Burner Face

There is not a separate podcast or spoken audio category --- yet. Per Film Freeway, podcasts are classified as songs.

In the year 2121, Seven Civilized Regions remain on Earth. Seattle is capital of the North Pacific Arc, offering “Peace with Lifestyle” on a hot and angry planet. A quantum computer named PLATO manages public health, climate and the economy from Kamchatka to the old California border. But a viral shape-shifter has emerged. Evolved from a fusion of sorcery with technology, it attacked quantum computers in Japan and Spain. Now, it’s come to Seattle. To meet it, PLATO joins forces with a chimera cat, a casino blackjack dealer, and a virtual human twin. They chase an AI-powered demon across Seattle to the most important card game ever played.

  • John Gauntt
  • Keith Ancker
    Showrunner and Producer
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Science Fiction, detective noir, ghost story
  • Length:
    39 minutes 44 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 30, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Student Project:
  • Amsterdam International Film Festival
    March 28, 2022
    Best Podcast
  • On Air Fest
    New York
    February 25, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Beyond the Curve International Film Festival
    April 4, 2022
Artist Biography

John du Pre Gauntt assumes a global, multi-trillion node network of connected and cognitive technologies by 2030. It won’t be an infrastructure, but will be the environmental and cultural habitat for most of humanity. He explores this territory as the host & curator of The Augmented City Podcast --- an audio multimedia series exploring the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and Urban Life. John’s opinion and analysis of technology, media and marketing has appeared in The Economist, Oxford Economics, GigaOm, O’Reilly and eMarketer. He has presented keynote and panel sessions at South by Southwest, Digital Life & Design, the Infinity Festival and the Monaco Media Forum. John holds an Executive Certificate in Management & Leadership from the MIT Sloan School, and a Master of Science with Distinction in Information Systems from the London School of Economics.

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Artist Statement

This is the email I sent the Cast & Crew (30 people) when we published the final episode of Burner Face Season 1 on Dec. 3, 2021.

On Fri, Dec 3, 2021, 7:37 PM John Gauntt <john.gauntt@theaugmented.city> wrote:
Hello Everyone!

Apologies for the extra week but Episode 5: Flight to Deception Pass is live!

This episode finishes Season 1 and sets the stage for Season 2, which we will start developing from Q1 2022. Can't give precise recording/production dates but I'm a fan of Labor Day and Halloween launches, so work backward from there. Season 2 will expand the story to include Japan, with which I have a 30+ year relationship by marriage, work and martial arts. Plenty of Seattle stuff too. Characters to develop and all that.

For the rest of this note, I want to communicate how special this project was to me personally as well as professionally. This isn't the typical bromide people write to thank a cast and creative partners. The feelings are pretty visceral in my case.

From Spring 2019, me and Keith tinkered with the idea of using audio science fiction to talk about real issues in science and emerging tech. We wrote a spec script and produced a test episode in Feb 2020. Then Covid and lock-down happened to us like everyone else. We adjusted like everyone else, and developed a "better-than-contingency" plan by summer 2020. But that all went off the rails in August 2020, when my wife and I received devastating news that our son had been diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive cancer.

I still worked on the Burner Face scripts during autumn 2020 because it gave a safe space in my imagination -- a welcome distraction. No way could I conceive of pitching a funding source given my circumstances.

It was during my son's first set of chemotherapy treatments in late autumn that a conservation non-profit in my hometown reached out because they wanted to buy land I owned on Lookout Mountain, TN -- land that had been in my family for over 150 years.

The land would become part of a 12,000 acre protected watershed. They were ready to pay cash. But I needed to decide quick so they could make a purchase before the end of the tax year, or the deal was off.

I compartmentalized the shit out of my headspace, and made the deal happen. After taxes and fees, suddenly I found myself with a legitimate sum to develop a media title I always wished someone would hire me to make. But the opportunity had come at the absolute worst possible time. However, with encouragement from my wife and son, I kept writing. Literally, a line a day sometimes.

The funds that paid you came from land that is preserved for future generations. The area is called Lula Lake (from Tah lula, the lake on the mountain). I rambled that area growing up. Lula Lake Falls is one of the premier spots on Earth to kiss under the moonlight -- along with Paris.

Proud to report I spent every thin dime on Burner Face Season 1.

Also happy to say this past Monday 29 November, my son Alex had his chemotherapy drug port removed, which is the very last thing that concludes cancer treatment. His prognosis is excellent. We come out of the experience changed. But we're optimistic and resilient.

Working with all of you on this project has been truly one of the great privileges of my creative life. Writing out the voices inside my head, and then watching them come alive with performance and production craft, is crackling energy that's addictive in the best way possible. Believe me, I needed it.

In particular, I want to recognize Keith Ancker for being a steadfast friend and business partner throughout this roller coaster ride.

Our next challenge will be writing and funding Season 2. The work starts now. It won't be easy. The good stuff never is. Be glad for that.

In the meantime. From the heart. Bless you all.

On with the show...