Is This Thing On?

by David Todd McCarty | Monday, August 24, 2015


I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what form the podcast will take; In fact, I’ve been thinking about it ever since the idea entered my brain.

Will it be a Marc Maron style thing where I rant for a bit, then interview people? Not likely.

Or will it be more like Bill Burr’s podcast where he basically just rants nonstop for an hour? Not sure I can do it.

I never imagined it to be an interview show, because as much as I like the few people who I call friends, I’m not sure I can just interview my friend Bob and ask him how painting houses is going. Who knows, maybe I can, but generally speaking it’s very different interviewing celebrities. People tune it to hear the celebrity.

I’m not sure if I can carry the podcast by myself, meaning I’m not sure I can just talk nonstop for 30-60 minutes and keep it interesting. I think I need a foil. A sidekick. Someone to challenge my thinking. Someone to yell at. Someone to make me laugh, or maybe more importantly, someone to laugh at my jokes.

I need an Ed McMahon.

But at the moment, rather than finding just one Ed, my thought is to have a revolving group of Eds. A selection of guest co-hosts that can be at least mildly entertaining, and at the very least highly opinionated. Maybe we’ll agree. Maybe we won’t.

At the moment, the plan is to record in my home office. Unfortunately, my house sits pretty close to Route 47 and my office is on the second floor facing the street. The traffic can be pretty noisy at times. Now my hope is that with the new gear, and a little post-production sweetening, I can reduce it to the point where it’s not really an issue. I can also just do what my brother suggested, which is to just constantly complain about the traffic noise. The third option would be to set up elsewhere in the house, but that’s not going to happen.

I did have another idea, that might be something that happens down the road if this gets any traction, which is to take the show on the road occasionally.

Last summer, I was shooting a model on the Wildwood boardwalk, and in between outfit changes, I was running an ongoing commentary on the people there. I had the idea then about how funny it would be to grab a friend, get some microphones, and just do a live feed of us making fun of everyone.

I still think that’s a funny idea. Maybe we’ll do another Kickstarter down the road to buy some road-worthy gear.

But for now, I’m working on the details for the podcast. I have a domain and the start of a website, but it needs some work. I signed up for a Soundcloud account and that’s where I plan on storing all the episodes. I’m going to set up all the gear and test that all out. Make sure all the audio works according to plan and perfect my workflow. There are some unknowns for me still, that I hope will work out pretty simply.

I need to create show intro with music, sound effects, and some sort of voiceover. I don’t know if it will be mine or someone else’s voice. Seems like it should be someone else’s.

I need to develop a calendar of sorts, or a list of topics that I want to tackle. A lot might depend on who I bring on, and possibly what they want to talk about. But I want to have topics that I can always fall back on. Of course, as things come up, whether in my life or in the news, I’m sure I’ll talk about whatever is annoying me at the moment. But there are bigger topics that might drive a particular show that I want to develop.

Like the fashion world, for instance. My distaste for high waisted shorts on women is really just a symptom of a larger issue I have with fashion trends. This needs to be mined.

I have a bigger issue that i need to tackle which is how much I’m going to be playing a character of myself. People get amused when I’m out of my mind ranting about things, but I’m not like that all the time. Most of the time, I’m pretty quiet. Often, quite content. Do I let that come through, or do I have to get myself cranked up for each show so that my on-air attitude lives up to the title?

Another thing I’ve thought about is whether or not certain segments will develop over time. Will I ask everyone a single group of questions? Will we name the office studio? How large will Goshen loom in the narrative? Maron’s podcast is certainly rooted in it’s location in his garage. Not to copy him, but that seems important, especially to give listeners a sense of place.

I think I need to come up with simple, replicable portrait concept that I can do for each guest. It would be fun to have them all online somewhere. Or maybe I just need to shoot a couple of different types of shot and let each one be unique and special.

The funny thing is, I like to treat everything I do like it’s the biggest thing in the world. I want to present this as something that millions of people listen to, even though there is a good chance that it will just be a few friends, my mom and that one strange person from high school who continues to follow me and pretend we’re friends.

That’s just a joke. Don’t try and figure out if I’m talking about you. Of course, I’m talking about you.

The podcasting package that I bought comes with a line-in gizmo that allows me to hook into a phone line. At the moment, I don’t actually have a phone line. But I’ve read that Skype works even better and if you have a good internet connection on both ends, the sound quality is really pretty decent…much better than the phone anyway.

What I don’t know is how that will work with recording two microphones live into Soundtrack Pro on my Mac. Clearly both myself and a guest need to be able to hear them, and they us, and all three of us need to feed into the recording software. Will I be able to separate each person into a separate track, or will it just mix into a single track? This I need to figure out.

I’m not even sure if I’m going to publish this little essay. It’s mostly a way for me to think about what I need to work on. But if I do, and you’re reading this, don’t worry about a thing. These are all just technical issues I need to work out in order to make the best podcast I can make.

One thing I’ve learned over the years, mainly from me having a wide variety of hobbies and interests, is that I need to keep it simple. The more complicated it becomes, the more likely that I’ll burn out and won’t continue with it.

I need to keep this simple and fun.

Now about those guest co-hosts. This is not for everyone. Nothing will kill this faster than recording 60 minutes of boring, or worse irritating, audio. I’m a little worried about having to turn people down who I don’t think will be right for the show.

I’m also not quite sure how much weight to give the guest on the strength of the show. If possible, I’d prefer to carry the show myself, so that it doesn’t matter who I have in.

This isn’t ego, it’s format. If this is the Angry Dave podcast, and it’s really just an extension of my ongoing Facebook rants over the years, then the guest is there for flavor, not to be interviewed. It will still be my rants. I don’t think I need to be interviewing anyone. Not in a traditional sense anyway.

But hopefully the guests have a unique point of view on a particular topic.

Take the person who I hope will be the first guest. Heather Runyon. Heather works for the military as a civilian, in some capacity. She’s currently stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan. She has a unique point on view on a situation most of us have never experienced. What’s it like to live someplace where you wear a kevlar vest and flip flops to go to the shower? Just how long can you go without sex and beer before you want to blow your brains out?

We’re going to find out.

About me

I'm a writer, director, photographer, cinematographer and art director. A little bit of everything, all rolled into one. I'm a creative guy so it's not unusual to be a bit of a crank and particular about....well, everything. I'm a professed slacker with a pension for excessive creative output.


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