’. The process is somewhere between a traditional film or TV dialog edit, and a more radio-style edit. Cutting cruft, smoothing timing, sometimes even swapping scenes around for effect. The only difference is that we’re editing live, improvised RPG gameplay. She makes all the top-level choices about which die rolls stay in, which bits of banter are cut, where we might have specific sound effects, and where/how the scenes start and stop. This can take as long as 4 hours per episode.
Then Chris gets hold of it.
From there, the sound design, music direction, and mixing happen. Sound effects are created for anything from combat, to vehicles, to things as subtle as a character shifting their feet during an awkward pause in the conversation. Music is added during and between scenes. Environmental ambience is added to the background, and the vocal tracks are mixed to sound like the crew is actually in whatever environment we find ourselves in. This can take as long as 10 hours.
Then, after 14 hours (plus putting it all together with intros, outros, announcements, etc), we have an episode!
Usually, all its pieces are in place before we upload it 😉
So that’s the basics, friend-o. The cycle repeats. We give each other notes at the beginning of each session, come up with our plan for where to go next, and hit record.
We’re always happy to answer questions about the show, the process, and ourselves (within reason). If you’ve got ’em, ask ’em with the contact form below!