March 16 - March 19 , 2023

Interview | Dice Tower Theatre – An audio fiction podcast – Mike Atchley, Joleen Fresquez

fdiff November 22, 2022 7 min read

Dice Tower Theatre



Tell us something about the title of the podcast. What is the story behind the title? 


Mike: Actually it was Joleen’s actions at the table.  So the story is the retelling of a Tabletop Game of Dungeons and Dragons.  When I would talk a lot at the table and describe the scene Joleen would be listening and stacking her dice.  Thus making a tower.


Joleen: To me, Dragons, and their magic hold such a powerful place in this story, I think the title holds a mysterious key to where the story started, and is heading. 




When and how did people come up with the idea? Did it occur to a specific person at a specific point in time? 


Joleen: The story itself is a collaboration at a table shared by friends, collaborating through DnD. The initial idea behind turning it into a podcast, was a way for players (myself included) to actually pay attention to notes. And it just escalated from there! 


Mike: I needed the players to pay attention to the notes from the game so I started with a blog.  No one read it.  So then I used my audio background to read the blog and put in some sound effects.  A few friends of mine loved it and suggested we make a podcast.


If you are asked to provide a little information about the background of the story in a second. what would say? 


Mike: A clean, quality audio fantasy epic where swords and those behind them can change the fate of their world. A land where dragons speak, magic lives, and wishes come true. 


Joleen: The world for a group of kids gets turned upside down, and they grow up into heroes in an adventure full of self-discovery and magic. 


Please tell us something about your favorite movie/books/podcast suggestions. What would you suggest and why?


Mike: First off I would recommend “Chronicles of Eridul” by Daniel Nichols.  It weaves a magical story that has a footing in the “normal world”.  Similar to the Chronicles of Narnia but modernized and a real stake in both worlds.  Next, I’d recommend Aethuran Dark Saga, for dark and foreboding fantasy.  Both of these are completely different stories to some but like night and day go so well together.


Joleen: Book suggestion is 100% Legends & Lattes, a high fantasy story with low stakes that I didn’t know I needed in my life!


Dawns of dragons


What role do you think a good and rooted story plays in tying people together? 


Joleen: A HUGE role. A good story not only sparks conversation amongst people, but also provides characters and scenarios that people can relate to, or evokes emotion. Good stories, with good characters, give people something to connect on levels that wouldn’t be possible without stories! 


Mike: Relatable experiences between people help build bonds.  If we share a similar experience it helps to recognize each other’s humanity and existence in this world.  By doing that we raise awareness and compassion.  We stop being numbers on a spreadsheet and become living people walking our own paths.  A person is a person because of others!  Ubuntu.


Tell us something about fantasy as a genre. What kind of a leap do you think one must take in order to understand the genre a little better?


Mike: Fantasy is an escape.  A portal into the imagination of others but in your own mind.  A way to escape the world and dream on the fantastic.  To understand fantasy is simply to dream.  You don’t have to take a huge step to engage in it.  It can be simply imagining your boss is a different person, your house is in a different country or your food smells of something completely different.  Imagination is precious. 


Joleen: Open your mind to the impossible. Fantasy is about escaping the real world into a world full of wonder. Often times things in the fantasy genre don’t make sense, and could never happen in the real world, but that’s the point! You gotta learn to let go and accept the unlikely! 


Tell us something about the sound. It was truly phenomenal. 


Mike: Thank you! I love sound design.  I like to close my eyes and listen to movies or go into nature and just listen.  Sound is something we take for granted in some mediums but what a rich canvas to paint with. Some sounds are obvious, the rustle of the horses hooves on the battlefield or the ocean waves lapping the shore.  Others were a deeper design.  The sounds of the undead were layers of an Aztec Death whistle, for example.  A shrieking horrifying sound from a simple clay instrument.  The sword clashes were recorded in the studio


Dice Tower Theatre


Tell us something about the narration and the transitions.


Mike: When I narrate I try to lose myself in it.  Picturing myself telling my friends around a campfire trying to take our minds off the cold night air in the woods.  When transitioning I love to use a door sound where it makes sense.  Like stepping into a new room.


How challenging is it for a director to design action sequences without visuals? 


Joleen: Oh, it’s both challenging and the easiest thing in the world. Sometimes it can be hard to grasp that specific soundscape you’re looking for, but it’s like closing your eyes and letting all your other sense flood your mind with art.


Mike: Honestly I love action sequences.  I love to describe them to friends so when I write them i will watch action and action fantasy movies to get ideas to pull from.  It’s all description for me so that makes it simple.  When we do a sequence without narration it presents a challenge as you want the audience to know what’s going on but also it can be an air of mystery to use as well.


How would you stress the significance of a story that is full of characters with an interesting range of arcs? There is tranquility and there is chaos. 


Mike: Earlier we spoke about humanity.  A wide diverse cast of characters with lush backgrounds gives more opportunity for empathy from the audience.  Our real world is so broad and diverse, I would hate to not follow the same in a fantasy world.


Joleen: You don’t need a singular main character. A story is far more interesting when each character involved has layers, even if you never discover all of them.


Dice Tower Theatre


What would you say about the progression of the fantasy genre over the years? How much have you seen them develop over the years? 


Mike: Inclusive representation.  We are seeing more and more creators from diverse backgrounds and lifestyles than the simplistic depictions in the past.  This brings me great joy.  Again as I said before, our world is diverse.  Why not our imaginations?


Joleen: How much have you seen them develop over the years? – I think fantasy has progressed passed its usual cliches, not that cliches are always bad! But it has really developed a feeling of originality.



What would you like to say about the Evolution of storytelling over the years across mediums? 


Joleen: The ways one can tell a story is endless, and I think that’s beautiful!


Mike: I see storytelling forever evolving and my hope is that it never ends.  It is through our stories that we find our immortality.

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