The Turkey household is lucky enough to know a lot of cool people. And, every once in a while, we get to see what might be the beginning of the greatest podcast in the history of mankind.
And if not, we at least get to see many of our friends have it a go..to try their hands at taking their hobby to another level.
As a quick back-story, I want to tell you that me and Leala have been doing this podcasting/blogging thing for many years now (actually I have kept a blog for many years before, as a drummer) and we have become pretty good at it. Now, when I say pretty good I do not mean as in pretty good recording quality or as in pretty good delivery. I mean pretty good as in pretty damn close to exactly how WE WANT IT.
So, for any aspiring podcasters, I wanted to give a few tips that might help.
1) Do not worry about audio quality, and let's be REAL honest here, OK? You are recording a voice or voices. It's not hard, and you do not need to spend a lot of money. Get a decent mic for 50-100 bucks. Get Audacity. Don't be one of these audiophiles that worries more about perfect sound quality than actually sounding like you are having fun. Me and Leala record using her iPhone. We can take it anywhere, it records good enough to hear everything very clearly and it is what we are: LIVE. We are not going to sit down behind pop-screens with massive headphones going "check...check...sshh..sshh..sshh..chhhhecckk..chhecck.." In other words, worry about perfect tone after you actually figure out your show.
2) Don't get too gimicky with your show. Wanna' have a panel? Cool. Wanna' have a panel that will each take turns to pull a random subject out of a hat, each member taking 5 minutes to be followed by responses in turn? Give me break. The idea with a podcast is to let others into your conversation, not into your cluster***k. Don't go out and get a guy with a "radio voice" to make an intro that sounds like some morning show out of L.A. That's been done, and been done lots. Cheese is your enemy. Do not play cheesy metal because you think it'll show how you have "attitude" and remember that you won't impress anyone with being FAKE. Be yourself.
3) Don't make huge plans. Don't be one of those kids in college that has the bands website, t-shirts and stickers made up without having songs written. Let's see if you can just actually record and loosely edit something (and figure out hosting without having to ask everyone) before you hire a web designer. Get a show or 4 out first, THEN conquer the world.
4) The golden rule: DO WHAT YOU WANT. Don't try to find a niche. Do not listen to other podcasts to try to copy. For Christs Sake, if you cannot be confident enough in your own ideas to put out a show that might contain nothing more than you (and maybe others) discussing video games, then do not even go on with this project. Understand that you are doing this because you DO have an ego, you think your opinions have value, and you think others will want to hear it.
5) Do not worry about making money. Stop right now if you are worried about download numbers. Do not try to work Google ads, or to try to find free space on your blog to stick AD AFTER AD AFTER AD. If you want to find a sponsor, cool. If you want to find 6 sponsors that have almost nothing to do with your show because you want to make 412 dollars a month, then GIVE UP NOW. You are not going to make any money at this, at least not for a while. You might get some free game accounts, some swag, free access to places that would normally cost you, and will get the best pay by meeting really really cool people that make you go "I wish I was that f*****g COOL." You will not do this as a living, unless you become fake. Howard Stern is not really an a**hole, and Rush Limbaugh is not really conservative (he gets messed up on prescription drugs and likes lot's of loose women.)
Go get Skype for live calls, and buy a decent Skype recorder.
Now listen, forget everything I just said. Stop your plans. Stop thinking about a website and completely forget about "..how many downloads represent a good amount?" Stop thinking about a logo, or a website or hosting a forum or about getting really cool developer interviews.
Done? Forgot all that? Sitting down?
OK. Grab the recorder, open the laptop, plug in the mic or press the red button.
Now, just talk for one hour. Talk about whatever you want. But for f***s sake talk about SOMETHING THAT YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT. TALK ABOUT IT FOR AN HOUR. NO, NOT 30 MINUTES!!!! TALK. IF YOU CANNOT TALK FOR AN HOUR ABOUT SOMETHING YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT, YOU HAVEN'T ANYTHING TO SAY. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THIS MUCH PASSION FOR SOMETHING, THEN YOU NEED TO HUSH AND GO TO SLEEP.
OK, now listen back to what you just recorded. Grab a beer, a smoke, your headphones or maybe your husband. Now sit back and listen to it and see how it feels.
Now, if you are embarrassed or feel stupid, stop right now. Put this silly little project out of your head and just keep moving on. Don't worry, most people don't get to this point until after doing it for 2 or 5 years.
BUT don't be surprised that, if you recorded for an hour like I said and talked about something you actually are in love with, that you find yourself enjoying your own voice and even find yourself forgetting that you even said half of that stuff. In fact, while you recorded you might have just blacked out in a slobbering fit of mic-pops and voice distortions.
After you are done listening, put it away and go away for a day or two.
Come back and re-record for an hour. Don't listen to the first recording before this second recording, you want to semi-forget what you said or might have thought sounded bad. Then listen back to this one and see how it sounds. If yo find yourself enjoying this very very very simple yet very very unglamorous process, write a few notes (just a FEW...damn don't make 24 topics!!!!) and go for it again, ALONE.
Now, you are ready. As long as you did not feel overly silly during this time.
Record a show, go find some copyright free music (there are sites that provide this for podcasters) and stick some of the song at the front and the rest at the end. Give the show a title, and slap it on it's Libsyn account (no, I am not going to explain it. If you want to do this, you will Google it and figure it out) and tell every single person you ever could. Tell your customers, your co-workers, your mom and dad. Tell that dude at the laundry, or that ticket-taker at the club where you saw your ex-boyfriends band.
But, DO NOT LISTEN TO THEIR OPINION. Don't ask them what they thought. Just be that weird girl that asked them to listen to her weird recording about video games.
Then, keep going.
After a while, you will be super famous.
Or, you will be like me and Leala...known enough in this small community. Able to gain access to some cool people and some cool places...occasionally scoring some free s**t. And very proud to say that your hobby is a creative process as well, that you don't just sit back and plug in to someone elses art all the time, you make your own. You will meet incredible people all over the world. You will travel occasionally for this hobby. You will dream big dreams of games that you want to see, and get to witness some people making those games, and maybe one day you might be able to have a part in making these games.
And you might make people smile, or think.
Just get to it, have fun. And put away the f*****g mixing board.