Count Drahoon's Feature of Fright - An Interview with a Vampire
Taylor Gentry is an unassuming looking young man when you first meet him. He’s a bit quiet at first with the sort of face you’d expect to see in the crowd of any mid-sized college town. You wouldn’t suspect for one moment that within him is the heart of a centuries old vampire count or the wild eyed imagination of a madman. There again, isn’t that how most scary stories start off, the unassuming, the seemingly mundane turned suddenly sideways to reveal the face of terror? Or, in this case, the voice.
Taylor is a local voice talent and podcaster who has been doing something wonderful, something that not many people in his generation have thought about doing. He’s bringing technology and imagination together to create a classically styled radio drama featuring original tales of the macabre and terrifying as well as some off kilter humor and fun with his alter ego, a centuries old vampire/mad scientist. They call it Count Drahoon's Feature of Fright.
I first met the Count at a local cafe in Smyrna, TN this past Friday the 13th when he and his troop of monsters and misfits were recording a live performance of their podcast/radio drama. With stories about ancient Celtic monsters, human sacrifice, and welshing on debts to the Headless Horseman, there was a little bit of something for everyone in the hour long performance. Equipment problems at the venue made it difficult to enjoy this live and rarely seen creative art but it was nonetheless fantastic. I got a chance to sit down and talk to Taylor the following week about his plans for the future of the character and his growing show.
“I came into podcasting late.” Taylor tells me as we sit at a table in the cafe. “I didn’t start listening to a lot of podcasts until a few years ago and I wasn’t really familiar with the medium. I didn’t realize that radio drama was still a thing until I heard Welcome to Nightvale. As for Count Drahoon, he started as a skit when I was ten. It was a way to entertain the other kids in my middle school class.”
DAN - So when did you make the change from playful skit to dedicated character?
TAYLOR - In middle school. I started doing some amateur filmmaking and made a short featuring the count. I eventually developed it all into Monsters of Vanceingville and later into Revenge of the Monsters of Vanceingville which made it all the way to the Fright Night Film Festival in Kentucky.
DAN - And when did the count go from film to radio?
TAYLOR - About three years ago. I was doing some stuff with Count Drahoon for a multimedia website and decided I’d put him on a podcast.
DAN - Who are you marketing this podcast to? What’s the best audience for Count Drahoon?
TAYLOR - It’s not intentionally family friendly. Some of the stories are a bit darker than others but it’s not explicit either. I grew up watching a lot of monster movies and I feel like I’m making stuff for that little monster kid out there. Something anyone can listen to and enjoy.
DAN - And what stories do you tell?
TAYLOR - Folklore. A lot of the collective tales of the culture. I also like to tell original stories too with an element of folklore to them. As it stands now, there are stand alone stories and then I plan to do some stories arcs featuring the count and other characters. I’d love to do the Wendigo by Algernon Blackwood.
DAN - So are all of the stories folktales?
TAYLOR - No. I actually write a majority of the scripts and some of them even come from events in my life. Stories like Her Name was Mercy and A Rose for Amelia were inspired by things that happened in my life that I was able to translate into this medium.
DAN - What advice can you offer readers interested in trying to start their own radio/podcasting dramas?
TAYLOR - Just do it! That’ the best advice I can offer. There were times I doubted myself and took some really well meaning but short sighted advice from people around me. Be discerning about what you listen to. Learn from your mistakes and failures and apply what you’ve learned to the future.
Taylor and Count Drahoon are building an audience, developing new stories, and adding to a rapidly expanding line of creepy, clever tales to entertain listeners and fright fans of all ages. So where can you listen to Count Drahoon’s Feature of Fright?
Of course there's the Facebook page and the website, hosted at CamcorderTV and catch him at some upcoming live events October 6th at Monsterfest in Virginia as well as a live recording October 12th at Carpe Cafe in Smyrna, TN. And, if you really like what you hear, be sure to subscribe to the Patreon page and support him as he brings a dying art back to life in true mad scientist form. Count Drahoon and Taylor Gentry are making that scary online and in person.
And if you're out there making that scary too, we want to know about it. Be sure to share it with all of us here at 52 Weeks of Horror.
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