Same basket; new eggs -- PodcastFilter
March 18, 2016 12:21 PM   Subscribe

Hi! As a lot of you know from one of my posts around the Blue, I'm trying to get the production of my podcast in motion. Only the format I really wanted to do it in is proving more difficult than I supposed. How do I keep the concept but rethink the way I am going about it?

The original idea was to create a 45 minute podcast, with at least a few minutes of intro/setting up that week's interview, the actual interview for about 15-20 min, with the remaining time to be devoted to a roundtable of booze reviews, discussion of booze news, etc. Thanks to a lot of you I have an extensive list of ladies in the adult beverage industry to contact, but getting those interviews--which has been the original basis of the whole podcast--is harder than I thought. I'm getting friendly replies and interest, but no real commitments yet. I don't want to delay getting this thing off the ground because I am having trouble getting interviews locked and booked, but I am wondering if I am going about it all wrong. Am I putting too much focus on these conversations? Should there be more room for me to develop a style and a sound?

How do you rethink/redo a creative format you love? I am doing my best to not get discouraged because I love and believe in this idea (I've been thinking about it for over a year with various notes scribbled all over the place.)
posted by Kitteh to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Best answer: That doesn't sound like you're asking too much, why do you think you're having trouble "closing" these discussions with a data/time for recording? Is recording as simple as you calling them on the phone/Skype? It really doesn't seem like there should be such an issue with 15 minute phone calls, can you talk a little bit about why you think that's happening and maybe we can help troubleshoot?
posted by jessamyn at 12:25 PM on March 18, 2016


Best answer: They are probably resistant to doing an interview with something that doesn't exist. If it doesn't come out they've wasted their time. Start by creating 2-3 episodes with interviews of your semi-qualified friends first--like maybe a bartender, or just a fellow aficionado, or a scientist--just to be able to show that you have a minimum viable product, a website, a podcast feed, a format and decent sound quality. Should help a lot.

Getting interviews consistently with the people you want is REALLY HARD. It is not the easy part of doing a podcast. It is the hardest part, in my opinion.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:44 PM on March 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


Response by poster: I make it clear in my emails that I understand that this is an unknown and untested quantity in terms of the type of podcast and that I completely understand if they are reluctant to commit time to a very new project.
posted by Kitteh at 12:58 PM on March 18, 2016


Best answer: Your pitch to someone you want to interview should never include a list of built-in excuses for them to say no. Everybody's default is no. Your gig is to get them to say yes. You should definitely be honest about what the thing is, but there's ways to frame it. Basically your ideal pitch should be along the lines of "hey, I'm launching a new project about x, I wanted to talk to you for it because [Person they know and respect] told me you were awesome at [some aspect of X that indicates you know what they do]. This conversation will be short and easy and I'm extremely flexible and willing to accomodate your no doubt busy schedule."

You can add a line or two after that about your background and what drew you to the project, what the format will be, etc. But the basic chords to hit are, "I know who you are, I think you are the bestest, here is someone who vouches for me." If you can't manage the last one, you can swap in any other evidence you might have that will make them like/trust you --- links to work you've done on the subject, whatever --- but those are the mains. Keep it short and sweet, and butter 'em like they're the last piece of toast on earth.
posted by Diablevert at 1:10 PM on March 18, 2016 [6 favorites]


Best answer: To be clear, I think the overall format idea is sound. Interviews can help build an audience for the thing because each guest has tentacles out there into different circles of people, and by them telling their friends about it you'll be able to build an audience much more quickly than by relying on word of mouth from people who find the show organically or just your own circles. Interviews are just often a pain in the ass to arrange no matter what.
posted by Diablevert at 1:22 PM on March 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


Your pitch to someone you want to interview should never include a list of built-in excuses for them to say no. Everybody's default is no. Your gig is to get them to say yes. You should definitely be honest about what the thing is, but there's ways to frame it. Basically your ideal pitch should be along the lines of "hey, I'm launching a new project about x, I wanted to talk to you for it because [Person they know and respect] told me you were awesome at [some aspect of X that indicates you know what they do]. This conversation will be short and easy and I'm extremely flexible and willing to accomodate your no doubt busy schedule."

Yes, this. I have never done a podcast (in fact, I have never listened to a podcast), but at one point I needed to do a bunch of long and probing interviews with very busy people for a research project. To my surprise, my success rate was almost 100 percent (one guy flaked and I let it go because I had enough interviews completed already), by following almost exactly the script above. I always tried to both call and email, because some people never check their voice mail and others never check their email. I was also willing to be a bit persistent, because I was asking something of them; you can't let one non-response end the conversation.

The biggest thing that helped, in my experience, was dropping names. "Person X suggested I call you," or "I just did an interview with Person Y and they said to say hi when I talked with you." Be a bit shameless, and put the onus of saying "no" on them, rather than making it easy (like, "So, uh, if I don't hear from you, I'll figure you are busy..."). The hardest were the people with assistants who screened their calls and emails -- it took a lot of effort and pushiness to get past that barrier (which is of course why they have the assistant).

Good luck, it sounds like a great project.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:49 PM on March 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


Best answer: I think you should probably put out a couple of episodes now, even if they're shorter than what you hope to create in the future. When I've had podcast guests, they almost always want to listen to the show ahead of time so they know what to expect from the hosts.

Also, if you're not already doing this, be sure to include some details about what you'll be asking them, maybe even with sample questions. And don't be too open-ended with the time frame. Busy people get decision fatigue, so make it easy on them: "Would you be available to record for 10 minutes on Saturday afternoon or any time Monday?"
posted by jess at 5:02 PM on March 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


Best answer: How do you rethink/redo a creative format you love?

By redoing it. Podcasts often re-release an edited, remixed, improved version of early episodes. As Potomac Avenue suggested, get a couple friends to do it just to get something. And, then do a couple of really short ones. You can always edit them in / out of a full 45 minute podcast "Best of the early years" later.
posted by Gotanda at 6:18 PM on March 18, 2016


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