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The Edge of Darkness Episode Notes

Every time I hear EoD (which wasn't all that often, until this page got made) I bitch about the same errors and tell the same old boring stories. I'll get this page rolling and hopefully some of the other participants will chime in on stuff they remember, too.

Pre-Production Episode One Episode Two
Episode Three Episode Four Episode Five Post-Production


Kat wrote the plot over the summer of 1993 and I wrote the dialogue from late summer to November. It was our first project and to be honest, we didn't look too far beyond ourselves. Brian is based on me, Jess is Kat, and Jamie is playing a more shallow, two-dimensional version of himself (in real life, he's warm and cuddly). Alex was written partially for the guy who is acting the part, too. Kim was a very loose amalgam of people we knew, but is mostly fictional. The show was named for the main theme music, which I found on Eric Clapton's 24 Nights album. It gave me chills, and I said, "This begs for a creepy plot." Kat delivered one. I found out later in production that the music was written for a BBC TV fictional miniseries about nuclear war.


Right after we graduated, Kat and I revised the script and realized that episode one was boring and non-essential. It's almost all character introduction and it drags. We realized that the story kind of kicks into high gear at the beginning of episode two, so we just let the characters reveal themselves starting from the scene where Alex annoys Kim as she unpacks.

Almost every song in the show is there for a reason. The opening Beatles tunes are there because I was hosting "Breakfast With The Beatles" at the time on the college station, 92 WICB (Ithaca College Broadcasting). The end of the first song is "Norweigan Wood" just because it's a good thing to talk over. The next song is "Blue Jay Way," with opening lyrics of "There's a fog upon L.A. / And my friends have lost their way / They'd be over soon they said / Now they've lost themselves instead." It was my lame attempt at foreshadowing; nobody got it. The other tune is "Tomorrow Never Knows" and it's there just 'cause it's psychedelic.

Pork speedies really existed. They were kind of meat kebob things.

We used the dinner scene for the auditions. Sandy's line is "For one, I think you're over-reacting." One hopeful said "I think you're overacting." It was all we could do to keep from laughing out loud. The guy didn't get the part...

The character of Joey was played by his inspiration, Joe Iadanza, and he did the blazing guitar work himself, in two takes. Joey was lead guitarist for Snaggletooth, a local Ithaca band, hence the in-joke about hoping to give the band "a run for their money."

The character of Larry was supposed to have a really heavy White Plains accent, based on Jamie's real-life roomie, Andy. I did a great impression of his voice--until I got in front of the mike. For some reason, I could not nail the accent when it came time to roll tape, and to me it always sounds horrible. But chances are you don't know Andy so it just sounds weird.

The big silver blob outside of Baxter Hall--real life, Textor Hall at IC There's a huge round silver sculpture sitting on top of Textor Hall on the Ithaca College campus; it's supposed to be a modern art interpretation of a fish, but it's always called the Textor Ball or the Textor Thing. The legend goes that the ball will roll down the hill the day a virgin graduates from IC. Naturally, it stands there today, as one of IC's only landmarks. It made an obvious choice for the portal in our story.

"No, bees don't glow." This was an awkward line that got way out of hand once Jamie started singing the dance hit "Please Don't Go" with the new words. Then we had Van Morrison's "Baby Please Don't Go" thrown in, and it just got ridiculous.

Jess' psychic abilities always bothered me--they seemed too matter-of-fact. We were trying to deal with a lot of unreality and unknown stuff--alternate dimensions, ESP, stuff like that. But it was really important for the characters to at least attempt to react to it all realistically. We tried to keep the characters (especially Brian and Sandy) skeptical about what was going on without slowing the pace any more than we had to. I always feel that suspension of disbelief has to be earned as it's established.

The Health Center at IC had two diagnoses for every ailment: You had mono, or you were pregnant. Severe headache? Mono. Upset stomach? Pregnant. If it wasn't one of those two, it was drinking. It's a miracle we all survived.

Those of you in the New York area might recognize our announcer; he now works at the legendary WPLJ.


We desperately wanted to make sure "Video Killed The Radio Star" by the Buggles got in the production. It was appropriate.

In retrospect, the constant jokes about Kim's breasts seem way too frequent and childish. My apologies. Episode two is the Breast Joke Episode.

I like the pacing of Brian and Jess trying to explain what happened to the group. This is one of the scenes that really worked the way it was supposed to.

Sandy has a lot of nasty lines. Jamie was very good at acting like a dick. In real life he's a sweetie, but we knew he could turn on some anti-charm on command.

When all the doors burst open, you can hear a few in-jokes. One, the dogs barking "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" is in there because it appears in every audio project I can get it into--sorta like the Superman in every Seinfeld. Two, "Five To One" by the Doors, which is just a weak, self-evident pun. Three, "Baby Please Don't Go" by Them with Van Morrison for the "bees don't glow" line. We figured, hey, we had to make a cacophony anyway. The mix is all to the credit of Chris Fleming, who managed a number of cool effects and digitally mastered the whole series (which turned out to be more of a pain than we could have imagined, but it was a lot of work nonetheless).

That kissy noise at the end of Kim's breakdown was a nasty digital glitch. No gettin' around it. Also, Sandy says "Can I go now?" way too early because the computer cut out a whopping 40 seconds of crucial dialogue before they go down the stairs. I hate it, but it was the only solution and we could not re-record the scene. Like I keep saying, this was a learning experience.

The second world they visit is the post-modern cyberpunk kinda world (first world in the revised script). The relams became affectionately known as Fairyland, Scaryland, MerryOldEnglandland, and Vegas/Hell.

The hovercar whoosh is Harmonizer feedback, a very clever trick created by tech wiz Chris Fleming. Anything technical that worked is all to his credit. However, just a few minutes later, you'll hear some digital distortion take over the track, which makes everybody sound like they have a horrible lisp. The music playing in the passing car is "WTFF" by Living Colour,

In an early draft I had the line "Sounds like...gunfire," after the actual sound of gunfire. It didn't strike me as melodramatic and redundant until someone else read it, and it's been an albatross ever since. It was never recorded.

All the times you hear the guys beat up in Scaryland, it's actually me getting my ass kicked by Chris Fleming...over and over and over. Slammed against the wall, slapped really hard, punched in the stomach...with my mood swings and ego trips, I was the one most people wanted to abuse anyway (and I think I deserved it). Many of the sound effects were done live--we had mock doors, we had coconuts for the horse hooves, the works. I'd say 75% of the sound effects were performed live. But stuff like gunfire, well, we weren't exactly equipped to record that ourselves. And I got hurt enough as it was.

In Scaryland there's a really short gunfight that was supposed to be about fifteen seconds. The show was digitally edited, and the computer read silence as expendable, so it took it all out. We were forced to fit 15 seconds of firefight into literally 1.5 seconds! Uh, it didn't work. Also, in an early draft I had the line "Sounds like...gunfire," after the actual sound effect of gunfire. It didn't strike me as melodramatic and redundant until someone else read it, and it's a running joke to this day, even though the line was never recorded.


I always though Maxine was one of the best characters in the show. Especially the way Mara chose to read her.

Ugh, the ESP echo effect from hell. The mix was wrong (Sinatra is way too high) and the delay was too great. The hum underneath was supposed to be a hovercar engine.

D.B. was supposed to be a lot more Tick-style heroic, sort of the Punisher with no common sense, a total cartoon character who doesn't realize how ridiculous he sounds. Doug had the best bassy voice of the actors who auditioned but he never really nailed the goofiness which was supposed to balance Maxine's serious mean streak.

The FX cocking of the gun was in fact someone loading the paintball gun Sandy mentions in the script.

The rape scene was really, really hard for everyone to do. It was tough to write and it was tough to perform--nobody had ever lived through that kind of hell, and most of the cast was really good friends, which may have made it even harder to pull off--plus it had complex effects and fight sounds. Kat wanted to show just how seriously scary the alternate worlds could be. But we felt dirty doing it, and I still find it unsettling. Oh, and the slaps needed to be louder, but my skin was already red after a few takes.

Sandy is really carefree through the first half, but he's supposed to be losing his innocense once he realizes that he's killed someone. I don't know if it really comes across, or what else we could have done to make it work.

As Maxine tries to crack the door's electronic lock, gunfire breaks out and the script specifically says that it's loud. It didn't wind up that way in the mix, so we have distant gunfire with people screaming their heads off. Oops.

Kat's a hobbyist medieval historian. When she started writing notes about ripping crests off of horses and eating daggers and dress swords, I just let her go. Sadly, Alex burns throught the lines that establish his expertise too fast.

Please imagine a rustling bush when the gang things someone's about to attack them, before they find the horses. What it really sounds like is that there's a guy with a synthesizer hiding in the bushes, waiting to strike. Look out! It's Keith Emerson!


Alicia Snieder, the woman who played Nancy, the little girl, was about 20. She had the highest voice any of us had ever heard.

Hey, is that Alex talking with Jess via ESP? Yep. And just to sweeten the pot, Kat gave Jess healing powers--for which we had to lay in some angelic sounds, of course.

Lisel Gorell obliged us with an Irish accent in the audition while reading for Ninnian--and floored every guy in the room. Lisel's British/Irish accent beats a lot of professional voice actors I've heard. Jay's, however, was a weird spin on Dick Van Dyke's Cockney from Mary Poppins. But hey, we asked the guy to five least he was game to try.

Duncan was another one without a very good British accent, but he was willing to do as many takes as we needed. Plus, he helped us get the great tape of "Hole In The Wall," the medieval ditty playing in the background. We were all friends from the local SCA chapter (the infamous Myrkfaelin).

It's not what you say, it's how you say it. Nancy's "I see you're feeding the CAT, Lady Jessica" would have been fine--only the line was delivered with the accent on her name, as "I see you're feeding the cat Lady JESSica," as if Brian's girlfriend had just been slaughtered and ground up for pet food.

I don't know about you, but by the time Father Tim comes in, I've had my fill of bad English accents!

More digital distortion as this episode wears on and we get to the burning. Sigh. But the crowd in the background still sounds rather good--we pulled in everybody in the cast and crew, plus we yanked a few people out of the hallways of the building. You can hear Kat screaming "Kill them!" real loud right before they find the staircase.

The music in the elevator was taken directly from my crappy first-generation Sound Blaster card. I think it's a digital version of Michael Jackson's "Ben."


I sang the songs. It was a blast--I got to use that cheesy Vegas voice. We wanted to do "Copacabana" but couldn't find the sheet music. The pianist was the ever-accomodating Joe O. Joe's last name was a very long Polish one--"oh-la-fer-OH-vich"--and I cannot find it written anywhere in my notes. Joe, if you read this, please let me know! The backup singers, Kim Westin and Christy Manso, were vocal majors from the music school, and they rose--or sank--to the challenge of singing intentionally off-key. Kim also did the solo on "Someone to Watch Over Me." Barry got his last name from our sound effects CDs--Bainbridge Audio.

Alex's story about throwing snowballs at McDonald's is pure Ducky. We just asked him to make something up. I tend to think it's based on a real event.

I know the poker showdown against Death is goofy, but we tried. I think Alex should have been a bit more excited at first at realizing this ultimate challenge, and a little less light and speedy...he's going to be a calculating con man and have a good poker face. Lisel did a really good job bringing Death to, well, life. I like the image of Death as a slinky blond woman more than as, say, Brad Pitt eating peanut butter. And you'll never find a Vegas casino that keeps jokers in the deck as wild cards. That was my fault.

That's Aretha Franklin singing "Pitiful" on the P.A. in the ladies' room scene. It seemed to fit and Kat likes Aretha.

Poor Rebecca has to go to pieces twice in the show. Kim was like the designated basket case.

How do you prop open a staircase?

With two colleges in close proximity (and one of them being Cornell), Ithaca has a high suicide rate--sometimes people slip into the gorges by accident, sometimes they jump on purpose, and sometimes idiots get drunk and fall to their death. Having Brian turn up the gorges seemed perfect--every once in a while, the police would find a body at the bottom and assume it was a jumper. Keep in mind, this was written for a specific town as an audience, so we could afford making these kinds of references.

This is my favorite episode because we slaved over the dramatic ending. I wanted to do the monologues very badly; Kat said "You want them, you write them!" So I did, over a period of about three days locked in a room with a computer, and I love the way they came out. By the end I really wanted the audience to believe the characters were real people, that there would have to be some fallout after the events if it happened in real life, and the best way to do that would be to break the fourth wall and have the characters talk directly into the listener's heads. I didn't want a happy ending, and I wanted the ending to be the END, not something left up in the air.


The show aired five nights in April of 1993, and again all in one afternoon two weeks later. Audience reaction was all bad the first night, mixed the second, all good the third night, and nobody called at all the last two nights, so I guess we bored them into tuning out.

We put together a blooper/leftovers reel called "Lost In The Darkness." It features auditions, outtakes, in-between chatter, my uncut lounge songs (they're supposed to be bad, remember that!), real phone call reactions from the nights the show aired, the radio commercial, and Eric Clapton's full title song. By the way, Jamie (Sandy) and Decker (Jess) were dating each other at the time, so the fight scenes between their characters were real. The Metallica singing is Decker and John Munyan. Also on here is some of the hell we went through trying to get Jess' fall down the stairs to sound right. I have it digitized as an MP3, but it's not in the SHOUTcast playlist. If people really want to hear it, I'll add it.

To celebrate the project, we had T-shirts made up that had the EoD logo on the front and "My friends when to another dimension and all I got was this lousy T-shirt" on the back. We sold out, but that was easy with a paltry two dozen, most of which went to the cast. I will try to get a photo online

Kat and I edited the script down to two hour-long episodes for a contest, and we both believe it works much better this way. We entered it and never heard anything, until I started calling the contest's creators at their homes. I was told the contest was delayed a year due to lack of entries, So I waited a year and I'm still waiting today. I have never seen an award, a critique of our work (as promised) or my entry fee back. I can only assume it, too, was lost in the darkness...

Meanwhile, the Fox Network debuted a mid-season replacement in March 1995 called Sliders, about a group of college friends who find gateways to other dimensions and happily "slide" from one alternate reality to another. The shows were developed independently, but it does make me feel better whenever I get to thinking that EoD failed because of a flawed concept. I still like the script, and we had a lot of fun screwing up.