Caitlin Kennedy, a participant of our first round of the Broadcast Training Programme, gives us her tips on making a podcastby
One of the greatest things about the internet is that it allows anyone the ability to find an audience for whatever weird or wonderful thing it is they would like to share with the world. From freaky fan fiction to an obsession with eels (and I don’t mean the band), if you put enough thought and effort into this thing you’re doing, chances are there are people out there on the planet that share your passion and might even pay you for your expertise. And that’s amazing. Because before, these niche interests would have remained the preserve of the nerds and the weirdos. But now those same outcasts and social misfits have risen up and united and now run Facebook, Deliveroo and Google. The fact that they have a terrifying amount of control over us is a story for another time, but it remains that the World Wide Web has changed the face of entertainment and entrepreneurship.
Podcasting is a particularly brilliant vessel for getting your stuff out there. Without censorship or time constraints, it offers a much freer form of broadcasting than the traditional profit-driven/public owned media. Often, people start podcasts as a passion project, never intended to be their main source of income, which makes them refreshingly non-commercial. And as anyone can start their own, potentially without any overhead costs, they offer an exciting way to self-start. The flipside to this miracle back-door entrance to the world of media, is that it has become pretty damn competitive out there and it’s hard to be heard over the clamour of voices on the web.
For this reason, when we were on the radio course with Create Jobs, we were given a task to create a podcast in a week, based around the theme 'The Sound of London'. It was important to think laterally and with an audience in mind. What immediately came to my mind as a new Londoner, was a word from a blog entitled Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig, in which he gives names to the sensations we all feel but can’t put into words. This particular one was “sonder”, defined as “the realisation that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as your own”. As someone who has always lived in a place where you couldn’t walk ten steps down the road without meeting someone you knew, it is very strange for me to constantly see so many strangers, without a familiar face in sight. The word “sonder” has helped me see London as less faceless and more fascinating, a treasure trove of stories.
This realisation combined with a scene from the film “Amelie”, where she describes everything she sees to a blind man, formed an image for me of someone walking through London getting snippets of peoples’ narratives as they passed. I wanted to put this into sound form and decided on Spoken Word as the vessel for people to speak their own truths. George The Poet’s incredible ode to London, “My City”, was the perfect piece to structure the sound around and after that, it was a case of getting as many recordings as possible from London and the people that make it. When you start listening, the noise of London starts to separate out into a hundred different strands and it was thrilling to take on the task of finding the individual sounds and piecing them back together into something that didn’t just resemble white noise.
This fortnight has been all about learning for me. I don’t really have any background in media and had never used sound or picture editing software before, so the intense day with Rich, the Sound Guru was utterly brilliant and such an ear-opener (excuse the terrible pun). You can’t improve if you don’t try and this course has been instilling us with exactly that message plus a cacophony of people saying “yes you can”. When that happens, it’s incredible the doors that open in your own mind. In short, there is no telling how to make a podcast, because to paraphrase George The Poet, the world is your oyster card and you can use it to make anything you want.