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Podcasting Experiments

Podcasting Experiments is all about experimenting with your podcast. We explore ways you can implement and test different ideas to improve your podcast by looking at different strategies and ideas from other podcasters.
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Apr 27, 2017

Today’s guest is Elsie Escobar. Elsie runs a yoga podcast and has extensive experience in the performing arts. She doesn’t have personal experience creating narrative style podcasts, but she does have a lot of experience listening to them and some really great insights to share.

Elsie’s story:

Elsie started a yoga podcast on her own, which had nothing to do with narrative. She was in Los Angeles and the LA podcasters were all storytelling podcasters at that time. All were creating what we would consider to be more of a storytelling type of a podcast, minus all the hyper-produced musical interludes and overtone of the narrative between the conversations. They were done in a way that struck me as a human being telling stories.

Tim Coin had a podcast called The Hollywood Podcast. Dan Class had The Bitterest Pill. Lance Anderson had Verge of the Fringe. Kush had Things I Say. All four of these guys were producing a podcast telling stories, and all did it completely different from each other.

For Elsie this was an incredible learning to understand how powerful a narrative could be in that it doesn’t have to be a specific type of way.

She also worked as an actor for 10 years, did theatre and movies and TV, and worked in Hollywood for a while. In hindsight, she says she didn’t have confidence in who she was as an artist, she didn’t trust herself, and that was one of the reasons she quit. She didn’t have the creative life she wishes she could have had. Elsie says podcasting gives that to her, the creative control and expression she was searching for.

A listener perspective on narrative podcasts:

  • When working behind the microphone with all the editing and producing, we can forget what it’s like to be on the other end of the microphone. Even when we listen to podcasts we forget what that listener experience is like. Working in theatre is similar. Doing musicals, Elsie always got notes from directors that would say ‘you have to earn the right to start singing the song’. There are times in some narrative podcasts where she felt that they had not earned the right to insert that piece of music there, or to narrate this portion, because it’s more contrived. It needs to be furthering the throughline of the storytelling process.
  • Although like anything else in podcasting there are very specific ‘rules and regulations’ around what constitutes a strong listening audio piece, there is also the ability to mess with them to the point where you don’t have to follow any rules. Creative juices sometimes get stuck in the technical world. Elsie explains the technical stuff comes from one side of brain and creative comes from the other. If you’re thinking about the technical that’s the editing and producing etc. The narrative and storytelling and strategy and heart of the piece is the creative. It’s either too ‘out there’ with no form, or it’s too form-ish with no impact that you’re looking for. A balance between both is what makes the most incredible narrative podcast.
  • You’re into it, you create the thing, maybe you have a team. But then find someone not a part of the “in crowd”, maybe they’re the audience, maybe there’s a person who would benefit to listen or someone you want to reach. You have them listen to see if it works, like a mini focus group.

Tips for planning and crafting the narrative:

  • Make sure before you start that you/the team have the key points you want to drive home or the overarching theme and WHY of this podcast. What’s the bottom line of this podcast? How is it that in the process of capturing the audio, how can we get the bits and pieces that really serve to drive the larger dialogue and larger point?
  • As producers, keep the throughline front of mind, that primary dialogue with the audience. Make sure you mark things as you go. You will think ‘I’m never going to forget that’ but you will. Be meticulous about that. Be clear that you know how to get back to this information.
  • Schedule a buffer time to capture some of that thought process straight after the interview, to write down the key insights from your guest but also from you. Write it down, you won’t have the throughline in your head as clearly as when you first finish that interview.

Advice on crafting the beginning, the ending and the climaxes:

  • The key thing in theatre, dance, almost every art form is pacing. It’s the same thing with storytelling and music. You set up a certain amount of some sort of consistency, perhaps in the rhythm or your voice, and then you add elements that break that pattern. Sometimes it’s more melodic, more pleasing, but sometimes it’s very dissonant and it shocks you. It can be change of speed/tempo (faster or slower), volume (louder or softer) or sharpness.
  • What’s lovely with a narrative podcast is you don’t have to do it just with your voice, you can use sound design or music. Be very deliberate as to why you are putting that where you’re putting it. Pacing also needs to be steady. It doesn’t need to be any one specific rhythm, but the drive does need to continue the story, it needs to consistently move forward.

Transitions:

  • You need to make choices based on the kind of transition that it is. Is it a very poignant transition? Or is it something where you’re talking about x and then that topic is put to rest so now we’re going to start talking about y. That merits a strong transition, an audio period. This is the end of the sentence. End scene. There are times that may not be so poignant and more integrated from one to the next. Think about what kind of transition you need.
  • Really truly study the narrative podcast genre. Listen not for content but for transitions, what worked the most and what worked about it? Reverse engineer the impact something made on you or why it didn’t work or why it was too jarring or why you wish that it was some other way. Follow your instincts with this, develop your own opinions, find what you like and see what resonates with you. That only comes from studying.

The takeaway:

  • Think about how you can use every part of who you are to make those transitions. There are different ways to use the body and to tell stories minus audio, minus music, minus words, just with gesture. Doing that kind of work opens up so much. It opens up the possibilities when you can so you don’t fall on the same old patterns of ‘I’ll just use music here’. What if instead of music you used silence? Perhaps there are optimal ways to do things, but sometimes doing the different thing will get you the results you’re looking for.
  • It’s necessary to look outside the industry to see what other people are doing and to see what we might be able to pull in and use that. Break the mould!

Bonus notes: The LA Podcasters:

  • Dan Class primarily told stories about his life when he was an out of work actor in LA. He was a stay at home dad, taking care of his babies. He cultivated these incredible, super funny stories of his life. Like a diary but better produced. Each episode focused on maybe 3 stories tops. For the most part it seemed as if he was off book but very clearly he worked on them. He could do it at a stand up show or encapsulate different genres, could shoot it as a pilot episode. It was also highly audio produced.
  • Kush did Things I Say also about living in hollywood around that time. His storytelling wasn’t necessarily as funny as Dan Class’s but was very poignant and cut through a lot of layers of living life in Hollywood. He would tell a story but also give a lot of deep thoughts. You didn’t know if he was serious or making fun of the audience.
  • Lance Anderson’s take was not scripting anything. It was raw storytelling, a kind of “me and my mic, no music, awkward pauses accepted”. He would riff on something that was striking him in some way. It wasn’t just your regular Jo Schmo behind the mic, he really took the craft of getting behind the mic and doing a monologue as something to be cultivated. At the beginning of podcasting it was more common that it was sort of like an open Mic spoken word stories like that, where you would craft the story before, see where the story was going, and then you hit the microphone and you do it, and see if it lands or doesn’t. Sometimes his flopped and sometimes it soared, but it was beautifully done.
  • The Hollywood Podcast with Tim Coin was a very unique take on narrative. He was an actor trying to make it in Hollywood and he told the stories of auditions, brought in all the emotions, covered his relationship with his girlfriend and Dad and brother, all the psychological stuff going on. It was a very well-produced one hour drama comedy. It had scene changes and some musical interludes. Elsie recalls she laughed out loud AND cried publically out on the street because each one of his podcasts was like riding a rollercoaster.

Links:

Apr 20, 2017

Today’s episode features Eric Johnson from Podcast Talent Coach.com. He has a lot of radio experience and he helps people create stories from their podcast. We talk about storytelling in great detail. He also has worksheets and other resources for telling great stories on his website at podcasttalentcoach.com

 

The Pros and Cons

 

One reason to do a narrative podcast is that it’s not prevalent right now in podcasting. Most everybody wants to do an interview podcast, because that’s the easiest type to do. Doing a podcast by yourself where you’re presenting the information is a little more difficult. The most difficult type of podcast to put together is the narrative podcast. It takes a lot of work to create but it’s one of the more entertaining and effective podcasts that you can put together.

 

Eric recommends narrative style because:

  1. It’s not prevalent right now, not many people do it.
  2. It’s incredibly entertaining
  3. It makes you unique because it’s a creative and artful form of podcasting.

 

However, it’s incredibly difficult and unless you know what you’re doing it’s not something you should dive into headfirst. Experience in podcasting, broadcasting, audio recording and editing will help. If you don’t have that experience, creating a narrative podcast as your first podcast is going to be very difficult.

 

When you listen to NPR, they have professional editors that sit down and edit the piece together so it comes together in one nice story in 2 minutes. But that person’s job is to edit stories all day everyday. Be aware that it’s not an easy thing to do unless you know what you’re doing.

 

The Steps Required

 

Once you’ve recorded, you have to catalogue the interview, the questions you’ve asked, the details the guest provided. Then once you have the interviews recorded, you have to step back and write the story, find the pieces of the interviews that support your story and piece them in.

 

The toughest part is knowing what parts to leave in and what to leave out and still tell the complete story. You have to be an incredible storyteller, which is difficult and it’s also an art. You need people to interview that are lively, entertaining and energetic but also that will speak in complete sentences to help tell your story. And then you have to catalogue it all so you can put it together in a way that makes sense, so that your listener can understand the complete story.

 

The first thing you need to do is decide what story you’re going to tell. The most well known narrative podcast is Serial. It was telling a story of a guy who got locked up, but the question was ‘did he do it or did he get locked up unnecessarily?’ The creators knew the outcome before they started editing. They knew how many episodes they wanted to create and they worked their way backward.

 

Figure out what the conclusion is of the story you want to tell, and then work your way backwards to figure out exactly how much information you need to include to properly tell the story and reach your conclusion. That will help you figure out who you need to interview and what questions to ask. Until you know what story you want to tell, you can’t begin creating the podcast.

 

The Four Key Elements to Storytelling

 

  1. A powerful introduction. What do you want to make your audience feel, laugh at, marvel at or better understand? What do you want the audience to walk away with? It must be an intriguing introduction. Create the first few seconds to hook your audience and bring them into the story like an amazing opening scene of a movie.

 

  1. Create vivid details so your story comes to life in the theatre of the mind. The images are dancing in the listener’s mind. When you create with wonderful images and vivid detail, it adds authenticity and believability and makes the story come to life.

 

  1. Powerful conclusion. Once you’ve accomplished what you hope to make them feel, you’ll know you reached the end of the story and that’s where your conclusion is. Knowing ‘where you want to end’ helps create the intriguing introduction at the beginning.

 

  1. The call to action. Where do you want the audience to go next? What is the follow up? In podcasting, when you’re telling great stories and you create a wonderful narrative for your listener, the end shouldn’t just be the end, it must lead them to more. Is it going back to your website or the show notes? Know how you want people to get more involved.

 

The most difficult part of storytelling is creating that intriguing introduction that really hooks your audience and tells them exactly where you’re going. Don’t wander into the story. You don’t want your listener to be wondering where the story is going rather than enjoying the details. You want the listener to enjoy the journey, and have the anticipation and excitement build up. In a movie we know where the story is going. But is the hero going to survive or is he going to perish? That’s what draws people in.

 

The Interviews

 

Sift through the interviews that you’ve recorded to find the parts that will tell the story, rather than you telling the story. The more actual interviews you can use the better, because it brings the story to life. Additional voices add depth to the podcast. The more voices you include, the more depth you have.

 

You can learn a lot by watching expose shows like Behind The Music or Sixty Minutes. Watch how they make their transitions in their interviews. It’s truly an art, to go from one interview clip to transition to another interview clip. Behind The Music is a great example: they tell the story of a band using a narrator that voices the transitions, and then the band members’ interviews tell the real story.

 

When you recruit the people that you’re going to interview for your podcast, it’s important to let them know that you’re putting together a story, and their interview will be part of a larger piece. Reassure them that nothing they say will be taken out of context. Make sure in your editing that you are including pieces that are actually what the guest said, not changing their words in any way.

 

The Interview Subjects

 

Finding people to interview really comes down to the story that you want to tell. You need to talk to the main characters and people that have intimate knowledge of the story you’re trying to tell. If you find multiple people who are giving you the same story, find the most credible and/or most entertaining and use that.

 

When it comes to selecting guests for a podcast of this nature, the most important part is to find individuals that will speak in complete sentences. When you go to edit your podcast, to put it into parts, you will find it easier to edit if they speak in complete sentences.

 

This is where the art of interviewing comes in. You as the interviewer need to think about that in the questions you ask. You need to ask questions that will generate answers that are complete sentences. The answer has to stand on its own without the question setting it up. It’s more important to find guests that can provide that for you than to find guests of any other nature. A great question you can ask is the ‘complete this sentence’ style question. It’s a great trick for people who won’t use complete sentences.

 

Resources

 

If you want to create great narrative podcasts, look into great storytelling and moviemaking. Understand how movies are created from idea to plot concept to storyboards to shooting the film and how they piece that all together. Go back and look into the early days of radio when they used serials like The Green Hornet or Dick Tracy. If you can find those stories and how they created those through audio, that will help you create great narrative podcasts.

 

Eric covers storytelling quite a bit in his own podcast. Storytelling makes you real as an individual, which helps create that relationship with your audience. When you’re trying to do business online, people want to do business with those they know, like and trust. That happens through your podcast.

 

The take-away

 

Storytelling is so critical. It’s what happens to be missing in great podcasts today. A lot of interview podcasts are successful because guests come on and tell great stories about how they failed and how they succeeded, and those stories make for great entertainment. Narrative podcasts can do the same thing. It’s a tonne more work but it’s a fabulous form of entertainment.

Apr 13, 2017

Today’s episode features Dave Jackson sharing his expertise about creating narrative style podcast episodes.

 

Pros and Cons of doing a narrative style:

 

The big pro is that stories engage audiences more than just a plain interview. There’s a reason every movie, every book, every TV show and almost all media is a story of some sort. It’s the Hero’s Journey: the audience gets sucked in and wants to find out what happens next.

 

The main con is that it takes a lot more time. To do just a host talking into a mic is a 4:1 ratio. If you’re making a 15 minute podcast like that, plan on spending an hour working on it. However other kinds of podcast have a much bigger ratio, because now you’re trying to get things to sound a specific way and create a mood so it takes much longer.

 

Dave’s tips for how to approach it:

 

Start with an idea first, break it down into specific topics next and then construct it into a narrative story.

 

Write it down and start fleshing out the idea, even write your show notes in advance. This helps because often during this process you will come up with cool ideas for production.

 

Choose guests via a criteria so that they fit the goal of the episode. That will mean you will get more of the sound bites you want from them and hopefully less will end up on the cutting room floor.

 

When trimming down interviews to get to the narrative elements, focus on the parts where the guest actually answers the questions you ask. Remember, you are the buffer between the guest and the audience and you don’t want to make the audience sift through content that isn’t relevant.

 

Ask yourself “What’s the point of telling the story, what’s the objective?” Do you want people to laugh, cry, groan or be entertained? Write it out so you can see the ebb and flow of the story. Then you will know where it tugs on their heart strings and where you need to lighten it up a bit so it’s not so heavy etc.

 

Sometimes you have good content that wasn’t relevant to the particular narrative, so it got cut. However, you could still use it for a promo for the episode or you can also release the full, raw, uncut interviews as well. For example, The Podcast Producers do this in between seasons.

 

Techniques to transition between clips or parts of stories:

 

Use music or sound effects, for example, at the end of a segment. Fade in music that sets the tone of the point you were making. It’s also useful for the audience to help the point sink in, let them ponder a bit.

 

Have a commercial break. This is a common way and audiences are familiar with it because it’s used so widely in mainstream media.

 

Simply use a dramatic pause followed by a question. Using a dramatic pause (think Paul Harvey, the king of radio) to let the idea sink in. Then start off next point with a question, to signal to the audience a shift of direction.

 

Resources or sources of inspiration

 

The book “Resonate: present visual stories that transform audiences” by Nancy Duarte.

 

Listen to Serial or Radio Lab or StartUp. Listen to enjoy the story, but also listen for the technical aspects of what they’re doing so you can reverse engineer them and use them yourself.

 

A portable recorder, to try to capture your thoughts in a moment, or your surroundings.

Mar 12, 2017

Welcome to the Creative Studio podcast, where we conduct experiments with podcasting! Throughout this season, we have explored how to create a narrative or journalistic style podcast. This is the tenth and final episode in this series.

Today, we will hear from several of our special guests regarding resources to help you create narrative audio. We’ll also hear some general tips from them that will also help throughout this process. Today’s guests are:

  • Bryan Orr
  • Corey Coates
  • Daniel J.  Lewis
  • Doc Kennedy
  • Jessica Rhodes
  • Jessica Abel
  • Dave Jackson
  • Erik K. Johnson
  • Rye Taylor

I also want to thank Else Escobar and Geoff Woods for being guests this season as well.

As we wrap up this episode and series, I want to invite you to get a free gift. I have put a detailed PDF together with everything mentioned in this episode. To get this, you don’t even have to enter your email address – just click the link to download the PDF right away. I know that this episode and corresponding PDF doesn’t have everything we covered in this series, but if you’d be interested in getting something with all of this either in written form or video, please let me know!

I really want to thank you for taking the time to listen to this podcast. If this series has helped you, I really want to hear from you. You can go to the contact page or send me an email directly to joshua@podcastguy.co.

Now, as we are wrapping up season 4, I am working on some things for season 5. The tagline for this podcast is “podcasting experiments,” so I’d like to follow that vein and interview podcasters that are creating podcasts that are different from the “standard” podcasts. Maybe it’s the format that they use. Or the combination of formats they use. Or maybe it’s how they record the podcast. Or maybe it’s the way they combine niches to create a new niche. I’m going to be on the lookout for such podcasters, but I’m open to suggestions. If you or someone you know is creating a podcast that you think is a little different from the rest, please let me know.


Listen to really great narrative podcasts

Listen to podcasts that tell you how-to do narrative

Blogs

Just Do It (even if you don’t publish it)

  • Start by telling stories about yourself or your family

Don’t outsource

  • Learn how to do everything yourself
  • Cutting own tape
  • Doing your own logging
  • Write your own narrative
  • Edit music

Do raw interviews

  • “Art of Non-doing”
  • Hunt for your own music - work with composers
  • See what happens
  • Oversaturated with information online, get back to the basics

Listening to what other people are doing with narrative

Scour YouTube

Connect with right people to get the right voices for your show

Make it the best that you can

Don’t let the deadline dictate the quality!

  • Telling the story is more important than meeting the crunch time

High-production quality

  • Putting some thought into your story

Check out the “How-to Podcast” section in iTunes

Podfly Productions

Interviewconnections.com

Honing skills on the mic

  • Communication Skills
  • Practice talking
  • Do a lot of podcasts and interviews
  • Hear how you sound and improve

Look for high-quality podcasts

Just start making it - start making audio

Put on a pair of headphones and stick in a mic and talk about something you’re interested in

Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte

Radiolab

Look into great Storytelling and Movie-making

  • How ideas are brought from plot concept, to storyboard, to actually shooting the film

Look beyond the scope of the medium that you’re trying to create - look outside of podcasting

Power Your Podcast with Storytelling with Alex Blumberg

Storytelling resources

  • Learn how to give a good presentation from Toastmasters
  • Book or video series on Storytelling

Listen to the podcasts out there that do it well

Listen, learn, & put your own style to what you find is good/inspiring

Learn new methods from other podcasts

Challenge yourself by deconstructing what you find when you listen to these podcasts

So this is Joshua Rivers wrapping up season 4. The Creative Studio podcast is a production of Podcast Guy Media, LLC. If you’re looking for help with the editing, show notes, or other aspects of the post production of your podcast, check out PodcastGuyMedia.com/cs to schedule a short free consultation.

Jan 26, 2017

Welcome to the Creative Studio! This is the podcast where we talk about and explore ways to experiment with podcasting. We are close to wrapping up our series on narrative or journalistic podcasting. This is the ninth episode in this series and we have one more after this. If you haven’t listened to the first eight episodes yet, I encourage you to do that first because we have already covered everything you need to create a narrative podcast.

 

In this episode, we are going to take the next step. We have already talked about the editing process and the fact that sometimes a lot of things get cut out of the final piece. We’ll be looking at some things we can consider doing with these pieces of audio that are left on the cutting room floor. Corey Coates and Jessica Rhodes from the Podcast Producers starts us off.

 

[Corey]

 

[Jessica R.]

 

[Dave x 2]

 

Dave Jackson of the School of Podcasting can always be counted on to bring great thoughts. One concept I’ve heard him share about many times regarding editing is in reference to targeting only a certain length of time.

 

[Dave x 2]

 

Erik K. Johnson adds to the thought about repurposing audio for future episodes as well.

 

[Erik]

 

[Jessica R. and me]

 

I also had the thought that bloopers are another thing that could be used. Several podcasters I know of use this either regularly or sporadically. I know that bloopers on TV shows and movies are really popular, and I think they can be effective in audio as well.

 

Before we wrap up this short episode, I did want to mention a great new resource that you can get ahold of. Jessica Rhodes not only does The Podcast Producers with Corey, she also has her own show, Rhodes to Success, and her business, Interview Connections. One of her specialties is connecting podcast hosts with podcast guests. She helps to facilitate interviews on both sides, so she has written a book about how to rock the podcast from both sides of the mic.

 

Here are just some of the topics you'll discover in this powerful book:

 

 *  Getting Started with Podcasting

 

 *  Positioning: The Power of Celebrity

 

 *  Rock the Interview

 

 *  Getting a Return on Your Investment

 

 *  How to Launch and Then Soar

 

 *  Leveraging the Power of Guest Interviews

 

 *  How to Monetize & Market

 

 *  Podcasting to Actually Grow Your Business

 

Plus, Jessica includes her exact, step-by-step blueprint and the resources she uses to make podcasts happen!

 

I’m going to dive into this book more in the next episode, but you can check out http://www.creativestudio.academy/rockthepodcast for more information.

 

The next episode will wrap up this series by sharing the different resources that can help you as you create a narrative podcast. In fact, many of these resources can help you with any podcast you create.

 

If you’ve found this series helpful, please share this with someone that you think could benefit! I look forward to talking with you again on the Creative Studio podcast! God bless!

Nov 8, 2016

You just want to think of the mood and emotion, you want to make sure that the timing is appropriate, that you are giving people enough time to digest what just happened and then transition them emotionally into what is about to happen next so obviously music is a huge part of that and I can go into a little bit about music if you want. 

 

1

But in many cases as we know when we are editing and trying to construct this, you know life just doesn't always fall that way because this is largely unscripted material.  So we have to find a way to bridge from one to the other and in many cases what I would find, as I mentioned earlier, was that if I can't make a bridge between two components of audio, two spoke parts but I do want to put then close together, that is a good opportunity for a narrator to jump in.

2

The two tricks I can give right now are if you can get two pieces of audio to stitch together naturally without having to do any tricks, do that first and if you have to get some narration in there, put a little space, put a little music, give the narration and then narration and go back into it.

3

You know each time I need to go from one part to another I think about you know, how I want to connect to the thing that happened, you know raise a new question.  Like at the end of one section, you want to sort of raise a question that you are going to answer in the section following so there is that.  If you are using music, music is a good way to bridge parts like that.  But yeah, I mean you have cycles in a story, where you have hourglass, at least a long time ago it used to go by the 45 second rule that every 45 seconds you need to have a new little mini arc happening in the story.  I think anywhere between 45 seconds to 2 minutes of time in your story, you need to be raising a question, answering a question.  Starting into a new thing so you have like narration, you have a quote, you do some music, and you need to think about it in little arcs like that.

4

Well you got to give expectations for your audience.  In narrative podcasting, one of the keys that you have to.  One of the things that is great about narrative podcasting is you can be very creative.  But the one thing that you also got to do is make sure that you got a box to think out of.  Okay.  It is very important in narrative podcasting that you actually create a structure, a framework, a box, whatever you want to call it.  But you got to have a formula in place that your listener can expect, okay.

5

And what you do with that is just like I was telling you a story and you were like and then, so as soon as I tell my audience that I fell off the back of that gator and I knew that I was about to get bit, I actually go into the introduction, my normal, standard introduction that they can always expect.  So they are expecting the end of the story but it is just the beginning, I am just foreshadowing what is going to happen at the end of the episode and then all of a sudden my theme music kicks in, my normal standard introduction kicks in and then they are like oh we got to wait for the rest of the story, but what it does is it engages them to the point that, "Oh, okay, this is the formula, he gives us the teaser, we know he is going to finish the story later in the episode but we got to wait for it, so here is the music, here is the into, here is another part of the story and he will get back and tell us what happened on the back of that alligator as soon as he fell off."  And that is how you can weave it in and those are the kinds of transitions I am talking about.  You want to have a specific structure in mind for your narrative podcast always to go back to that way you’re listening audience, they know what to expect.  Yes they want to hear the rest of the story, so they will wait even if you cut away from it in the middle of it and go to something else like your introduction or commercial.

6

In some cases though, what I am looking for is a bridge that is going to be some bed music in order to give the listener what I feel is an appropriate amount of time to think about what was just said.  It is pretty funny.  I think there is a meme going around up out there on Sound Cloud or something about how to do air in podcasts and they do it beautifully where they have someone say something very compelling and then you are struck by a piece of audio that holds you and hangs you while you think for as long as we want you to think and then the narrator comes back in.  Well there is something to be said for that because it does create that beautiful timing and it does give the listener the opportunity to not be bombarded constantly with information.  

7

Paul Harvey was a famous radio guy and one of this favorite things was, that guys was like the king of the dramatic pause.  You thought he liked died or something, did somebody hit him over the head but all of sudden in the middle of his sentence he would just pause for no reason and you were like, did he fall asleep, is he narcoleptic or something.  It was really weird.  But you know something like that maybe, just a pause, just to let that idea kind of fade into the breeze as it goes out.  And then maybe you start off next with a question just to trigger somebody, hey, we are moving in a new direction.

8

It is really good and it is interesting too how seconds really matter, like that was really mind-blowing to me, to realize that sometimes when you start to feel oh 3 seconds was too long and you can really say that.  You can really feel that.  And also listening to their music transitions, I am sure that there is a magic number right, where it is either too long or too short and so they optimize for a certain amount of length and I think if you can maybe discern that for yourself to like you know my transition needs to be one second long so it needs to work this way or my transitions for these longer things need to be up to you know, 5 seconds or something like that where you can start to sense like that is part of the difference and you can then start to make decisions based upon length and maybe just the length will do what you want it to do and not the type of music you are putting in there.  

9

In the narrative based podcast you want to have a variety of feels to the show.  So what we did was we had 3 different kinds of audio, we had interviews, we have solo segments and we have conversations between Corey and myself.  And then there was also music, okay.  So an episode would, you know as you are listening to an episode, you are going to hear you know and in interviews, you are going to hear a portion of an interview, you know Corey interviewing someone or me interviewing someone.  And then you are going to hear a splice of where it is just me talking in the microphone and I am sure that you know this Josh, when you hear someone on a solo podcast and it is just them and the microphone, they are alone in the room, it is just them and the microphone, the sound of their voice and the tone is so much different than when they are talking in an interview.  Likewise, it is also different when you are just having a conversation, like Corey and I, partners, co hosts, us talking back and forth, he wasn't interviewing me and I was interviewing him, we would have a topic at hand, we would start with okay, DIY Podcasting.  And we would just kind of talk, we would say, "Yeah, you know, I started...."  And like we would just kind of give our stories and our thoughts.  Again it is a different feel from an interview.  So in a narrative based podcast, one of the things you can do to hook listeners is to have different kinds of vocals, right so the solo, the interviews, the conversations, the music is huge, right.  So we used Corey contracted a musician to compose music for the show.  Listen we talked a little bit already about the importance of having a high quality production value in a narrative show, that is one of the things that is going to set you apart from most other weekly-based interview podcasts, having really quality music is a big part of that.

10

Well one thing that you want to may be sure to do is get royalty free music, that is first and foremost.  You don't want to start using, you don’t want "Another One Bites the Dust" and everything from Queen and so on when you are talking about your music because you can get in trouble.  So you got to find some resources for royalty free music and you find that in a variety of places.  There is some, if you have a Mac, there is some on your Mac but I would advise against using that if you can.  The reason is because it has been used, people have heard it before.  You want to try to get unique music that is almost exclusive to you even though it is not exclusive to you.  You want to get those pieces of music that people haven't heard all the time.  So to use those, find them on YouTube or find them on a website called audioblogs.com or audiojungle.com.  Find these pieces of music, these dramatic pieces and utilize them, leverage them.  In other words, when we are talking about a scary story, have some creepy music in the background, enjoy it, play with it.  Have some fun with it, but just don't overuse it.  You want to make sure to bring an ambiance to your narrative but you definitely don't want to go over the top to the point that people are like, "Oh man, this is really cheesy."  You just want enough music to make your point without beating people over the head with the music.

11

Okay so, (0:41) talks about, he used the term "plinky music" that This American Life uses plinky music.  The biggest thing I see people do who are getting into narrative, they just use the wrong music.  Music that works for transitions and for sound beds is not the same type of music that works if you are doing a, "Hey everybody, I am a cool interview podcaster," type of intro.  You know it is, you see that so many times, loud rock music or dub step and that kind of stuff.  It just doesn't work underneath, there is too much going on and it interferes with the person who is speaking, especially if you are transitioning into speech.  So pick music that is very understated that is very simple and that is mood appropriate with what is going on and usually in most cases it is fairly neutral so it is not, even if you are in a sad scene, you don't want some big sad, sappy orchestra, it is too much, you just want a simple, maybe a simple guitar pluck that is a little moody sounding underneath.  So you just think much more simple with music.

12

I did season one of Filmmakers Focus and I got a point where I was kind of rushing things and I found some music for free and honestly the music sucks, it just does not work for what I needed to be pushing.  And it just takes it down a notch and it is not like it is playing throughout the entire thing but it is just kind of lame, doesn't work for this.  I mean it would be a great piece for something else but I mean I should have taken the time to let it, let myself find the right tunes rather than try to push a week or something ahead so I would highly recommend, especially with this format, you are going to need every bit of, every piece of help that you can get and that music is going to be key to help tone this story.

13

Anytime a narrator jumps in I usually put a little bit of bed music under it and that is kind of to allow them to float, if you will, in and out of these conversations, imagining that the conversation is the sort of front facing audio that is the meat of the show and then from time to time this narrator is some guy or girl in the sky that is going to pull you out of the show and talk to you a little bit.  Whenever I am pulled out of the show, I want something musical underneath to give you that sense that I am in a different space and then get dropped back into the show itself.

14

So one tip that I would give people that is sort of an insider secret if you are really serious about narrative is looking to smart sound.  You can actually create your own music tracks and then make them exactly what you want them to be and you can make very, very simple good bed music using smart sound and I have been happy with it.  It is not cheap but it is a good resource if you are looking to create narrative for a long time.

15

Another technique you could use those would be you have certain music that is saved for certain things, Gimlet, all things considered and several other NPR style productions do this kind of thing where they have the sponsored music and it loops in the background while they are talking about their sponsors or they have their opening music, they have their wrap up music, they have their music that plays when they are struggling with a thought or they have their music that plays as they are wrapping up their ideas.  You can have that kind of thing and it is like your own soundtrack for the show, definitely get the license for the music, don't just use any music but make sure you are doing it legally.  And then that music can be what sets the tone so although it may be that you are recording in the exact same studio in the exact same sound quality, instead of having to say, "Now let's transition to our sponsors," you can have this music in the background that makes that obvious difference.

16

And so as you are making that point a lot of time you can fade in music that will really set the tone of whatever it is the point you are making and then let the music fade in and fade out.  You know, I have heard people kind of pause after that music because like the music comes in [humming] and then it is there to let you ponder what that person just said, right.  You just said that final, you put the you know, the period at the end of the sentence, let it sink in a bit and then about the time you go, “well that is weird, nothing is playing" they will start talking again and here is the new topic.  So I think music is a good way of doing that, you know, sound effects maybe in some places if you are talking about I don't know, maybe you are talking about, you have one topic and this and that and this and that and you just pause and you start playing a sound effect and people are like why are there geese honking, well because the next topic is "I remember one time out by my grandfather's lake there were geese."  And you know I can see something like that to just politely cue the listener, "Hey, guess what, we are going someplace else now."  This was over here without completely jarring their feelings out of their teeth, something like that might be an interesting switch.  I really think, the thing I love about these, I wish I had more time to do them, is it is so creative and you can kind of, for me at least when I do these and I listen back, it just, when I just feel that natural flow without kind of like, oh what was that or I really do like that.  And in some cases, a nice little jarring exit is maybe the emphasis you are going through.  Maybe you are trying to get people to go, "oh, oh what was that?"  You know because you are trying to get their attention, so for me it is kind of like painting with audio, you know. You might want to try a soft, music especially, I was amazed it triggers something in the mind that people knew what you are talking about, they got the joke a little quicker because the music spawned that thought.  Maybe it is the musician in me but my knee-jerk reaction is what can I use music wise here to transition.  I think those would be that and like I say, sound effects or a question in some cases.

17

Oh yeah, to be able to make those choices based on the kind of transition that it is.  I mean if it is a very poignant transition or if it something that you are talking about x and then that topic has been put to rest and then you are going to start talking about y, I feel like that merits a pretty strong transition between those because it is sort of like an audio period.  You know what I mean.  This is where it finishes, the sentence, period, and next scene.  So it could be something like that and there are times when you can do a less one that isn't so poignant and they can really just seem lessly integrated into the other one.

18

So it is not like you would be telling this story and in the middle of this story there is suddenly background music and you are talking about your sponsor but you would need to say with language things like, "this podcast is sponsored by such and such," or "brought to you by such and such."  So you are still making somewhat of a verbal transition without actually saying, "Let's talk about our sponsors now" or "Let's segue into this other thing" or "we will be right back after this brief message."  Please do not do that in a podcast, that, this is not radio, you are not going anywhere, your listener is not going anywhere, no one is going to leave and have to come back, you don't have to say, "we will be right back after."  Just make it a smoother transition,  Pet peeve, sorry about that.  But your background music then can help you with that and people then can start to know as they listen to your show as the background music is starting at a certain point, maybe they know, oh the show is almost over or they start to associate certain background music with this episode is halfway through and he is doing this transition point or whatever it is, you can really set the tone and the emotion of the moment with the background music.  You see that done in movies all the time and I love movie soundtracks and that is something that the soundtrack can be really good at doing, is setting the emotional tone of the moment.

19

They call that tracking in the business.  So tracking is cutting those little narrations in between pieces and I also struggle with the same thing you are talking about.  What I found works nice is to not only just introduce the next thought but also you can do some of their talking for them.  So you will see that they do this a lot in highly produced narrative shows is that instead of just saying "And then I asked so and so about such and such and this is what he had to say."  See that is a little too, it is almost like why didn't you just do the interview them.  You know but what you can is you can say "And then I was interested in what such and such's experience was, he shared with me, so on and so forth, which got me thinking, da da da."  And then they start talking.  You see so you are doing some of their talking for them so that your narrations aren't so tight where it is just you know just literally just introducing the next idea, it is a little more complex than that and it makes is just a little tighter.

20

There is a couple of ways that I do it and every producer has their own flair but for me I mean it is very, very simple.  The first thing I am always looking for is when wording can match wording.  When something that one person says can naturally lead to something that someone else said.  When those two things can be butt together, that for me is a win, that is a victory in narrative audio.  I don't need music, I don't need transition, I don't need anything fancy and I certainly don't need narration because the job is there for me and again spoken words, spoke word.  Let the words tell the story.  

21

Well something cool that I see done with the NPR style shows they have a portion of the clip playing in the background so you know you are about to go to a clip or you are just coming off a clip.  You don't have to then say let's play this clip but you can just play a portion of the clip and then you jump in as the narrator and say, "That is so and so and we are talking about such and such," or you can start your clip off by saying, "On such and such day, I was talking to so and so," and then you go into the audio clip as it has been playing silently, a little bit silently in the background.  A cool little trick you can also do, especially when there is spoken work in the background and spoken word in the foreground, your voice is in the foreground and maybe you’re playing an audio clip that has spoken words in the background, is you can play with the frequencies a little bit, not to make it sound like a telephone call or something like that but reduce those frequencies in the vocal range which are roughly around the 200-400 hertz range I believe.  So that way you don't have multiple pieces of audio conflicting for the same frequency range but you have reduced it a little bit in the background but then you raise it back up when you bring that background clip back into the foreground so it is more than simply reducing the volume but reducing it on specific frequencies as well so that the foreground voice sticks out all the more.

22

One of the key things in theater is pacing and changing the pace of things.  As in dance, you know as in almost every art form, including music, there is a reason why you know, the iambic pentameter that Shakespeare uses stays at a specific type for many, many different lines and then all of sudden it breaks that rhythm,  It is because something important is happening then.  Something else is taking up that rhythm.  When Shakespeare breaks that rhythm, there is a very, very important reason why.  And as when you are producing something like a play, that is a Shakespeare play or you are playing it or whatever, you need to really look at that and to see that.  The same thing happens with story-telling or with music.  You set up a certain amount of consistency perhaps in your voice, consistency in the way that you are telling the story and then you add elements that break that pattern, that break it in some way that sometimes it is more melodic, sometimes it becomes more pleasing and sometimes it is very dissonant so that you cause the person that is listening to question or to go, "that was shocking."  And you can use different ways to do that with, because you have the voice, you have different ways to do that.  There are possibilities of using speed, tempo, right, you can do it faster or slower, you can do it louder or softer, you can do it sharper and there are layers that you can build into that.  What is really lovely about the narrative podcast is that you don't have to do just with your voice, you can have aspects of sound design, which is one of the reasons that narrative podcasters are around that way, or music.

23

You can learn a lot by watching expose shows like Behind the Music or 60 Minutes and watch how they make their transitions in their interviews, it is truly an art to go from one interview clip to a transition to another interview clip.  And when you catalog your interviews, after you have done it for a while, you will get the hang of hearing pieces that you want to use in your story as you are doing the interview and you will catalog those, you will jot down a note that, "Oh at 3:05 of the interview, he mentioned a part about the gun and that is what I wanted."  You know, then you can go back and find that piece.  You will start to recognize that piece after you have done it for a while, those pieces will jump out at you

24

To study transitions, to listen not necessarily for content sometimes but listen for transitions like what transitions worked the most, what was the thing that worked about it and like questioning back again, like reverse engineering, the impact that something made on you or why something didn't really work or why it was too jarring for you or you wish that it was this way.  There is something really amazing about following your own instincts with this kind of work.  And in order to develop that you have to develop your own opinions.  And part of it comes from studying, to see what you like and what resonates with you.

 

 

Sep 7, 2016

CS 307: Enticing Your Listeners

 

Welcome to the Creative Studio podcast where we conduct experiments with podcasting. We have been delving into the world of creating a narrative podcast, whether that is a journalistic, fiction, or NPR style. This is our seventh episode in this 10-part series, so if you haven’t listened to the first six, it would probably be best to do that first.

I’d like to start by giving a special thanks to today’s guests: Rye Taylor, Bryan Orr, Jessica Abel, Daniel J. Lewis, Geoff Woods, The Dave Jackson, Corey Coates, Jessica Rhodes, and Elsie Escobar. We’re going to explore the peaks and valleys, the stakes, loops, emotions, and more.

 

1 – [Rye’s story about wrestling the gator]

 

We just heard from Rye Taylor sharing his story and leaving it on a cliff hanger and go into some kind of a transition.

 

12 – Foreshadowing (Rye)

 

I guess this is where Paul Harvey should come in. But, we have Bryan Orr to continue this thought.

 

3 – What is at stake? (Bryan)

[music]

10 – Raise a question (Jessica Abel)

 

That was Jessica Abel. I mentioned this several times, but you really need to listen to her podcast and buy her book, “Out on the Wire” by going to CreativeStudio.Academy/wire.

Not only do you need start with an intriguing teaser by foreshadowing, determine what is at stake, and figure out how to raise a question in your listener’s mind, you need to look at the overall story you’re telling. You need to see the ups and downs. Daniel J. Lewis calls these peaks and valleys.

 

14 – Start with a peak (Daniel)

 

Not just should you start and end with a peak, Bryann Orr adds to this by suggesting that you start with your best tape first to draw them in.

 

4 – Best tape first (Bryan)

18 – Set the stage (Geoff)

 

Geoff Woods of the Mentee Podcast states this well. As the host or narrator, it’s important for us to set the stage by giving the context and necessary information to understand what’s about to come. He continues by talking about loops.

 

19 – Open loops (Geoff)

 

We are driven a lot by our emotions. Really think about the decisions you make. There are certainly some that you make after logically thinking through the matter, but there are a lot of times that our emotions direct what we do. Emotions draw us into TV show, movies, and other forms of story. Dave Jackson defines some specific aspects of emotion that apply here.

 

11 – Emotion (Dave)

6 – Emotional markers (Corey)

 

That was Corey Coates of Podfly Productions and the Podcast Producers podcast. Bryan Orr and Daniel J. Lewis bring the conversation back to those peaks and valleys, or emotional bounce.

 

2 – Emotional bounce/balance (Bryan)

13 – Ups and downs (Daniel)

 

Else Escobar joins us again to blend her experience as an actress and podcaster by talking about pacing and breaking the rhythm.

 

15 – Pacing/break the rhythm (Elsie)

 

Jessica Rhodes is the co-host of the Podcast Producers with Corey. She mentions differing the vocals to change the pace as well as using music as a hook.

 

8 – Different vocals (Jessica Rhodes)

9 – Music as a hook (Jessica Rhodes)

16 – Music (Elsie)

17 – Driving forward (Elsie)

 

Some narration is usually necessary to be able to make transitions, to move the story forward, or fill in missing information. But Corey shares the ideal way to craft the story.

 

7 – Guest-created story (Corey)

 

Just like we should start with a bang, we need to end it well, too. What do you want to leave the listener with?

 

5 – The ending (Bryan)

 

 As we wrap up this episode, we need to remember that this is all more of an art than a science. Yes, we have mentioned frameworks and best practices, but this is just where we should start.

 

[Elsie quote – “break the mold”]

 

When it comes to enticing your listener to keep listening, you may have to play around with different things to see what works best. The specific style you are using or the message you are trying to convey may change how you want to do this. A great thing you can do to help yourself is try to pay more attention to TV shows and movies.

  • How do they tease upcoming shows?
  • How do they start the show?
  • How to they end things before going to a commercial?
  • What do they do at the end to try to bring you back next time?

As you pay attention to these and try to dissect what they do, it will help you learn how to apply that to your podcast.

If you have found this series helpful, please share this with others. I want to help as many people as possible. In fact, one way I’d like to help people is by delving deeper into this through a course. If you’d be interested in a course where you’ll not only get more about creating a narrative, but you’ll also get one-on-one time with me and collaborative experience with others, go to MasterPodcasting.com. It’ll give you a little more information and you can sign up to talk with me about how I can help you more with this.

Come back next time and we’ll talk about making transitions between clips and part of the narrative. Thank you again and God bless.

Jul 29, 2016

Welcome back to the Creative Studio, where we conduct experiments with podcasting. In this fourth season, we are talking about narrative podcasting. This is episode 6, and we’ll be discussing the editing process. In the previous episodes, we discussed various things regarding planning, preparation, and recording for a narrative podcast. If you missed those, you’ll definitely want to go back and listen to those.

In this episode, we’ll be hearing from:

  • Bryan Orr
  • Corey Coates
  • Doc Kennedy
  • Dave Jackson
  • Erik K. Johnson
  • Rye Taylor
  • Elsie Escobar

There is a lot involved in the editing process. As we discussed in episode 402, editing shows up many times throughout the narrative workflow. Here’s a quick review of that workflow or roadmap:

  1. Idea
  2. Research enough to pitch idea to group
  3. Research more
  4. Conduct pre-interviews
  5. Adjust story concept
  6. Pick interview subjects
  7. Interview
  8. Transcribe
  9. Write first draft of script
  10. Edit
  11. Second draft
  12. Edit
  13. Third draft
  14. Full cuts
  15. “Read to tape” as group
  16. Group edits
  17. Fourth draft
  18. Tracking
  19. Rough mix
  20. Listen to the rough as a group
  21. Another group edit
  22. Rough sound design
  23. Listen as a group
  24. Edit
  25. Fix sound design
  26. Pass off your final master
  27. Final mix
  28. Send out
  29. Get notes
  30. Fix based on notes
  31. Review again
  32. Green light
  33. Publish

This workflow is roughly based on the process that Roman Mars shared during his keynote presentation at Podcast Movement 2015. There are at least 5 edits mentioned in this process – some are individual and others are group edits.

There are a couple ways that editing can be approached. Each has its benefits and drawbacks, and I think that each one is helpful, if not needed, in the workflow. One way to edit is in written form and the other is in audio form. There may be other approaches and various combinations of these forms, but these are the two that I will focus on for this episode.

It is good to start by getting a transcript of the tape you recorded. I didn’t do this for the first several episodes of this series because it costs either time or money – and I didn’t want to give up either at first. I finally gave in and paid someone on Fiverr.com to transcribe some for me.

Here’s what I did.

I had already listened to all of the audio after the interviews and separated the clips based on the overall topic of the section. There were some sections that I copied and put into a couple topics. In the end, I had anywhere between 10 minutes to 60 minutes of audio for each topic.

I put the clips for one topic together on one track and mixed it down to a single mp3 file. I sent that off to the person on Fiverr. There were one or two episodes where I trimmed out my side of the conversation to made the file shorter because I was paying by the minute. I also wasn’t using any of my side of the conversation in the end.

When I got the transcript back five or six days later, I would read through it and mark out things that I knew I wanted to cut out. This would include my side of the conversation if I didn’t already take it out. Sometimes the guest would cover a couple topics together, so I would take out parts of the guests’ answers that didn’t pertain to that particular topic. Sometimes the guest would go into stories that were related to the topic, but weren’t necessary to make the episode work.

There were also several times when multiple guests would basically give the same answer or perspective, so I would usually cut someone’s answer. The decision could have been made depending on clear they gave the answer or even how much I was already using from that particular guest. I don’t try to give equal time, per se, but I do like incorporating different voices.

I would also look for short clips that I could use in a teaser or opener for the episode and highlight the different spots.

So, I would end up with a document that had a bunch of stuff crossed out. I would usually do some of this on my break at work, so I would actually print out the transcript and mark it with a pen and highlighter. I would then translate that to the document in Microsoft Word and save it as a new file. I would do this so I could make changes but still have the original work.

Here’s a quick side note. If I was working on this with a team, I would probably have been using Google Docs instead of Word to make it easier to collaborate.

I know I haven’t gotten to any of the guests yet, but be’ll get to our guests after I finish explaining this writing part.

So I would take the edited document and then I would try to organize the remaining clips into a logical order. I would look through each guests answers and label it as a certain subtopic. I would then be able to create a form of an outline. In a couple cases, I actually numbered each clip so I could rearrange them using just numbers instead of copying and pasting a bunch of text.

After I had the order of the clips, I would look at what I needed to do to create the narration in between the clips. Sometimes the guests’ answers could stand alone without much introduction or transition, but other times I needed to set it up a little more. In some cases, I would summarize a 2-minute explanation the guest gives in 20 seconds to make it more concise, and then let them finish with the pertinent details. We’ll actually be talking more about transitions in a couple episodes, but it is part of the editing process.

Then I would be able to record the narration part. I would often find places where it didn’t sound right, so I would have to rephrase and rerecord. This is another editing step.

I would then take my narration clips and the guests’ clips and move onto the audio editing part of the process. I personally use Adobe Audition, but before that I used Audacity. Bryan Orr, host of the Podcast Movement Sessions podcast has his own workflow.

Bryan Orr – his workflow

Doc Kennedy, host of the Filmmakers Focus podcast, continues to share his perspective from video creation. He also makes reference back to an old program that we can learn from.

Doc – War of the Worlds

Doc – take notes, what works

Doc – hire someone

And if you’re looking to hire someone, Corey Coates is the co-founder of Podfly Productions and is an excellent editor. But I wouldn’t be opposed to talking with you about working with my company, Podcast Guy Media, LLC, especially if you’re interested in creating a narrative podcast.

Erik – Let the guest tell the story

That was Erik K. Johnson, who has some great resources at Podcast Talent Coach.

Erik – only use what you need

Dave Jackson has been podcasting since 2005 and has helped a lot of people with their podcasts, everything from getting started to growing the podcast. Over the years, he has seen a lot of things and has developed some pet peeves in the mean time.

Dave – answer the question

Rye Taylor joins us again to share some thoughts about the difficulty that podcasters can have cutting things out, especially when there is something more personal involved.

Rye – cut the extras, even when it’s personal

Rye – one central character

Corey Coates also talks about the difficulty podcasters can have trying to edit their own show.

Corey – perspective and objectivity

One suggestion from Elsie Escobar is to reach out to your audience for some perspective.

Elsie – mini-focus group

In the discussion with Elsie, I realized a connection between editing and our brain. The right side of our brain is the hub for creativity while the left side is the more logical side. When it comes to creating a podcast, we are using both sides of our brain, but it’s difficult to keep switching back and forth between creating and editing. Because of this issue, I’ve heard many people recommend batching your work so that you focus solely on creating, and then you focus solely on editing. If you have a team, this process can be improved. You can have some people on the team work on the creative aspect while others focus on the editing.

Elsie – creating vs. editing

I’ve mentioned the book, ‘Out on the Wire,” by Jessica Abel several times throughout this series. It really is a great book to help with many of these aspects of creating a narrative. In the section about editing, she speaks with several different companies that create narrative audio, such as This American Life. An edit was revealed to be a single session of basically tearing apart the script to make it better. It was brought out that sometimes a single edit could take several hours to a full day of work. And this would be with a team of people. And that would be just one of the several edits on a single piece.

Did we mention that creating a narrative takes a lot of work?

Dave Jackson actually talks about his experience of working on a project in his podcast, The School of Podcasting. He actually gave a shout out to me and this podcast. Thanks, Dave. Yes, I did a little happy dance when I heard that. Anyway, he said that a 20-minute piece he worked on for TheMessengersDoc.com took 4 hours. That’s a ratio of 12 minutes of work for 1 minute of audio. No, Dave is not slow. This just takes a lot of work, and the editing portion is a large part of that.

Rye talked earlier about focusing on one central character and have this as a guide during the editing process. When you’re reading the script or listening to the audio, ask yourself if it is vital to build the story around that central character. Now, the character could be a person. It could be an animal. It could be a place. It could be a topic or idea. Whatever that central character is, try to keep the story centered on that.

As was also mentioned, make sure to keep your audience in mind. Where are they coming from? What is their experience or knowledge? What do they need to know? What do they need to feel? How can you help them?

One last thing to consider when editing and cutting your audio, consider your overall purpose and goal. What is it that you are aiming for? What is the call to action that you want your listener to take? How will this move the podcast forward? Maybe the podcast is designed to move your business forward. Whatever it is, ask yourself if it contributes to this overarching goal as well.

In the next episode, we are going to talk about how to entice your audience. This includes how to capture their attention at the beginning and keep them listening. After that we will look at another aspect of the editing process we haven’t really talked about, and that is making transitions between clips and narration. In other words how to make the narrative flow better.

I haven’t really assigned you anything so far in this series. I’ve mentioned resources to help you. I’ve mentioned the website and the email list you can join for additional information and notices. But I haven’t really given you an assignment for you to work on and take action on.

So here is your mission, should you choose to accept it. Go to CreativeStudio.Academy and sign up for the email list. If you’ve already done this, great! You’ll be sent some resources I’ve created. One thing is a guide on creating a website. Another is the roadmap for narrative podcasting that I created earlier in this series. You will also get a sample of my editing processes. I’m including copies of each stage in the written portion of the process. So you’ll see the transcript with parts crossed out. You’ll see how I organized the remaining clips. You’ll see the narration I wrote and put the script together. This will give you an example that you can see, as opposed to just listening to the process here.

The next step in your homework is to e-mail me, joshua@podcastguy.co. Or you can just reply to the e-mail with the resources. Let me know what your plan is for creating a narrative podcast, or at least what ideas you have. I would love to talk with you about this. I am also willing to have a Skype conversation with you to answer any questions you may have and share a little more of my process, including sharing my screen to show you what I did in the audio part of the editing.

So again, your mission is to go to CreativeStudio.Academy and join the email list to get started. This message will…well, no, it won’t self-destruct. I want this to reach more people as well.

 

The Creative Studio podcast is brought to you by Podcast Guy Media, LLC. Through this business, I help people with several aspects of their podcasts. I recently helped one podcasters launch his first podcast. I am the podcast manager for another podcast, where I help oversee all aspects of the podcast production from planning and scheduling guests to editing and publishing. What I do most of the time with clients, is the editing of their audio. If you need any help or have questions, please let me know at PodcastGuyMedia.com. If you couldn’t tell, I’m really getting into narrative podcasting, so I’m especially interested in helping you if you want to dive into this awesome world. Again, the website is PodcastGuyMedia.com.

Jul 5, 2016

CS4.5 – Recording Your Narrative Podcast

 

Special guests:

  • Corey Coates
  • Jessica Rhodes
  • Dave Jackson
  • Daniel J. Lewis
  • Geoff Woods

 

Intro:

Welcome to the Creative Studio, where we conduct experiments with podcasting. We are in the middle of our fourth season, where we are talking about narrative podcasting. If you’re new to the show, I’d recommend going back to the first episode of this season because each episode builds on the previous one – at least to some extent.

We’ve already looked at:

  • What a narrative podcast is and whether you should do this format or not
  • The overall workflow or roadmap of a narrative podcast
  • The planning and preparation that needs to go into a successful narrative

In this episode, we will be looking specifically at the recording aspect. Jessica Rhodes and Corey Coates are the hosts of The Podcast Producers podcast. They are conducting interviews for their second season (which is almost over), but for the first season, they did a narrative or documentary style.

4 – Guests are the spotlight

1 – Looking for sound bites

6 – Interviews not meant to be raw and uncut

2 – Doesn’t have to be perfect questions

7 – Let the guest talk

5 – Allow the guest to tell the story

3 – Shut up after asking the question

8 – Best stuff after 15-20 minutes

Jessica Rhodes is also the founder of Interview Connections, a service that connects podcasters with guests. She also provides a lot of great information and resources for interviewing. One resource is a video series called Rock the Podcast from Both Sides of the Mic. This can help you with being both a host and a guest. Check it out at InterviewConnections.tv.

 

Besides having interview skills and techniques to get the content you need, an important aspect of interviewing is having a way to record the content. There are several ways that you can record.

One popular way is using Skype with a Skype-recorder. You just speak with the guest and the software can record the conversation for you, usually splitting your side from theirs. This makes it easier for editing later. This is how I did most of the interviews for this series.

I also used my cell phone with Corey Coates. I had my phone hooked up to my mixer so that both sides of the conversation could be recorded into my digital recorder. If your guest has the right equipment, you could speak over the phone and each of you can record on your own side separately. This is called a double-ender.

Another method that you use is in person interviews. For this a portable digital recorder is really helpful. Dave Jackson even uses his iPhone’s recording software.

9 – Digital recorder ready

Daniel J. Lewis also talks about using a digital recorder, but he emphasizes the importance of getting good quality audio – at least quality that is good enough. He has some great tips.

10 – Clear spoken word

11 – Microphone techniques

12 – Contrast in audio

Geoff Woods records a lot of audio for his podcast, The Mentee. It started as a personal mission to build passive income after his income got slashed by 40%. He sought out people that were already doing the things he wanted and had conversations with them.

13 – Record everything you can

14 – You won’t use everything

So when it comes to creating a narrative podcast, you need to do the preparation beforehand, like we mentioned in the previous episodes. When you’re prepared, you’ll have a better idea of where you’re heading.

In “Out on the Wire,” Jessica Abel interviewed a lot of people. One of the people was Ira Glass from This American Life. They obviously create a lot of narrative and journalistic audio. In talking about pre-planning the story, he said:

“An if you want to make things that rare really special, sometimes you invent like a fiction writer, and then see if reality conforms to what you made up. And when it doesn’t, obviously you report what’s actually real.”

In other words, you try to think of what the story is and what people may say. You line it up before you conduct your interviews so you have an idea of what you need and where you’re going. When you are talking with people, that will guide you. But you’ll also find out the specific details and information. You’ll find out the parts where you guessed wrong. You’ll then adapt your prewritten story to what you actually get. It’s like working with a template – it won’t be perfect, but it makes it easier to adjust and put the story together later.

I wish I read this before I started this project – it would have made it easier. Although, I did do some of this in the pre-planning stage. I had an outline of 10 main topics I thought I wanted to cover. After doing the first few interviews, I realized that a couple of the topics were too close to be separated. I also discovered a couple other ideas I wanted to delve into more. So I adjusted my outline and continued with the other interviews. After the interviews, I went through all the audio and cut the pieces out and categorized them. Since I was mainly following the outline, it was fairly easy to separate them. But sometimes the conversation shifted or we jumped out of order. But at least there was a plan to start with.

In the next episode, we’ll be taking the next step, which is probably the most tedious part – the editing. If you remember back to episode 2 when we covered the roadmap, there are many edits involved in a well-produced narrative.

If you haven’t already, I’d appreciate it if you took a moment to subscribe in iTunes and leave an honest rating and review of this podcast. Also, if you found this helpful, it would be great if you could help others by sharing this with them. The show notes page can be found at CreativeStudio.Acacemy/405.

Thank you very much, and I’ll talk to you soon. God bless!

 

Jun 8, 2016

 

Welcome back to the Creative Studio where we conduct podcasting experiments. This is the fourth episode in our series on narrative podcasting. If you haven’t listened to the previous episodes, you can visit CreativeStudio.Academy or subscribe to the podcast to get those episodes.

My name is Joshua Rivers and I am your host on this extraordinary journey into the world of narrative podcasting. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not an expert. I’ve been learning these things along with you.

This episode is a continuation through the podcasting workflow and is kind of a part 2 to last week’s episode where we talked about planning your narrative podcast. This week we will take those plans and begin to make actual preparations. We’ll be getting things set in place so we will be ready to record.

In a previous episode, we heard from Jessica Abel, the author of the book “Out on the Wire” and the host of the associated podcast. She shared some things about planning and creating the narrative arc. We won’t rehash those things now, but she helps us take the next step.

7 you have a character who's going to be at the center of the story, you want to think about what are these stages that they've gone through, and the change that you want to depict in your narrative, right?

8 you figure out when the turning points are, when do they go from one place to another place, where were their dilemmas, where were their decision-points, and then when you go to the person you want to ask them all kinds of questions about those decisions that they had to make, and about those moments of change, and how was it before, and how was it after. So your preparation is often figuring out the bare outlines of what this person's story is, and then deciding where do you want to delve in further.

4   In our case, we very specifically targeted certain individuals that we wanted for their knowledge-base and their experience in the industry.

Corey Coates joins us again. He is from Podfly, helping podcasters  with their podcast production. He also works with Jessica Rhodes in creating The Podcast Producers podcast.

It's tough because in a lot of cases you have folks that are the most boisterous, or the most vocal, the most prominent in some of the communities and Facebook groups, that may not necessarily be the ones who are bringing the best information,

We know, because I've been in podcasting for 10 years, Jessica'd been doing this for two, three years, as well, so we kind of got a sense of those, you pass kind of the sniff test, if you will, you can kind of tell when you talk to folks that they're either really legit, they know their stuff, and they're really making a contribution, or they're kind of jokers and they're coming in and they're just sort of marketing themselves and not really the skills that they may have acquired

Dave Jackson from the School of Podcasting also does a lot of experimenting and testing of different things in the podcasting world. He chimes in on this as well.

9   Well for me, I've done it where I have chosen guests who had the background I was looking for,

So by doing that, I kind of knew that the information they were going to provide, I wasn't going to really have to sift through much, it should all fit the goal of the episode,

you have to listen to it all again, in fact, by the time it's over, you're so sick of hearing the same thing over and over, that it can be a little crazy, but I think if you have the right guest, that I guess in a way, I asked people that I think I know the answer.

I'm trying to--not get them to say what I think, but maybe reinforce what I think. And then I'm always open-minded, so if they bring in something that I'm like, ooh, I didn't know that, that's even better.

Erik K. Johnson refers to the popular podcast, Serial, to help draw some conclusions here.

12 Finding people to interview really comes down to the story that you want to tell. If you're interviewing, if you're creating this serial podcast, you need to talk to the guy that did it, or didn't do it, the guy, the accused. That's the key. Then you might want to try and talk to the individual that made the arrest, or people close to the story. People that have intimate knowledge of the story that you're trying to tell.

you simply have to make sure you find the people that will help contribute to the story.

Rye Taylor can get excited about telling stories and brings it back to core of the matter.

18   So, you've got to stick with your theme, and you've got to play with that idea of how do other people play into the hero's story, because you've always got to keep that as the main focus, that main theme and also to focus on the hero during that event.

 

Whether you are doing a narrative podcast or and interview-based show, finding and securing the perfect guest can be a lot of work. If you don’t have the time or connections to do this yourself, you can get some professional help to take care of the heavy lifting for you. Jessica Rhodes, one of our featured guests this season, started Interview Connections to help podcasters connect with guests. Jessica and her team work diligently to get to know both the podcasts and the guests so they can be a matchmaker. If a guest isn’t quite right, they strive to find out more so they can present only the best matches. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. Check out InterviewConnections.com today.

[short music interlude]

As with coins and stories, there are two sides to this issue of who to interview. Much of what we have heard so far emphasizes the importance of starting with the hero and main theme of the story. Then you target specific people to help tell the story. Rye Taylor looks at the benefits of both of these.

16 I think that you never know where the gold is going to come from when you're interviewing people. It depends on the narrative again, what type of story you're telling and where you are. If this is a live scenario, I would definitely make sure that you talk to numerous people, even if you think that they're not going to be a good part of this story. You'd be surprised. I'll give you an example.

I'm going to be releasing a show called Daring & Rye, which is my story that's talking about me as a fat, middle-aged guy with a young family, who's ready to recapture an adventurous life. That is me. Okay? That's my desire. I'm the hero of that story. Now, just because I'm the hero of that story doesn't mean that I don't need supporting characters or other people to actually play a role in that.

So during a trip to Colorado, during this whole narrative, I actually went and interviewed people during a day called the Penguin Plunge. Now the Penguin Plunge is a blast of an event because what it is, is these individuals from all over this part of Colorado actually come together, in the middle of February, and jump into this frigid, freezing cold water for a specific charity, okay? Now, I interviewed several people that jumped into the water for a specific charity, and I had a blast doing it.

They had some amazing stories.

I learned all of these things. Now, could I add that all to my narrative? Of course not, but I learned some amazing stories, and I was able to weave the best parts of that story throughout my own narrative and how it applied to me. It's not about them, it's about me in this particular instance, because I'm the hero of the story. Does that mean that their stories aren't important? Of course not. But you've got to have a variety of interviews--a variety--and then choose the best pieces that actually are the most applicable to your story, okay?

21 Sure, well, I think a lot of it just comes down to recognizing that, in this point, you are literally documenting everything, every interaction...

This is Geoff Woods. He hosts the Mentee podcast where he records and shares raw conversations with mentors.

...and so all these conversations that you have with people, I think you just let them know, hey, do you mind if I record this? Not only for my own retention, I like to listen back, but oftentimes I find little snippets of gold that could go into my podcast, and if I come across something, I would be sure to reach back out to you and ask for your permission specifically, would that be okay?

And more often than not, people are going to say yes. Very rarely have I gotten a no. And the only times when I've gotten a no is when it was an incredibly personal and private conversation on their end. They just did not want that documented. Which I could respect.

22   you end up with a slew of content and recording, and at that point it was just a matter--you got to document it, you got to form some system of marking the date you sat down, what you talked about, maybe moments--you'll know when you're in that conversation, like oh my gosh, that was a golden nugget--to be able to look at your recorder and say, hey at 19 minutes and 27 seconds, I need to go back and listen to that moment. Being able to just have some type of a system for that, and as you go forward, all of a sudden you wake up one day and you're like, hey, I want to do an episode on this, and you remember, I had this one conversation with Josh, and I remember there was a gold nugget, and then you pull up your Evernote, for example, and you look at the Josh Rivers Interview note, and you see like, ooh, 19 minutes and 27 seconds, there was a golden nugget, and you fast-forward straight to there, and you go boom, there it is.

1   I work in the tape a lot, that's the biz talk for the way that I do it, which is I go through the tape and I find areas that are really strong in the tape, that I'm definitely going to use, and then I find some areas that are weak.

Bryan Orr hosts the Podcast Movement Sessions podcast. In fact, he’s the one that introduced me Jessica Abel and “Out on the Wire.”

I'm not too choosy. Meaning that I'm not Ira Glass, so I can't get anybody I want. So anybody who's willing to talk to me about something that's related to my topic, I turn the recorder on for them, because why not? It's not that big of a deal. The interview podcast world spends so much time focusing on prepping for interviews and making sure that you're all set up, and sitting their at your desk, but I rely a lot on having my mobile set up with me, and I can do a cellphone interview or whatever, because the point of these kind of secondary voices, is just to create some bounce. So it's okay if it's on a cellphone, it's okay if it's not perfect, or if you're using the Ringer app, or whatever, to get the content.

So I just say get a lot of tape. You'll know pretty much right away whether there's some good parts in there or not, and if there's not, then you just don't use it.

Part of Brian’s perspective comes from the fact that his podcast largely has been pre-recorded - it was a reflection of the sessions at Podcast Movement 2015. He would take parts of the recorded sessions, and then he would try to get a short interview with the speaker. He would also try to get some snippets from some of the attendees.

2   Yeah, because you never know what you're going to get, so sometimes you'll get really, really great stuff from really unexpected places like, a perfect example is, I interviewed Adam Sachs, he's the CEO of Midroll and Earwolf, so he's this significant player in podcasting, but he doesn't do a lot of interviews,

I only used a couple small clips from him, but the clips I did use were really good clips,

3 But if you had listened to that entire 30 minutes, you would have thought it was a pretty poor interview in general. That's where using the kind of ethos of the one-take interview show doesn't translate into narrative.

10   But I think if I just picked anybody, and now I got to go through their story, and their history, to find out why they did what, that's all great, but again, the more I have to listen through and cut out the stuff that doesn't fit, the more time it takes, so I'd rather have a guest that I was pretty sure is going to hit the nail on the head.

That was Dave Jackson again. This is a good point to keep in mind - if you try to go too wide and capture everything from everyone, there’s that much more stuff to go back through later on. But sometimes, it’s the best that you can do. Like Rye said - you never know where the gold is going to come from.

When talking with Corey Coates, he shares his concern about some people that are careless about who they talk to.

5   I know a lot of other approaches might be how many people can we try and get to capture in a really big wide net, and bring them in, but I can tell you now--and Jessica can speak best to this as a guest booker--that the more specific you go towards somebody as a guest, having knowledge of who they are, their programming, their background, what have you, the more likely they are to agree, because they know that you're not just coming at them with a form-letter that you send to everyone.

they basically build an email list, and they blast it like a newsletter that they're doing a show, who wants to get involved?

every aspect of humanity you can imagine is out there in the podcasting sphere, and you get the good, the bad, and the ugly every single day, but for me a lot of those referrals, like hey, who should I talk to, really respond from having a really good conversations in interviews for the show, and then them mentioning to me, it's like, hey by the way, you might want to talk to so and so, and because they really have a lot of great information on this, and they're fun to interview.

[music interlude]

So far in our planning and preparation, we’ve discussed several things about creating the story arc and finding the right people to voice the story. Most of the time, you may be looking for people to add to the story directly. Daniel J. Lewis makes some interesting observations about another potential reason to connect with others.

20   So as far as getting other people into your conversations, it's having those conversations, it's recording them, of course, it's finding people who would have some kind of feedback. Now, it could be as simple as someone being a sounding board, and you're telling them, I want to tell you this idea, I want to bounce some ideas off of you, please give me your feedback, don't just sit there and go uh huh, yeah, yeah, uh huh, uh huh. But feel free to ask me any questions, challenge anything I say, add anything that you think of. It's okay if you're not an expert, I just want another voice here with me, and that can sometimes turn out pretty good, because not only does it mean it's another voice, but it's a completely different perspective that could potentially bring something to the conversation that you would have never thought of including in your narrative storytelling.

One thing that we as podcasters worry about - or probably should worry about more - is using various audio clips legally. I am certainly no lawyer, so you’ll want to talk to your own about your particular situation. Music is usually one of the biggest issues when it comes to using audio legally, but using clips of people could pose a potential problem. There are a couple simple solutions that you could try.

19   it could be as simple as just starting the conversation where they see the recorder, and you say, hey, I'm recording this conversation, I might use this in a podcast, are you okay with that?

Erik K. Johnson adds to this a little more.

11   When you recruit the people that you're going to interview for your podcast, I think it's important to let them know, this is going to be part of a longer story, I'm putting together a piece, a story, an expose on x-topic, where I'm interviewing various people for the project, and I'll use part of your interview within the project. If they know that it's not simply an interview podcast, and that their entire interview won't be used, that we're using bits and pieces of your interview, I think that's good to know up front, I'm not sure it's going to change any of their answers, but I think it's wise for you to tell them that, so they're not surprised when they hear the show come out. I do think it's important that you let your guests know that nothing they say will be taken out of context, which comes down to your editing, you need to make sure you edit so the pieces that you're including from your guests are actually what your guest said, you're not changing their words in any way.

Another thing that you’ll likely come across is when multiple people tell you the same story or details.

13   Now, if you find multiple people who are giving you the same story, you can use bits and pieces of each one, but I think you might be spinning your wheels trying to find individuals that are giving you the same information. One of them really isn't necessary, because you've already got the information. So find the most credible one, the one that will be the most entertaining, and use that particular individual.

This next tip from Erik will probably apply more to the next episode when we talk about recording, but it’s wise to keep this in mind now.

14   You will find when you go to edit down your podcast, to put it into parts, you will find it easier to edit when they've given you complete sentences.

15 this is where the art of interviewing comes in.

You need to ask questions that will generate answers that are complete sentences when taken by themselves, will stand out in a narrative podcast. The answer has to stand on its own without the question setting it up, and I think it's most important that you find guests that can provide that for you, than it is finding guests of any particular genre or nature, or knowledge.

A great question you can ask when you're trying to get complete sentences, is if you're interviewing somebody who's not giving you complete sentences, use the complete this sentence for me. The most important aspect of interviewing is blank. And then have them repeat that first part. They would say I think the most important piece of interviewing is, and they'd fill in their answer.

So if you run into somebody who won't give you complete sentence, use that trick on them.

I didn’t do this when I interviews most of the guests. Sometimes I got complete sentences - sometimes I didn’t. It could be helpful to also talk about this with the guest when you start. Maybe say, “When we record, it would be helpful if you’re able to speak in complete sentences. I may ask you to repeat something so that we can get the information in the best way.”

Doc Kennedy mentions another place that would be good to find some good voices.

6 I think there's a number of podcasters out there that'd be willing to help, and one of the keys there is that we know they have the audio set up to be able to record and give you a high quality voice coming back. You don't want to have somebody on that doesn't have the right setup. They might have the right voice, but if they don't have the right setup, then it's not going to work out. So find people that you can work with all the way, and I would reach out through whatever means you have, connecting through social media, listening to other podcasts, listening to maybe even another narrative podcast. Just find people you can connect with that fit that right tone, maybe it's somebody in your family. Just have them come over and do some recording with you, make sure it's going to work, and then just compensate them fairly, at the worst, dinner or something. That's how I would go about casting.

Not only may you need help with the voices, but you may need help with some other parts of the production process. You may have noticed that this series is not being released weekly. In fact, the release schedule isn’t regular at all. This is because I didn’t plan this part of the process well. I didn’t think I would need help. I felt like I could handle it.

While I might be able to do everything in a technical sense, time is a definite disadvantage. I didn’t think my schedule would get as busy as it did, and I didn’t think different parts would take as long as they did either. Like many podcasters, “life” has gotten in the way of the podcast production and delayed the release.

I have outsourced getting transcripts for the upcoming episodes - at least transcripts of the clips I may use. It helps to see, in writing, the different things that the guests are saying. Then I can mark which parts to cut and rearrange the clips in a logical way with greater ease. I can then script the parts to narrate, edit the clips, and mix them together.

If you’d be interested in a behind the scenes look and lending a hand in this podcast, I would love to hear from you. Simply go to CreativeStudio.Academy and click “Contact” on the menu or you can email me “joshua@podcastguy.co”. If you’d like a peek behind the scenes, but you’re not sure if you can help, you can go to the website and join the mailing list. I’ll be sending some things there soon to show some of what I’ve done, including how I’m taking the transcript and working it into a final script. I also have another thing going on in the background that has been taking some of my time, and I’ll share a little of that next episode.

Thanks again for listening, and I’ll catch you on the next episode of the Creative Studio. God Bless!



May 12, 2016

Today's guests:

Bryan Orr
Corey Coates
Doc Kennedy
Jessica Abel
Dave Jackson
Erik K. Johnson
Rye Taylor
Daniel J. Lewis
Elsie Escobar
Geoff Woods

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” This is a quote from Benjamin Franklin. It applies to many areas of life, and it applies to creating a narrative podcast as well.

My name is Joshua Rivers, and I’m helping to guide you through this journey into narrative podcasting. So, we’ve learned what a narrative is and whether you should even try this. We’ve also climbed the mountain to get the 30,000 foot view of the narrative process.

Today we will be looking at creating a plan, and it’s best to start with the end so you know where you’re going. I asked Bryan Orr about this…

Bryan Orr: You waste more time…

As we speak to the others, we’ll see this thought of having a plan and knowing where you are going. It really does help a lot when piecing together the story arc.

Bryan Orr says that are basically two types of stories…

Bryan Orr: Some are content centric…

Bryan Orr: Writing intensive…

Bryan Orr: So when you start off with the timeline…

Corey Coates and Jessica Rhodes created what Bryan is calling a content centric podcast series with the first season of The Podcast Producers (which they are now in the middle of the second season).

Corey Coates: I think it always starts with the story arc…

I love the idea of breaking the ideas down into chapters. I see this in a couple ways. First of all, when creating a series, each episode can be viewed as a chapter of the story. Secondly, if you’re looking at a single episode, there will be several sections, or you could say chapters.

Try to logically lay things out so that similar things are grouped together and flow from one part to the next. In episodes 7 and 8 of this series, we’ll dive into more ideas of doing this while still enticing the listener to keep listening and how to flow from one to the next.

Jessica Rhodes: You need to know and have a good understanding of who your audience is…

We probably should have started here. Who is your listener? Who are you targeting?

Jessica Rhodes: …and also what story arc is…

Doc Kennedy: Everything scripted…

Doc Kennedy works in the film making industry as well as in the world of podcasting.

Doc Kennedy: I would set it up like…

One aspect of the podcast that needs to be thought about is the voices. We’ll get into actually picking and finding the right people in the next episode, but during the planning stage, you need to really consider how multiple voices can create a third dimension for the audio.

Doc Kennedy: If I could, I would definitely have multiple people…

Dave Jackson from the School of Podcasting also agrees that writing things down to help jog the inspirational juices and to organize your thoughts.

Dave Jackson: For me, I wrote it down…

Dave Jackson: …and there was this whole skit

Rye Taylor: If you’re going to do a narrative…

This is Rye Taylor.

Rye Taylor: Once you take that step…

Rye Taylor: It’s hard to describe this…

Erik K. Johnson: So I think your first step…

This is Erik K. Johnson, Podcast Talent Coach.

Erik K. Johnson: I think the most difficult part…

Rye Taylor: You’ve got to decide…

Learning to focus the story on one main person is an effective way to bring perspective. It also gives you a boundary and direction or how to tell the story.

Rye Taylor: Once you get that…

Most of what we’ve talked about looks at telling stories that have either already happened or that we create. What about approaching something that is either currently happening or is still in the future. Daniel J. Lewis brings his perspective.

Daniel J.

May 12, 2016

Today's guests:

Bryan Orr
Corey Coates
Doc Kennedy
Jessica Abel
Dave Jackson
Erik K. Johnson
Rye Taylor
Daniel J. Lewis
Elsie Escobar
Geoff Woods

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” This is a quote from Benjamin Franklin. It applies to many areas of life, and it applies to creating a narrative podcast as well.

My name is Joshua Rivers, and I’m helping to guide you through this journey into narrative podcasting. So, we’ve learned what a narrative is and whether you should even try this. We’ve also climbed the mountain to get the 30,000 foot view of the narrative process.

Today we will be looking at creating a plan, and it’s best to start with the end so you know where you’re going. I asked Bryan Orr about this…

Bryan Orr: You waste more time…

As we speak to the others, we’ll see this thought of having a plan and knowing where you are going. It really does help a lot when piecing together the story arc.

Bryan Orr says that are basically two types of stories…

Bryan Orr: Some are content centric…

Bryan Orr: Writing intensive…

Bryan Orr: So when you start off with the timeline…

Corey Coates and Jessica Rhodes created what Bryan is calling a content centric podcast series with the first season of The Podcast Producers (which they are now in the middle of the second season).

Corey Coates: I think it always starts with the story arc…

I love the idea of breaking the ideas down into chapters. I see this in a couple ways. First of all, when creating a series, each episode can be viewed as a chapter of the story. Secondly, if you’re looking at a single episode, there will be several sections, or you could say chapters.

Try to logically lay things out so that similar things are grouped together and flow from one part to the next. In episodes 7 and 8 of this series, we’ll dive into more ideas of doing this while still enticing the listener to keep listening and how to flow from one to the next.

Jessica Rhodes: You need to know and have a good understanding of who your audience is…

We probably should have started here. Who is your listener? Who are you targeting?

Jessica Rhodes: …and also what story arc is…

Doc Kennedy: Everything scripted…

Doc Kennedy works in the film making industry as well as in the world of podcasting.

Doc Kennedy: I would set it up like…

One aspect of the podcast that needs to be thought about is the voices. We’ll get into actually picking and finding the right people in the next episode, but during the planning stage, you need to really consider how multiple voices can create a third dimension for the audio.

Doc Kennedy: If I could, I would definitely have multiple people…

Dave Jackson from the School of Podcasting also agrees that writing things down to help jog the inspirational juices and to organize your thoughts.

Dave Jackson: For me, I wrote it down…

Dave Jackson: …and there was this whole skit

Rye Taylor: If you’re going to do a narrative…

This is Rye Taylor.

Rye Taylor: Once you take that step…

Rye Taylor: It’s hard to describe this…

Erik K. Johnson: So I think your first step…

This is Erik K. Johnson, Podcast Talent Coach.

Erik K. Johnson: I think the most difficult part…

Rye Taylor: You’ve got to decide…

Learning to focus the story on one main person is an effective way to bring perspective. It also gives you a boundary and direction or how to tell the story.

Rye Taylor: Once you get that…

Most of what we’ve talked about looks at telling stories that have either already happened or that we create. What about approaching something that is either currently happening or is still in the future. Daniel J. Lewis brings his perspective.

Daniel J.

Apr 30, 2016

 

If you haven’t listened to the first episode of this series, go back and listen to that first. We covered what a narrative podcast is and whether you should or shouldn’t pursue this format of podcasting.

Assuming now that you’ve considered those, we’ll cover an overview of the process of creating a narrative podcast in this episode. We won’t go into a lot of detail, as we will delve into the different parts in future episodes; but you’ll be able to see the big picture.

This episode is going to be a little different than the rest. There are only going to be three guests with us – Jessica Rhodes, Erik K. Johnson, and Jessica Abel. The majority of the episode will be my voice. The rest of the episodes will be featuring more of the guests and less of me.

In addition to the overview or roadmap, I’ll be sharing a couple other things here that are key to making the process easier or better – or hopefully both.

From Interview Connections, Jessica Rhodes is the host of the Rhodes to Success podcast and the co-host of The Podcast Producers along with Corey Coates. She realized the importance of having a team.

I haven’t followed this advice yet, as I’m working on this series alone, other than the contributions from those I was able to interview. I am, however, talking with someone about helping form some of the later episodes. This should help make it easier and have a better product in the end. I’ll definitely report on this later.

Erik K. Johnson talks about crafting stories on his podcast, Podcast Talent Coach.

Erik shares 4 main parts of a narrative.

These four parts help to structure what you probably already knew in the back of your mind. For a more in-depth process for our purposes, though, I want to share the extensive process that Roman Mars shared in his presentation at Podcast Movement 2015. He is the host of 99 Percent Invisible, which is a narrative or journalistic style podcast with high production value.

Roman Mars has a team that he works with, and it take them several weeks to put together one episode of the podcast. I’m not completely positive, but I believe that they work on multiple stories at a time, overlapping them. I say this because they do release weekly episodes.

I know that this is a generalization, but I would venture to say that the average podcaster has a very simple process or workflow.

Idea
Research
Interview/Record
Edit
Publish

As a general rule, I believe that most podcasters are in a rush to release the episodes because they are trying to keep to a schedule or because they’ve already blown their schedule. This is mostly due to a little thing called life. This is completely understandable since the vast majority of podcasters are doing this on the side of their jobs and families. In the rush, though, the process is simplified and the easiest path is usually taken.

Roman Mars, though, shared his process, and the process is probably similar in other high production podcasts and organizations that produce audio like this. Here’s a quick rundown of this workflow:

Idea
Research enough to pitch idea to group
Research more
Conduct pre-interviews
Adjust story concept
Pick interview subjects
Interview
Transcribe
Write first draft of script
Edit
Second draft
Edit
Third draft
Full cuts
“Read to tape” as group
Group edits
Fourth draft
Tracking
Rough mix
Listen to the rough as a group
Another group edit
Rough sound design
Listen as a group
Edit
Fix sound design
Pass off your final master
Final mix
Send out
Get notes
Fix based on notes
Review again
Green light
Publish

Are you overwhelmed at this list?

Apr 29, 2016

 

If you haven’t listened to the first episode of this series, go back and listen to that first. We covered what a narrative podcast is and whether you should or shouldn’t pursue this format of podcasting.

Assuming now that you’ve considered those, we’ll cover an overview of the process of creating a narrative podcast in this episode. We won’t go into a lot of detail, as we will delve into the different parts in future episodes; but you’ll be able to see the big picture.

This episode is going to be a little different than the rest. There are only going to be three guests with us – Jessica Rhodes, Erik K. Johnson, and Jessica Abel. The majority of the episode will be my voice. The rest of the episodes will be featuring more of the guests and less of me.

In addition to the overview or roadmap, I’ll be sharing a couple other things here that are key to making the process easier or better – or hopefully both.

From Interview Connections, Jessica Rhodes is the host of the Rhodes to Success podcast and the co-host of The Podcast Producers along with Corey Coates. She realized the importance of having a team.

I haven’t followed this advice yet, as I’m working on this series alone, other than the contributions from those I was able to interview. I am, however, talking with someone about helping form some of the later episodes. This should help make it easier and have a better product in the end. I’ll definitely report on this later.

Erik K. Johnson talks about crafting stories on his podcast, Podcast Talent Coach.

Erik shares 4 main parts of a narrative.

These four parts help to structure what you probably already knew in the back of your mind. For a more in-depth process for our purposes, though, I want to share the extensive process that Roman Mars shared in his presentation at Podcast Movement 2015. He is the host of 99 Percent Invisible, which is a narrative or journalistic style podcast with high production value.

Roman Mars has a team that he works with, and it take them several weeks to put together one episode of the podcast. I’m not completely positive, but I believe that they work on multiple stories at a time, overlapping them. I say this because they do release weekly episodes.

I know that this is a generalization, but I would venture to say that the average podcaster has a very simple process or workflow.

Idea
Research
Interview/Record
Edit
Publish

As a general rule, I believe that most podcasters are in a rush to release the episodes because they are trying to keep to a schedule or because they’ve already blown their schedule. This is mostly due to a little thing called life. This is completely understandable since the vast majority of podcasters are doing this on the side of their jobs and families. In the rush, though, the process is simplified and the easiest path is usually taken.

Roman Mars, though, shared his process, and the process is probably similar in other high production podcasts and organizations that produce audio like this. Here’s a quick rundown of this workflow:

Idea
Research enough to pitch idea to group
Research more
Conduct pre-interviews
Adjust story concept
Pick interview subjects
Interview
Transcribe
Write first draft of script
Edit
Second draft
Edit
Third draft
Full cuts
“Read to tape” as group
Group edits
Fourth draft
Tracking
Rough mix
Listen to the rough as a group
Another group edit
Rough sound design
Listen as a group
Edit
Fix sound design
Pass off your final master
Final mix
Send out
Get notes
Fix based on notes
Review again
Green light
Publish

Are you overwhelmed at this list?

Apr 13, 2016

In this episode of the Creative Studio, we are launching into the 4th season (or semester) of the podcast. We will be delving into the world of narrative podcasting. This will include similar higher-level production as well, such as documentary and journalistic styles. A lot of the principles will also apply to any podcast and the way approach the development of them.

In this first episode, we will give an overview of what a narrative podcast is, if you should consider this style for yourself or not, and a little bit about narrative podcasting in general.

You'll also get introduced to the eleven guests that will show up throughout the season. You will hear from multiple guests as we focus on a particular part of the process in each episode. Here are the eleven guests:

Bryan Orr
Corey Coates
Jessica Rhodes
Daniel J. Lewis
Dave Jackson
Elsie Escobar
Doc Kennedy
Geoff Woods
Jessica Abel
Erik K. Johnson
Rye Taylor

As we go through this season, each episode will focus on one aspect of the narrative process:

Episode 1: Beginning with Narrative Podcasting (pssst...this is where you are now)
Episode 2: Roadmap for Narrative Podcasting
Episode 3: Planning Your Narrative Podcast
Episode 4: Preparing Your Narrative Podcast
Episode 5: Recording Your Narrative Podcast
Episode 6: Editing Your Narrative Podcast
Episode 7: Enticing Your Listener with a Narrative Podcast
Episode 8: Flowing From One Part of the Narrative to the Next
Episode 9: Picking Up the Pieces Left on the Cutting Room Floor
Episode 10: Learning and Resources for Narrative Podcasting

In the next episode, we will cover the overall process of creating a narrative. This will be a quick overview of the above steps, giving you a better idea of what to expect. You'll also learn some additional tips to help with keeping things in order and on track.
Confession: I am learning these things as we go through this. I am not an expert in this field...yet.
Confession 2: One suggestion that will come up involves having a partner or a team. Other than the contributions from the guests, I did all of this myself. The lesson - follow the advice, not my example in this!
If you have any questions, comments, or other feedback, please join in the conversation! You can add a comment below or contact me. While I've conducted the interviews already and have generally slated what will be in each episode to come, nothing is finalized. I am leaving room to add your thoughts to the show.

The post 4.1: Beginning with Narrative Podcasting appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Apr 13, 2016

In this episode of the Creative Studio, we are launching into the 4th season (or semester) of the podcast. We will be delving into the world of narrative podcasting. This will include similar higher-level production as well, such as documentary and journalistic styles. A lot of the principles will also apply to any podcast and the way approach the development of them.

In this first episode, we will give an overview of what a narrative podcast is, if you should consider this style for yourself or not, and a little bit about narrative podcasting in general.

You'll also get introduced to the eleven guests that will show up throughout the season. You will hear from multiple guests as we focus on a particular part of the process in each episode. Here are the eleven guests:

Bryan Orr
Corey Coates
Jessica Rhodes
Daniel J. Lewis
Dave Jackson
Elsie Escobar
Doc Kennedy
Geoff Woods
Jessica Abel
Erik K. Johnson
Rye Taylor

As we go through this season, each episode will focus on one aspect of the narrative process:

Episode 1: Beginning with Narrative Podcasting (pssst...this is where you are now)
Episode 2: Roadmap for Narrative Podcasting
Episode 3: Planning Your Narrative Podcast
Episode 4: Preparing Your Narrative Podcast
Episode 5: Recording Your Narrative Podcast
Episode 6: Editing Your Narrative Podcast
Episode 7: Enticing Your Listener with a Narrative Podcast
Episode 8: Flowing From One Part of the Narrative to the Next
Episode 9: Picking Up the Pieces Left on the Cutting Room Floor
Episode 10: Learning and Resources for Narrative Podcasting

In the next episode, we will cover the overall process of creating a narrative. This will be a quick overview of the above steps, giving you a better idea of what to expect. You'll also learn some additional tips to help with keeping things in order and on track.
Confession: I am learning these things as we go through this. I am not an expert in this field...yet.
Confession 2: One suggestion that will come up involves having a partner or a team. Other than the contributions from the guests, I did all of this myself. The lesson - follow the advice, not my example in this!
If you have any questions, comments, or other feedback, please join in the conversation! You can add a comment below or contact me. While I've conducted the interviews already and have generally slated what will be in each episode to come, nothing is finalized. I am leaving room to add your thoughts to the show.

The post 4.1: Beginning with Narrative Podcasting appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Jun 26, 2015

This is a bonus episode for our series on how to podcast.

Brad Clayton from the Entrepreneur Uncovered podcast comes on to share some of the struggles that he's had over the past couple months getting started with his first podcast.

 

The post Beginner podcaster shares his struggles (3-14) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Jun 26, 2015

This is a bonus episode for our series on how to podcast.

Brad Clayton from the Entrepreneur Uncovered podcast comes on to share some of the struggles that he's had over the past couple months getting started with his first podcast.

 

The post Beginner podcaster shares his struggles (3-14) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Jun 5, 2015

There are a TON of resources for podcasters to help them take their podcast to the next level. I'm going to be listing just a few of them here.

To start off, here are some of the podcasts about podcasting I listen to regularly:

School of Podcasting
The Audacity to Podcast
Podcast Answer Man
Ask the Podcast Coach
Podcast Review Show
The Podcasters’ Studio
Podcasters’ Roundtable
Podcast Talent Coach
The Podcast Report
The Podcast Producers

There are many other podcasts and blogs about podcasting, and you can find a great list at PodcastPlaces.com, which is a resource put together by Daniel J. Lewis of The Audacity to Podcast.
iTunes Reviews
Every week, I get all of my iTunes reviews from around the world sent to my inbox via MyPodcastReviews.com (another awesome service from Daniel J. Lewis). If you were to manually check on these, you would need to go through a long process of check each country's store in iTunes.
WordPress Plugins

Blubrry Powerpress
Pretty Link Lite
Social Subscribe and Follow

E-mail Newsletters

Hot Pod
Pod to Pod

Podcaster's Library
Phillip Swindall (Show Notes Guy) created a library of resources for podcasters. This library includes tons of information on the following aspects of podcasting to prepare you to launch, or even to re-launch your podcast to a more successful future:

WordPress
Podcasting
Email Marketing
Social Marketing, and
Mobile Marketing

For a limited time, you may be able to get this great resource for $49 (normally $299).
Podcast Production Services
As I've mentioned before, I am helping podcasters to take their podcasts to the next level and recover their time. I started doing this in February 2015 through PodcastGuy.co. If you use the discount code "CSA", you can receive 20% off the first month of whichever package you choose. Plus, the first episode is always free.

One of my clients, Scott Barlow, created this video, sharing his comments about us working together.

http://traffic.libsyn.com/simpleliving/podcastguy_htyc.mp4

The post Resources for Podcasters (3-13) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

Jun 5, 2015

There are a TON of resources for podcasters to help them take their podcast to the next level. I'm going to be listing just a few of them here.

To start off, here are some of the podcasts about podcasting I listen to regularly:

School of Podcasting
The Audacity to Podcast
Podcast Answer Man
Ask the Podcast Coach
Podcast Review Show
The Podcasters’ Studio
Podcasters’ Roundtable
Podcast Talent Coach
The Podcast Report
The Podcast Producers

There are many other podcasts and blogs about podcasting, and you can find a great list at PodcastPlaces.com, which is a resource put together by Daniel J. Lewis of The Audacity to Podcast.
iTunes Reviews
Every week, I get all of my iTunes reviews from around the world sent to my inbox via MyPodcastReviews.com (another awesome service from Daniel J. Lewis). If you were to manually check on these, you would need to go through a long process of check each country's store in iTunes.
WordPress Plugins

Blubrry Powerpress
Pretty Link Lite
Social Subscribe and Follow

E-mail Newsletters

Hot Pod
Pod to Pod

Podcaster's Library
Phillip Swindall (Show Notes Guy) created a library of resources for podcasters. This library includes tons of information on the following aspects of podcasting to prepare you to launch, or even to re-launch your podcast to a more successful future:

WordPress
Podcasting
Email Marketing
Social Marketing, and
Mobile Marketing

For a limited time, you may be able to get this great resource for $49 (normally $299).
Podcast Production Services
As I've mentioned before, I am helping podcasters to take their podcasts to the next level and recover their time. I started doing this in February 2015 through PodcastGuy.co. If you use the discount code "CSA", you can receive 20% off the first month of whichever package you choose. Plus, the first episode is always free.

One of my clients, Scott Barlow, created this video, sharing his comments about us working together.

http://traffic.libsyn.com/simpleliving/podcastguy_htyc.mp4

The post Resources for Podcasters (3-13) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

May 29, 2015

Shawn Manaher is the host of the Author Hangout and the Sidepreneurs podcasts, and comes on today to share his tips about podcasting and podcast promotion. In episode 101 of the Sidepreneurs podcast, Shawn shared 101 tips that he has learned regarding podcasting.

Shawn start by sharing his best podcasting tips:
[Tweet "Absolutely everything will take long, be harder, and won't matter as much as you think. - @ShawnManaher #podcasting"]

[Tweet "Create templates for everything. Systematize everything as much as possible. - @ShawnManaher #podcasting"]
Follow your routine!
What is the greatest tip that Shawn has been able to gather from the many interviews he's done?

On his podcast, Shawn asks his guest what the number one thing that contributes to their ongoing success. A common answer among high-level performers is to have and follow a routine. This helps to get them in the flow and maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of what they do.
Shawn's promotion tips

New and Noteworthy in iTunes
Strategic tweeting 20+ times per day to connect with influencers
Create systems and utilize virtual assistants
Strategic posting on social media
Create Quote posts for each episode
Include an image with social media posts
Be consistent with your promotion

Bonus session next week
I originally planned on having this session conclude this series, but I feel compelled to bring one more. There are a lot of resources available to podcasters. I'm going to share some of those next week.
Semester 4
Over the summer, we'll be having our Semester 4. These sessions will be scaled back some between June and August. I am working on getting back to the original intent of this site and podcast, which is to create resources that are easy for people to get and consume.

One of the resources will be some tutorials/courses about podcasting. I'll be using some of the content from the podcast episodes that we have done in Semester 3, but there will be much more content as well. I will be creating several levels of accessibility to these: some will be completely free and available, some will be for those subscribed to the newsletter, and some may be used in a paid/premium course.
PodcastGuy.co
I am doing some podcast production, and I'd love to help you with your podcast. As a listener of this podcast, I will give you a discount if you use the code 'CSA' when you inquire about one of the three packages on PodcastGuy.co.

The post Podcast Promotion and Tips with Shawn Manaher (3-12) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

May 29, 2015

Shawn Manaher is the host of the Author Hangout and the Sidepreneurs podcasts, and comes on today to share his tips about podcasting and podcast promotion. In episode 101 of the Sidepreneurs podcast, Shawn shared 101 tips that he has learned regarding podcasting.

Shawn start by sharing his best podcasting tips:
[Tweet "Absolutely everything will take long, be harder, and won't matter as much as you think. - @ShawnManaher #podcasting"]

[Tweet "Create templates for everything. Systematize everything as much as possible. - @ShawnManaher #podcasting"]
Follow your routine!
What is the greatest tip that Shawn has been able to gather from the many interviews he's done?

On his podcast, Shawn asks his guest what the number one thing that contributes to their ongoing success. A common answer among high-level performers is to have and follow a routine. This helps to get them in the flow and maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of what they do.
Shawn's promotion tips

New and Noteworthy in iTunes
Strategic tweeting 20+ times per day to connect with influencers
Create systems and utilize virtual assistants
Strategic posting on social media
Create Quote posts for each episode
Include an image with social media posts
Be consistent with your promotion

Bonus session next week
I originally planned on having this session conclude this series, but I feel compelled to bring one more. There are a lot of resources available to podcasters. I'm going to share some of those next week.
Semester 4
Over the summer, we'll be having our Semester 4. These sessions will be scaled back some between June and August. I am working on getting back to the original intent of this site and podcast, which is to create resources that are easy for people to get and consume.

One of the resources will be some tutorials/courses about podcasting. I'll be using some of the content from the podcast episodes that we have done in Semester 3, but there will be much more content as well. I will be creating several levels of accessibility to these: some will be completely free and available, some will be for those subscribed to the newsletter, and some may be used in a paid/premium course.
PodcastGuy.co
I am doing some podcast production, and I'd love to help you with your podcast. As a listener of this podcast, I will give you a discount if you use the code 'CSA' when you inquire about one of the three packages on PodcastGuy.co.

The post Podcast Promotion and Tips with Shawn Manaher (3-12) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

May 22, 2015

Darrell Darnell is the founder of Pro Podcast Solutions, taking care of podcasters by handling their audio editing, show notes, and many other aspects of their podcast. Darrell has helped many people start podcasts and has a great podcast launch strategy to maximize their efforts. We also talk about the different podcast directories that we should consider having our podcasts in.

Darrell has

The post Podcast Directories and Launch Strategy with Darrell Darnell (3-11) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

May 22, 2015

Darrell Darnell is the founder of Pro Podcast Solutions, taking care of podcasters by handling their audio editing, show notes, and many other aspects of their podcast. Darrell has helped many people start podcasts and has a great podcast launch strategy to maximize their efforts. We also talk about the different podcast directories that we should consider having our podcasts in.

Darrell has

The post Podcast Directories and Launch Strategy with Darrell Darnell (3-11) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

May 17, 2015

Jeff Brown from the Read to Lead Podcast joins us to talk about his post production and editing philosophy and workflow. He was also on the School of Podcasting sharing some of his podcasting experience and tips.

The post Podcasting Workflow: Post Production and Editing with Jeff Brown (3-10) appeared first on Creative Studio Academy.

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