Podcaster’s Apprentice, post #1

So, I have started 4 podcasts at this point.

Wait. 5? I suppose it depends on how you count them.

A lot of them. That’s all that matters. I have gone through the initial phase of setting everything up/writing out scripts/even recording many episodes for a handful of podcasts.

In several cases I had started right before I learned that I’m going to be a Dad. In at least one case I realized that it was a stupid idea (especially since I couldn’t get permission from the music creators I needed). In exactly one case, I am about to record – this weekend!

One way or the other, consider this post the inaugural post for a blog series that I am calling the Podcaster’s Apprentice.

Topics will include:

  • What is the bare minimum for me to start?
  • What should I talk about?
  • Do I really have to spend money?
  • What is the suggested minimum for me to start?
  • I have more money – what else should I buy?
  • How do I get listeners?
  • Why don’t I just make Youtube videos? Or a blog? Or just post on a forum? Why would anyone listen to me?
  • How much time should I spend on this podcast?
  • When will I know when it is ready to publish?

And maybe some other topics.

A Brief Review, An Audacious Review, and an Update

Next in my series of podcasts is one that I no longer listen to, one that helped me get where I am, and of course, the update on the as-yet-unnamed D&D 5e podcast.

A Brief Review

I started listening to Private Sanctuary when I thought that I needed more nerdiness in my life and I was working at a job that required minimal communication with real live humans. I am reviewing this one only briefly because I am no longer listening to it – but that doesn’t mean it’s bad now. It’s just not what I’m looking for.

Ryan Costello, Jr. Started the 3.5 Private Sanctuary as a place where D&D 3.5 can continue living, despite the fact that Wizards of the Coast was dropping support for the game. In the first few dozen episodes, Ryan also watched as Paizo began to start Pathfinder, commenting on it’s development. Eventually they lost the “3.5”, because they were really just talking about Pathfinder. Eventually, Ryan (and crew) made multiple spin-off podcasts, all organized in to a podcast network.

The beginning of the Private sanctuary was something that helped me keep my sanity while going over multiple bumps and hurdles in my life. But when they split off in to the network, it was no longer what I was looking for. Mostly, it was the change in hosts – Ryan was about to have a baby and decided to sit out for a little while (this is all based on memory – sorry if I’ve got it wrong). The style change was a little jarring and I looked for other podcasts to keep my ears busy at work.

I am glad to see that Ryan and Co. are doing well and still releasing fresh content. If you are looking for general Pathfinder community news, check out their flagship podcast Know Direction (which focuses on industry events, products, and people), Private Sanctuary (which focuses on rules and game issues), or Geek Together (which is an intermittent podcast about a variety of narrow nerdy topics – but different each episode).

I’m going to leave it there for the Know Direction Network – I don’t listen to them anymore and therefore I feel like it would be disingenuous to have anything more in-depth. BUT, I will say that this podcast was what helped me to start my own podcast, which is discussed more in the next section.

Ryan, if you are reading this: let me know any time you find yourself in central Ohio. I’d like to give you a “thank-you” meal.

An Audacious Review

So, after I had listened to some 30 or so episodes of the 3.5 Private sanctuary, I noticed that I kept having opinions and I kept wanting to tell them to Ryan and his cohorts. Unfortunately, the episodes were about a year old at that point and I doubt that the hosts even remembered the points they were making. Nevertheless I still found myself trying to figure out how to talk to these guys, to offer a counterpoint, and to engage them on different issues.

And then I realized – what I actually wanted was to start my own podcast, so as to have conversations with people that I shared a nerdy space with.

So, how does someone start a podcast? Well, I googled “how to start a podcast.” I realize now that this is similar to the guys from Office Space looking up “money laundering” in the dictionary.

A few things popped up. I don’t know how far down the list it was, but the thing that really got my attention was The Audacity to Podcast. Which happened to be a podcast. All about podcasting. I was absolutely tickled about the recursion involved in the fact that this show existed at all. Through this podcast I learned that there are quite a few podcasts about podcasting, but this one was the one that I kept listening to. It is often evergreen content (seriously, even episodes 1-15 usually apply today), it is very well produced, and Daniel J. Lewis is very good at doing what he does.

Just like the previous two that I have reviewed, I started at the beginning. I downloaded every episode he has and started listening to them all. This gave me a good perspective on quite a few things, and helped me to develop the ideas that I had for a podcast. Some of the most important things that I learned I shall repeat here because I desperately want your awesome content to be preserved (really – I want you to make a podcast out of that awesome idea you have): 1. You must control your own feed, 2. You must have some kind of landing page that is easy to get to, and 3. Be passionate, be consistent, be considerate. Roughly June of 2014 I had managed to listen to enough episodes that I was finally comfortable starting a website (that you are reading right now).

Then, less than a month later, Amanda and I learned that we were pregnant. Well…okay. Suddenly the time and money that I’ve sunk in to this project has become a ‘back-burner’ project. But I also get a baby!

Like I said before, The Audacity to Podcast is a very well-produced show, and Daniel J. Lewis is good at what he does. He is humble, knowledgeable, and skilled. He tells you about different aspects of podcasting (and other online productions) with no hesitation, and often from his own experience.

Apparently, Daniel funds his life with his podcast network, largely through a few online businesses (consulting for podcasts and related work) affiliate marketing on Amazon and through various companies that offer products that he uses. He usually mentions something or other within the podcast episode, and experienced listeners hear it coming a mile away – but we still listen! which says something about his style.

An Update

So, in my previous post, I talked about the people in this new podcast that I am working on, and the space we will be in. The supplies for the space have been purchased and my wife told me that I am only allowed to have it be 9 feet by 10 feet, but that shouldn’t change it too much. I’ve been cutting wood and doing bad math in my head and coming up with ad hoc ways of supporting the whole thing and it looks like it will really be a space to game in really well. I don’t have pictures yet because I haven’t taken any, but I promise that I will.

This time, in addition to the physical structure, I will tell you about the structure of the podcast itself.

The basic plan is:

  • brief intro music (probably something from this hoopy frood) that lasts less than ten seconds before fading in to…
  • an intro talk where I talk about who we are and why we think you want us in your ears. This is probably recorded ahead of time and lasting less than 2 minutes, since you really want to hear…
  • THE CONTENT – i.e. the reason you people are letting me live in your head for a little while. Probably 30-35 minutes (well…probably an hour before I edit out cussing and boring stuff) of Pathfinder play. Eventually at an appropriate stopping point, we will get to…
  • Ending talk, which will be recorded by me, alone, and without the other players. Because I want this space to be for any announcements and we are recording 4-5 episodes worth of content in each session. I will provide a brief summary, probably a teaser about the next episode, and then I will talk about credits and the website. At the very end, I will include a D&D gametale, something that has actually happened to an actual player in an actual game – but also is very short.
  • Then, outro music.