Jon Grilz and the Creepy Pod: Horror Legends come to life…
Creepy Pod was created by Jon Grilz. He writes himself and found himself wondering, “Where are all the creepy pasta podcasts?
Creepypasta refers to horror-related legends that have been copied and pasted all over the internet. They are usually brief with paranormal flavour.
“The Russian Sleep Experiment” is a modern creepy pasta. It tells a ghoulish tale detailing the descent into madness of five political prisoners deprived of sleep for five days.
“Ted The Caver” is another one about man who goes on a journey with a friend to see what they can find in a small hole at the bottom of a deep cave. (The answer is nothing good.)
I sat down with Jon to learn more about his audio experiment and the remarkable following his podcast has gained in such a short time. There’s a dedicated Facebook Fan page called “The Creepy People” that has almost 3000 members.
AF: Tell me how Creepy Podcast got it’s start. Rumor has it that you got the ball rolling in October with a 31 Days of Horror series where you aired a new story every day of the month?
JG: Back around 2015, I stumbled across a video on youtube talking about the top 10 Creepypasta stories out there and kind of fell down a rabbit hole. I think “Ted the Caver” was the first pasta I ever listened to. Flash forward a couple of years and I was working at a job that had a firewall keeping me from seeing youtube and really wanted to listen to stuff like “Russian Sleep Experiment”. I tried to find creepypastas on a podcast to listen to and came up empty. I was (and still am) a MASSIVE NoSleep Podcast fan, but their content was all from r/nosleep and didn’t touch on the classics. It was one of those “if it doesn’t exist, be the one to make it” situations. At first, all I wanted to do was cover the basics that I loved with no intention of continuing after the first 31 Days of Horror event we ran in October, but once the ball started rolling and once a few pieces started to fall into place, I went with it and here we are four years later.
AF: What sort of writing do you do yourself?
JG: I have an MFA in writing and one thing a masters program (or at least the one I was in) will drill out of you is the appreciation of genre fiction. Most of what we studied and worked on was literary fiction and non-fiction, National Book Award winners and things like that. Then I graduated and figured that I should try to do something with the degree, so I started writing mysteries. I’d always enjoyed the genre and thought I could write in that style. So I started self-publishing to very little interest and kind of got burnt out. It was actually listening to NoSleep and dealing with some changes and hardships in my own life that drew me into writing horror to try and cope with the world around me. I’ve stuck with it ever since, mostly just writing short fiction horror. But recently I’ve been working on my first official horror novel. I think I’m on draft seven…so…
AF: I can’t wait to see the final version of your horror novel! When not curating the scariest stories for your listeners, what do you do as a day job?
JG: I work a full-time day job working in project management. I tend to keep my worlds as separate as possible, so I don’t get into too much detail on that one, but yes, I do quite a fair share of plate spinning between family life, day job, and the podcasts I work on.
AF: Any advice for submitting writers?
JG: I’d say read it out loud after you wrote it. Not all stories are made to be narrated. There are some AMAZING stories out there that just aren’t meant to be narrated. People might love H.P. Lovecraft but, for me at least, it is pretty brutal to try and narrate. It just doesn’t have good pacing for me. And I think that also lends itself to how talented audiobook narrators out there are since I have to assume that most authors aren’t thinking about how it will sound read aloud when they are writing it. As far as writing stories for podcasts, I recommend testing it on yourself, making sure the story is clean and free of errors, and don’t try too hard to be scary. You never know what will land with listeners, so just do your best and have faith in the process.
AF: You have a good following on Facebook- tell me about that!
JG: Early on, and rolling off of working on Small Town Horror, (Small Town Horror was Grilz’s first audio drama based on his self-published Crazytown books.) I had a much bigger focus on Facebook and getting a fan base there. I liked posting on Twitter, but for whatever reason I just couldn’t get that many followers. And eventually, that environment just got too toxic for my day-to-day life so I left completely. There’s still an account, but I don’t do anything with it. With Facebook I’ve really let that slide lately, but I liked the format more, that I could make longer posts, explain what was going on, all that. Anyone on Patreon will tell you that I like being above board and transparent with the direction of the show, and Facebook allowed a greater level of communication. I’ve pulled back a lot from social media to try and focus my attention, but for whatever reason, Facebook just worked better for me. Wish I knew and could bottle/sell it, that’s for sure.
AF: What’s in the future for Creepy Pod?
JG: I think about this pretty much daily and I wish I knew the answer. Honestly, I’m just enjoying the ride for as long as I can. The show has become so much more than I ever could have imagined. I’m always trying to think of new ways to involve the listeners and present the best kinds of stories that I can. I’d love for it to extend into other forms of media, but I haven’t seen any interest in that. For now, I’m just incredibly grateful for the success and listenership we’ve been able to find.