Thoughts on Podcasting [VEDA #1]

Context: I got to write and host on a class podcast titled The Web We Weave in an episode centering around Tony Zhou’s Every Frame a Painting. This is a reflection on what I learned from this experience.

Preparing for this podcast was definitely one of the more nerve-wracking parts of my life. I felt as if I needed to prove to myself that I was capable of being in charge of such an episode, of being able to take the stage with my voice after hiding behind the written word for so long.

Photo credit to: https://singingmachine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/stage-fright.jpg

When looking for material to address Every Frame a Painting, I went through first some of the series entries before poking around Vimeo to find every episode of the series uploaded there, before turning to Tony Zhou’s Patreon for EFAP, which offers alternate versions of the episodes for educational use (at a price), and then to Twitter and Reddit, both forums that I used quite often. Showing these different resources to my partner, we both made our own observations. As I watched Zhou interact with his followers and advise them on how to critique the works that had impacted them, I saw how viewer-audience participation worked its way into Zhou’s new media and how it allowed him to continue participating himself despite how long it had been since the series had updated.

I was not initially exceedingly familiar with Every Frame a Painting, nor was my partner Kevin. However, I was familiar with the YouTube scene and personalities like the Nerdwriter, so when we sat down to plan out the episode, we each brought our own impressions on the series and our own contexts (Kevin had previous experience with the Soul Pancake episode of The Web We Weave). Kevin pitched questions to me while I did my best to answer them, and I would then in turn bring up different topics of conversation (such as the Reddit AMA mentioned in the episode and the idea of Tony Zhou perpetuating the participatory culture with his work). Collaboration was more than integral in making this episode what it was. It was also more than reassuring to have someone who was so confident on board and had faith in my work. We worked on applying Every Frame a Painting to the terminology we had covered in class and we put it all into one Google Doc entry.

The document was interesting because it was far more fragmentary and incomplete- when writing for another mode, because it relied much more on my voice and the natural chemistry I had with the co-producer, I found that it was both challenging to not fall back and write out whole monologues or answers to questions without stifling the conversation, and recording became difficult because I found myself worrying that my co-host would feel cramped or cut off. It was difficult to not be overwhelmingly self-aware of everything. This did help my rhetorical composition in the end and I think it’s made me more adaptable than I was before.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/24/Rubber_bands.jpg
Flexible like a rubber band!

The process also felt much faster and immediate than writing, say, this reflection or another blog post or article, which takes me a lot more time. It also felt natural to go faster than with my previous work. While structuring the argument and conversation was both very much the same, it also felt different because I had someone else to bounce off and interact with. In a way, it was like having another person alternating the argument paragraphs- similar arguments that still differed in subtle ways.

I’ve learned that I need to work on my timing- we went over by a lot and editing involved cutting out a lot of material and it was a struggle to finish the episode in time while balancing other obligations. I need to work on my self-confidence as I was exceedingly nervous during the episode, and I think that it is evident that while I eased up as time went along, I still have a long way to go.

But given the chance to work on a similar project? I’d jump at the opportunity.

Aaaaaaaand… Relax

Odd.

It’s only been eight days since I last posted on the blog, and yet it feels like an eternity.

But here I am again. Apologies for my absence, ladies and gentlemen, I was temporarily inconvenienced by a giant slew of exams hurled at my face. Oh, and then someone sneezed in my face and made it very painful for me to talk (English Translation: I got the flu, complete with painful throat, fatigue and singing under the influence of cold medicine.)

However, with an empty schedule, I hope to be able to devote more time to the blog and to… life, really. I’d love to be able to get out of the house more, to experience life for what it is, and to have fun. I’ve also discovered how awesome it is to be able to choose when I go to sleep and to not have it be dictated by the school’s whims.

I’ve spent my free time thus far thinking and reading a lot. There’s plenty of goofing off, both on and off-line mixed in there too. Topics I’ve been thinking on are, in no particular order:

-Blaise Pascal’s Pensees, which I’ve been reading and thinking on. A LOT.

-Humanity- and about what constitutes a human’s essence.

-The Serial podcast- which I admittedly fell behind on. The plot is thickening, and I still have to read about what one of the major players in this mystery (Jay) said post-Season 1.

-The next chapter of the Mark Redwood series, which I’ve been wrestling with for awhile. The chapter deals with suicide, and it’s a topic that I’ve never really written about. I want to do the issue justice. Oh, and anyone reading this who might be feeling down, or even considering suicide: While the world can be cruel and terrible, while it can be full of evil and be out to get you, it also always has hope, and there’s always AT LEAST one drop of happiness and beauty that stands out and makes it all worth it. You might not see it now, but keep looking. I am sure that you are one of many wonderful people in the world, and I’m sure that there will always be someone who cares and wants or needs you to stay.

-Harper Lee’s sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird- I have such mixed feelings about it. I loved To Kill a Mockingbird, and reading about Atticus Finch, Scout and Jem, and I’m scared that I’ll expect too much from Harper Lee. At any rate, I look forward to it!

And I think I’ll close this post here. Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Twitter Exclusive: So Close, And Yet So Far

Further updates will be posted below or at twitter.com/marktheredwood