A Public Personal Journal
...A Look Behind the Curtain
...A Look Behind the Curtain
The year 2020 was a roller coaster ride. For most everyone I know, at least. It took me from selling cars, paid on commission, to now working an hourly overnight gig. In a period of boredom, I realized my desire to create a podcast. If I had known what level of work I was getting myself into, I probably wouldn't have done it. In retrospect, I am appreciative that I hadn't known, and am very excited with the entire process of audio drama podcast production.
I know I won't update this often., let's be honest. But, I wanted to write to myself about my journey. Hopefully, I'll look back at these and realize how stupid I had been, by comparison. The following articles are a public journal, for myself.
*Reader's discretion is advised.
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May 15, 2021: Casting the Lines
The purpose of casting roles is to pair the right person to the appropriate role. It is also to ensure that the actors know to show up. Additionally, the purpose of casting, is to let the director know that the role is cast. Let's break this down a tad.
Appropriate Role: If I cast a role for a tough guy, I want the sound of the character to be gruff. A burly man with three hotdogs (unit of measurement based on rolls on the back of neck) more likely sounds like a smoker with a deep voice, than a shrill one. [I mentioned in a post many, many posts ago, that I would never cast a gender role not fitting of the gender of the character. I have changed my mind somewhat, and am excited that I have. After listening to the Penumbra Podcast, I said "Never." After listening to the Vanishing Act, I changed that never to "When can I?" I enjoy changing my mind, and having such a pivotal argument (intentionally or not) prove that I was wrong, so I can be right sooner than later]
Show Up: If I know who I want to play a role, but I never cast them, they won't show up for the show. Why would they? Casting ensures the actor knows to be there.
Director Knows: This is incredibly important too. If the Director expects the cast to show up, but doesn't know who is coming, they cannot prepare for it as well. The director will know who needs to record at a later date/time, according to the cast's needs.
I ask people to only submit an audition if they will be available at the time/date of the recording. Casting roles is difficult enough, without having a last-minute dropout. I can re-cast, and have the recording done separately, but this is a great determining factor to the final product. I can hear an audio drama, and tell you with fair accuracy as to which actors were talking to each other, and which ones were reading a script with nobody else's demeanor to build off of. Casting is often determined by availability of the actor. In all my casting calls,
Good Thing 1: I feel adequate in reversing gender roles, despite an earlier post to the contrary.
Good Thing 2: Tomorrow is recording day.
Learning Curve: Cast consistency. Unless the consistency is to be inconsistent. Don't cast consistently inconsistent.
May 14, 2021: Stages
In theatre, people associate stages with where the characters stand. While, yes, there is a stage where the actors stand, but what good is the geography, if there is no content? The phases of a theatrical performance (or more specifically, an audio drama) start long before the listener hears the episode. This is no surprise to you, if you've been reading any of my posts. No, it doesn't begin when the speakers are turned on, or the headphones plugged in. But, when the idea forms. I wrote half a line a couple months back, and that partial thought has been evolving to the point where we are about to record it. But, I'm also in each stage of the process with different episodes.
Pre-pre Production: Unnamed.
Pre-Production: Strawberry Man (tentative, very likely to be re-named)
Pre-Production: Volstead Action.
Post-production: Adventure Academy.
This means I'm in each stage of the producer. Of which, I am about to divulge, and I find very typical amongst producers.
Writer suffers Insecurity.
Voice Talent suffers Bravado/Bravada
Director suffers Superseding Bravado/Bravada
and then we go back to
Spokesperson: who also suffers Insecurity.
Each of these illnesses create what you hear in an audio drama. Certainly there are exceptions, but this is fairly consistent throughout the artistry that is performance art. And, there is the argument that each of these adjectives make the art not only art, but good art. But, being the producer of the entire podcast, I bear a great weight of all of these (minus the Voice Talent one, since I leave that up to the VAs). But the insecurity, and the ability to interject bravadx with a higher purpose, and then another layer of insecurity, it's hard to remember which hat I'm supposed to be wearing. But, you do a task, the hat goes right on. I may have just finished directing an episode to trying to promote an episode that just published, and that Hat of Insecurity immediately fits itself right on.
I will be introducing a few new VAs in June's episode Volstead Action. We record that episode this weekend. This will be interesting. I am also in the pre-pre-production stages of writing an episode regarding a heist (August). Except this time, it's far better planned than my last heist episode I started. Think Carmen Sandiego type shenanigans. And, I'll be introducing a couple Aussies to the cast for that one.
Good Thing 1: Pre-pre-production has begun on August's episode.
Good Thing 2: You're reading this, and I do love you for it. Feel free to email me any feedback (that I'll love or ignore). I sincerely would love to know your thoughts.
Learning Curve: I wear many metaphorical hats, and the attitude to go along with the hats naturally join the party. The most unnerving part, is definitely having the talent read the script before recording, and see if they have negativity towards it. So far, I haven't gotten that, but also... writing is a very personal process, and very few people seem to want to do it themselves, so who are they to judge?
May 13, 2021: Writer's Block
So! I can write in this journal a good deal, but writing a script sometimes comes with a great deal of obstacles or requirements that a blogpost doesn't need. I don't need structure on here. I mean, sometimes my posts have relevance, and maybe somebody out there is getting useful (or entertaining) information. But, a script requires more structure- hell! It requires structure. Oh. Except for July's episode. That's going to be a hilarious episode, but I have to have all the VAs on board. It will be a RIDICULOUS episode! I'm so excited about it. But June's episode... I'm 12 pages in, and I can't seem to get past it. I'm stuck in a scene, so I started writing this. Just to get my thoughts flowing. My typing accelerates as I type, just because my thoughts are processing better. This, this page you're reading, is effectively my doodle pad. You're reading my doodles. And here you thought you were reading the words of a genius. Okay... Definitely not that.
I got my new microphone! It's a Rode ProCaster. After getting a Rode CasterPro delivered to me by mistake, I held it hostage until I got the mic I ordered. So, I'm sending back the much more valuable mixing board. Whoever is in charge of naming Rode's products should be sacked. I have to have my gain nearly at 100% for the ProCaster. Apparently I should invest in a CloudLifter or some such garbage to add extra power to the mic for the ideal situation. I buy something to elevate my situation, and then I'm told afterwards that I should spend even more money. Fuuuuuck that.
KC Wayland promoted our interview, yesterday afternoon. It definitely resulted in some downloads. I'd say maybe four. Four people who would unlikely have found the podcast otherwise? I'll take it! Oh! And two page likes on Facebook. I'll take those too, thank you very much.
Good Thing 1: I have a "new" microphone!
Good Thing 2: July's episode is fully written... Now to finish June's.
Learning Curve: I have a year's worth of Gold membership on Casting Call Club. This is to ensure I am not lacking VAs, like I did in last week's record that I ultimately postponed until this upcoming Sunday.
May 9, 2021: Single Digit $$$
I am mostly done writing an episode in a whole new state of mind that I have never experimented writing with. A state of mind I'm never in. So, it's experimentation for the art. We suffer for art.
I am discussing with a potential advertiser for the podcast! Okay. It's an incredibly small amount that I'd get off of it, which may prove invaluable from a learning perspective, as well as beneficial for the company. But, we'll see how that all pans out. There aren't a whole lot of eggs, so not really counting any before they hatch. It's just a really cool concept- MTP getting monetized on the podcast itself!
I just re-upped my Gold membership with CastingCall Club, since I wasn't getting enough interest from the Discord server to record June's episode. I had to postpone. I knew I had gotten the VAs familiar with being asked to perform, and not auditioning. But, now, I'm featuring the episode AND a recurring cast casting call. It's unfortunate to see the lack of auditions, and only because I wanted to hear the VA accents, so I could place them. I wasn't having auditions to see if they'd be cast, necessarily, just who'd they be cast as.
Good Thing 1: A potential investor is out there in the ether! Also, they're local to us, and they suggested a bunch of allowances, including our very own promo code!
Good Thing 2: I'm nearly done writing July's episode, and it's going to take all the listeners by surprise.
Learning Curve: Casting calls suck, when I don't know the VAs. So, I'm disheartened by the lack of desire and/or availability shown by some of the cast.
May 3, 2021: Soundtracks
I wrote to my mentor, yesterday. I swear I'm afraid every time I do, I will get no response. I have been wrong so far, but I know eventually, they very well may stop because they're too busy (or don't like me anymore). I don't write them for their knowledge, but rather to get some stuff off my chest, as well as letting them know I have not risen to a point of pride in my talent, that I am above humility from time to time. This doesn't make sense, so far, I know. Oh well. Like these articles, I know a very small handful of people read my column (that's you. And, thank you for doing so), but I don't write them as much for you as I write them for myself. I understand that sometimes prayer helps the religious, but more often than not, it's because they're verbalizing what they're thinking, and better organizing their string of consciousness. So, I write this. I also will re-read what I wrote months ago, and re-learn what I once understood, or revise it.
I am listening to Pandora, as I normally do, but I am now listening to the Ramin Djawadi station. He's the composer for Game of Thrones, and this playlist has epic highs, and melancholy lows. Hans Zimmer and John Williams write compositions comprised of pretty damn exciting, all the time. Or, at least that type of music you feel in your chest. But Ramin Djawadi is back and forth, which has more of that roller coaster effect: you notice your highs more, and you notice your lows more. Unlike Barney Stinson's Epic playlist that starts high, and stays high, Ramin... Musical genius. Why am I telling you about soundtrack composers? Because you're reading my column, and I can write about anything I want. Also, because I choose the music that gets used in MTP. I will scroll through the music available to me, and determine the playlist for Adventure Academy, but I already know what I want to do with the Prohibition episode: '20s style jazz. But, due to copyright expiration, I intend to use some legitimate music from the era. How fun! It's not Zimmer, Williams, or Djawadi.., but it is appropriate. Two Steps from Hell is definitely worthy of a listen too. Music is often an afterthought for my episodes, but I try not to let the afterthought suck. Okay... I think I was off with the Frozen Phoenix, but it was such a niche episode. What kind of music do you have play in the laboratory?
Good Thing 1: I'm not a prideful man... not without justification. And, I enjoy stepping off my ladder from time to time, and seeing how far I've come, and how far I still have yet to go.
Good Thing 2: Update: My mentor wrote me back with all positivity. A wonderful breath of fresh air.
Learning Curve: The Overcast ad is completed as of yesterday. I obtained a total of 49 subscribers. At $180 for the duration, $3.76 per subscriber. A little high, for a podcast that gives their product away for free. But, lower than the industry standard. I'm actually thinking the artwork doesn't work so well for the promotions, since in a super small thumbnail, it is kind of meh, maybe U25 or a newer MTP artwork will be better. The ad is incredibly vague due to its short synopsis and the thumbnail being all there is to promote it.
April 30, 2021: In a World of Bosses
I am so excited about June's episode! Sorry. Let's back up to what's happened in the last 13 days...
I forgot to finish my last piece "Aural Montage." I have 11 tabs open on this laptop right now, and that's pretty consistent. From social media, to YouTube, Pandora, the thesaurus, and everything in-between. So, it is pretty easy for this tab to get lost in the bundle. I keep closing out tabs, and literally minutes later, the tabs open back up for some reason or another, and eventually land back on these pages, or similar. Every last one is for podcasting in some fashion or another.
On Sunday, the gang recorded May's episode Adventure Academy (the one taking the role as pilot episode). As I was listening to the actors act their roles, I am beginning to see distinct patterns I have written. Fortunately, they're not too similar to each other, but there are distinct similarities with roles in past episodes. My verbiage is unfortunately not as well utilized as I had suspected. I need writers to help change up my vocabulary like George Walkington did with the dialogue of Catherine in the episode Room 707. They made it sound more flowery, and it's noticeable to me, in the many, many listens I have done with that episode. Maybe as time progresses, I will get better at writing, but in the meantime, I need another writer's touch. Even if only to rearrange my dialogues. But, nobody seems willing to do that.
Room 707 has since published since my last update. I have attained two more patrons, Chad and Anne. They are huge boosters to my artist's heart. Anne (my sister) proclaims Room 707 as the best episode to-date. And, that is a huge accomplishment. My favorite scene is the very last one where Catherine is monologuing, and the music swells perfectly (upon many tweaks in the volume, which is visible in Audition). It is pure artistry, if I don't say so myself.
Room 707 in the last 4 days has attained 58 downloads. A significant increase from prior to the Overcast ad. I would say by now, I would have anticipated about 40-45 downloads by now, otherwise. Okay... it's not a lot. But, if you take into consideration how many people will tell their friends about it as a result, I might have 59 downloads by this time next month in the upcoming episode. I make fun of myself.
I'm writing June's episode, but I'm seeing potential for a series in bootlegging in the prohibition era. There's so much that can be done with it. But, with U25 and MTP, there's just no way. Right now! So, maybe I do U25 for 2022, and a mobster series for 2023. You don't know- especially if I don't. We'll just have to see.
Count: 1,810 (That's an increase of 163 since April, 14)
Good Thing 1: Listenership has increased, even though it hasn't actually doubled or anything. Right now, I'm sitting at each Overcast subscriber (currently 47) costing $3.82 each. Significantly less than the typical $6 each per the industry standard. Still expensive. Especially for a podcast that has now just over $8/mo income.
Good Thing 2: Recording for Adventure Academy (May's episode) has been completed.
Learning Curve: I am now getting into the nitty-gritty details about how to proceed with the patron names in the episodes. Do I continue listing each individual who is a patron every single episode, or just the new ones. I listen to a podcast that has two episodes a week. One episode, they announce their newest patrons of any level, and the other, they list their higher tier patrons. Do I list every patron on the EXTRA episodes, and the newest ones in the Drama episodes? Do I list each of them in every episode? Likely, I will have an evolutionary process in this regard.
April 17, 2021: Aural Montage
I had difficulty coming up with an idea as to how to differentiate the audio of the current dialogue versus the montage from earlier conversations in Room 707. This confounded me, so I brought the dilemma to the altar of podcasters. My resources paid off. Reverb. The solution was so simple, and brilliant. I'm excited to see if anyone has anything to say about the final product, especially to explain if there was any confusion, or if that tweak was sufficient.
Audio drama production, I am finding to be a lonely process. Nobody seems to want to geek out, or even really participate as much as I had hoped. I thought I had found a connection, but that connection has proven unavailable. Come August, I'll attend the Podcast Movement PodCon in Nashville, and I should run into only a bunch of dorks, so hopefully we can all share the Kool-Aid.
Do you ever follow my links I insert into this page?
Good Thing 1:
Good Thing 2:
Learning Curve: (04.26.21: Did not complete this post)
April 14, 2021: So Many Oops
I've told you I started an LLC for this whole podcasting thing, right? Just in case I haven't, or you've forgotten... I did. Back late last year. So, I contacted a tax person in regards to doing taxes. I didn't want to get myself in trouble, so I decided to go with a pro. After talking with her, I realized I'm dealing with a $500 charge to do taxes for something that won't pay diddly. Not to mention that I'm not just cutting my tax date short, but I'm a month late already. Apparently LLC taxes get done in MARCH- not April. Geez. I am also seeing that there's no necessity to do taxes anyway, since I made literally $0 last year. But, if I want any tax return, I should file taxes. But, file for an extension. So naturally, I go on the NC site, and the place to file for an extension has a broken URL. Like, seriously? Stupid. Oh! And, just to maintain my LLC status in NC, I have to register annually for a measly $200. That's more than I've made to-date! I can only hope that if I get a return, it'll be near what I'd be pouring into the registration. I may not regret having started an LLC, soon. But, as for now, I do.
Room 707! I added most of the SFX, and it sounds amazing. I need to add more footsteps, but my god... I am excited for this one from the production side of things. And, my VAs are terrific! Leo, Bryn, and Matt M. are amazing. I can't emphasize the value the Patrons will get, enough. The outtakes are hilarious, even still. The last scene when Catherine is doing a short monologue, I am exhilarated. The way the music fades in and out with her... I really do enjoy the editing process. And to think this was the biggest task I wanted to pawn off onto anybody else.
Good Thing 1: Room 707's aural quality is fantastic, if I don't say so myself. And, I do.
Good Thing 2: Download numbers are gaining traction as a direct result of Overcast. We now have over 100 downloads since April 4th. But, they're a hella expensive investment.
Learning Curve: Taxes fucking suck, and nobody told me I should have done all this last month.
April 11, 2021: John S. Badger, Guest Blogger
This week, the early bird script submission to the Austin Film Festival is due. This means that episode one needs to be compelling from the piece of paper. This is somewhat daunting, since I have relied on my own writing, my own sound design, and musical selection. to create a compelling episode. But, now, I have to entrance the READER. I can make a fine aural episode by itself, as long as I hold the reins on everything. But the imagination of the reader has to go in tandem with mine somehow, requiring potentially more in-depth writing. But, I may be able to get away with what I have. I wonder if musical mentions are necessary... I can get away with stupid dialogue, if the music swells at the right place. It's why people weep at a revival service even though the lyrics may be dumb. The music swelled just right, invoking an unnatural emotion in a specific time. Emotional manipulation is a powerful thing, and I do it intentionally, as does every producer.
Hey! I can now add a new line to my repertoire, officially. I am a guest-blogger. Specifically, a post on the Better Podcasting website about writing Series vs. Anthology. I would say it's an in-depth dive into what the differences are, but I cannot. There were plenty of other avenues I could have jumped into. I also could have written it with an SEO tool, but I did not because I don't have access to it, nor do I have a full understanding on how to do that effectively. Even despite my week jumping into the technology.
Good Thing 1: My guest post has officially been added to a site.
Good Thing 2: I cannot divulge this one, but there is something I'm trying not to get TOO excited about, just yet.
Learning Curve: Writing a script for another producer is a frightening task. (They're not producing it, but they're reading it with that mindset)
April 04, 2021: a Bummer. (skip this post)
I'll be honest, folks... This podcast is beating me. I love doing it, like, I REALLY love making this podcast, and I'm excited about the upcoming Universe25, but I'm afraid I'm losing. This may just inadvertently become a bitch session, but again, since I know I'm writing these post-its to myself, it really doesn't matter, except when it helps to simply write out my problems. If you're familiar, I do tend to find solutions, in this very thread.
I will very easily spend 50+ hours on an episode, and put the episode out into the ether. According to the stats, the vast majority of my downloads to the podcast happen in Hendersonville (my hometown). Know why? Because I promote it. And, as you can imagine, being an overnight employee, my promotional opportunities are limited. Sleep gets in the way of social gatherings, to be sure. Which means that my limited interactions are the reason the vast majority of the downloads are occurring. Which also means other people aren't doing the same. Granted, I am the one who spends tens of hours a week doing this, so it's on the forefront of my mind, so it KIND OF makes sense. Except that when an episode comes out, the voice actors get the praise. They do an excellent job, and I do a hell of a lot of work to make their dialogue sound entirely seamless, and use the best takes. I do that. But kudos go to the VAs. After all, they are the voices of the podcast, so again, it stands to reason. The people I know personally who listen, give me laud, so... that makes three people. Once a month. My own VAs don't listen to an episode, unless they're acting in it. How is anyone supposed to take the podcast seriously, if my own VAs don't take it seriously, or at least listen to the show?
In addition, I started advertising on Overcast (a podcast platform). I heard really good things about the prospect, so I bit the bullet, and put more money into that one, than any other advertising to-date, cumulatively. I literally see no difference since the day I signed up a couple days ago. And, the Overcast analytics are by far, the least informative of all the other campaigns I have done otherwise. I am literally spending thousands of hours on podcast creation. Money has gone into programs, advertising, website domains, merch, and a giveaway. Podcasts are free to download. And, I have gotten like $12.50 so far. So... financially.., I would have to say this podcasting shit is whack.
On a brighter note... I just started listening to a podcast in their first season, and I realize my podcast is garbage in comparison. Okay... I wouldn't really. But, it's really good. If you're not already, listen to the Vanishing Act.. I was in the first two minutes, thinking it was "Meh." 10 minutes in, I was hooked. I knew that no matter what, I was listening to the rest of the season. It is phenomenal.
Good Thing 1: You're reading this, which means that you're an All-Star in my book. Think you can drop a review on Apple Podcasts or Podchaser?
Good Thing 2: I love finding podcasts I love.
Learning Curve: It doesn't necessarily cost money to have a podcast, but a podcast costs a ton of money to be successful.
March 28, 2021: The Frozen Phoenix
As I watch the series Behind Pixar on Disney+, I am doing what I can to submit to podcast competitions. Worldwide, obviously. There's a bit about these competitions that inspires me to create my own competition, but I don't know how I would go about that. It's the last of my to-do list. That, and creating a North Carolina based podcast convention (PodCon). We'll see if (and how) that would play out.
Tomorrow, the Frozen Phoenix publishes for the general populous. Friday, I saw the Patreon version tried to publish, unsuccessfully. I'm not entirely sure what happened with that, but I immediately rectified it when I got home. Granted, there's only one patron, as of yet, and they live on the west coast, so it was 3 am that it was fixed, for them. It's these little things that make a difference between bad, and at least mediocre service.
Good Thing 1: I have promoted George Walkington to the role of Co-Producer.
Good Thing 2: [there apparently wasn't much to promote that day - 04.04.]
Learning Curve: I'm learning how to submit to podcast competitions. I'm also learning when to submit, since there are so many, and they're at all different times of the year. There are 2021 winners, and 2020 applications. It's so bizarre but they all make sense, for their own reasons.
March 25, 2021: Weight Off
"Schedule Episode." I can breathe again. The bonus content for Patrons is like 6 minutes long. It took me a great while to get any Patreon content, but now that I'm making it, it is legit. Well worth the $2. Not intended to be a commercial for the Patreon thing, but a production standpoint. I take the audio of the Patron episode, cut all the bonus content, and publish that for non patrons. It's an easy gig, but I have to post it in both places. In season III, I will start archiving episodes, only available to patrons. Whoops. I'll always have 2 entire seasons available, once we have that many episodes, but... that's a thing I have decided. Because I'm an asshole. It may wind up biting me in the ass. Maybe due to download numbers potentially going down. Okay.., maybe I'm feeling less sure of my idea. I'll let it pan out, and then determine what to do. It's still a year and a half away.
The guest post has been approved. You should be seeing my content on other platforms. I'm actually holding back, even though there's so much in the post already. It's really an examination of the differences between Series vs. Anthologies audio dramas.
I interviewed a couple who produce another podcast I enjoy. That'll publish in a few months. You'll see. I'm liking these connections I'm making. They may even guest star in future episode(s). You never know.
Universe 25's cover art is in design. I should have a REALLY good idea by tomorrow morning what it looks like. This thing is starting to take off.
Good Thing 1: the Frozen Phoenix is in the bag, squawking. Come Monday, you can listen to it. Except, Patrons have it as early as 1am tomorrow (Friday).
Good Thing 2: Universe25 now has a Twitter account. I kind of like the smooshing the 25 to the word Universe. I'll take a poll.
Learning Curve: I haven't used Reddit a whole lot, but whenever I do, I forget how to abide by rules like self-promotion and whatnot. Also, people are REAL quick to jump on your case, whereas with Twitter and Facebook, I feel people will ignore something they don't like, and are oddly less inclined to be negative.
March 22, 2021: Here Come the Excuses
I had a plan a few months ago, and have finally come to accept that I will not keep the deadlines as intended, and that's okay. I am learning to adapt. Here's why I've failed, and how I'll still come out on top. I was expecting to have all MTP's 2021 episodes written and recorded but the end of June of this year. I can't do it! I have a perk for some Patreon patrons to get characters named in their honor. To make this viable, all patrons would have to submit their patronage and names by July at LATEST, or else they'd have to wait to be recognized in 2022. It's an unfair, and unreasonable expectation of them. The whole reason I was hoping to have these all recorded by the end of June, was to ensure that I'd have enough time to write Universe 25. I'm nearly 2 episodes done for that series, so, it actually pans out, despite my incapacity to finish MTP by mid-year.
Here's my current status on all projects (not including social media or all else inconsequential to production)
Episode Frozen Phoenix only needs slates added, and then I can distribute it to be published by Monday next week.
Episode Room 707 is recorded. That publishes at the end of next month.
Episode Adventure Academy (which will become episode "0") is currently being cast, and 2/3 done being written.
Episode (tbd) is about a 1/3 done being written.
Episode 1 in a final draft
Episode 2 is 4/5 done being written, minus editing
Jesus Christ... That's a lot. I'm excited to take all the scripts, and have them printed and bound after season 1 concludes. I don't print them anymore, since my printer doesn't know how to print double-sided, even when given incredibly specific instructions, one task at a time. I may wind up making it a Patreon benefit, later on. You pay X amount into MTP, and you get an autographed bound book of scripts (with notes?)? That actually sounds pretty cool! If it becomes a bonus, you read it here first.
Real question: Would you follow me on Tik Tok if I made videos on podcast creation? I asked this question, and promptly just made one instead of waiting. Follow us @mercurytheatrepodcast on Tik Tok.
Good Thing 1: I'm deep into so much, and feeling great about all of it.
Good Thing 2: Script books... Could prove to be really cool for the really big fans of the show.
Learning Curve: Making Tik Toks, y'all.
March 18, 2021: Second City Improv
I'm BAAAACK! Okay, if you have just started reading this column, you have no idea why it's such a big deal. 13 days is a big deal! So... climb aboard.
Universe 25 is well underway for scripting. The first two episodes, anyway. But, it's huge. I finally think I'm getting a grasp on how to write a series, vs an anthology, and I'm starting to prefer it. Even though it's the same story, I can make it in as many tangents as I want, within reason. It's like the story is a tree, beginning at the trunk, but as it progresses, it can branch out in any direction I choose. It's a bizarre feeling of freedom, since I have already been writing about any topic I want, but the 30 minute stories are quite restrictive. I have to build the world, introduce a whole cast of characters, tell a story with an arc, and conclude it, all within the short timeframe. Now, with U25, I can build the environment in an episode, add characters, and give a reason for the listener to return to episode II (intrigue). Episode II, I can introduce more characters, create a more in-depth storyline, and conclude. And, all the following episodes, I can continue that line of scripting. The listener hopefully gets fascinated by the storyline, the world, and the characters. It's such a fun project, that I can't reasonably produce in an anthology, especially not with a 30 minute timeframe. Universe25pod.com is a thing now. You can check it. JK. It'll bring you back to this site. But, it is on lock.
I can't believe I haven't told you yet! Maybe I have, I just forgot, but this is my hope with Mercury Theatre Podcast: It's a way for me to get VAs to get familiarity with the process of voice acting, get some publicity, get jacked from us by bigger and better projects, and move on. I want Mercury Theatre Podcast to be the SNL of podcasting! My buddy referred to it more like Second City improv, where SNL gets many of their talents from. I didn't know anything about that club, but now I do. So, maybe more like Second City, but more people know SNL. Eventually, SNL actors get cast in bigger/better roles, and that's the role I want to play, as a producer. So, when a few seasons of MTP have transpired, and some VAs move on to greater projects, I want them to feel free to move on, not being restricted by us. And, when they're SAG-AFTRA members, they wouldn't be permitted to work with us anyway.
In the not-so-distant-future, I will be enrolling myself in MasterClass online. It's like $15/mo to watch any classes I want. I watched promos of quite a few, and am thrilled to death. I plan to learn so much! So excited.
I had my EXTRA interview for the month of May, and this person is HUGE in the industry of audio fiction. I am dying from excitement from that too. These last 13 days have been enormously podcast-changing.
Good Thing 1: Universe 25 is actually in the writing stage.
Good Thing 2: I am loving the ability to write the same story, for longer than a mere episode in length.
Learning Curve: I have quite a few minor tweaks I need to continue to make, to create a series.
March 05, 2021: Networking
As I have been writing this guest blogpost, I am realizing the immense urge to make it into a powerpoint presentation. Except, Prezi is way better than Powerpoint. As I'm writing this, I am seeing the potential to create videos to use in the Prezi presentation, about how I direct, and change scripts during the read. I had been thinking a presentation would be best, using interaction with the voice actors, but this would probably be more ideal, and more reliable.
We're recording pickups tomorrow for the Frozen Phoenix. Until then, I feel like the episode will just need some footsteps, the pickups, and then I'll add the music. Music is the very last component. Then, onto post-production of Room 707. How fantastic is that?! I think I'm kind of on time for my schedule. Or.., maybe I'm behind, come to think of it. I planned this with allowances to be behind, but that doesn't mean I should use it. Okay. I gotta focus. I guess I've been paying more attention to social media marketing implementation.
Podcast Movement 2021, here I come! I will be getting tickets to attend, and be able to bump elbows with the creators of podcasts everywhere.
Since my last post, I have determined that the EXTRA episodes are a great excuse to interview other podcasters. Audio dramas aren't generally a good way to interview people, but I have found an accidental means to connect with audio drama producers. Unintended benefits of having an indie podcast. I expect to continue this for selfish purposes of promoting my show, while simultaneously promoting another show. Because I interview 12 people a year, I think I'm pretty sure I can keep coming up with new podcasts I enjoy, that I can promote. Speaking of... I have another interview lined up for the June 14th EXTRA episode. So... be ready. Oh. I promise all of you dear readers, that I will never promote a show I do not personally listen to, or like. If there is an EXTRA episode interview, they get my stamp of approval.
Good Thing 1: I can leverage the MTP EXTRA episodes to connect with other audio dramas. Sneaky me trying to network. Mwahahahahahahaaaaaa!
Good Thing 2: I will be attending my first PodCon, come August.
Learning Curve: I think I'm behind schedule on my MTP production.
March 03, 2021: Cautious Excitement
Yesterday, I got some of the best news of my podcasting career, but I won't tell you what it is. Not yet. It's in an upcoming episode. Subscribe now, in case you haven't yet. But, if you're reading this, let's be honest, you're probably me. Let's just say you can't miss an episode. Even the "off" episodes. Oh. There's a hint in the last post, that I didn't even know was a hint, then.
I am going to let the movers and shakers within the podcast community to determine my current worth in the field. This isn't to say I will by any means slow down my pushing forward- certainly not! I will trudge ever forward. But, I will keep throwing my name into hats where my name doesn't belong. If anyone in the ranks of podcasting hears/sees what I produce, and decides we are worthy of accolades, or notice, I will know it is well-deserved. If we aren't allowed into the inner-sanctum, it'll be because we need more practice./time.
There's a little expectation that there will be a download explosion, that'll eventually happen. I have heard of podcasts that there would be an unnatural influx of downloads for whatever reason. I was listening to a podcast where the guy said he was sorry it had been some time since his last episode, since he had 10,000 downloads in a short timeframe, which required he change servers. It's a geek in a basement talking about pirates ( "geek," I mean in the most loving way possible). But, I can't let myself rely on that happening, orrrr... I keep pushing forward, and force that to happen.
NOTE: If I ever refer to my podcast, my accomplishments, etc., I never mean to presume that I, John S. Badger have accomplished this all single-handedly. Some of the stuff, I hadn't the experience to begin with. And, the support of all my Voice Actors is HUGE. Without their voices, and without their excitement in the records, and everything in-between. So, please don't assume I am committing the sin of thinking so very highly of myself, that I could do it all myself. The boldening of that top line is an intentional misdirect.
Good Thing 1: I can't tell you yet. But, it is REALLY Good. Actually, I'm fairly certain it may actually be DQ'd for this line as "good," due to it's greatness.
Good Thing 2: The EXTRA episode with Stargate Pioneer is already slated to post on Friday (Patreon), and Monday for the normies.
Learning Curve: If I'm going to get ahead, I really need to finish the Frozen Phoenix. It's so close!
February 28, 2021: There is a Glitch
I have found a glitch in the system, and I learned how to hack it. Twitter has bullshit algorithms. You need followers, and you need to have them retweet your stuff, but even then, there's no guarantee others will see your post, unless they're famous. Here's the glitch that I considered not sharing with you, but I will because we're friends: Tweet. Tweet from your account, promoting additional creators' works. By doing that, you get the attention of the other artists (in this case, podcasters), and they'll most often "like" your tagging them. They may even respond agreeably. And, if you play your cards right, you may even get some retweets. This is especially effective, if they're retweeting your post that has a link to your website. Booyah!!! If you're a result of a retweet, thanks for joining us! The water is fine! Please don't cough on us, though. Covid, and all...
I just had an ad on Facebook rejected for reference to alcohol. It's the video with no reference to alcohol. You know the one- none of them. I promote alcohol on Instagram, not Facebook. I've submitted it for review by Facebook. It would suck if it gets published on Tuesday, instead of today or early, early tomorrow morning. Mondays are the main hitter days for MTP.
I still need to build those lists of top 10s. I'll plan on doing that tonight after my sleep. We shall see.
Good Thing 1: I am learning how to leverage my sales skills in the world of social media.
Good Thing 2: I'm catching attention of major players in the audio drama world.
Learning Curve: I need to continue this method of social media. More of the same, is what I'm learning, here.
February 27, 2021: Impostors Within
You won't get what you don't ask for. Especially not when you're trying to market yourself, in exchange for free tickets to a podcast convention. That's right: I just submitted an application to be a panelist or educator, or whatever for Podcast Movement's convention. Sure, the hotel rooms are expensive as fuck. Sure, they're going to tell me to piss off. Sure, I'm setting myself up for failure. But, you know what? I won't get anything I don't ask for, and honestly.., I have been surprised with this whole podcasting endeavor. I also know that my knowledge is invaluable to new members of the podcasting world. Especially if I scripted my material, and had slides to prove it. That's when you know you've hit the big time: if you have slides. So, yeah... I'm apparently ready to be hurt again. I'm contemplating going, regardless. But, it is from August 3-6. And, that's a long time to be on vacation. You know what would suck? If all these conventions that I've applied for in one manner or another approved whatever I was selling. That would suck. I would likely have to turn many of them away, because of travel expenses. Feel free to PayPal me funds to go to these conventions, to promote this podcast. Hotel rooms in Nashville, TN go up crazy high as of April. Vacation there during the winter, is what I'm suggesting to you.
I just joined Podchaser. They refer to themselves as the IMDB of podcasts. My creator profile just got approved, which is neat. I also just got notification of the podcast having been approved. So, check it out HERE. I'll try to maintain that presence somewhat. But Satan help me, with all these accounts I apparently have to maintain... Dude. I haven't accomplished much anything, but here I am needing a publicist, just to keep me current on all the platforms. Oh! Speaking of platforms... I have been keeping up with the Twitterverse. I am promoting the hell out of a few podcasts, as well as MTP. See, I'm sneaky that way. My JohnSBadger account goes in on podcast recommendation requests, and I throw in some excellent podcasts (sometimes based on what I'm seeing the profile likes), and then I'll always include MTP. The sooner I swoop in, the likelier it is that I'll get another follower. If you happen to be a reader because of this tactic I used: thank you. You are amazing. Love the hair, by the way.
There are a couple lines, and I don't know where I stand. There is the far side of the ignorant. There is the middle ground of knowledge, but the feeling of ignorance. And, then there is other far side of the knowledgeable. I fear I may be among the truly ignorant, thinking I am simply suffering impostor syndrome. Do I think I'm suffering impostor syndrome, so I apply to teach others, because deep down I think I'm smart?
Good Thing 1: I am seeing requests for podcast recommendations everywhere, now.
Good Thing 2: I think the group is meeting to talk about video games today, for bonus content, and for fun.
Learning Curve: Am I an impostor?
February 26, 2021: Free Doesn't Mean Bad
I'm tired of people taking a metaphorical dump on all things free. Usually, free means less efficient, but it doesn't mean bad. Sure, given enough money, I would purchase upgrades, but paying nothing for something less efficient for the meantime, may be exactly what you need. I'm not a wealthy man, by any means. I am currently spending what little money I have on promoting my show in some form or another. Let me give you example of free, that doesn't instantly mean bad: Audacity, and Anchor. Both are free, and both have deficits. That's okay. When I can justify paying money for Audition, and an undetermined hosting platform, then I'll absolutely pay for those. It would cut down on production, and it should help with my bandwidth. But, for now, free is essential, and free is good.
Good Thing 1: I did the math: we are now averaging 185 downloads a month, and we've only been doing this since August.
Good Thing 2: If it wasn't for Audacity and Anchor being free, I never would have started podcasting, and that, dear readers, would be a travesty.
Learning Curve: Don't take to heart what people pull out their ass. (I just tweeted this line, and it has already gained some popularity)
February 25, 2021: It's All Good News
Yesterday was one of the best days ever. So much happened, and I couldn't be more pleased. Let's go down the list:
1) A podcast I support aired my "Farnsworth Quote" I submitted months ago, in the MTP name.
2) Gonna Geek Network is interested in my writing either a guest post, or a series of posts about audio drama in exchange for (updated readers should guess this) for backlinks.
3) A podcaster has asked that we have an interview, regarding the audio editing for their podcast. I'm not counting my eggs before they hatch- I'm only excited to know that I presented enough that seemed intriguing enough to potentially trust me with podcast editing.
4) Our first Patreon supporter just pledged! Sure, it was the parent of a cast member, but a patron regardless! We have an episode coming up, that a character will be named as per their request. I'm still under the timeframe that all donations are still being donated to cover debts incurred by a family member who passed away last year. But, it is SO cool that we got our first contributor. Also, it is good to help the family.
I intend that we do episodes like this in the future, and we will donate to causes such as disaster relief, charities, etc. etc.. I'm looking forward to a day that we can make a difference. Hell... This entire show may become a totally charitable show, after the cast (and whoever else) get paid. "And whoever else" isn't a skeevy way of saying I would try to distribute the money in dark alleys; I'm saying that if we have like a social media marketer, advertising, editor, or whoever else, they'd get paid too. Any proceeds that would potentially be cheddar, could possibly be used to support the community instead. But, in order to justify that, I would need a podcast or two more, to be able to swing that. Look at me: talking about money like I've made more than $8.50 on literally hundreds of hours of work.
Good Thing 1: Have you not been reading??? This is all good news!
Good Thing 2: I am great at editing interviews, if I don't say so myself. It's the talking part that sucks.
Learning Curve: I get to find out how to sell myself again. I need to sell who I am, again, and then sell my expertise. In that order.
February 24, 2021: Frozen Phoenix Post
Every so often, I get the sound I am extremely happy about. Overjoyed. Excited. Ecstatic over. I'm fairly pleased, let's just say. At the end of the Frozen Phoenix, there is a sound effect that I couldn't be more pleased with. Or... Maybe I can be. Since starting this paragraph, I have a sound effect to mesh with the one I have, and I think it could be delectable. Okay. I made perfect even more so. Okay, maybe not PERFECT, but it sounds incredible. Just like I heard it in my mind.
I'm really playing with left/right stereo for the dialogue. It changes everything, even though it's such a minor literal change. I'm interested to see how it pans out in mp3. The Patrons will get it in .wav, so they'll at least have a great experience out of the deal. My process of editing is getting even more streamlined. I have some pickups I need to get done by a couple VAs, but nothing too major.
Good Thing 1: A sound in my head can sometimes sound just as spectacular in audio.
Good Thing 2: I'm actually getting close to completion with the post-production of the Frozen Phoenix.
Learning Curve: I have learned all there is to know about podcasting. I have reached the pinnacle of knowledge. I kid, I kid. What do I have to learn..? I need to be better at stopping the VAs while in the middle of recording, or make notes, and have the lines re-done right then and there. I think the latter is the better of the ideas.
February 22, 2021: SEO Tools Day #2
My god. How often do I start off my column with that phrase? I'm just floating in so much information, and can't possibly explain all the knowledge I have been trying to consume. SEO Tools are revolutionary. I'm going to have to make a shit ton of notes, and then let the trial period expire. But, I couldn't possibly justify spending $99/mo just yet. I'll use the information I get, and then see the results over the next couple months. Then, I'll open up a new trial of SEO. My mind is blown.
I'm just about to let my professor interview me about podcasting. This is my second interview, except this time, it might actually grab some traction. I have insider information as to what he's asking, so it'll be all sorts of fucked up, once I finish. Oh lord... Oh well. Maybe we'll have it posted somewhere later.
Oh! Oh oh oh! We're going to add more bonus content on Patreon. It hasn't been written yet. But, we're going to do ten minute fictional interviews. Think interviews with dead people, or fictional characters. Dude... That could be so much fun.
I can't believe I forgot to mention that I am making major strides in this website too. I'm making top 10 lists. Explore the site. Major changes have transpired, even just this morning.
Good Thing 1: People are taking an interest in my podcasting. Even if it is like being interviewed by a mom.
Good Thing 2: The Lost Control published today. I'm interested to see the feedback from this one, especially since I wasn't the one who wrote it.
Learning Curve: I'm still on SEO tools. Shit. Way too much... Hmmmm... Okay. I'm going to write lists of keywords for the website to add in posts. I also need to write alt (descriptive) text for all my photos on this website, and I'll have to maintain them too, as I continue to post.
February 21, 2021: SEO Tools Day #1
I just started a trial period with AHREFS, which is a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tool. The purpose of SEO tools, is to help website/content developers to maximize the incoming traffic to a site. It also helps determine failures the website has. My current website health (according to AHREFS) is at 15%. Which, is not great. The higher the rating, the better. The greatest factor, is my links. They're somehow flawed in one way or another. I am hoping to give this a week of full-on learning. I may not even make content, save this journal, so I am essentially taking notes. Using AHREFS, I have amazing insights into other websites, and not just mine. I can see a great deal of your websites' information. I can see how many links potentially drive traffic to a particular site. This is somewhat creepy, but it makes sense, as it is all public information, searching the entire web using the URL. I literally just used it, to see how effective it is. So, I was looking up a fellow podcasting site, Gonna Geek, which a host I have become familiar with as of late, Stargate Pioneer (acted in Frozen Phoenix, and Featured for March 2021). So, I can follow the link provided in the SEO tool, and on the site, I found a link to the Gonna Geek website. As I was inserting the link to the site, I realized why many of my links may be registering as broken addresses. I should be cutting and pasting the exact URLs, and not just winging it, using lame mans terms. As of publication of this post, I expect this will be yet another backlink, accessible to the next person searching Gonna Geek on an SEO tool.
I am watching the playlist on YouTube for AHREFS tutorial. I intend to use AHREFS for the week, and then see how it compares to Semrush.
I need to learn how to get invited to guest post as a podcaster, or how to volunteer to do so. I'm obviously unafraid to make a fool of myself, or to write. But, I'm also still so new, and I would definitely suffer imposter syndrome.
Good Thing 1: I am knee deep in SEO.
Good Thing 2: I feel like I'm at the threshold of success, but I need to figure out how to make that extra step.
Learning Curve: All things SEO. Haven't you been reading this whole column?
February 18, 2021: a Whole New Page
A whole new page has been introduced to this website. My personal podcast recommendations. Eventually, I will have a much longer list of podcasts, based on extensive research. So far, I have only added podcasts I personally subscribe to- which is a TON, when you think about it. Most of the podcasts are on a weekly cycle, which means if I listen to them all (which I do), I am listening to a full-time job's worth of podcasts. I alone, have probably increased the US's average of hours of podcasts per week the average American listens to. If you want to crawl inside my brain, get cozy, grab some popcorn or Twizzlers, my extensive podcast list is a great way to do it.
Q: Where is the best place to hide a body?
A: On the second page of a Google search.
My intent is to eventually monetize my website- that's right- I want to make money off the fact that you're here reading all this bullshit. To do that, I expect I need to utilize SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tools, which would help grab the attention of Google searches.
My god... I have learned so much, just recently. I feel like I can't even say all I've learned. I added that page, and it looks sexy as hell. CHECK IT OUT HERE to see what I'm talking about. I'm learning the necessity of SEO tools. Watch a tutorial that shows why all websites are fucked, without a tool, or sheer luck HERE. I am testing the waters, to see if people will submit podcast recommendations on my Twitter on my offering. I would then listen to the recommended ones, and add them to the list I linked to earlier. After an extensive list, I will start making top 10 lists, based on category. For a minute there, I was feeling like I only needed time and experience, but now I'm gaining knowledge momentum. This is exactly why I have this journal- so I can continue to learn, make notes, and move forward. If I am running out of ideas, I can go back into this log, and then regain inspiration.
Good Thing 1: I feel like I'm learning real actionable processes.
Good Thing 2: You're the one who got to sort out this attention deficit mashup of thoughts, since you're the reader, and I'm not paid to do this... yet.
Learning Curve: So much. I'm going to go with using an SEO tool. It will likely be a single week trial subscription, learn keywords, and then jump off, just to implement some, and watch the progress. That may work. It may not.
February 18, 2021: the Lost Control- Check!
I know I said I was in the last stages of post-production of the Lost Control. To be fair; I was. Still am. I haven't done much with it since my last post. But, I wanted to tell you how fucking cool it is to manipulate footsteps. I am Frankensteining the shit out of it, and it is real. So, here's the sitch: Georgina wanted footsteps in the episode, so I had her find me some to her liking. Once I had that, there are places in the episode requiring of running, but the footsteps I had were regular paced. I cut the pauses between steps, which sounds really easy. I tried it before one time to no avail, but I have apparently learned how to do it, since the last time I attempted it. The steps sound harder and faster, when all I did, was eliminate the lag between steps. I have listened to We're Alive (great show), but I think the sound designer has difficulty with the footsteps because every time I hear them, I feel like it sounds like massive spiders. The steps are too close together, and there isn't a proximity effect... Dude. Have you ever seen the movie Signs? There's the scene when they're in a house, and the aliens are outside running around- that's what it sounds like. Skittering. I think I taught myself how not to make it sound shitty.
The Lost Control is now slated for publication for Monday. I am now in post-production of the Frozen Phoenix, officially. Patreon supporters now have access to the episode. You know, if I had any. Outtakes are included henceforth. I feel I'm finally hitting a stride in what to publish where, when. Speaking of...
Originally, I got HootSuite, totally expecting I would stop using it after class was over. But, the more I find myself absent-mindedly posting the same posts on different socials, the more I'm realizing the ease HootSuite actually provides. In case you don't know, HootSuite is website that allows you to write a single post, but have it published on the socials of your choice. Today, I learned how to sync the Facebook Group to HootSuite, whereas before, I was only posting on the Facebook Page. This makes my life just a tad bit easier.
I started listening to the podcast Podcraft, and I am pretty happy with the content. It's about how to grow your audience, and not just about what to do to make a podcast.
Good Thing 1: I know how to make running steps out of regular paced steps.
Good Thing 2: We're officially in post-production of the Frozen Phoenix.
Learning Curve: I am learning the efficiency of HootSuite, which means I still have more to. I tired of learning efficiency, and wish I already had it all figured out. One of these days.
February 15, 2021: Three in Post
I'm in the last stages of post-production with the Lost Control. It publishes in a week. I was hoping to have this done sooner, so I would be working on post for the Frozen Phoenix. Technically, I do already have the dialogue all worked out with that one, so I guess I'm not too far behind. And, we recorded Room 707 on Saturday too. Man... For the bonus content of that episode alone, it would be worthwhile to have a Patreon subscription. That will be a really fun listen. I'm not even going to explain what happens, because it's too funny, to be spoiled via text.
With Twitter, I have found it far easier to connect with individuals I wouldn't be able to reach as well on Facebook or Instagram, due to the ease of reaching out. I can use hashtags more to my advantage there, allowing others using the same hashtag to find my show. I can also find people who are looking for podcasts by looking up #podcastrecommendations or #podcasts or the like. This allows me to jump in on a stranger's post, and promote mine and others' podcasts. With Facebook, this isn't as accessible, especially since the posts are generally farther and fewer between. Twitter is a great way for short-form communication, and a way to shoutout others. If you want in-depth conversation, you can have a one-on-one with the individual, but it won't be public form. I had fought using Twitter for a long, long time, but then I realized the necessity, and it has proven well, so far. Twitter, will at least give an opportunity for patrons to find their info to follow and connect with them otherwise. I have connected with other podcasts on Twitter, and I have gained promo partners that will allow us to exchange podcast promos, and publish them on our own podcasts for more exposure to people who have already proven interest in podcasts.
That's right! We now have two promo partners. Maybe the second promo will be ready by the time this episode publishes. If not, it will be aired on the following episode.
Good Thing 1: We have promo partners!
Good Thing 2: The more I think about the change towards action/adventure, the more pleased I am.
Learning Curve: It isn't ordinary to have two breakfasts, one right after the other. It probably doesn't work in an audio drama, especially one scene right after the other.
February 10, 2021: Two in Post, One to Go
I want to thank all those who reviewed Mercury Theatre Podcast on iTunes. And, how will I do that? Visuals, of course. Makeup, set design, craft services, etc... I have so much fun with the appreciation, if at all possible.
The team has recorded the Frozen Phoenix, which is great! I'm excited to see how that all comes together, but first, I must focus on the completion of the Lost Control. This puts us at two episodes in post, and then this weekend, we'll have Room 707 recorded.
When editing minor, minor details, I sometimes feel like Madonna: Like a Surgeon. I zoom way, way in, and make sure the audio will splice together just right, to avoid you, the listener, from realizing there was ever a break to begin with. The Lost Control is nearing completion.
Oh hey! There is content on Patreon. Support us financially, so we can keep this going, and hopefully we'll come up with more and more content.
Good Thing 1: I'm getting ahead on podcast episodes, for real.
Good Thing 2: Patreon has content!
Learning Curve: Patreon needs more content. The more I'm ahead in episodes. the easier it will be to maintain the podcast outlets.
February 4, 2021: A Change in the Air
I have been thinking a LOT since my last post yesterday. I expect MTP will be undergoing some reconstruction. We may even go so far as to revoke our "safe for the whole family stance," and be a little more... racy..? We may stay the same in that regard, but it does limit us to an extent, especially if we're changing the theme. Yes, changing the theme. I put out some feelers, and am learning that the majority of the listeners would like more action, if they had to choose. I didn't intentionally sway anyone to that genre. Especially since it's fairly difficult to produce. It's sound-heavy We may be able to add more genres to action, but action nonetheless. Gollee gee whiz, guys. I'm not sure if this is a fun change for some listeners, and I know there is one cool cat I'm going to lose as a listener. Van Sun. He played the Magnificent somebody or other in Nikki Sketch. Super conservative with his language, and his kids may also listen, but I'm not too sure, since he said the phrase "shut up" in that episode.
I didn't know who my audience was, but I am seeing confirmation that I can steer my audience. What's somewhat problematic, is that I has a mystery/romance episode supposed to be published in a couple months. This seems to be the furthest from action, as there can be.
Good Thing 1: The whole Mercury Theatre Podcast redirect may be fantastic.
Good Thing 2: Swearing may be in upcoming episodes. Still TBD though.
Learning Curve: If I'm going to do the switch to Action, I may very well need a SFX library far superior to the crowd-sourced one I currently use. That's not cheap at $900 for a basic collection. Okay... upon further research, I am finding a ton of stuff on Epidemic Sound that will likely be more than sufficient. Including rights to music too. Even monetized. That would be a huge relief to me, even if it is $15/mo.
February 3, 2021: Who Are You?
Who are you? My mentor asked me who my audience is, and I honestly haven't very much an idea. I can look at demographics, based on age, sex, and location, but what makes my listeners tick? Who are you? What are your interests, and how do they relate to Mercury Theatre Podcast? I don't know Do you like Star Wars? Are you into pottery? Do you play an instrument? What universal thing drives our listeners to be interested in MTP? I can ask you all day long, but I can't begin to get the responses I should be getting, to get a better picture, so I can better cater to your wants. If you do want to, feel free to comment in the comment section below, or send me an email. Both options are free.
I may realize a need to focus on a genre. This could prove to be tiresome to me as a writer, because I have specific whims. Those episodes that take two days to write, only take two days to write because I am passionate about the subject matter. How often will I run into blocks because I'm so frequently only in one genre? To be fair: I have been concerned that I would lose topics by now, and have realized I need to quell some of my instincts, because there are just too many topics to write episodes on. Since writing this paragraph, I am realizing that I may be able to loosely focus on a genre like action/adventure. I could do stuff like Captain Fearless (ughhhhh!), and have episodes similar to Indiana Jones, and everything in-between. The more I'm thinking about this, the easier it would be to cater to some of the demographics that already listen to the show, while still allowing more in... This podcast is evolving, and this very paragraph may be a foundational shift for it. Hmmmmm... If you were to see this podcast change in a specific genre direction, email me, or comment at the bottom of this page. I want your feedback. I truly, truly do.
By narrowing my audience, I have an opportunity to expand it. I have been focusing on everybody, but on nobody, simultaneously.
Good Thing 1: I wouldn't be making podcasts if I had no listeners, so I thank you for being among them. You are special to me.
Good Thing 2: I think I'm coming to grips with my mentor's evisceration of my podcast, and recognizing how I can better my listener's experiences.
Learning Curve: I don't know my audience, and thusly, I don't know how to cater to the listeners.
February 2, 2021: the St*** So** Podcast
I just collaborated with a few members on my team to make a 60 second cross-promotion. Come to think of it... it could be a clip for practically anything. I'm thinking Twitter, Facebook, or anything else. I'm really digging the idea. Here's why we just collaborated on a 60 second clip... I was just emailed by another podcast producer, proposing we do cross-promotion. They send us a clip, and we send them one. We'd be advertising for each other, essentially. But being MTP, we don't go down without swinging. We swing for the fences. Grab your attention. Odin knows nobody wants to hear just me talking, when I could grab a bunch of VAs instead. I'm excited for this. And, it's only one scene, so it's not too heavy in production, when I just need to make a single scenario. I'm beaming with pride, at how we all created this little promo concept.
Good Thing 1: My team helped me write a favorite promo to-date.
Good Thing 2: A podcast reached out to me, to ask if we could cross-promote. I maybe rose a question that could jeopardize the relationship, or... it could make them respect the hell out of me. Lolz. 'Respect me.'
Learning Curve: I am the worst student. I learn what I expect will be necessary, and dismiss everything else. Fortunately for me, my professor knows I am actually implementing the processes, but I'm always late on all my quizzes.
January 31, 2021: My New Keyboard
Patreon is finally getting content. Finally. I have also learned how to get the RSS feed for Patrons. So, that's cool. I have since downloaded my first episode. I learned that Patreon has a greater storage capacity, which means WAV files. Which means., (drumroll please) stereo! I really strived for stereo in Nikki Sketch, but then Anchor supported only smaller files than the WAV. resulting in mono Mp3. Patrons will get stereo. Think of all the stuff you get in the regular download, but now enhance that by like 10%.
Georgina Walktington is an absolute delight to work with. While she won't be able to create her own version of the episode the Lost Control, she is still an active role in post-production. She is picking, and putting in order the music, as well as getting pickups. We're also problem-solving, like the fact that there is a part of particular inevitable confusion for the listener. Her zeal is obvious, and I truly hope she follows this path as a hobby (at least), and gets a PC capable of working with audio on such a demanding platform.
I opened a Christmas present I had been told was headed my way, since Christmas. Lo and behold, a keyboard. My third Christmas present of a keyboard. I was given four Christmas presents this year, and three of them are the same thing. Oh well. Henceforth, I only want money, to ensure this doesn't happen again. Second year of the same gifts running.
Have I mentioned that I'll periodically try to see something in an episode, and then I realize I never produced it yet? The strange side effects of having a vivid imagination. I feel it was already completed, when it never was. So much so, that I'm wanting to compare it against something I'm currently producing. I can already hear sound effects for some scenes, and I haven't even yet had that scene recorded.
Good Thing 1: Limited Patreon content is up!
Good Thing 2: Imagination creates a quality product... (nobody said good quality product, sheesh!)
Learning Curve: I get to create bonus content for post episodes.
January 30, 2021: The Process of ROI
It has been a long time. 5 days, thereabout, according to the last post. We're in post-production of the Lost Control. I'm keeping constant communication open with Director Georgina about the process. We've come up with the villain, and it's overlaying of dialogue, which makes for a creepy effect. Syncing the audio is a task. I'm forced to cut audio one second at a time to sync it with the original voice. It IS difficult to talk in sync naturally with another voice, for several lines. So, it makes for a heck of a time in post. But, it has such a fun effect I've never done before. Hope you like it.
The Twitter ad was a bust, so it seems. I got some website traffic, but it didn't result in the podcast downloads I was hoping for. I was anticipating a boost in downloads, and honestly... I quite literally got maybe no more downloads than if I hadn't put up the ad at all. That fucking sucks, when you convert that realization into dollar bills. Fifty of them, to be more precise. $50 isn't much in the grand scheme of things, but it appears it's infinitely more than I have gotten in return. I'm a little very bummed by this experience. I got better results from lesser money in Facebook ads. I think I'm going to try a Spotify ad next. That will be an interesting transition, seeing as how people are already on Spotify to listen to something, unlike Facebook and Twitter.
Good Thing 1: The double voice effect is a fun effect, however tedious.
Good Thing 2: I think I may have come up with the premise of an upcoming episode.
Learning Curve: Ads suck. I hate spending money on them, and I hate the lack of ROI. But, it is necessary.
January 25, 2021: 19 Cents
It is now post-publication. The show is up, and people have listened to it. At the very moment that I'm writing this, someone could be listening to the show. The likelihood isn't all that slim, as it is morning of publication, and people are headed to work.
I need to be working on my Patreon as promised, and there is the possibility that I will be unhappy with the Patreon platform, as they're making changes likely not to the advantage of the consumers, nor the creators who post on Patreon. I may find another platform, but I'm concerned it would remove bonus content abilities. We'll see, I guess. But, I would also like to focus on outreach. I think submitting for podcast festivals is what I want to do today. I also have the upcoming record to edit the Frozen Phoenix. I think I have determined to focus on Patreon on another day. Whoops.
I started an ad campaign on Twitter today. It should run 5 days or so. At $10 so far, it is saying I have 52 clicks. I'm interested to see the Google Analytics, once it updates. So, at 19 cents a click, I'm better off than with Facebook's 70 cents a click. I'm also considering a YouTube ad segment, but I'd have to get a introductory video for that medium. Live would be best, but movement is necessary, regardless. Have you ever voluntarily watched a YouTube ad all the way through? Answer in comments at bottom of the page.
Festivals... Austin Film Festival doesn't permit podcasts that have no theme. What I do find peculiar though, is that the Truth podcast is a recommended show, claiming it to have related episodes. I can't, for the life of me, determine what connections they have to one another. It also requires unpublished episode scripts, which means this may be an opportunity to submit the script for the pilot episode of U25. Submission dates are Early Bird: April 16, Regular: May 21, and Late: July 9. Cost goes up, accordingly. Hmmmm... This may require I write an episode of U25 a little earlier than anticipated. I'm not entirely upset by that. With the speed that I've been writing the episodes I've been liking, this would be a cinch. Could be. Could be a cinch. My concern with U25, is that I may be 5 episodes written, before I REALLY know how to introduce the world. Keeping in mind that I can obviously write an episode, but it's different to actually write a series... I suspect. Okay. I'm in. April 16th is the latest I can have the episode written. I can do that. I need to capture the listener's attention in episode number one, so the pilot would be the ideal episode to introduce to the judges. I can't publish it until after October anyway, so it's perfect.
Good Thing 1: Writing is becoming more fluid for me, assuming it's a subject I enjoy.
Good Thing 2: Twitter is initially proving more cost-effective, and I am happy about this discovery.
Learning Curve: I need to write the first episode of Universe 25 for real, this time. For the win. Second place is not acceptable.
January 24, 2021: I Hate that I Love It
I'm pretty damn near finished, if not finished with the episode Captain Fearless. I'm listening to it, without editing capabilities. Kind of like you don't know which option you want to go with until you flip a coin. A coin toss tells you which one you wanted. I am already realizing before we've gotten to the commercial break that I forgot to add the SFX for it. Damn. I'll get back to that. I added music to the episode, and it rocks the boat so hard. This episode is by far the most epic that we've done yet. There's an empty couple seconds that stand out like a sore thumb I need to fill. Honestly... If this is everybody's first episode they ever heard, I imagine I would have a huge following in no time. My concern is my abounding hatred for the production. Why did I hate it so much? It wasn't until yesterday when it was mostly finished, that I really started appreciating it. I had a few false starts, and I gave myself several opportunities to do anything else. The process suuuuuucked. But, why? Verbiage was one excuse. And, maybe I had no clear course of the episode. Here's my observation: I think I hated that all the pieces had to be present, in order for me to appreciate the entire product. Like, you might not like a hamburger in front of you, if it has no meat (assuming you eat beef). But, you have a burger on the stove, in the oven, whatever... and then it gets to the table, and it can then look like a delicious burger. I had to have all the ingredients on the table to appreciate it.
I have now rectified the noted problems. "Publish" has been pressed. I think it's time for bed, despite being all-too excited. The keen ear will notice that when the prisoner is about to be tossed overboard, that the cheering crowd is for a burlesque show. Hence the whistling. Dammit. The scene with the prisoner talking to Finn has seagulls. Apparently it slid over at one point in production. They're below deck. You shouldn't be hearing birds inside a ship. Is it worth the change? Yeahhhh. Dammit.
Good Thing 1: Captain Fearless is as good as published.
Good Thing 2: It's truly a pleasure to talk to Kittensbetrippen and Georgina. I feel like they actually enjoy being a part, and doing stuff with yours truly.
Learning Curve: I get to figure out why I hated making this episode so much. It's a damn shame. Wow. I make it sound like I actually hated it. I prefer doing this episode, over the best day at work. I actually still loved it, but by comparison to other episodes, I hated it.
January 23, 2021: the Eleventh Hour
I swear, my first post was titled something to the same effect, but for another reason.
I'm well into writing Room 707, but I SHOULD be in final post-production of Captain Fearless- no! I should have hit publish by now. But I haven't. Because I like
Good Thing 1: There are podcasts casting roles by opposite sexes, however confusing.
Good Thing 2: Captain Fearless is almost ready for publication.
Learning Curve: Trans VAs can and should be cast, but they'll be cast for the role they sound like (male, female, or trans). I'm so going to get in trouble for this article. Probably from both sides (the LGBTQ, as well as the ultra-conservatives).
January 22, 2021: Pronouns that Fit the Voice
I feel I have a true friend in the podcasting industry. Georgina. While her laptop can't quite handle the Audacity program, which makes her utterly useless in all things post-production (love you, gurl!), she seems to be legitimately interested in the process. She likes to write, and has asked to be assistant director to an upcoming episode that I have written a third of this morning. You know, instead of doing post-production of Captain Fearless. I don't know what it is about this episode, guys... I'm finally HEARING the episode. Sounds are all falling into place. I have some dialogue inserts still to do, and I'm sure people will enjoy it... unless they've read these disparaging posts about the process. I have so many great projects I'm also working on that are far more intriguing to me. I started writing an episode about... Hold up. Let me back up. This morning, I was thinking about early 1900's hotel in the rain. I sent Georgina a message that read "Early 1900s hotel in the rain one night. Tell me a story in a paragraph." She gave me an intriguing paragraph, and I ran with it. I ran like Forest Gump with it. Several hours later, we're casting the role of Taylor in the episode the Frozen Phoenix (an upcoming episode, unrelated to the one about the hotel). That's right. The episode has a kickass name. It seems the heist episode is going on the backburner yet again. Oh, and I have a specific voice in mind for the role of the main character in Room 707. Guys. We are rolling out the baddest of asses names. That VA is debuting in the Lost Control, and she is NAILING it. I can't stop writing- as you are witnessing this very moment. Captain Fearless was a biiiiiiitch to write, and yet here I am just typing away. I'm never writing another pirate episode again. Sorry guys.
I swear some of my VAs think I try to have them audition for roles because they think I think it's funny to require them to do so. I really, really don't. I need auditions, so I can hear their voice, and determine if it matches the character I have in mind. I have a few damn good VAs that I won't cast for certain roles, because they simply don't fit the role.
I am a cis-gender male. I go by he/him pronouns. You don't care, nor should you. My orientation and sex is well over-represented, I'm embarrassed to say. I only preface this paragraph that way to tell you this: If a voice is of one sex, I want it to sound that way. I am an advocate of the LGBTQ community, but I am (perhaps ignorantly) of the opinion that a character should be represented by what they sound like, unless it is explained. Why am I talking about this right now? I started listening to the Penumbria Podcast last night, and the first episode confused the hell out of me. Mr. Cecil is played by a female-sounding voice actor. I didn't realize why I was so confused when the other characters kept referring to someone by he/him pronouns. Like, who the hell is Mr. Cecil??? I finally put it together, and while I am open to the cross-over between VA to character sex, without explanation, I was entirely too confused to justify it. I'm struggling to allow myself to publish this article, because I'm somewhat concerned it will be misunderstood, or if I somehow included micro-aggressions. Please understand above all that I am by NO means trying to say the trans community doesn't qualify to be a VA. Not at all! I would only cast them in roles that sound like their voice, for the listener's sake. I have some adolescent boy voices played by female VAs in Monday's upcoming episode. So, I'm not afraid to cast opposite, but I have clarification. If there was a trans character, I would ensure the listener would understand the point, quickly, as to eliminate the inevitable confusion like I had.
Good Thing 1: There are podcasts casting roles by opposite sexes, however confusing.
Good Thing 2: Captain Fearless is almost ready for publication.
Learning Curve: Trans VAs can and should be cast, but they'll be cast for the role they sound like (male, female, or trans). I'm so going to get in trouble for this article. Probably from both sides (the LGBTQ, as well as the ultra-conservatives).
January 22, 2021: A Busy Month
I have a laundry lists of demands for the devil when he wants to buy my soul. I need a publicist to find ways of getting my podcast more widely known. I also need to be featured in podcast festivals to meet some idols, and to hopefully win awards. I like awards. Additionally, I want a lawyer, so I know exactly what I can, and cannot use without paying money. If you're a lawyer, and you listen to my show... I'm sure I'm violating something somewhere, but I don't know about it. And, since these are in exchange for my soul, I expect it for no monetary exchange.
Pretty much all the SFX are in the episode now. I just have to make the placements precise. The slates, I may have to re-upload to the project, since I may have deleted them at one time or another. Not entirely sure, since there's a huge tail end on the episode that was the interview with Angelo Cruz. I have a LOT of deleting of audio files just everywhere in this computer. I need to organize all of it. I'll get all my completed episodes compiled, and delete all other audio. The next episode, I'll re-download. It is OUT OF CONTROL.
I have been so profoundly busy with all things podcasting this month, I am impressed with myself, if I don't say so myself. From writing an entire episode, recording two episodes, publishing the EXTRA episode, almost done with Captain Fearless, and all things education... Big, big month.
Good Thing 1: I am approaching the light at the end of the tunnel for Captain Fearless.
Good Thing 2: This month has been extremely fulfilling, podcast-wise.
Learning Curve: I need to organize all my audio henceforth. I need a SFX library, and a dialogue library, not to mention the completed episode library (both Patreon, AND otherwise).
January 21, 2021: Not Not Incomplete
Monday, if not sooner, I will have all my files uploaded to Patreon. I'll have the scripts for previous episodes. I'll have bonus content posted. I'll have the special RSS feed figured out. If you become a Patron now, or in the future, you will have content. I'm somewhat concerned that some of my potential Patrons have opted out, seeing there was no content available to them immediately, fearing there'd be none to come either. I don't know if you can see that prior to signing up, but it needs to get done regardless.
Good Thing 1: Sounds are introduced to Captain Fearless
Good Thing 2:
Learning Curve: This weekend, I work on Patreon. You'll have content to see, and/or hear when you join us.
Added 01.22.21: Post remained incomplete
January 20, 2021: Working Backwards
As I edit an episode, I will get to a point where I can listen to the dialogue uninterrupted, and just make notes in a label track as I listen. If I hear a plosive (where the P or B sound hit the mic just wrong, and are unnatural sounding, or if timing is off, or there's a breath. I make a note of it, and keep playing it as I go along. Once I have listened to it, and made notes, I can then rectify any of the issues. I have a habit of only editing one track at a time, which becomes problematic at times, but I am getting better. But, I am also editing backwards, from the end, to the beginning. I focus on right to left. This ensures that when I edit, my timing is more accurate. I may be lying to myself somehow, but it has proven effective to me, at least.
Oh my god. I am humbled. I never use that phrase, because I feel it's often a bullshit phrase. Have you ever seen the Oscars, and watch these A-list celebrities telling the audience how humbled they are? It obviously couldn't be less true. But hear me out: A podcaster I listen to bi-weekly, has had a desire to try out voice acting on an audio drama. I reached out to him, and wouldn't you know it... he's cast! We record in February, but I will not tell you who it is, to not jinx it. He joined the Discord group, and I am secretly swooning. I told my crew not to scare him away, because I was a little starstruck. I am totally geeking out, but I can't treat him any differently than I do my other VAs. Directing him next month will be comical to me, because he has his own thing, and is accustomed to not having someone correct, or steer him to the desired destination. Humbled. I feel so small, but I get the opportunity to work with him. For the record: his forte is in podcasting, but not in drama- just in the talking head type shows. I'm so excited.
Oh hey! We have a new president in the US.
Good Thing 1: I have a guest star cast for the Frozen Phoenix
Good Thing 2: Two words: new president.
Learning Curve: I just started using a new program as per my class, for social media expedition. We'll see how HootSuite works out.
January 19, 2021: the Frozen Phoenix Casting Call
Whoops. I changed the format of my script. I thought I had half of it written. The font was 11 point arial, but then I changed it to the right font and size to 12 point Courier New. You wouldn't know how big a difference is, until you do it to 12 or so pages. I'm now at 17 pages, and have to wrap it up soon. It's a good problem to have, I guess. Just kidding! I finished the episode since writing that last sentence. I think a lot of people are going to hate it, in that they'll have to complete the episode on their own. That was a two day script. Sweet! That's the kind I like. In comparison to Captain Fearless, it was done in a nanosecond. I think I have decided never to do another pirate episode.
Good Thing 1: Casting call for the episode the Frozen Phoenix just posted! Follow this link if you want to audition.
Good Thing 2: Two day script in the bag!
Learning Curve: I may want to write all my scripts in a font too small, so I'm not constantly awaiting the 23rd page, but it creeps up on me when I remember to change font and size. Kind of tricking myself.
January 18, 2021: Pseudoscience
I'm back, and at it again. I woke up this morning at 3 o'clock, and got to writing another episode. I think it'll be March's episode. Which means that the theft episode I have in mind may be April's episode. It's an episode chock-full of pseudoscience, but at least it isn't harmful pseudoscience.
If your microphone breaks, you can't just plan on the producer working with what you have, if it's subpar. There's a reason I require auditions: I want to know what you sound like. Your voice can be golden. And your read can be dynamite. But, I will hear the audio quality, and immediately determine whether I can justify your sound or not. If we're recording, and I tell you something's off about your sound, I don't want to be told your mic broke, and you're now using your cellphone. There's a reason I don't cast people on a cellphone unless their character is on a cellphone. Or a speaker of some sort. I make do, but I don't want it as a surprise because the listener WILL hear a distinct difference in quality. Quality difference is a bad thing, unless the particular scene justifies it. I had the perfect voice cast, and then when we're recording, the audio was screwed. I sound like I'm bitching. I get it. But, seriously... I cast you because you sounded good. If I sent my brother in to do an audition, and practice, and then when showtime came, and I filled his role, the director would be PISSED. Paige Alena to the rescue.
Today, I was ready for my online class, and tried to log in, but I couldn't find the link. I could only find the one for Wednesday. I looked at the calendar, only to find it's MLKJ day. Oh.
Good Thing 1: Captain Fearless is coming together, including the re-cast role, due to the broken mic I had been going on about.
Good Thing 2: It's a great thing when a single sitting, I can write half an episode. That's huge.
Learning Curve: I need to label all my audio with dates, so I don't wonder which is the most recent version. I feel I may have some audio clips that were more advanced than the ones I ultimately work on.
January 16, 2021: What Did I Do Wrong?
I am now in quadruple digit downloads! And, yet. I have found something to be unhappy about. I'm looking at my stats, and the downloads aren't where they ought to be, by the increase that should have occurred by now. As projected, the episode downloads are higher upon publication of a new episode. But then they taper off. Today, I am seeing a fairly steep drop off after the December's DEN episode published. A steeper drop than should happen. Personally though, I could see in theory, if people were so caught up with last week's news cycle, that it takes a toll on podcast downloads, but still. DEN is my favorite episode to-date, and everybody and their grandmother should hear it. Tell your friends to download the show. It sounds self-serving, but for those of you who haven't read my previous posts regarding this subject: If more people download the podcast, I can get sponsorships, which means I can focus solely on podcasts (or at least more on podcasts), so I can publish more often, giving you guys more content. This is why more downloads is important. I'm not this vain, in all actuality.
I'm still so happy about my plans for this year, regarding podcasting. The only downfall I can foresee is knowing that my VAs will be listening to June's recorded episode in December. But, that should be fine. I may have delays on the front end of the year for production (not publication), but the latter half may be ahead of schedule. So, it might be August before I hit publish on December's episode, but for the writing and recording of U25 may be done by the end of November regardless. Which, may be necessary, if I'm going to have MTP's January episode done too.
I may be in Florida for the weekend, but I finally have the reigns on a vacation. Which means we'll do a whole lotta nothin'. And, see a whole lotta nobody.
Oh, Spotify. I'm reading an article suggesting that Spotify is not finding the premium subscribers they were hoping for, with the platform. Anchor (my platform) is owned and operated by Spotify. I'm trying to stay unbiased with news, but still having an ear to the rail. It would be foolish not to know what's going on. Here's the problem with the potential loss on Spotify's account: they may decide to drop Anchor due to being a free platform with little to no return. Don't worry though! Because I have my podcasts on file, I would use a paid service to keep the hits coming. Unfortunately, that would require a minimum of 5 more patrons to pay for. And, that happens to be exactly 5 more patrons than I currently have. Again... I'm not saying that Anchor will be dropped. Just suggesting that they may drop the free platform. Regardless- Mercury Theatre Podcast will keep publishing episodes for you. There is the potential for a slight hiccup in episodes, should that occur.
Good Thing 1: MTP is at 1,000+ downloads!
Good Thing 2: It is so good to get away. I just needed to take a breath after my hell of a year. Lost a brother-in-law, a cousin, a dog, my job, etc.
Learning Curve: I get to learn in real-time if news effects podcast episode downloads. I think I'm realizing it does.
January 13, 2021: Angelo Cruz's Episode
There won't be much today, but I hit publish on my EXTRA episode today. It will show up in a podcatcher near you on Monday!
Good Thing 1: EXTRA episode with Angelo Cruz is slated to publish on Monday
Good Thing 2: I got the episode slated for Monday today (Thursday), instead of late on Monday, so I can be off for the weekend, gallivanting around.
Learning Curve: I think I'm learning that with the previews for upcoming episodes, I should be able to do them simply, as opposed to going all out with the SFX too.
January 13, 2021: 2021 to Come
I have a plan for 2021, regarding podcasting. It is a pretty damn strenuous goal. I will focus 100% on Mercury Theatre Podcast for the first 6 months. Recording and editing an average of two episodes a month. I'll slate everything to publish one a month for the remainder of the year. So, come June, I'll be finishing November and December's episodes. In the latter half of 2021, I will focus 80% on Universe 25. I'll write all the scripts for an entire season. I'll be so sick of writing, that I'll curse today's epiphany. I may even record them. I'm creating a shortlist of actors who I want involved with U25. U25... I like it. I like it! Fuck. U25.com is already a website. Bunch of assholes. Anyway... When I'm done writing the entire season, I will have the cast do all the recording. I'll even disorganize the episodes and scenes, based on who is "in studio" for the allotted times like they do in Hollywood. Showbiz! (Timesuck reference. You wouldn't understand) The process will be arduous. But this also means that come spring of 2022 (yes, it's FOREVER away, but if you think about it in production time, it REALLY isn't), U25 - I love it more and more. I hate those people for having that website - will publish. I'm thinking they'll all publish a week from each other. It'll probably be like 10 episodes of 20 minutes each. U25 would be streamlined. The intro music will be the same every episode. The outro will be basically the same every episode. The episodes will be actually episodic. This would eliminate the need for new genres every episode. I can build the world of U25, without losing the scenery every 30 minutes like I currently do. And, this gives me essentially 9 months to get my process fine-tuned. Because it'll all be edited at the same time too, it should be consistent quality too. You won't see the leaps and bounds between episode 1 and 4, like you've heard with MTP. Damn, I wish U25.com was available. I should complain to the manager. Ohhhh shiiiiiiit. U25podcast.com. Hot dog! It's available. Consider it mine. If you buy the domain, I will kill your entire family. JK. Gosh dang (another Timesuck reference. You don't even know)
I just got off a screen sharing call with Georgina to show her the intricacies of dialogue editing, and I think I spoke a solid hour with minimal interruption on how to line up and clean dialogue. If I wasn't passionate about the process already, I would have fallen asleep five times over, listening to the overly-excited guy talking about how to mute portions of audio, and how to align audio with no alteration to the rest of the track. This SHOULD be boring stuff, and here I am, so excited to have someone to listen to me. God... I am a certifiable nerd. Or geek. Whatever. Whichever is applicable. SFX and music editing I think is more an art than dialogue, and we'll get into that at a later date. Assuming she isn't totally turned off by editing altogether. Step aside, guys: the sausage is being made!
Good Thing 1: I'm figuring out the whole planning ahead process.
Good Thing 2: It's so great to be able to talk nerdy to someone.
Learning Curve: I still need to learn how to verbalize my thoughts
January 12, 2021: Baila and Me
Incessant. Playful. And Loving. These are the three adjectives that come to mind when I remember her. Half border collie, half labrador. In 2013, we rescued her from the shelter as a four year old. For about 8 years, she lived with one or both of us. She would never stop bringing you her ball. You throw that ball for her once, and she's your friend for a lifetime. And, for that lifetime, she expected you to play with her. She never wanted to you to stop, because she sure as hell wouldn't stop either. The snow was her favorite thing of all time. You kick snow towards her, and she'd playfully snap at it. She couldn't wait for you to shovel the drive, or just make her version of a snow angel. She lived for winter. And when it wasn't snow, it was the creek you hiked beside. Or that one puddle within 20 miles. She was determined to get your car wet on the inside. When you cry, she's the one to lick your hand. Even today; Her last day. In the last year, her age has become all too apparent. She can't walk down stair without immense pain. She doesn't play. She has lost so much weight. She suffers severe nerve damage on her right side. But suffer no longer, my Baila. I have never met a dog who meant so much to me. I have never before wept over the loss of a single animal, but an animal you aren't: you are truly a member of the family. Today we say goodbye, but your departure will never be forgotten.
Well. That sucked. I don't expect I'll be adding to this today.
January 11, 2021: Letting Go
Boy howdy. What. A. Week. I've been working on post production of Captain Fearless, preparing for the Lost Control, started online class for Social Media Marketing, an attempted coup transpired, we recorded February's episode, I got some pickups recorded. and I started writing the episode for March. The only hint I will give you is theft. When I summarize these last seven days, it's a pretty damn full week.
I got an account with MailChimp.com to send out the newsletter, so it's not just plain text, and it'll send accurately. I get like 10,000 free newsletter sends. I'm nowhere near the thousands of listeners yet, so it should last me quite a while. I would like to get to the point when 10,000 sends would give me all of a month's issue, which would require that many subscribers. I want to have to pay to send our newsletters! Subscribe to a fun newsletter, by going to the bottom of this screen, and subscribe for free. I'm excited to see what becomes of the newsletter. My hand is in a lot of pots: the podcast, the EXTRA episodes, the social media, classes for social media marketing, this website, and now a newsletter. If you've been paying attention to these posts, you are well aware that each of those I just mentioned are FAR deeper than just a simple word.
We recorded the episode for Georgina's project the Lost Control. It was a blast to record, and it was fun to see how she took over. There were only a few times when I realized we needed to do another take of something, usually for technical purposes. I tried to let Georgina take the reins, and she did a good job doing it. You get to hear about this in our EXTRA interview that publishes mid-February. I am hoping that you'll hear more episodes with our collaboration. Hell, in the future, I may just ask her to do the record, and see what the final result in dialogue is. We'll have a few more collaborations before I'll let that happen though. I'm still kind of protective, yet.
I have concerns... In post-production of Captain Fearless, the yelling all seems to peak. I may have to trash all of it, except for a few key places that aren't straight-up garbage. I think we may need to do a day with all my voice actors, and experiment on how to yell "into" the mic, without it peaking. Distance, gain. and monitoring your audio are all aspects that should be considered. I normalized the audio, and compressed the audio, and I can see a distinct, ugly, straight line with -3db (my normalization level). Action episodes are a bitch in post. Let me re-phrase that: Action episodes are a bitch. If you've been reading my posts leading up to the record, and just after, you should have gathered that by now. And, because I don't shy from a challenge; you should be able to anticipate upcoming episode genres. You got it: action. Fuck.
Have you been watching the Crown? Comment below at the bottom of this page.
Before I forget: email me your name to be entered to win the Mercury Theatre Podcast water bottle. I have one for myself, and it is fantastic. I was somewhat concerned about the quality of the label before I got it. It's barely a label. It's like it's baked into the bottle, in a good way. No sticker, no wrap. It's seriously so easy to enter for the winning. Winner announced in the March 29nd episode.
Good Thing 1: the Lost Control is recorded, for the most part.
Good Thing 2: I got to show Georgina how to make some of the "sausage."
Learning Curve: I have to figure out the whole newsletter process. Likely by spamming my own email address, until I get a hang of it.
January 9, 2021: Anxiety Set In
Talk about dropping the ball! My post from the 6th was so under-done, but I have an excuse. An attempted coup on Congress kinda distracted me from finishing. I would not begin to discuss that topic on here. I have my personal Twitter account for that stuff.
Anything worth doing, is worth over-doing. Sometimes, but only seldom. If you see contradiction in those sentences, you can leave. I don't need that kind of negativity in my life. My school project for the first week was to make an introduction video, since we don't do it in class, due to it being virtual (thanks Covid). Which, the expectation is that we'll sit in front of a webcam, and talk about who we are... Not me, buddy. Not me. I have access to Morgan Freeman, you'd better fucking believe I'm going to have Morgan Freeman talking to me from the mysterious beyond. So, it's not technically Morgan Freeman, but Angelo Cruz (our upcoming EXTRA Interview) does a superb impression of him. You can go to this link, and see something stupid, but it's unexpectedly over-done for a community college introduction video. It's still shitty, though. I had fun. My professor seems to have enjoyed the video.
Tomorrow, we record Georgina's episode. This will be an interesting project, as I get to take a backseat in the whole endeavor. I feel like the designated driver at the bar. I'm your means of getting home, but you can go nuts in the meantime. Terrible analogy, but I don't think these posts through. Because I don't have to.
The record is too soon! This is such a weird feeling. I have the audio from the Privateer episode I haven't gotten around to REALLY putting together, aside from the dialogue. I guess I don't have too much to add, as it'll be SFX and music, and the intro/outro. Speaking of... I'm elated about having gotten the theme music for the privateer episode. That's going to be a fun one. But, I do still have to get the EXTRA episode done to publish next Monday. Haven't started on the audio for that. I think I'm overly prepared, and it's making me more anxious. Strange feeling.
Good Thing 1: I'm setting up the newsletter for the podcast for real.
Good Thing 2: My favorite day of the month is coming the second time this month.
Learning Curve: The site for my email address kind of sucks, but it could be this laptop though (it's an outdated 2011 MacBook Air).
January 6, 2021: Half Done is Undone
And this is the part of the show when I tell you how to capture lightning in a bottle. You have someone say that line, totally unscripted, and drop it into the bonus content, hidden behind a paywall. Become a Patron on Patreon.com to hear it for yourself.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming... Normalize everything before you put it onto a single track. You screw that up, and you are done. Also, playing with stereo for separate characters, now is the time to do that. While you still
Action editing sucks. The sounds are ALL over the place. Normalization is terrible. I need to teach people how to make sure their audio isn't peaking (when the audio clips because it's too loud or too high for their system to save, which sounds awful), once I learn how to do it myself. Stay away from the mic as you yell. It should capture you yelling, but it won't sound like it's busting your eardrums.
Good Thing 1: I'm learning Social Media Marketing from a 2x Fortune 500 marketing campaign manager. That should be cool.
Good Thing 2:
Added 01.11.20: Read the post Anxiety Sets In to better understand why this post was so incomplete
January 5, 2021: 1, 2, 3, Clap
And so it begins. A favorite process of mine: editing. Normally, just go straight into editing, right after recording day. Normally, the next day is Sunday too. I work on Mondays, so... Things are different this time. I actually got 6 pages into my episode for... March. Yep. March. Had to count. February's is already figured out, and this gives me an opportunity to build the backlog. Hopefully, I'll be recording two episodes a month. Maybe going to two drama episodes a month, with a couple interviews between, making about four episodes a month (taking months with only 3, or having 5 Mondays).
There will be arguments as to what order to do these things, and if some of these steps are necessary, and steps that I missed. I am open to criticism, and I welcome you being wrong. Also, I am still learning. Get off my The first thing I have to do in editing, is to import all the audio. Then I align all the audio to be correctly synchronized. I do that is the recording process by requiring all the VAs to clap at the same time. 1, 2, 3, clap. This gives me an audio signature, so I don't have to go in each individually, and hope it's right. You do that method once, and you will quickly learn how to not do that again. Fortunately, I learned that with only two VAs the first time (episode Most Precious Girl). Then one must reduce the noise. Unless the VA is supposed to be talking, it should be complete silence. My job is then to cut out dialogue for all actors, until the take I want. I keep doing that until I have a dialogue that matches the script. Then I focus on timing. Is the character supposed to be interrupting the other character? Do I overlap the dialogue, or do I need to space it out more? This may change with the SFX, but I go ahead and do this part, so I have a pretty clear understanding of the timing, and then I can adjust as necessary. When I add SFX, I may or may not already have the dialogue as a single track, so I'm not managing 12 tracks for all the audio effects as WELL as all the dialogue tracks. The risk you run by merging all the dialogue is that if you have SFX that require more or less timing, may be impossible to adjust. This is why I never save to a single track unless there is no overlap in dialogue, and then I can still cut dialogue to overlap, in the SFX stage. I realize that part was confusing. I'll let you decipher what I just wrote. The onus is now on you, dear reader, to figure out my meaning. What I have listed, is a day's worth of work. Sounds easy, but my god... Figuring out this process was far more difficult than I hoped it would be. Once the dialogue part is done, I can update you on what I do to SFX. SFX is quite an interesting process, but less formulaic.
With such a long record, it gives plenty of bonus content. Unfortunately, that gives me a lot I have to cut out. It also gives me plenty to silence. Any time I say "plenty," that doesn't necessarily mean it's a good thing. Unless there's plenty of the scripted drama. The camaraderie is a double-edged sword. We're friendly, but we're beginning to get too long in the record. Granted, a good portion of that is due to technical difficulties. But still...
I have a VA I may need to do a one-on-one to get the right responses. The character certainly sounds unenthusiastic, which has benefits at times, but not as a sailor. I don't know why I let the lines slide without correction. In my learning curve, I mention my lack of directing abilities. In order to learn, I need to know why I am falling short. It may have been due to the time, and I was rushing through, hoping we'd be better off coasting through it. It also could be because I have 8 people I'm listening to, and trying to relinquish some control. It also could be that I'm using new VA's and I have become complacent with the veterans, and letting that overflow into my role with the new people, so I'm not as diligent. It very well could be a combination of all of those things, or I just suck. If it's suckage, I can fix that with determination and practice. I am also my own worst critic- I promise you that. Nobody beats me like I do. Except in bed.
Tuesday next week, we have to put our dog down. She is ancient, and is suffering nerve damage on her right side. She's losing her vision, her stability, her hair, her appetite. She's 13 years old, and we've had her 9 of those. I may find myself in a state of mourning, coming up. I'll undoubtedly do a tribute to her later.
Good Thing 1: With this new keyboard, I can set it on my lap due to my hatred for this particular desk (my fault).
Good Thing 2: I'm starting to hear the episode. It's not just people talking over each other anymore.
Learning Curve: I'm not as great I thought at directing in real-time.
January 4, 2021: the Final Period
When you watch a movie, or a tv show, you can probably tell the final line, without looking at the runtime. That's either because the writing was so profound for a single sentence, or the character said it with a sense of finality. Some people hate an open ended movie. Some people would be far more satisfied, if the movie had finality. That final period at the end of the great sentence. The potential that could have been achieved. The unfinished thought. To go dark; The child who dies from leukemia. I have to direct my final line VA to really hit home with that nail in the coffin, since my writing is mediocre at best. An unfinished episode with a final sentence is a completed episode.
Good Thing 1: Social Media Marketing classes start in two days.
Good Thing 2: Post-production starts today. Or tomorrow.
Learning Curve: In future writings, I should focus more on the conclusion.
January 3, 2021: If You're Embarrassed
I would have to say this was the most interesting record to-date. With technical difficulties, inexperience, new procedures, and an assistant director I'm showing the ropes. It was hilarious at times, and just facepalming in others. We're friends, right? I can tell you some of the behind-the-scenes, without feeling like you're judging me? Good. Oh. My. God. With every record, there will be technical difficulties, but this time... Let's just say we have a standing 2 hour block that I ask my VAs to be available, give or take a bit. DEN was recorded in 1 hour and 47 minutes. This episode took almost double that. Bear with me, as only the technical difficulties is bad. Everything else is a learning experience for me and/or the assistance.
Directing with an assistant director: I love working with Georgina, as she is highly cooperative, wants to learn, and is reading this journal. Hi Georgina... But in all seriousness, she's fantastic. She was taking notes during the first go-round, for fixing in the second time around, if necessary. A great tactic I never mentioned, but do on a very minor level, myself. She will find her voice, and the ability to interject her opinions. She's still a little timid, but I have great expectations for the next episode she wrote.
Technical difficulties: Always a bitch. People I can count on, I sometimes still have to cross my fingers that they're doing it right, if we're having connection issues. This makes recording in person all the more enticing.
Inexperience: I think that my inexperience has made me a better (or at least more interesting) producer. Everything I learned about directing, I have stolen from YouTube University, a tiny piece at a time, from different channels. I don't know of a producer who does the whole process the way that I do. If I had prior experience with this process, I would likely be doing this is another way, either more expensively, or not at as high of quality. Inexperience has proven me well, and I look forward to each record as a result. Inexperience can also make it more difficult to recognize nuance. As a director, I am good at telling you what I don't like because I'm picking up on nuance. Sometimes, I can't verbalize with the inflections I'm looking for, but I'll give you a motive, to better act the role I wrote.
New Procedures: This was an action episode. I had no idea going into writing an episode how ridiculous this would be. Yelling inaudibly and cheering, and phrases without context are bizarre. I got a text mid-record, asking if I was okay, after yelling. This was embarrassing, but with acting, one must make friends with their embarrassment. If you're embarrassed, you're trying something new.
I am interested to see how this episode turns out, since it is such a different genre than I have previously used. The closest I've gotten, was when I made the promo for the podcast. This episode was written to captivate within the first 30 seconds. I'll give you a hint: cannons. Okay... That's just the whole episode. Cannon. Fat cannons. Small cannons. Cannons that climb on rocks. Inanimate cannons that have come to life. God... I may have an episode right here, just waiting to be written. JK. JAY KAY. I'm not that far down the barrel. Hey... When they say the bottom of the barrel, is it the bottom of an apple barrel, or a .30-06 barrel? Both have ENTIRELY different connotations.
You may not have noticed this, but I want to let you know a stupid, stupid secret. In all my posts, I embolden some random text. That's intentional, obviously. But, I look for the most out-of-context line, and make it look like I'm saying something I'm not. Not all my bolds deserve to be read with any extra emphasis. Some are quotes that will be said in household conversations in 128 years from now.
Good Thing 1: I have an assistant director. If I ever call out sick, I'll just have her sub for me.
Good Thing 2: No more writing Captain Fearless.
Learning Curve: I still need to learn how to verbalize my needs with the actors.
January 2, 2021: Series vs. Stand-Alone
There are pros and cons to producing a podcast with no continuous theme versus a podcast that is a series. The first one that comes to mind is a pro and a con to both. I created Mercury Theatre Podcast to be like the show Let's Pretend (an old time radio show from the '40s or so), in that it wasn't episodic. This allows for creativity to abound, and it's limitless. I can do whatever I want with the next script. But, the problem is that I can do whatever I want with the next script. I have no guidelines. I can do anything, which has a tendency to stymy the writing process. With an episodic podcast. you have the first episode, and the last episode. Every episode in-between has a trail that leads you to the final episode. This restricts the writer, because there is a path, but you can take some deviations, granted you get back to the final destination. Limited creativity, but more structured. I am at a point where I feel it is time to really start focusing on writing the episodes for Universe 25. With that, I can submit it to contests. The Austin Film Festival is a method I can use to get some exposure, perhaps. Maybe I can get to know other podcasters. I didn't type that wrong- it's called a film festival, but it has other points of interest, not just film. I'm not going to keep track of all the places I submit the podcast proposition, because more often than not, I expect to be rejected. Back to the Series vs. Stand-Alone discussion... With stand-alone, I risk my download numbers being inconsistent. If I was to produce a series, it would increase download numbers throughout the entirety of the series, because nobody wants to jump in, in the middle of a story, and be lost to the end.
I had no idea how self-conscious I am, until I'm sending out the script to the VAs. Mind you, this is the first time they're reading the story. All they previously have, is a name and a few lines they auditioned with (that may or may not have changed since). Now, my finger hovers over the enter button that sends the script, and that's when I get nervous. What if they read the script, and they think it sucks? What if they read the script, and decide their part isn't big enough? What if they hate their role or the script so much that they go on iTunes and give me a bad review in anonymity? You don't realize how apprehensive you are about your own writing until it's go-time. Well, I don't anyway.
Good Thing 1: Tomorrow is recording day! It's my favorite day of the month, and I get two of those this month. Hollaluyah.
Good Thing 2: The script is (mostly) complete. Thank Science.
Learning Curve: I have decided to seek out opportunities to submit Universe 25, and see where that leads me. We'll have to find out together.
NOTE: I know how to spell hallelujah. I'm not actually stupid.
January 1, 2021: It's. Finally. Over.
With an audio drama having limited visual capabilities, everything by definition has to be audible. Including credits. A tv show can have visual credits done at the same time as dialogue, or whatever else. I envy tv in that regard.
I never worked under another producer, so I have no idea what people expect. Knowing this, I have created a document, which is given to potential VAs. Of which, it states that the VAs will receive their scripts the day before the record. I need to figure out how to enforce the understanding of how a podcast recording process works, before their first record. After the first record, they seem to understand, and haven't asked me again. It seems like an asshole expectation, but it truly isn't. I write by the seat of my pants. My episode records on Sunday, and I have to give the VAs their script 24 hours before the record. Captain Fearless is not done being written. But, it will be done by the record.
Good Thing 1: 2020 is FINALLY over.
Good Thing 2: My favorite part of the podcasting process is coming up, and immediately followed the next week with another favorite time of the process.
Learning Curve: I need to better educate my VAs, to minimize expectations of me. I suck, as any reader of this journal knows.