My favorite podcast is Last Podcast on the Left. Hosted by three friends (two comedians and one normal, funny dude), LPOTL delves into all manner of high strangeness from cryptids and hauntings, to vampires – both psychic and of Sacramento. What I love most about LPOTL is that it blends humor and meticulously researched storytelling. “Edutainment,” as they call it.
When I set out to research and record my first episode of Convergence & Consequence, I wanted to take a page out of the LPOTL book and deliver a well-researched, but enjoyable story. I’m a pretty funny, casual person in real life, but sometimes when I’m writing or recording, I turn into a robot. Years of elocution practice growing up in theatre, I suppose. So I’ll probably never have a funny podcast, but I can at least deliver a smart podcast that’s fun and educational… EDUTAINING.
Over the course of the last few weeks, I have been absolutely drowning in research, never feeling like I’ve combed enough resources to offer anything more than a cursory overview of Paris in the 1920s. “How do they do it? Am I just this stupid?” No… certainly not stupid. A slow reader, yes. Someone with VERY loft ambitions and high expectations of my personal performance? Abso-friggin-lutely.
Then, it dawned on me. Even in their early days, LPOTL had at least two hosts (maybe three?) doing research for each episode AND those episodes were a lot less informative than they are now. As their podcast grew, they took on research assistants to help shoulder the weight of what amounts of hours and hours and HOURS of reading. Now they have an entire team working on each episode to deliver the amazing content that I am completely, unabashedly obsessed with.
So, what does that mean for me? First… I probably need some help with this podcast if it’s going to go on from here in the format that I strive for – deeply informed. Maybe that means research assistance, or perhaps it means a co-host. Or both? But let me not get too far ahead of myself. Second, I need to cut myself some slack. There is actually nothing wrong with the fact that I can’t read four books, six articles, and watch two documentaries about The Lost Generation, read two books, three articles, and watch two documentaries about Serial Killers in the 1970s, read eleven articles about the American Revolution, and write the outlines for three episodes and completed script for one podcast in a seven-week window. Even thinking that was a realistic option goes to show you that I am a crazy person.
It’s the day before Thanksgiving and this blog post is already three days late. I bit off more than I could chew and instead of seeing that, I just kept falling further behind in my plan. But, I’m thankful that I realized what was happening before the clock runs out on this project. I’d rather have one or two really good pieces to show for my time than three pieces that are just ok. I’m not sure that I’m ready to ditch the third podcast outline yet, but I have too many years of experience in rushing, cramming, and coming out with a mediocre product that I no longer care about because all of the passion that I started with was squeezed out trying to do too much.
This week I completed the first draft of the outline for episode one of Convergence & Consequence. It was an absolute slog getting my pages of notes whittled down into a FIVE PAGE outline, but I think it’s going to make for an interesting and informative episode. Unlike with other artifacts, I’m not going to share the outline here, because I don’t want to spoil the episode for those who want to listen to it. Maybe at the end of Week 7, when the episode is live, I’ll share the script for those who don’t want to listen.
So, for week four, no artifacts for you. But know that I’m going to take the next two days off to drink a ton of wine and eat a ton of cheese (that’s my idea of Thanksgiving food) and then I’ll be back at it with my research for episode two on California Serial Killers and some first takes of my podcast intro and a podcast description.