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Sounds Like Impact: A newsletter for audio and action - Vol. 10
Welcome to Volume 10 of Sounds Like Impact!
In this edition we are integrating one of my favorite things to do–watching TV or film– with social issue commentary. And I interview Pippa Johnstone of Expectant podcast!
💌 Before diving in, I just want to give a shoutout to those who have shared such wonderful feedback about the newsletter. Thank you Kimberley O, Alex T, Shreya S, Alexandra C, Arielle N, Bri O, Andrea A, Elaine AG, and Lauren D! 🤗
If we haven’t communicated IRL or virtually, can you share with me what you think of the newsletter? All feedback helps!
Announcements: In the climate mental health edition I shared a call-to-action about reading optimistic climate fiction (or solarpunk, a term I just learned!) on Grist. Well guess what? It’s now available in audio format!
Also, last week we covered LGBTQ+ allyship in the workplace thanks to a guest curation from Erik Jones. Haymarket Books, an independent nonprofit bookstore focused on social justice, is offering 40% off their Pride Month Reading List. This isn’t a paid ad, just info I thought I’d pass along!
And lastly, now that advertising / sponsorships are available on this newsletter, I made the decision to reduce the subscription price. This newsletter was, and continues to be, FREE but I had added the subscription tier for those who wanted to support this work. That said, I can’t compete with Peacock or your Time Magazine subscriptions, so a price reduction also makes since in that way. I hope this reduction helps to gather more paid support, but I also understand how difficult it is for a lot of folks right now. So again, still free, but cheaper subscription if you are interested. And thanks to everyone who pledged their support previously; it really was a confidence boost! 💸
🙌 Keeping the faith: Sea Shepherd, an ocean conversation organization, released an optimistic new report sharing that Mexico’s vaquita porpoise numbers were unchanged (not declining is a win!) and also that “data showed over a 90% drop in the number of fishing boats operating where the vaquita live.”
Read more from Reuters.
P.S. Want to learn more about the vaquita? Make sure to check out my interview with Ruxandra Guidi, host of The Catch, a podcast about ocean conservation, which covered the Vaquita in season 2.
🎧 #AudioForAction Theme of the Week
Making media that reflects our society
This past week I finished the final season of Never Have I Ever, the coming-of-age show created by Mindy Kaling for Netflix. On the surface it’s a teenage comedy, but it’s also a show about processing emotions—grief and anger, to a name a few—and that has been held up as an example of South Asian on-screen representation.
The main character Devi starts off high school navigating the loss of her father and the trauma that comes along with that, alongside growing pains and friendship. To be honest, there is not an adult that I have met that hasn’t found someway to relate to this show…and that’s a good thing.
Before this newsletter I used to write(fka Unofficial Social Chair), another recommendations newsletter that was mostly meant to be shared with friends who were curious about what I watching. Since 2020, I’ve really been meditating on the roles that fictional TV / film can play in our lives. From comforting and entertaining us to helping us process our inner lives and the world around us. With this curation, I hope you join me in exploring how TV / film can shift our perspectives.
P.S. Most of the recommendations in the curation below reference fiction. But if you are also a fan of documentaries, and are interested in going deeper on some topics, check out these older playlists I made related to the following Netflix documentaries: Crip Camp (Disability), 13th (Mass Incarceration) and Naomi Osaka (Mental Health).
Episodes On Representation
Beyond 6 Seconds, Disability representation in media with Jeremy Andrew Davis
Thank you to #SoundsLikeImpact community member and show creator Carolyn Kiel for pitching this episode!
Hollywood Wolfpack with Kaia Alexander, API producer on the future of social impact entertainment
There are some helpful industry insights in this one.
Episodes on Specific Social Issues
Into It with Sam Sanders, The Abortion Episode
You can also read the interview here. I want to give a special shoutout to my friend Ian Olympio, who co-wrote the incredible episode of P-Valley that is discussed. FYI: While P-Valley is mentioned as an example, the whole podcast episode is not about the show, and is a broader conversation about depictions of abortion.
There are no spoilers in this episode.
*Get the podcast playlist on Podchaser for wherever you may listen.*
Looking for more? Entertainment Podcasts with a Social Issue POV
For fans of superheroes and philosophy, Superhero Ethics
For pop culture connoisseurs who like to revisit the past, Problematic Fave
For lovers of queer cinema, Queer Movie Podcast
For those who can’t get enough of creator interviews, It’s Been a Minute
For those who want a bit of science with their TV watching, Braaains
🚨 Calls to Action
Attend: The Hollywood Climate Summit is happening June 21-23. If you are in LA or can make it there, it seems to be an event worth checking out! There will also be some virtual components.
Learn: The Center for Media & Social Impact provides research on the impact of entertainment. And if you are interested finding out about impact producing, check out the resources from Social Impact Entertainment (SIE) Society.
I think educators and nonprofit workers can especially gain from these resources, in addition to podcast makers looking to make a greater impact with their work (+ I’m happy to help! email@example.com).
Host: Picture Motion, an impact production company, has current campaigns that you can get involved in by hosting a screening. The films are: Flower by Misty Copeland, Wild Life, Drowning in Silence, and The Abortion Talks.
Hire: Disabled Voice Actors Database, PGM VO List (POC) and QueerVox are three options for diversifying your casting and honoring the people whose roles you may script (specifically thinking about cases of queer / disabled scripted roles being played by actors from outside those communities).
Green: Are you interested in working in TV/film—or maybe you already do—and want to figure out how to influence the industry’s environmental impact? Check out the Green Production Guide.
🎧 “Hollywood Goes Paperless with Steve Vitolo”, an episode pitched and created by #SoundsLikeImpact community member Andrea Learned, is a great example of someone seeing a problem in their industry and fixing it!
Pippa is an audio producer living in Tkaronto*, originally from the west coast. Her work started in theatre and evolved to audio after doing an MA in Media Production at TMU, and since then, she’s produced radio dramas, audiobooks and podcasts, including Word Bomb, a show she hosted for 4 years with TVO, and now, Expectant.
*Tkaronto is the original or Indigenous name for Toronto, Canada.
Below is an excerpt from my interview with Pippa Johnstone, the creator behind Expectant, a show that was featured in one of our recent Sounds Like Impact newsletters. I am grateful to Pippa for her vulnerability. This interview was conducted via Google doc, so no audio this time. But that means more time to listen to her show!
To be transparent, I really don’t listen to fiction podcasts. However, I felt compelled–because of the subject matter–to listen to your show, which you’ve marketed as a hybrid between fiction and non-fiction. Why did you feel this hybrid approach was the best way for you to share this story?
I’ve heard the same from so many people who don’t usually listen to fiction podcasts! I think this show scratches the nonfiction itch still but gives you a narrative to connect to. I call it fiction but it’s more like “fiction,” because the story is super personal, maybe speculative fiction would be the right genre.
For me, the blending of fiction and nonfiction felt like the truest way to represent how I feel about this question. And I wanted to ask questions of the experts I admire or the people in my life who have faced this question in their life or work. Plus, this allowed me to write as bravely as I could, and ask people questions, two of my favourite things.
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Thank you to our advertiser this week! Every dollar helps to sustain this work. 🙏
⏭ Coming Up
The next issue is about celebrating trans joy. Speaking of, for those in New Yorker, this event is happening this Thursday. We also have an interview with print journalist and audio producer, H Conley. Stay tuned!
🤗 An act of joy: The moment I had been waiting for since an announcement in 2022 finally came: watching Fast X, the 10th movie in the Fast and Furious franchise 😂. Was it cinematic genius? Let’s just say, if you suspend belief, it’s a good time! My friend Grecia has best described the franchise as “science fiction”, and I think that’s accurate.
Take care of yourselves! And if you listen or take any actions, be sure to let me know in the comments or via email soundslikeimpact [at] unofficialsocialchair [dot] com.