BASED ON A TRUE CRIME: A REVIEW

From their websiteWelcome to Based on a True Crime, a podcast where Chelsea’s love of true crime and David’s love of horror movies intersect. Each week we will be discussing murders and/or mysteries, along with the pop culture they have spawned.  
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Find us on Instagram @basedonatruecrime, Twitter @truecrimebased and Facebook @basedonatruecrime.

David & Chelsea
If you’d like to see David’s art and see what else we’re up to in the art world, follow Lab Creature Art Studio on Instagram @labcreature.

Based on a True  Crime is the creation of a husband and wife duo, Chelsea and David. Since I love both crime and horror movies, I was happy to stumble across this gem. The format is unique. The first half is dedicated to a true crime or series of crimes and the second half discusses a movie inspired by that crime. Half murder. Half movie review. I really love it.

This podcast is fresh and fun while managing to stay respectful of victims. It’s a difficult line to walk where true crime and comedy come meet, but the hosts manage it well. They have the breezy conversational style of such popular podcasts as My Favorite Murder or Wine and Crime, but don’t fall prey to the long, off-topic meanderings of so many other comedy and true crime podcasts.

Be warned, if you listen to some of the early podcasts, there are rough moments with the technical aspects of podcasting.  Fortunately they seem to have solved the problems and upgraded their equipment. The quality has definitely improved.

If I had to choose favorite episodes, I’d have to say episode 08, River’s Edge or episode 12 Murder by Numbers. Both had heartbreaking murders and really good movies to discuss. As a bonus, I interviewed the hosts so we could learn a little more about one of my favorite podcasts.

1. For starters, tell me a little bit about the creation of your podcast. Who came up with the idea and how did you go about starting?

Chelsea: I got majorly hooked on podcasts in 2016 after moving to Cincinnati. David was still living in St. Louis, so we’d alternate driving back and forth which meant 12+ hours in the car every other week of uninterrupted podcast listening. I was already listening to Sword & Scale at the time, but I branched out to other true crime podcasts and especially fell in love with My Favorite Murder. When David moved here a year later, I was itching to start a true crime podcast, but I didn’t want to host it myself, and I more specifically wanted to host it with him.

One thing we’ve loved to do from the very beginning of our relationship is to watch movies and talk about them extensively. David is a horror movie connoisseur, so we often go to horror cons together also. It seemed natural to combine our interests in horror movies and true crime because so many horror movies are based on real events. Plus what is more horrific than actual murders? David immediately jumped at the idea and took all of the initiative in getting us started, which I’m super grateful for because I would have had no idea where to begin.

David: Chelsea told me about all of these new true crime podcasts that she was listening to as she was traveling, and the cases sounded pretty intense! I’ve always liked my horror stories to have an element of fantasy, so I am still a newbie to the world of true crime. I mean, I know about the more popular cases like Jeffrey Dahmer or the Manson family, so starting this podcast has been an education! Like Chelsea said, I may be an expert in horror icons like Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, but I didn’t know so much about many of these real-life true crime cases. Which I guess is why our dynamic works so well as a podcast!

Chelsea and I talked about collaborating on some sort of creative project, and I think the original concept was some type of long-form audio or short-form video storytelling. Producing something like that sounded a bit daunting though. So we decided to focus on the technical stuff first, and work out the concept while we figured out how to just…make something! I worked on some podcast and minor voiceover work in the past, so I knew how to edit audio and do the website setup and podcast directory submission stuff. We already had the software, so I did a bit of research on beginner podcast equipment and we came up with a budget for “some sort of podcast project”. We set some money aside for hardware and continued to brainstorm ideas. I think the show really formed once Chelsea came up with the name, because “Based on a True Crime” just really paints a picture, you know?

2. I’d love to know more about your creative process. How do you choose the subjects and how do you plan out the episodes? How do you divide the work? Is there anyone helping behind the scenes?

Chelsea: We’re kind of bad about having things planned at all in advance. At the very least, we have the topic set two weeks before in order to have enough time to research, watch the movie, record, and edit. A few episode we’ve done based on listener suggestions or listeners actually sending us movies – which is so rad. We’ve also had some crossover episodes with other podcasts where they’ve picked the movies. Some newer movies we’ve discovered because David read about them in horror blogs. We also think it’s fun when episodes are topical, so Black Christmas for Christmas and more spooky true crimes for October. February will also be a topical month with (spoiler alert!) couples who commit crimes together! Very romantic.

For dividing the work, I research the crime portion and David does the movie portion. Depending on who is busier, we take turns doing the editing or split up the editing for the episode. There no one helping behind the scenes besides our cats and dog, but really they are more of a hindrance. When we lock them out of the room to record, they tend to body slam the door.

David: Like Chelsea said, we don’t plan too far ahead. We have an ongoing list of possible true crime/film adaptations to choose from, but we like to keep it eclectic. Months like February (killer love), October (spooky crimes) and December (wintery horror) help give us some themes to start with! Chelsea and I also have a list of favorite movies that we look through to see if there are any truths behind those stories. We also pay close attention to our listener suggestions! They’ve provided a ton of inspiration for our shows, and that’s pretty rad!

We also like to mix things up by covering films from different eras. Modern films have a completely different sensibility than older classics, and I love that contrast in filmmaking styles.

Sometimes we’ll make a decision based on the intensity of the crime. We like to avoid covering too many serial killers in a row to help lighten things up to keep things from getting too grueling.

We always watch whatever we’re covering close to when we record so that it’s fresh.

3. Tell me a bit about yourselves away from the podcast.

Chelsea: For my day job, I’m a researcher at one of the less shadowy government organizations, and my free time really is mostly taken up by the podcast haha. I’m also a big fan of cats, specifically our (…5) cats, and our dog, who is really an honorary cat. And I like to take pictures, mostly of cats.
David: My day job is in the design field, so get to come up with the look and feel of websites and emails, design icons or logos and all sorts of graphics. My real passion is art, so outside of making a podcast with Chelsea, I have an art studio called LABCREATURE, where I create spooky, fun, creative works of art. I also draw and paint a lot of weird cat art. If you’re looking for a blue-furred, three-eyed cat portrait or spooky ghost paintings, look me up on social media @labcreature. Chelsea and I typically have a booth at several horror conventions and art fairs all over the Midwest throughout the year. It’s a lot of work but super rewarding. I also like to spend time with Chelsea and our furry family and watch horror movies or binge watch television.

4. Finally, what is your favorite episode and why?

Chelsea: Hmm…I think my favorite to research was our Dead Ringers episode where we talked about Cyril and Stewart Marcus because there wasn’t really a traditional crime involved, just a very weird story that was turned into an equally weird story. As a result, a lot of the sources were different than the usual ones available when it’s a serial killer or famous murder case, and I enjoyed hunting for that information. My favorite movie that we’ve watched since starting was hands down “In Cold Blood.” It’s just an excellent piece of cinema.

David: One of my favorite episodes so far has been Episode 08: River’s Edge. It was the first time I had seen the film, and it’s just such a tragic story. I think Chelsea covered the true crime aspect of it with great sensitivity. It’s about the murder of 14-year-old Marcy Renee Conrad and the callousness of the teenagers who didn’t report Anthony Jacques Broussard, their friend who committed the crime. It deals with the backlash against the teenagers who finally reported her murder and it triggered a nationwide reflection on disaffected youth.

My favorite movie we have watched is also probably “In Cold Blood”. It’s incredible.
Thanks so much for the interview questions and letting us chat about our show! We really appreciate the opportunity to talk with you!

– Chelsea & David, Based on a True Crime (A Podcast)

So, to wrap up, this is a podcast that definitely skews towards the less graphic, more entertaining side of true crime. If you like murder and movies, it’s a good bet you’ll enjoy it.

Cowtown Crime Verdict: Binge worthy

 

 

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