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.
To See Personal Podcast Recommendations, CLICK HERE
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.