Today, I announce my very own podcast. It’s not big, nor is it very beautiful, but it’s mine. Honestly, I’m quite happy with how it’s turned out for a first try. Considering how long I’ve been listening to podcasts and wondering “could I do that?”, this is actually a pretty cool moment.
One of the things that has continued to impress me about gaming is the quality of some of the related communities that exist. I’ve had the good fortune to become acquainted with some of the fantastic members of the LOTRO community, some from the game blogging community, and some from the thriving YouTube gaming community in the last year. One thing I’ve found is that gaming content creators, specifically blog, video and podcast creators, are some of the most supportive and helpful of the bunch. That doesn’t really surprise me, but to see it in action is a fantastic thing to behold. Members of these communities continue to encourage, challenge and help me beyond any reasonable expectation.
The Decision: I had an interesting conversation with one such community member over Christmas break. I got a message that asked me “What are you going to do this year…you know, podcast-wise?”. It was a question designed to challenge me. Truth is, I’d toyed with the idea of doing my own podcast for a while, and even had some of the basics figured out, but I’d never had the time to sit down and put all of the pieces together. Perhaps it was the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, but I decided as soon as I read that message that I was going to give my own podcast a shot.
The Questions: As soon as I made up my mind to make it happen, so many new questions popped up that I hadn’t had to consider when my own podcast was a mere fantasy. What would the theme be? Would it be weekly, monthly, sporadically? Would I have a co-host (yes! I can’t listen to myself for that long!), how many co-hosts? How long should it be? What should I call it? Where would I get the iTunes graphic? Next came the technical questions. What tools do I need to record and edit? Where should I host the files? How could I make the process as streamlined as possible, while keeping costs under control? And probably the biggest question: Where was I going to find time to do all of this stuff?
The Format: That last question was the first thing I had to consider in order to make this thing a reality. If it took too much time, I knew it would be unsustainable. Translation: no weekly show, so nothing that had to be time sensitive like a news program. Plus, I’m getting my fill of news with my role at LOTROPlayers.com, so burnout of that genre would be a distinct danger. I really like what Roger Edwards does with the Contains Moderate Peril podcast, where a few subjects an episode are explored at relative depth. So I decided that I would like to mimic the conversational style used on that podcast to take a somewhat deeper dive into a single subject per episode. I was already making a LOTRO blog pick of the week on LOTRO Players News, so I could perhaps dovetail that type of “pick” into my podcast, but instead of spending 2-3 minutes on it, dedicate 20-30 minutes to a discussion that might branch out into some broader implications or aspects of the subject broached in the post. Lastly, I decided I wanted a single co-host per episode, and that I wanted to try and rotate them. There were several reasons this idea really appealed to me. First of all, I would get a different perspective on each episode. Second, I don’t think very many folks want to commit to a regular spot on a podcast. Most are simply too busy for that. Third, I could potentially give exposure to some smaller bloggers who otherwise would not think to publicize their post via a podcast. Lastly, and somewhat selfishly, I would get to meet more people in the community, and expand my reach as well. Time will tell whether the “rotating co-host” idea will pan out, but I sincerely hope that it does.
The Name: Now, for a name. I played with several, but my favorite idea was something that started with the word “Beyond”. As in: going deeper than normal. My first instinct was “Beyond the Headlines”, playing on my LPN news role a bit, but it didn’t give any indication that the subject matter would be about gaming, and I’m also pretty sure it’s already being used. So, I decided to try to make it Beyond…some gaming term. I eventually got around to “Beyond the Bossfight”. When I ran this idea by Layanor, his only response was “drop the the”. “Beyond Bossfights?” I replied. “Ya.”. Hm. I kind of liked it. So, it shall be called Beyond Bossfights.
The Subject Matter: Why didn’t I just do a LOTRO podcast? Well, for one thing I’m already on one. For another thing, I felt like limiting the topics to LOTRO related subjects would be too constraining. I wanted a little more freedom. But, considering it’s the game I’m playing 90% of the time, and that most of the connections I’ve made over the past several years are with LOTRO players, you can rest assured that LOTRO will get several mentions along the way.
The Production: There came a time when all of the tools were downloaded and all of the ideas were in place. I sat staring at my computer screen, getting ready to record my first intro by myself. I was frozen. This moment was seriously the most difficult part of the entire process. I just couldn’t make myself press the record button. When I finally did get up the nerve, I stumbled around, pressed stop, and clicked on “delete track”. This process repeated itself about fifteen times before I had some semblance of a coherent introduction. I don’t know why that part was so difficult. Perhaps I knew that once I had the intro recorded, it was really going to happen. There was no turning back once that part was finished because I wouldn’t want to squander that recording. Let me also say that driving a podcast is much, much different from “being on” a podcast. I realized quickly that my role on LOTRO Players News (that is, sitting back and playing the Ed McMahon part) did very little to prepare me for this experience. I said as much to Andang and he replied “kind of makes you appreciate what Pineleaf does a little more, doesn’t it?” Yes, yes it did.
The Release: So, I am now ready to release Episode 1 of Beyond Bossfights. It and subsequent episodes will be posted under the new Beyond Bossfights category of this blog. I hope you find it worthy of the genre. If you have any feedback, feel free to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or use any of the methods mentioned at the end of the podcast. I would seriously love to hear from you. THANK YOU, community, for challenging me enough to get up and make this happen, and for encouraging me enough to give me the courage to do the same.