We talk with Lauren Shippen, the writer and creator of The Bright Sessions, a science fiction audio drama about people with supernatural abilities - in therapy. It’s a serialized podcast where each episode is a therapy session between a patient and the enigmatic Dr. Joan Bright. The Bright Sessions premiered in 2015, and has been featured by iTunes, Vox, Wired, The Observer, and Popular Science. In 2016 it was the recipient of 7 Audio Verse Awards. As an actor in Los Angeles, Lauren Shippen created the series as a writing experiment and creative outlet for her and her friends. Its success has made writing a dominant part of her career now.
In this conversation, we explore the genesis of the show, developing from a single character idea to an elaborate audio drama. We discuss the benefits of writing episodically and the freedom of her story format, and how characters evolve off the page when they are embodied by passionate actors. And we talk about how her story became an outlet for her dealings with anxiety and mental health issues, and how that opened a dialogue with her fans.