March 2020 Metacast


(Alasdair) Hi everyone, Alasdair here.

We’re not going to ask how you are right now, because we have a pretty good idea. You’re fine. You’re FINE. You’re the same version of fine as everyone right now, the one Aerosmith sang about. The one where you’re alternately anxious, terrified, furious and calm.

We empathise. We’re the same.

This metacast was originally written nearly two weeks ago now. It’s been edited every single day since, because that’s how so many of us are living our lives at the moment. Day to day. Change to change.

We’re not going to dwell on the details because that’s all we’re sometimes capable of doing. This is deeply frightening on every level and will be for … the foreseeable future we think. Anyone who says differently is not someone you should be standing within 6 feet of. Literally and metaphorically.

As a friend of mine put it, ‘I’m tired of being part of a major historical event’ and we all are.

No one is making light of the situation. I’m just going to remind you of this: it will pass. Before and after that time, a lot of us are going to be spending a lot of time alone and, in some cases, seriously ill. In situations like this, certainty is both in short supply and a form of kindness. I know a lot of my core anxiety in the last year (or as it’s otherwise known, March) has been tied up in that uncertainty.

Here’s how we at EA want to help.

First, our new episodes will continue on their normal release schedules every week. We’re taking the Escape in Escape Artists seriously, and fiction is the refuge of many. One change: if an episode deals with disease, pandemics or related topics, we’ll absolutely warn you up front both in the episode and on the website.

Second, we’re making an effort to step up our social media presence on Twitter, Discord, our forum and our Patreon page. We’re going to start rolling out Twitch events. Come by and say hello or just log in and leave us in the background if you’re in need of familiar voices.

Third, our back catalogue has over 2400 episodes. No matter what form of escape you need, chances are good we have something that will fit the bill. Have requests for playlists or topics? Let us know. Our experts are standing by.

Fourth, the EA family has started up the hashtag #EscapeRead across social media. We’ll be talking about how we’re tackling our TBR piles and taking solace in fiction. The more the merrier.

(Marguerite) Hello all, this is Marguerite.

We’ve all been receiving emails from companies about what they’re doing to tackle the pandemic and if you’re like me, the only thing that interests you in those messages is how the company is ensuring the health, safety, and security of their teams. Here’s what EA is doing.

To date, we haven’t heard of any cases of Covid-19 among the EA family. How accurate that is, no one knows – many countries like the US and UK have completely failed to adequately test for the virus. But we’re unbelievably grateful our people are doing okay so far.

We’re in near-daily contact with our teams to make sure they have support and good communication. We are so lucky to work with a brilliant collection of people around the world, and their individual and collective outreach has been awe inspiring.

There has been no change to our editorial teams to date as a result of the pandemic. We don’t anticipate any, though of course as things go on we encourage them all to make the choices that are right for them and their circumstances. School closures or employers may be placing new or unaccustomed demands on them, and that has to take priority. For some, creative work is impossible in the current environment and we respect that. For others, it’s a refuge we are honored to be able to offer.

Pay to our senior editorial staff and our admin support team hasn’t changed. We don’t pay them enough, no one in this industry does, but what we do pay isn’t based on metrics like what episodes someone works on or, more critically, how many downloads we have or products we sell. For as long as our donor and Patrons support EA, EA will pay its teams. Nothing will change that.

Our current Patreon goal is also unchanged. Now especially, there is nothing in the world we’d like to do more than be able to step up to paying our associate editors.

To our Donors and Patrons – thank you. Thank you so much for your support, now and always. It has been humbling to learn how many of you consider EA a part of your stress-fighting routine. We have never been prouder of our dedication to our values and our commitment to keeping our episodes free for everyone, and we owe it all to you.

Naturally given the circumstances we urge you to be financially responsible with your support. Oxygen mask principle – take care of yourself first, then help others. If you need to reduce or pause your support right now, we understand. One-off donation options are available through Ko-fi or PayPal, and as we talk about every week there are plenty of ways to show support that don’t cost money. Please take a moment to rate, review and follow our various channels like Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Spotify, and now Twitch. Those signal boosts, follower counts, upvotes, and comments really do help.

And thank you to every single new supporter, every one-off donation, every new member of our audience, every one of you helping others dig into the back catalogue. Thank you for making free audio fiction a part of your life and sharing the joy it brings you with others, especially now.

Finally, a few words to our authors and narrators. A few of you have contacted our editorial teams about your circumstances and prioritizing your payments. We’ve acted on every one we’ve received to date, and we’ll continue to do so for as long as our donations allow. Thank you for the gift of your honesty, and for trusting us to come through for you.

(Alasdair) Small creative industries like ours have always been precarious financially. We all know it, and it is a testament to the passion and dedication of our colleagues that it accomplishes as much as it does. But this blow is harder than most, disproportionately impacting the self employed, the very creative people and teams who give it life.

EA’s focus is to continue providing as much stability as we can for our teams, our authors, our narrators and our audience. It doesn’t feel like much, but it’s what we can do. Thank you for helping make it possible.

We know this is frightening. We’re frightened. We’re stressed and we’re negotiating with that stress, finding ways to deal with it that may not solve our problems but will at least help us keep moving and functioning.

If there’s stuff you’re doing that works for you, please get in touch even if you just want to chat. We’re all going through this. None of us has to go through it alone.

Stay kind. Stay safe. Stay supportive. Stay connected.

Be well, folks.