Another week, another edit up of the DLC podcast, another day of musing on what I even want my voice to be. I’ve been musing particularly on the many little bits and pieces I’ve made in the past few months, the things I’ve done, and how I basically monetise and control none of them.
There was the idea in my head that my games and books being free was some sort of insurance or guarantee. Right now I’m wondering if maybe it’s kicking myself: By keeping myself out of conventional markets, like Amazon and Google Books, and making my product free, I’m actually keeping people from being invested.
Maybe I should change that.
Today I tore a forty five minute chunk out of the middle of our podcast. Then I trimmed that chunk down, sad that I wouldn’t be able to use it. The thing that really struck me as strange about it at the time was that it was the only time the dog decided to chirp up and maybe get heard.
It’s a bit weird. I’m used to the dog showing up in the podcast at the end – not at the middle, and to then calm down.
Still, that chunk of missing text is really good stuff and it helped me formulate a lot of my own thoughts.
Today the edit was a swine.
I’m not complaining, not really; I mean, after two lovely, sleek edits that were fast and easy to do, I kind of expected the other shoe to drop. And my cohosts weren’t doing anything that made it harder or worse – it was just things like dog sounds, or tangents as we all got distracted.
But tell you what really weirded me out today?
I heard another voice on the record.
It was super faint, but it legit sounded like there was either a low, delayed echo from Fox and my’s mic – but it sounded like there was a woman, very far away, counting.
Who has two thumbs and edited outlines of two essays, submitted one assignment and got a full podcast edit done today?
And walked the dog?
Well, okay, I didn’t exactly haemhorrage other achievements… but hey! Come on!
Today, another edit. This time, we had a guest – the amazing Sabriel, who was sweet and funny, and scored amazingly on the Retro Gaming News. The remarkable thing about this one to me is that this whole thing got done fast, because I didn’t know how much time I’d have. Still, there was very little editing that needed doing – mostly clip at the ends and smooth out the middle, but no major stitch-together, go-back or oh-hell moments. Also, by asking Sabriel to explain things, and explaining things to her, we got a lot of chances to talk about things that matter a lot to us.
It was pretty fun.
Should go up in a few hours!
I don’t have a lot that I learned from doing the edit today.
Wait, no, I have this: Do not, do not get sloppy about syncing. Skype is pretty awful about synchronising audio, which is why I stopped trusting it. Syncing two people is pretty easy. Syncing three is a little more challenging, when you need to avoid crosstalk. Four is a total beast.
So don’t trust Skype’s record. If you’re going to use it, you have to manually protect against crosstalk, which means video – so people can read one another’s behaviour easiest – is probably best.
Today, I had a real breeze of an edit for DLC. So much so, I actually wound up paranoid about it.
The thing is, I knew I had a short show to trim down. I had 90 minutes of audio that I wanted to pare down to 60 minutes for the episode. But to my surprise, even scrimping down, paring out literally stage directions and discussing the edit, we still wound up with over 75 minutes of audio, so I went through and checked for more anecdotes and oddness, in case I’d messed up somehow.
Turns out nope.
What happened this time? I think, this time, we just put Jeb and Fox in front of the microphone and asked them to talk, as expansively as they wanted, about topics they cared about. We didn’t get tangents, we didn’t get forks, we didn’t really even get any splits – we just listened to people talking about something they loved, and we wanted to facilitate that conversation.
So, Podcasting Tip: If you tangent a lot on your podcast, and that’s being a problem for edits, consider if maybe you shouldn’t be talking about the thing you’re trying to talk about. And if you’re trying to talk about something, and the other people keep pulling the conversation away, consider if maybe they’re not listening to you, and are bored.
New DLC episode is up! I edited it a lot today, slightly bigger than normal!
The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.
My gut reaction to this was to try and tell him things, in a tweet, then realised that there wasn’t the space for it. So then I thought about putting it in a few tweets, and then realised that that wouldn’t do it. So here, as best I can:
This is a good and interesting thing.
When we started the Downloadable Concept Podcast, one thing I had in mind was for us to do single episodes where we dug down deep and talked about a single, specific game or franchise of games. My mindset at the time was that it would be an opportunity for fans of things to really talk about the thing they loved, to be listened to, and to be heard. Love of things is very important, and we often don’t give that love enough credence. The podcast starts each week with ‘whatcha been playing?’ and that’s not meant to be a push to play new and different things: It’s meant to be a chance to talk about what you’re enjoying, what you’re having fun with.
The games industry is a non-stop churn, a vast and rolling machine which gives you about a week to have an informed opinion about a thing, then moves on. It isn’t interested in talking about the old properties, unless they’re due a re-release. It isn’t interested in its own history, really, unless it’s time for someone to kickstart something. The gaming industry seeks to make its journalists a group of Foxes.
What Jeb is doing in this move strikes me as both interesting and admirable, and hopefully be a bit of what I think of as Hedgehog Gaming (and Knuckles). Jeb is going to be focused. Jeb is going to play a game as long as he wants to play a game, and talk about that, and focus on that. We don’t do that sort of thing in this sphere of public communication enough. We put arbitary flags on things – finished, completed, mastered, achievemented – and we don’t ever look at the simplest, most elegant end point for a game.
The game ends when you stop playing it.
I’m really interested to see what this brings. I want to hear from the hardcore fans, the Fire Emblem nerds, the unironic fans of ironically bad games. And this is just another way in which the voices of gaming need to be diversified, or we’re going to lose our history, our way, and something of ourselves.
I’ve been doing audio editing all day, and at the end of that day, editing episode #5 of the Downloadable Concept Podcast, it’s time to do some writing about it.
I didn’t really consider the time investment in making a podcast when I started making one. I didn’t know what was involved, beyond some of the basics. I figured there was the record, and there was then an editing process where you just cut out all the bits of the record that didn’t work. This is, as it turns out, a gross oversimplification. You can do a podcast this way. Indeed, if you are a new podcaster, do a podcast this way! It’s totally easy and it’ll let you get your eye in. Get a microphone, record about an hour of dialogue – of you talking about anything – and then cut it down to say, half an hour – and then listen to it over again a few times a week or more later. It’s a practice that’ll teach you about how you express yourself.
In a greater context, the DLC podcast is either a three-stage process or a five stage process. To use the three-stage model, it’s basically Plan, Record, Edit. If we look at it as five stages, it’s Long Term Plan, Short Term Plan, Record Channel A, Record Channel B, Edit. This second model is only slightly different – it’s if we consider the plan of the episodes we want to make in the future as part of the plan.
The thing that’s interesting to me is that each of these three major components are different skills. Planning and structuring an episode helps everything else a ton, but you need to have an eye for that plan. You need to recognise that 50 minutes of talking about just old adventure games in a rambling unstructured mess can get dull. So you get used to making ideas that are only a little bit bigger than 20 minutes, you break them up, you get segment ideas.
The edit, that’s another set of skills. Because you’re not under the same time pressure. It’s an endurance test. I used to joke that when you’re dealing with Magic set reviews, you could see the point where a writer had run out of patience because every card comment was just sort of ‘eh, could be good’ or ‘probably good for draft.’ In editing the podcast, you have to put your attention to all the parts of it. If you’re going to do something like I do – trim out coughs and ums and crosstalk – then you have to maintain a high level of attention for a long period of time. Sometimes it’ll crash and you’ll have to resuscitate the whole thing. Sometimes you’ll grind your way through chunks of work multiple times. And as you try more things, you’ll become better at things – you’ll start using effects, you’ll start developing shortcuts, and that means instead of the task getting much faster, it’ll take the same amount of time, but you get a better product.
Then there’s the record. In the record, it’s all individual task skill. You have to avoid cross-talk, avoid touching the table, time when you relax, time when you tense up. You encourage one another to talk about interesting topics. You provide set ups for others’ jokes, and you try to make sure you give as good as you can when you do. And all of this is getting tighter and better and more focused as well.
It’s a surprising amount of work.
We’re five episodes in. We’ll get better and it’ll get faster. Just right now, haugh it’s a ton of work and I’m not even thinking about things like the curation/consistency side of things.
There’s a new episode going up in a few hours time, but here’s some of the cruft from today that didn’t get into the main show.
Not Making The Edit
Singer Is Not A Real Word
Magazines Are Barbaric
Discussion of The Goops’ Booze Cabana
We Need A Not Making The Edit Sticker
Sometimes when I’m clipping things for the Downloadable Concept podcast, there are snippets that have to go for a host of reasons. Sometimes a topic is introduced during a bunch of crosstalk, and, lacking a good way to tease out the crosstalk (at the moment), I have to cut the whole branch. Sometimes, a topic comes up that’s very funny but doesn’t relate to videogames. Sometimes it’s just Fox being very angry at something.
Presented here, without context, are some of those snippets that hit the cutting room floor.
What The Fuck?
The Universe Hates Your Podcast
Thank You Fox
You Didn’t Even Get My Name!
Discussion Of Geese