Friday, October 30, 2015

Exploring an Idea

   What is a think tank? How does it work? The way I've always imagined it is the same way I've always seen it on TV and movies. There's an idea, someone writes it on a huge whiteboard, then everyone around a board room table yells out ideas until it's fleshed out. I guess the guy holding the marker is controlling the idea? What if there is no solid ideas, is that what we're fleshing out?
   Seems like I'm lacking in a lot of ways these days. Haven't had too many brand new ideas, though I have tweaked others and come up with new material to mix into our programming. Although to say I don't have enough ideas would be a lie when the real issues facing me are organizational. Specifically, my ability to organize. This whole blog is literally a string of posts chronicling my failed attempts to try and get organized. If there were a niche market for bloggers who never accomplish anything I'd be rolling in the subscribers.
   I've decided to place my focus on two different podcasts.
   The first is my updated version of The Podcast Club. The idea is to create an audio extension of my BLOG called Fine Ass Podcasts which is a blog where I give my opinion of what the best podcast was for that part of the month. "Part of the month" meaning 1 or 2 (first half or second half). An actual episode would consist of my co-host and I going over what I (and hopefully what they) have written about and discussing what we thought of that month's picks. If I get the co-host I want it will probably become a bash session of how terrible the podcasts I picked were. That should keep people coming back right?
   My other focus is one I've mentioned before. I am ready to put the search for my father into full gear and start creating some real drama. My biggest obstacles? Inexperience, lack of ability to create a narrative (i'm working on it...) and finding regular help. There's also the fact that I have to confront my mother about creating this and finally ask her straight out what happened and if she wants to be a part of the search. The real thing that has held me back is the fact that I don't know how to make a podcast yet! For something like this I want the podcasts to be well done and I can't promise that. Yeah, I have a mic. Yeah, I have audio editing software. But I don't have experience, and if you're like me, yes, maybe you wont let poor quality make you stop listening, but I know most people can and will get turned off if it doesn't sound at least a bit professional. All of that is why I'll first be starting the Fine Ass Podcasts: Podcast Edition where hopefully I will learn all I need to know to make the O Father, where art thou-cast be a little better than it would if I started there.

Only time will tell I guess...

"The first step is you have to say that you can." - Will Smith

Friday, August 21, 2015

A fork in a road begging for focus

   In the beginning it was so simple. Just start a podcast. There's only four words in that sentence but it's an incredible amount of work. Taking your passions and turning them into a bi-weekly or even monthly broadcast isn't something I saw myself doing in my younger years so I've never really developed a radio style personality. In fact, "Voice" was always my lowest score in English class (more on that in a later post). This is all new to me. Everything from defining the programming to audio editing is something I've had to learn in order to make any progress and it will definitely show for the first year or so.
   Not to mention, there's a business side to all of this. It's hard enough coming to terms with the idea of me, a known introvert, becoming a "radio personality" without becoming a businessman on top of it. I never wanted to start a business before. Well, at least not a business that had anyone included other than me! It's a hard mindset change.
   Did you notice how none of that has anything to do with what I said I was going to post about? Did you also notice that I ask you a lot of questions as if there's someone actually reading this? Well fine, you begged and begged, I guess I can give you an idea of some of the shows I have in mind but you have to promise to leave my twitter alone, okay? Deal? Deal.
   The main show I'm going to make is not new to this blog. It's about starting a podcast. More specifically, it's about following a start up from from literal inception to fruition (assuming it comes to fruit eventually). In fact, you are actually reading the blog companion of that podcast! It's no where near being released because I feel we have to make it a few months into actual production before I start talking about what it's like. If I started now the episodes would be ten minutes of me talking about how hard it is to get people motivated. Who wants to hear/read that? ... ... ... Why are you even here? Stop reading this and go have a life.
   Another podcast I have in pre-pre-pre-production is Project: O Father, Where Is You? It will be a radio diary chronicling the search for my genetic father. He left before I was born and little bits of info have come out here and there over my life. Recently I got a hold of a picture of him from a family member who also gave me his name. Well, confirmed it for me really but this is all going to be covered in the show.
   Is that enough? I feel like that's all I'll give out for now. Got any ideas for where I should put my attention the most? What about tips for how I can make these better? Leave me a comment nonexistent readers!

"A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct." - Dune by Frank Herbert

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Hurdles of Creating Content Part 2

   Summer in Alaska is one of the most beautiful and distracting things to experience. My wife and I traveled to Girdwood for hikes every other weekend, went down to Homer to check out the spit and my friend's family's new property and headed over to Soldotna for dip netting. My legs are constantly sore and my skin has shifted from bleach white to regular white (a record as far as tans go for me).
   Needless to say, I got very little done in the media creation process during this time. The two and a half months that summer lasts here is a very busy time. And that isn't just for free time but for work time as well. Most businesses in Alaska boom during this time due to all the tourrorists. *ahem!* I mean tourists. So between work and sunshine I have to apologize to the two Russian guys who frequent this blog.
   All of this doesn't mean I haven't been working. It just means I've got very little done. Most of what I've been focusing on is listening to a broad variety of podcasts to get more inspiration and fleshing out more podcasts ideas. Not much different from before right? Well it's a slow process and I think you should take your judgments and shove 'em because I don't need to impress you.
   Well, technically the model of blogging requires I try to impress you but I don't care. This place has no real end goal in mind. It's not a part of my business model more than to see what kind of interest I can garner and to get these ideas down somewhere. I guess that's no reason for me to tell you, the kind reader, to shove your judgments. I'm sorry.
   So I guess to make things right (or to disingenuously make myself feel better as it is totally obvious that I could have simply deleted the "shove 'em" remark because this is a blog) I can give you, my adoring readers, a preview of a few podcasts I'm fleshing out so that you can remark on what you would do to make it better or how it's a stupid idea. Any and all criticisms will be welcome (he said on the internet as if not saying that would at all change the way you respond). I'll make a post later this week outlining a few with a basic overview of how I see the podcast running. Be sure to check back around Friday.

"The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure criticism without resentment." - Elbert Hubbard

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Hurdles of Creating Content (with no experience creating content)

   Everyone says "just start a podcast". If you're an avid listener of any byte sized content or you frequently adjust your radio tuner to the NPR station then maybe you've thought of creating such content. Or maybe you've heard Kevin Smith or Joe Rogan say something along those lines. One way or another you somehow got to this blog so you must have an interest in creating some sort of online media.
   At the time I'm writing this I barely have a company name and a few haphazardly recorded interviews talking about possible podcast ideas. That's right, ideas that are possible. Basically, I've got one step up from nothing.
   That isn't to say I haven't learned anything. My audio editing skills have gone from absolutely nothing to complete novice (a small but important step up), my understanding of how to prepare a guest for a recording has developed loads, I've started to undertake the idea of starting a business around podcasts and the way I listen to the podcasts I love has gone from passive to analytic. And all of that is just the stuff I spat out for this little blog post! Imagine if I sat down and tried to come up with something to impress whatever Russian people actually find their way here.
   So if I've learned all of that how can I have almost nothing to show for it? Because not all adventures start out with clear victories. Not all I've accomplished has a physical (or even digital) presence. There have been a lot of obstacles along the way that have forced me to grow and that's what I've accomplished. From the courses I'm taking on organizational structure of a business to the new podcasts I've found about the business of creating media, everything is pushing toward my goal. Even my new activities outside of this side venture have shown positive growth.
   What I'm trying to say is, the biggest hurdle of creating content is learning. Learning how to create content.
   That's all I really have for now. I'll be working on a preview of sorts highlighting the best of my first interviews talking to a few friends about their podcasts and about starting a media production company. Until then, I'll leave you with this.

"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary." - Vince Lombardi

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

"Hmm... You had me at restrictions."

   The farther down this path I walk the faster things seem to happen, or rather, the more things that need my attention seem to present themselves.
   I knew that starting a business is difficult. I'm not going to act surprised. All I really wanted was to start a podcast, but the pull of ideas left and right, forward and back, left almost nothing productive to work with. The reorganization was required. 
   Fine. Then I started to build the foundations of a business. I created divisions, posts and descriptions of what all of those would do. Then what happens? I realize, that I'm going to run all of them. I'm the one. Someone has to do it, and it's not going to be anyone else. 
   Okay, I've accepted this. Once I start getting these posts down I can hand them off to others. It's the same as the job I currently have. I need to master my post, so I can create the book that explains everything I do, then train a person to follow that book and do my job, that way I can move up to another post and learn that one. The corporate ladder exists in a small business as well. 
   Basically what I've learned is that unless an idea smacks the person in the face they aren't going to want to put in too much effort until they see it 'taking off'. Why would they? My wife actually said "I don't really see it as a business..." If my wife can't even see it that way why would I expect anyone else to?
   Then last weekend happened. I had set up a time for us to Skype our friend Danny down in the lower 48 who has been running a music/clothing company that he started. Who better to ask for advice than someone who is already running a small business. The three hour conversation taught me 2 things. 1, one of my "co-founders", Ike, is thinking about the business and his podcast, just not explicitly to me/out loud. He showed interest in not only the content we create but the creative control we had to maintain. How did he show that latter part? Well, 2, Danny showed extreme interest in this idea. At one point he even talked about using his company/brand to release our podcasts, thus eliminating a need to form a company to begin with. My newly intrigued partner Ike put the kibosh on that idea with the simplest of statements; "Hmmm... You had me at restrictions." It was brilliant. Of course we wouldn't want to do that because then his company would have a way it wanted things done. 
   I know Danny didn't want to take over and make this project his. He has a lot going on in life as it is and he just gets excited. I'm glad! I welcome his involvement! Not only is he a great musician, businessman and friend, but he also has the drive to add to our momentum and make things happen. 
   Overall I see only positives from all of this. Now I just have to organize a time to sit down, 1 on 1, with Ike and get him positioned in my company as an executive in charge of business meetings and give him some executive producer jobs and we'll be set. But first I need to find the right title for him in the company. Obviously Co-founder, Executive, CFO, are all things I need to clearly define. By the next post, I had better have sat down with him already... 

"Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless." - Thomas A. Edison

Monday, February 23, 2015

The momentum buids...

   Progress! Oh sweet progress! One month after my hopeless (yet hopeful) post I've finally made some progress. And on more than one front too!
   As far the business goes, I'm starting one. Yay (/sarcasm). If there's one thing I never saw myself doing it's starting a business, let alone a media company. I studied the org board my boss put up at work and even used the lessons at (yeah, scientology style) to understand the basics of organization in relationship to a business. I've got different divisions and positions all with different duties and responsibilities. No, they're not all fleshed out but the outline is there!
   Then comes the other progress... If I was writing this post 2 days ago the tone would be much less happy but because of yesterday I feel some momentum building and it's reinvigorated me in a way I didn't think possible. Pretty amazing.
   So what happened yesterday? Good question! I made my first recording!!! That's right, my new podcast has it's first recording done! No I wont be releasing it any time in the next few months (maybe even a year from now or more?) but I did get to sit down with my good friend Shawn and discuss the details of his new podcast. That's a major step forward.
   After talking to him and seeing his interest, I was buzzing hard on some sort of adrenaline and once my wife and I had dinner eaten up and she finished her work in the kitchen I had to sit her down and do the same thing with her. We went on for 40 minutes (well past our bed time mind you) about the idea of sitting down once a week for a ginger tea to discuss how the week went, how the weekend was, and what we could do for the coming week. She seemed to enjoy herself and respond positively.
   Add onto all of this that I got a few recordings of Brian teaching me more League of Legends techniques and you have one happy creator. My podcast alone depends on following others on their way to releasing their content so the lack of involvement all around has really given me the stick in the mud feeling. I mean, Shawn and I had to mess with the microphone for an hour or two just to get the right settings. This is three months after I got the damn thing. Christ....

   Anyway, that's the update for now. I'll leave a small teaser picture below... ;)

“There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.” - Ronald Reagan

Thursday, January 22, 2015

What does it take?

   So I totally failed. No date has been confirmed. I'll be trying to get a hold of them today to set a date though so all is not over as of yet!
   I've become a bit lost in the organization of whatever we are to be. It's easy to see we need the founders/co-owners, editing and we can all be producers on some level... But what else? Do we need to decide who's going to handle the online marketing? Should there be more than one of us? Probably, seeing how small we are. I think a lot of these questions can be answered once we sit down.
   The plan so far is to get everyone in one room, get the mic settings right, and record us as we discuss these exact issues. Every time we get together to discuss it I'll record the sessions and save them. I'll use these meetings to create the Let's Make A Podcast? podcast. It will be similar to Start Up (a podcast by Gimlet about Alex Grunberg(sp?) about him starting up a media company) but instead of a project by an all ready known creator, it would follow our group. Who has almost NO clout. Seems legit right? Even if we fail, it should do well because it's the internet. People love watching others fail.
   So what does it take to create content? It's a hard thing to find tips for. Crafting a program for entertainment/education seems like a delicate art (unless you go to YouTube) and just jumping into the world of online media seems like a naive thing to do. But who cares!? It's the internet.

"Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." Winston Churchill

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


   So I didn't even give myself homework. My last line in the last post was about giving myself homework. Gah, these are the kinds of habits I have to try and break. If anyone actually read my shit there'd be a lot to answer for.
   As far as progress goes there isn't much to say. Still in the same spot. However, I did find a podcast where Alex Blumberg (This American Life, Planet Money, etc) documents his journey of creating a podcast network. Almost the exact idea I had. Only, he's actually starting a big business where he needs 1.5 million dollars and a good amount of employees and such. I just want to sit down with friends to have chats and invite professionals from the local area to talk about starting a business here. Different from my vision, but very helpful. It put the business side of things into a bit more focus.
   So, my homework right? Get the guys to agree on a date. Sometime this weekend or next where we can sit down and chat about possible show ideas and set a schedule to get some stuff done!

   I'll let you know how that goes on Monday...

Monday, January 12, 2015

Let's Make A Podcast?

   So I've decided to just use this bloggy type place to keep the internet up to date on how my podcasting journey is going. Because, you know, the internet wants to know. Plus it will help me feel like there is progress being made. Either way, fuck it, I'll write what I want.
   There are two other people I have in this project. There is Isaac, the character/personality I feel will work best with his own show, and Brian, the realistic one who will be a dick when needed to bring things back to topic. Sorry if you're reading this B, just saying it how it is. We need you to call people on their bullshit.
   And where does that leave me? It took me a few weeks for all of this to really take shape in my mind. I looked up organizational structure in business and read countless guides on making a podcast and the YouTube videos... Oh the YouTube videos... At this point I've finally got a couple solid ideas to strive for that, even if they don't work, will teach us about what our next step should be.
   Basically I'll be the "organization" guy between the three of us. I have to be the one to create the show notes, get them together and give them homework until we get to our first real recording.
   Isaac and I have had our idea for a show for a while (a bug podcast! [he knows a lot about bugs...]) but haven't hammered out how it will work. He has a great love for words as well so we'll see what comes of that.
   Brian on the other hand has shown little to no interest in this venture thus far. When I ask him straightforward if he wants to be a part of this process he says yes but that's about a far as it goes. During the test recordings to see how the mic functioned he was definitely a part of the conversation so that's a good sign. Last night I came up with the idea of doing a YouTube show weekly where we take recordings of LoL matches we play and have him be my "teacher" by telling me how noob I am. It could be a great show! Gives him a chance to be a dick and have fun with it while also hitting a demographic of people trying to get better a LoL. We'd just need the match recordings then to use the mic to narrate. Also, it's never bad to have a reason to game!
   I had another couple ideas as far as "finding our voice" goes. My first idea was to use my facebook group TheReal as a jumping point. A few years ago I randomly created this group from a few friends and let them add whoever and it became an image board for our "extended crew". It's pretty dead these days but people are still there, so I thought about doing "The Real Foundation Podcast" as a tester.
   The idea comes from The Foundation series where before a predicted fall of the galactic empire a scientist creates the idea of The Foundation; A group of scientists dedicated to preserving the science of humanity so it wouldn't be lost during the spreading out and breakdown of the galactic civilization. The idea would be the same for The Real Foundation Podcast where I get one or two people from The Real to talk about themselves, who they are, how they got onto The Real and what they've liked and disliked about it. It wouldn't be for mass release but just something that others on The Real could listen to if they wanted and a way to start getting into the mindset of a podcaster.
   And the other idea I had for a "warm up" to our actual podcasts would be the Let's Make A Podcast? Podcast, which is something I'm already moving forward with. It will be a recording of our meetings. It can be something we listen to for notes later as well as a way to hear ourselves and test mic settings.

So that's the plan so far!

   I guess at the end of these I can put some homework up for myself so I have to answer to someone if I fail for the week.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Crafting a Podcast

   Four years ago I started to really jump into the world of podcasts. A crazy world where every day people can chat with others and turn it into a form of media instantly shared with millions. We're in a world where you can listen to a podcast by Joe Rogan, then by a local group of gamers who just wanted to start chatting with other local gamers, then hop onto YouTube and watch Snoop Dogg chat with Seth Rogen about his career.

   It's incredible. We're living in a time where there no longer is a divide between the people we respect and want to hear more from and us. Yes, there's a physical divide and yes, there are still millions of people fighting for the same attention as you but if you're smart and persistent, there's no reason you can't reach your idols. It's an incredible change of pace and now that technology is trickling down in prices you can pretty much do the same thing.

   We're now at the point in history where any schmo off the street can use the internet to become a celebrity. YouTube artists are now making their way into the mainstream with television ads and official products using their face as their image. I've even heard of a YouTube sensation recently getting a green light for a TV show.

   Between technology advancements, podcasters encouraging their listeners and the gap between the individual and the world stage, I decided to start a podcast. I know right? A nobody like me, putting out content for the world and expecting the world to listen? Crazy. Absolutely crazy. People like Joe Rogan and Snoop Dogg already have a fan base so it's easy for them to jump in and infinitely harder for a schmo right? Wrong.

   Look around. You know people. You have a community full of people. You have friends that are your friends because of mutual interests that I'm sure you discuss at lengths! We all have the same set up as the all ready famous podcasters. The only difference is they are starting with an audience they had all ready and fame comes with a certain ease at contacting others with fame.

   So no, a podcast I start with a group of buddies isn't going to bring in any super celebrity from California. And yeah, I'm pretty sure I wont become a local celebrity. But I do have a smart group of friends who I always have amazing conversations with. Why can't I? Go ahead, tell me why!