WHO ARE WE?
Chilling Tales for Dark Nights is a premiere horror-themed multimedia brand and popular YouTube channel, created by Craig Groshek in late 2012, which endeavors to bring audio theater “back from the dead” via the adaptation of tales written by a variety of authors, both published and unpublished. Specializing in the production of audio entertainment, short films and published works spanning a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres, the brand, known also as CTFDN, or simply as Chilling Tales – is perhaps most well known for its immersive high-quality audio productions, which feature full casts, professional voice acting, high-quality sound effects and customized musical scores.
As of late 2016 Chilling Tales for Dark Nights’ flagship YouTube channel boasted 800+ video releases, 16.8+ million accumulated video views, and more than 153,000 subscribers. On the channel, listeners can enjoy not only a collection of full-cast productions, but also several series of podcast-style programs and stand-alone tales. These include Simply Scary – with its focus on single-narrator voice acted performances – and its hosted variant, The Simply Scary Podcast. As of October 2016, you’ll also be able to find the supernatural and real-life inspired “based on true events” program True & Scary Stories, as well as Camp Creepypasta, a summer camp-themed horror storytelling show.
The material featured on Chilling Tales for Dark Nights’ and in its various series is drawn from a variety of sources, with a focus on the work of amateur and unpublished authors. CTFDN further cultivates and encourages the production of new and never-before-seen material via its acceptance of year-round public story submissions and its series of writing contests.
Chilling Tales for Dark Nights has had the pleasure of adapting fiction penned by the likes of New York Times bestselling authors such as Rachel Simon and Bram Stoker award winners including Melanie Tem, and has featured performances by celebrity guests, including Daniel “Harry Potter” Radcliffe, New York Times best selling fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss, and several multi-million subscriber YouTube personalities, including Mark “Markiplier” Fischbach, Cryaotic, Tay Zonday, Rob Dyke and Mr. Creepypasta.
Chilling Tales for Dark Nights is supported financially by advertising revenue from its YouTube channel and sponsorship of its podcast-style programs, by sales of its audio productions and merchandise in its store, and directly by patrons, who support the project month-to-month via subscriptions to the brand’s “Patrons Area,” where members enjoy instantaneous access to the group’s entire archive of 700+ audio productions, as well as access to live events and advance copies of new releases. Listeners can sign up to support the group’s work today at:
Chilling Tales for Dark Nights’ audio and visual productions can be heard via its YouTube channel, as well as via its website, and its podcast programs can be found on iTunes and elsewhere, available for streaming to the smart phone or device of your choice. Regardless of where, how or when you listen, creator and director Craig Groshek and the rest of the CTFDN team invite you tune in and to…
Turn Off the Lights, and Turn on the Dark.
THE HISTORY OF CHILLING TALES FOR DARK NIGHTS
Chilling Tales for Dark Nights began not as an audio entertainment project or as a podcast, but rather, as a literary concept.
In the mid-1980s, young aspiring author Craig Groshek, inspired by author Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series of books, set out to collect his own terrifying tales and to compile them into a book of his own. Still a minor at the time, Groshek sought out stories anywhere they could be found or heard: directly from friends and family, in public domain folkore, and in other collections of scary tales hidden in the dusty corners of nearby libraries.
For years, Groshek’s collection of stories remained nothing more than an unedited, hand-typed manuscript. Days became months, and then years, and the project saw little to no progress. Then, in 2004, while enrolled at a local University, Groshek, now older and (presumably) wiser, dusted off the old stories and revisited the idea of publishing the book, and with renewed vigor went back to work. He researched and collected for months, finding that a new wellspring of stories, urban legends and folklore had taken hold on the Internet. After painstakingly narrowing down his many selections, Groshek finally began the arduous task of rewriting the chosen stories.
Regrettably, the effort made in 2004-2005 did not result in the publication of a finished book, and the project was again put on hiatus. Then, in mid-2012, Groshek made a decision that would change his life, and ultimately, the lives of thousands of others, when, in October of that year, he made yet another decision to attempt the finalization of his long-planned story collection, and decided to self-publish and to produce an audio book of his collection in order to help it stand out from the crowd.
That October, Groshek registered the domain name www.chillingtalesfordarknights.com, and began putting together a plan to locate and hire voice actors to make his audio book dream a reality. Through that search, Groshek met voice actor Jonathan Jones, and the two struck up a quick friendship. Jones was the first to voice one of Groshek’s tales retold from folklore, a piece called Man-Eater, and the author was so impressed that he began working with Jones more closely.
From the end of 2012, inspired by his involvement with Jones, Groshek began to shift focus, away from the publication of his book, to the promotion of audio entertainment. Beginning by reposting other horror narrations with the authority of the content’s original creators, and then branching into original content from there, Groshek began to see a new future for the Chilling Tales for Dark Nights project. Publishing a book was no longer the primary concern.
By February of 2013, the idea that CTFDN would be positioned as an audio horror entertainment website took hold firmly, and Groshek set out with gusto to secure and/or produce material for the new venture.
By June 2013, things began picking up significantly, as Groshek made the decision to begin monetizing content on the flagship YouTube Channel, in order to transition the project from being strictly a hobby to being a business. That summer, Groshek opened up auditions on the CTFDN website, and he began taking submissions from authors directly. The final six months of 2013 were a whirlwind, as Groshek began to fully leverage his relationship with veteran voice actor Otis Jiry, and as he met the two men who would go on to become his executive producers: Jesse Cornett and Jeff Clement. Also that year, CTFDN was invited to produce the audiobook versions of the stories from horror author Kris Mallory’s anthology, Daylight Dims, and in October, the team announced their first-ever writing contest.
In November of 2013, Groshek and Clement spearheaded a plan to produce an elaborate full-cast production of the creepypasta horror story “Jeff the Killer,” a project which included more than a dozen voice actors, and which was the first truly comprehensive “full production” the team had done thus far. Earlier tracks had been single or two-narrator productions, and had utilized royalty-free music and sound effects. The team’s production of “Jeff the Killer” marked the start of a new era, in which the group began to shift into full-cast productions of all their stories, and where they began to take more seriously the quality of their final productions.
From the end of 2013, everything became a blur. The production and narrative team at Chilling Tales went through tremendous growth and change, as dozens of new talents were both added to and removed from the roster. Regular writing contests were launched in early 2014, a guest narrator program was launched in May of 2014, a members area was developed and launched in August of 2015, and in November of that same year two new simplified audio book series were launched, Otis Jiry’s Horror Storytime and Simply Scary.
In late 2015, the team launched its first foray into advertising-supported podcasting – a program entitled Chilling Tales: The Podcast – through a partnership with podcasting network PodcastOne. In late 2016, due to creative and professional differences the production team at Chilling Tales for Dark Nights made the decision to end their agreement with PodcastOne and asked that their agreement with them be terminated in order to allow the team to pursue meaningful independent projects again.
As of October 2016, the team plans to launch a series of new podcasts, including The Simply Scary Podcast, True & Scary Stories, and Camp Creepypasta. Additional programs and series will be devised in the future.
Late 2016 also marked another step for team: beginning to look into the development of the first ongoing, fully-animated horror-themed television series. A Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to develop the series is currently planned for February of 2017.