Take a Sneak Peek at Muckey Landing!

Mike has labored long and hard, and has brought forth our FIRST PROMOTIONAL TRAILER for Muckey Landing! Best of all, it features the fabulous new theme song by Jim Rezac that we CANNOT get out of our heads! Give the Muckey Landing trailer a listen here (NSFW: contains “adult” language), and hear the entire amazing theme song on Jim’s site!

Note: the web host for the current Muckey Landing website doesn’t allow audio (who knew there was such a thing?), so the trailer is on a new site. We’re in the process of moving the Muckey Landing website over there, but it’s not ready for prime time at all, so don’t go poking around expecting anything other than the trailer in there.

Posted by Chris Polo - Muckey Landing Writer/Creator/Director in podcast

Voice Work Completed for First Two Episodes of Muckey Landing

Our homegrown sound booth has taken over the Polo family room

Hit a milestone: after getting in several recording sessions today, we’ve now completed all voice work for the first two episodes of Season 1, Virgil Gets a Dog and The Late, Late Harmon Truesdale! We’re in awe over the extremely talented actors who have come in to work with us over the last three weeks: Will McVay, Claude Warnick, Dick Pack, Gina Shuck, Charles Keenan, Jeff Bellon, Patti Gatto, Kevin Smith, Austin Topper, the amazing Darin Dell as Virgil’s dog Aloysius, who had us in stitches with an incredible panoply of doggie groans, sighs, barks and whines, and Mike Polo and Bruce Leister, who are carrying the bulk of the show as business partners and best friends Virgil Slatter and Harmon Truesdale. All of these folks are bringing our Muckey Landing characters to life in ways that I never thought possible.

Mike is actually doing triple duty as actor, sound engineer and editor, and what he’s turned out so far is incredible. There’s not a lot yet — it takes a lot of time and effort to produce just a minute or two of audio — but once he tightens things up and adds sound effects, it’s wonderful.

We’re getting very close to being able to produce an audio promo that we’ll post anywhere we can — keep an eye out for it!

Posted by Chris Polo - Muckey Landing Writer/Creator/Director in podcast

Season 1 Completed

This one is long, but if you make it all the way to the end, there’s a reward.

After laboring mightily, I have finally — FINALLY — birthed the final episode of Season 1 of Muckey Landing. Although this is the last episode I’ve written for the first season, it’s actually going into the show as Episode 3.

This one done kicked my ass. The idea for episode 3, “The Swine Dinner,” as well as the title, was the direct result of one of Roma/Sul Tempo’s terrific monthly wine dinners, which Mike, Bruce and I attended with some friends probably a year or more ago. I’m not sure exactly when I started actually writing the episode, but I know the weather was warm, the trees were green, and the birds were singing. The plot quickly got very complicated, with lots of scenes and new characters, and getting from point A to point B turned out to be unexpectedly difficult. What’s worse, after I completed each scene, writer’s block set in like a big ol’ case of constipation, slowing down the whole process.

The biggest problem was that I knew exactly where I wanted to go, but it was taking me a whole lot of words to get there. Every other episode I’ve written runs about 30 pages, which at approximately a minute a page, translates roughly to 30 minutes per episode. But this one kept running on and on, and I was driving myself crazy trying to figure out how I could get to the end while keeping it to 30 minutes. I was getting pretty discouraged with it, and worse, I couldn’t find the funny.

Then the weekend after Thanksgiving, Mike, Bruce and I were up at the cabin. We were all in various stages of either coming down with (Bruce), in the throes of (Mike) or recovering from (me) the flu, but I explained the problem I was having, and we all gamely sat down and did a read-through of what I had so far. I got laughs out of both of them, which was encouraging. Then Mike finally pointed out to me that it’s a podcast — there’s no set time limit, so why didn’t I just write it, stop worrying about the length, and if I need to, go back and cut out the chaff? That was exactly what I needed to hear to break the logjam.

I’ve been writing furiously since then, and last night, I was finally able to type #END#. It’s nearly 50 pages, and I don’t care, because it’s good. Mike still has a bad cough left over from his bout of the crud, and last night when I had him read it, he laughed so hard in places that he subjected himself to several horrendous coughing jags. I felt bad for him, but not really, because his not being able to breathe meant it was funny.

So, we’ll start recording after the holidays, in January. There are seven episodes total, running 224 pages total currently — several later episodes will actually be a bit longer than they are now, because I want to add some new scenes with characters who really hit me in the funny bone, like Doral and the Yoders. All told, I anticipate having 4 to 5 hours’ worth of podcast material when completed — that’s 2 or 3 full-length movies, wow!

Now, because you’ve been so patient and read this whole freakin’ thing, I’m finally gonna fulfill a promise I made several blog posts ago, and give you a sneak peak. Here are the titles and brief synopses for all the episodes in Season 1:

  • Episode 1 – Virgil Gets A Dog: We meet Virgil Slatter and Harmon Truesdale, proprietors of the Muckey Landing Market, Diner and Hardware Emporium. Virgil adopts Aloysius, the world’s ugliest dog. Local artist Myrtle Myrkle invites Harmon to dinner, and Police Chief Neville Chief shares conspiracy theories about the fire at the DuPlant chicken nugget plant.
  • Episode 2 – The Late, Late Harmon Truesdale: Virgil tries not to lose his temper about Harmon being late for work every morning, to disastrous effect. Salesman Dickie Butz stops in and sells Virgil some highly effective miniature spotlights from Japan.
  • Episode 3 – The One that Kicked My Ass — no, scratch that — The Swine Dinner: Harmon and Virgil head up to Bighead City for a free barbecue dinner and get a shock. We meet Muslim limo driver Ashley Hachache, stuffy maître d’ Frederick Tweed, his wife Rita, and plain old Rodney. Nuff said. (This one will run nearly an hour. I think it’s hilarious. Time will tell.)
  • Episode 4 – Harmon’s Dilemma: Newt Newberger interviews Myrtle about her upcoming art show. Virgil is shocked when Harmon shares the details of his relationship with Myrtle. Police Lieutenant Jenny Pilsner thinks Harmon is depressed, and chides Virgil for not being a better friend.
  • Episode 5 – Blindfolds, Please: Harmon explains that Myrtle never gave him the painting she’d promised him. Virgil figures out Myrtle’s plans and convinces Harmon they need to stop her. Mabel Sprout stops by with shocking news, forcing Virgil and Harmon to make plans of their own.
  • Episode 6 – Stranger Things In The Night: Virgil explains the law and his family tree to Harmon. Harmon has second thoughts and freaks out. There’s a fire at the Fuzzy Duck Gallery, and Police Lieutenant Jenny Pilsner shows up at an inopportune time.
  • Episode 7 – A Thong of Fire and Ice: Harmon and Virgil get into a fight. Jenny Pilsner and Virgil’s niece Bunny discuss the night’s events, and Bunny and Chief Cheefe consider theories involving Muslim terrorists and spontaneous combustion.

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First Table Read Tonight

Big excitement for us here at Muckey Landing tonight — cast members announced so far for roles in Muckey Landing Season 1 are coming together tonight to go over Episodes 1 and 2 — “Virgil Gets A Dog,” and “The Late, Late Harmon Truesdale”! This will be the first time everybody’s been together in the same room — while only actors appearing in the first two episodes will be reading, everyone in the cast has been invited to show up to get to know each other and get a better idea of how Muckey Landing will sound. We’ll also be answering questions about the production process and timeline to the best of our ability, giving a few notes on character, timing and other actorly things, and if time permits, get info from Mike about working a Mike — er, mic.

Punch and cookies to follow. Just kidding — we don’t have any cookies. Or punch. So we’ll probably have to break out the sodas, wine, beer, adult libations and snacks when we’re done.

Posted by Chris Polo - Muckey Landing Writer/Creator/Director in podcast

We Have a Cast!

Above: Bruce Leister reads with Gina Shuck at auditions

We’re extremely proud to announce the cast of Muckey Landing! Working with Mike Polo as professional grouch Virgil Slatter and Bruce Leister as hapless best friend Harmon Truesdale will be:

  • Darin Dell as Aloysius, Virgil’s dog
  • Dick Pack as Chief Neville Cheefe, Chief of the Muckey Landing/Ditchwater Lesser Metropolitan Police Force
  • Cat Timko as Jenny Pilsner, the smart young police recruit working under Chief Cheefe
  • Gina Shuck as both oversexed artist Myrtle Myrkle and retired Tasty Queen manager Mabel Sprout
  • Patti Gatto as Doral Bernstein, customer service representative extraordinaire at every company in the area that needs someone to answer the phone
  • Charles Keenan as Bunny Slatter, Virgil’s former nephew, now niece, who’s also chief of the volunteer fire company
  • Kevin Smith as radio station owner Mitch Pohunk, who doesn’t give a flying f*** about the FCC. Note from C. Polo: I only used *** because this is appearing on Facebook and I don’t want a mass unfriending by everybody I knew in high school back in Texas. Mitch lets it all hang out in the podcast. Yes, living on the east coast has corrupted me. Or maybe it’s just hanging out with all these theater people.
  • Austin Topper as Newt Newberger, recent community college graduate and tongue-tied DJ at RMUK, the local radio station
  • Will McVay as traveling salesman and unlikely Lothario Dickie Butz, and also as Luke Yoder, taciturn Amish farmer
  • Claude Warnick as Uncle Yoder, Luke’s even more taciturn (and sometimes confused) uncle
  • John Hulse as Floyd Grimes, octogenarian head of the neighborhood watch out in Bucolic Estates
  • Mike Barko as Ruger Codger, late-night talk show host at RMUK
  • Jill Lewandowski as Ashley Hachache, an American Muslim limo driver who knows every kebab shop and strip club in the tri-state area
  • John Levine as Frederick Tweed, snooty restaurant owner
  • Maureen Levine as Rita Tweed, Frederick’s hot-tempered wife and restaurant co-owner

A huge thanks to everyone who auditioned for us, many of whom we’ll be calling as more characters get written and need to be voiced. Onward and upward!

Posted by Chris Polo - Muckey Landing Writer/Creator/Director in podcast

Live Auditions Begin Next Weekend!

We have 7 audition slots left for next Saturday, October 10, and just a couple of openings available on Saturday, October 19. Visit MuckeyLanding.com/Auditions to find out how to schedule your audition or how to submit a digital audition, if you’re so inclined. You’ll also find audition monologues on that page, including three new ones that I just uploaded — more on that below. If you’d like to try out for a part but are not available on the 12th or the 19th, use the Contact Us link at MuckeyLanding.com to email us about the possibility of setting up a separate audition just for you.

Now, about those new audition monologues — here are the characters and a little bit about them:

Dickie Butz — Self-effacing, nerdy traveling salesman with an immense vocabulary and a sunny disposition who periodically stops by the store to sell Virgil useless/dysfunctional merchandise. Everybody in town but Harmon agrees that Dickie Butz is “the nicest guy ever.” He’s also inexplicably popular with the ladies, the main reason for Harmon’s undying hatred.

Doral Bernstein — Doral seems to work at every company Virgil ever calls on the phone. Doral is a local guy or gal, a go-getter, smart with a smart mouth. This role is not written for a specific gender, and despite the last name, Doral is decidedly NOT a New Yorker/Annie-Potts-in-Ghostbusters type.

Luke Yoder — A man of few words, Luke is a taciturn Amish farmer who drops by the Muckey Landing Market, Diner and Hardware Emporium to sell cheese and other Amish goods to Virgil. He knows the value of a buck, has no sense of humor and rarely smiles, except when he manages to fool Virgil into overpaying for his merchandise.

Coming down to the wire, and I’m excited! Remember, folks, we’re casting a podcast here, so no memorizing lines, no blocking, minimal rehearsals, and recording dates that we can set up at your convenience. Plus maybe you’ll get famous when we release the wonders of Muckey Landing onto the interwebs! I got a whole town full of people I need to cast here, so you got no damn excuse for not getting your butt to a live audition or submitting an audition online.

That is all.

Posted by Chris Polo - Muckey Landing Writer/Creator/Director in podcast

Why Podcasting is Perfect for Lazy Actors

So people ask me “What in tarnation is this podcasting stuff, Polo?” Only they don’t usually say “what in tarnation,” I’m just substituting that for a less polite expression. Plus I like that when I first wrote “tarnation,” autocorrect autocorrected it to “Tarantino,” which I think is funny. In fact, I may just start saying “what in Tarantino…?” instead of “what in tarnation…?” from here on out. But I digress, as I usually do — have I ever told y’all that I have A.D.D.? No surprise there, it’s just like most every other artist you know, right? I actually have a “short attention span theater” line of products for actors at <shameless plug> cafepress.com/ctgr <end shameless plug>, featuring fragments of lyrics and lines from famous shows that all cut off in mid-sentence with “— LOOK, A CHICKEN!” They’re pretty popular, actors being what they are. But I digress, again.

So, what in Tarantino is this podcasting business, anyway? I’m glad you asked, even though you didn’t, really. Most podcasts these days are like TV talk shows, only without pictures, i.e., TV for ugly people. But there are other types of podcasts, too, including scripted podcasts, which are more like the modern-day equivalent of old-time radio — these feature actors acting out a script with sound effects and shit. That’s the kind I’m interested in, and it’s the kind I’m writing.

The majority of scripted podcasts tend to be in the sci-fi and horror genres — not surprising, given that to podcast, you need audio equipment, some technical know-how, and the internet, so the medium is tailor-made for adolescent males and older guys who should’ve given up video games by now but haven’t (technical term: adultescents). There are also audio dramas, really interesting documentaries (Serial is one of the best), as well as a few scripted true-crime podcasts, especially the ones from a group called Wondery. The true-crime podcasts are definitely more female-focused — as a long-time devotee of the serial-killers-stalking-women channel, a.k.a. Investigation Discovery, those are the ones that really got me listening to podcasts.

What is really scarce in the podcasting world are scripted comedy podcasts. There are some — Alba Salex and a series by Audioblivious Productions are good — but they’re rare. I like to tell myself that’s probably because it’s really hard to write and produce a scripted comedy podcast, NOT because nobody wants to listen to scripted comedy podcasts. And I’m gonna keep telling myself that.

So where do you find podcasts? On the internet, natch. Your phone probably has a podcasting app that will let you find podcasts to listen to. If it doesn’t, check out your respective store — iTunes and whatever the hell Google calls its Android thingie — and look for it. I’m not gonna tell you how to do that, we’re all grown-ups here. You can also listen to podcasts on Amazon Echo devices. And yeah, probably Google Home, too (can you tell this early adopter has a bias against johnny-come-lately Google devices?). Spotify, TuneIn, Stitcher, and apps and sites that let you download or stream music are also good places to find podcasts. If you have a long commute or are getting ready to take a big honkin’ car trip, download a podcast or two — plus if your car radio and phone can talk to each other via USB or Bluetooth, everybody in the car can listen in. A good podcast can really make the time fly!

Well, this started out to be a post about why podcasting is the perfect medium for lazy actors who hate to learn lines, or for people who aren’t actors but whose friends keep telling them they need to be on stage, or for people who’ve been doing theater for a hundred years but don’t do it anymore because they no longer have the energy or the memorizing ability they had at one time, but I kinda blew that, didn’t I? So I’ll just cover all that by saying that podcasting allows you to perform with your script in your hand, and if you blow a line, we just re-record it. Which means you have no excuse for not auditioning for Muckey Landing, my scripted comedy love letter to lower, slower Delaware. Bookmark MuckeyLanding.com for audition info and Muckey Landing news, please follow us here and on Facebook, and share this post on your own FB timeline and tag anyone you think needs to know about it.

Maybe next time, I’ll give you some episode titles and plot run-downs of the episodes that I’ve already written. If the A.D.D doesn’t kick in.

Posted by Chris Polo - Muckey Landing Writer/Creator/Director in podcast

Filling Up…

We’ve only got 15 audition slots left! Woot! So, to all you peeps who have been hangin’ back, thinking no rush, October’s a long way off, you’ve got all the time in the world to get in on this… uh, no, ya don’t. And if you’re just not sure about this whole “podcasting” thing, watch for my post coming later this week – or this weekend — or… sometime — talkin’ all about how podcasting is the PERFECT medium for lazy actors who hate to learn lines.

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Muckey Landing In-Person Audition How-To and Whatnot

Muckey Landing - a  sort of a podcast

So I wanted to give this post a really funny title to enhance my street cred as a writer of awesomely comedic stuff, thereby enticing hoards of actors to fall all over themselves to audition for my podcast, but I’m experiencing a case of comedy brain blow-out this morning, and I ain’t got nothin’. Before anybody like Bruce says it — no, I wasn’t out drinking at Roma’s Sul Tempo last night. And he would know, because he’s got every bar in Dover wired to his butt and somehow ALWAYS MANAGES TO SHOW UP every time Mike and I go there. Just sayin’.

So, you wanna attend an in-person audition and get picked to be a big-timey voice actor on Muckey Landing – a sort of a podcast, huh? Well, here’s more of the low-down on how you can do that. First off, I assume you’ve already read my previous blog post on how to request an audition slot. If you haven’t, go read it now. I’ll wait.

After you’ve emailed me and I’ve finally gotten off my lazy ass and sent you an email to tell you when to show up at the Kent County Theatre Guild in Dover (hereinafter referred to as “the Guild”) for this here audition thingy, you have two choices on how to prepare. You can either spend your time obsessively going over all the available monologues, selecting and discarding the three you want to audition with over and over again while trying them out with different voices in the bathroom because the echo in there makes it sound like you’re on the radio, or you can skim through a couple of monologues five minutes before you stroll out the door and hope for the best. We prefer the former.

Once you arrive at “the Guild” at the scheduled time, you’ll find a few other people there — me, Mike, and Bruce for sure, and also other folks who are also there to audition. Try not to hate on the other auditioners, they’ve got as much right to be there as you do. And besides, if you get cast, they might, too, and then you’re going to have to pretend like you didn’t hate them after all and become one big happy family, like we’re required to do in the performing arts.

After everybody’s arrived, I’ll give you auditioning people a little speech wherein I’ll introduce those of us involved in the production of this little show, how Muckey Landing came to be, what we’re doing with it, and how we’re going to conduct these auditions. I like to hear myself talk, so at some point, Mike will tell me to shut the hell up and get on with it.

We’ll bring you up on stage one at time to audition while the other auditioners remain out in the lobby being very, very quiet because recording is in progress. (Note to other auditioners: Don’t make me come out there.) You’ll have a music stand to place your audition pieces on if you want it, and you’ll be speaking into a mic on a floor stand that we’ll adjust just for you because you’re special. We’ll do a sound check with you, and then record your audition pieces. Keep your chins up while you’re reading (literally — you’ll sound better if you’re not swallowing your sound looking down at a piece of paper), and try to knock our socks off. Really, we like being sockless.

Once you’ve done your readings, we may capriciously decide to have you read with Mike and Bruce, depending on what mood we’re in. (Bruce, this means you do have to actually show up for this, so plan on doing your laundry on Sunday instead.) Don’t read anything into it if we ask you to do this — it may be because I need to keep the two of them occupied because they’re getting mouthy and starting to get into trouble. Once you’ve left your soul on the stage and we’ve sucked every bit of acting ability right out of you, you’re free to leave “the Guild” and get on with your life.

Sometime after we’ve recorded everybody’s live auditions on October 12 and 19, we’ll throw the live audition recordings in with the online digital auditions we’ve received and listen to them all over again, because we’re that serious and meticulous and also gluttons for punishment. We’ll contact everyone after we’ve done that and made some decisions.

Some of you may be invited in to read and record because we have a part already written that you’re perfect for. Some of you we’ll keep in our back pockets (insert fart joke here) for future reference because we haven’t written anything you’re right for yet, but we might in the future. One or two of you may just be goddam awful, but we’ll keep you, too, just maybe in a side drawer or down in the basement somewhere. You never know, plus we’re certainly not gonna burn any bridges at this point.

So that’s the story for now. Keep an eye out for what we’re doing by checking in here at MuckeyLanding.com and following our Facebook page. So I don’t feel like I’m shouting into the void here — it’s a lonely experience, writing and blogging — feel free to leave any comments, questions, catcalls or deep thoughts below. I’d love to hear from you folks!

Posted by Chris Polo - Muckey Landing Writer/Creator/Director in auditions, podcast, 0 comments
Live Auditions Scheduled for Muckey Landing

Live Auditions Scheduled for Muckey Landing

We’re pleased to announce that in-person auditions for Muckey Landing – a sort of a podcast have been scheduled for Saturday, October 12 and Saturday, October 19 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Kent County Theatre Guild, 140 E. Roosevelt Avenue in Dover.To request an audition slot, please:


  • Send an email to MuckeyLanding@gmail.com with the subject line “Audition Request – [Your Name]”
  • Let us know whether you would like to audition on October 12 or October 19.
  • Because you are auditioning for a podcast, your audition will be recorded — please don’t request an audition if you’re terrified of microphones!
  • You HAVE to email us if you want to audition — we’re too disorganized to schedule auditions based on Facebook comments, and showing up without an appointment will just make us hate you for throwing our day all out of whack.

We’ll get back to you with a confirmation of your audition day (hopefully the one you want) and time (either 1, 2 or 3 p.m.). We’ll try to accommodate everyone, but we’re not making any guarantees — we’ve had a LOT of interest!

We know auditions can be kinda scary, but really, we’re very laid-back people and not scary at all, mostly. If you’ve always wanted to do something like this but hesitated because you didn’t know if you have what it takes, this is your big chance — so take a flyer, send us that email, and JUST DO IT!

Remember, big things are coming — to keep up with all the news from Muckey Landing, follow us on our website at MuckeyLanding.com and on Facebook. Spread the word, and break a leg, everyone!


Posted by Chris Polo - Muckey Landing Writer/Creator/Director in podcast, 0 comments