“Welcome to New Candler, cultural epicenter of the United States. Visit Trudon Circle, an art mecca turned tourist trap where you can find musicals, massive neon billboards, street performers, and pickpockets. The bodega on 12th and Salt will sell you spells on the cheap if you know how to ask, but everyone knows they’re better quality on Root and Amsterdam. But if you’re a magic user — or, as pretty much everyone nowadays says, a muse — you’d better be wearing a Halo so your magic doesn’t make a ruckus or hurt anyone.“
VALENCE is a serialized fiction podcast by Hug House Productions featuring a full cast and full sound design. VALENCE is an urban fantasy audio drama that deals with themes of abuse, trauma, queer identity, marginalization, rebellion, found family, breaking cycles, and hope. Thematically, VALENCE is a realistic drama with the energy of an espionage-heavy political thriller, an 80’s John Hughes romance, and character-heavy Noah Baumbach indies. Think The Magicians handled with realism, or Mr. Robot handled with whimsy.
About the Production
VALENCE’s production uses semi-improvised acting for natural line reads. Each episode is scripted, but actors are encouraged to stretch them and be reactive in recordings, which are done through a combination of table reads and asynchronous recordings. VALENCE mixes dialogue with narration via the protagonist’s internal monologue. This internal monologue acts as an innovative take on conveying themes of mental health and panic attacks in audio.
VALENCE was the recipient of four Audio Verse Awards for the 2020 awards season in the following categories:
- Best Instrumental Composition in a New Production – “VALENCE Theme” by Raul Vega
- Best Cover Art for a New Production – Wil Williams
- Best Action Sound Design in a New Production – Julia Schifini
- Best Vocal Direction of a New Production – Katie Youmans
The process of creating VALENCE is being documented in our nonfiction podcast, Scoring Magic.
Seasons 1 and 2 of VALENCE were funded through Indiegogo campaigns. You can find details on each campaign, as well as a list of donors for each, at the links below.
WIL WILLIAMS (they/them)
JULIA SCHIFINI (she/her)
You can find full cast credits for VALENCE, including bios for the primary cast members, by following the links below for each season. Ensemble cast members are credited in each episode’s show notes.
After being recruited by a new government agency, a depressive magic user must stop the unethical practices of his estranged family and the country’s most successful “medical” tech startup.
Liam Alden thinks his only purpose in life is to evade his monstrous family for as long as he can–until he gets recruited by a new government agency to help put a stop to them and the company they helped found. Halo, Inc. creates bracelets that stop the wearer’s ability to use magic, and because of how much magic is feared, Halo, Inc. has become the country’s most successful startup.
Working with a hacker, a break-in specialist, and a baffling and confusing criminal informant, Liam has to uncover the unethical practices of Halo, Inc. to help shut them down–all while working through the PTSD and fear of magic instilled by his family. While the investigation gets more dire, Liam slowly learns to accept his magic, himself, and the feeling of what having a family can be, regardless of blood.
Halo, Inc. Wants to Help
Liam’s family, the Aldens, have always been a philanthropic family, but their most solid investment–in money, first, but then in time, loyalty, and energy–was with Reilley Industries, spearheaded by tech upstart Morgan Reilley. Reilley’s concept is simple: she wants magic users to be able to stop their abilities from functioning by putting on, for now, a wearable device. Together with patriarch Richard Alden’s investments, she’s been able to create the Halo, a magic-stopping bracelet, and built one of the most profitable startups to date: Halo, Inc.
Halos are not only profitable, they’re also beloved–sometimes by muses, and almost always by people without magical ability (“You know, normal people”). Halos are both fashion and an identifier of difference. Halos show that you know you’re dangerous, but you’re making sure to get Better.