I recently put in a brief appearance in an all-star edition of Rob O’Hara’s You Don’t Know Flack podcast, in which Rob and a rather stellar selection of fellow podcasters (of which I’m pretty sure I’m the most small-time of the bunch!) talk about the process of podcasting, from picking a topic and format to the actual technical side of getting the thing made. I originally rambled for about 11 minutes and then realized I was rambling, and then went back and redid it in about 5-ish minutes. (If I can’t talk about my five-minute podcast in five minutes, there’s a problem.)
The perversity of the way my luck runs, the very day that Flack posted this installment (which brought more attention to the Escape Pod than I’ve been able to do myself since the initial launch), I started a new job and promptly fell behind on my supposedly daily podcast. I’m working on that as we speak. Oops.
Anyway, here are some additional sleeve notes for the Escape Pod, for those interested.
- There are 366 episodes written, of which, as of right now, of which roughly 240 or so are already produced.
- I record them in “blocks” of anywhere from 10 to 40 episodes per session – all depending on how much time I have, and if my voice is up for it.
- When I record, if at all possible, I stand up; it’s pretty easy to tell if I’m sitting down, because the energy level just isn’t the same. I always did radio standing up. If you stand up while you record, your diaphragm and lungs aren’t fighting to operate at full capacity. Old radio trick.
- My scripts are all pre-written and loaded onto a tablet.
- Each show is in the neighborhood of 5-10 minutes, and rarely is it longer than that. It takes me two minutes on average to record my voice for each installment, and 20-25 minutes of post-production and editing… per 5-minute installment!
- The March installments will all be redone, and have all been rewritten to a certain extent. The format of the show was not set when I started (the current format is: real history, birthdays/deaths, pop culture history). I may also redo some of the “recorded in the car” episodes (mostly September and October) – they just don’t sound right to me.
- I save all of my recordings and timeline sequences for every installment in case a major re-edit is needed. The same goes for all of the sound clips played in between my voice-overs. The “podcasting” directory on my hard drive is rather large.
- Software I use: Nero Soundtrax (for editing a whole show), Nero Wave Editor (for editing my recordings and splitting them up into segments before editing the whole show), Audacity (for “internal” recordings of sound sources from my computer: video games, the SAM voice synthesizer, etc.), VirtualDub (for grabbing sound from video files). The “funky theme song” at the beginning of every Escape Pod was done by me about 10-12 years ago using MTV Music Generator on a Playstation.
- Hardware I use, aside from my PC: Sony ICD-PX820 digital voice recorder; off-the-shelf PC gaming headset with a built-in windsock/pop filter on the microphone… um… that’s it, really. The recorder connects to my PC via a USB jack, and shows up as an external drive from which I just grab the raw MP3s.
- I’m hoping to be done with the project around the beginning of the year. Watch this space.
- I recently decided, at long last, to start using the 40-second extended intro, simply because it does so much legwork explaining what the show is about.
- I don’t put it on iTunes because I’m pretty sure the sound-clips-from-shows-and-movies thing would become a problem in record time.
I embarked on the Escape Pod project because I think it’s too easy sometimes to look at what’s on TV and in the movies and assume that it’s something that we’re actually capable of…
…when, in fact, it couldn’t be further from reality. I like to juxtapose Star Trek episodes that make space travel look routine with old NASA and Russian space shots that were anything but. In a strange sort of way, I’m using the geek pop culture elements to reel you in to listening to my attempt to popularize science and great technological achievements. Also, the Soviet and Russian space programs are virtually unknown to a lot of people in this country. Their cosmonauts took the same risks – sometimes more – as our astronauts, and their robotic probes to the moon and Venus have been some of the noteworthiest technical achievements anyone’s accomplished. The space race is over, we’re all cooperating now, and boy, does their space program have some hair-raising stories to tell. I want to make my contribution toward telling those stories, in my own breathless, rushed way. 😆
And, basically, I think the world’s ready for a geek radio show. If I had the time, I’d probably try to expand this into a format that includes music, strangely-out-of-place-and-yet-topical commercials for old video games and computers and toys, and swing blindly at getting SiriusXM or someone to give it a try. But at this rate, I’ll be doing good just to finish the commitment to having a year-round podcast in the can… need. more. time.
Anyway, hopefully that answers any questions folks might have after just now stumbling across the podcast. Enjoy!