Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Exploring movie podcasts

I don't know much about podcasts, but in the months since I've started WSW, I can't help but notice that a lot of people have them. Therefore, I figured it was high time I started taking a listen to some of them. Prior to WSW, the only podcast I listened to on a regular basis was In Contention & Thompson on Hollywood's Oscar Talk. I don't have the hardware or whatever else you need to create one, but I think it might be nice to do a podcast of my own at some point. Still, I'm not ready to explore that option yet.

A number of my fellow LAMBs have podcasts, so last week I picked a handful and started there. The only one I had listened to before was the LAMBcast. These were my impressions (and yeah, I realize it's hard to get a firm handle on something like this after only listening to one episode each, but they were long episodes):

- The Matineecast from The Dark of the Matinee

It’s very polished and professional sounding. Hatter sounds like he’s been doing this sort of thing for years; the show is very structured and he keeps things moving briskly. I listened to episode 28, in which his guest is Univarn from A Life in Equinox. He’s been on the show before, so they’ve already established a nice rapport with each other that shows in their discussions of movies. If anything, I thought the show was perhaps a bit too pre-planned; I wouldn’t have minded a little more spontaneity, but that’s a minor point.

- The LAMBcast from The LAMB

This is much more freewheeling, even within its own structure, and I find it often rambles after awhile. Still, even when I start to tune out, something always brings me back into it. Dylan does a good job in bringing together various LAMB bloggers, and there’s always a casual and fun atmosphere to it, which is nice.

- Some Cast It Hot from Nerd Vampire

Girls talking about film is definitely a good thing, but boy, did this go on a long time. I listened to episode nine, which focused on the “Bechdel Test” and the films that pass it. They talked about a Japanese film that they made sound interesting, but then they kept going on about it long after I decided I wanted to see it. In fairness, they did admit they were going on too long; perhaps this wasn’t typical of their show. I like this cast, though I think it might be a little stronger if they had information about the movies they’re gonna talk about on hand. There were several moments where they blanked on specific information that could’ve been discovered with a Google or IMDB search.

- Reel Insight from Rachel’s Reel Reviews

I like this one a lot. I listened to episode 32, the Oscar nomination special, which at half an hour is apparently shorter than usual, but I could’ve easily listened to a full hour’s worth. Rachel and Jess are very smart about movies and it shows, and though I may not agree with everything they said, they argue their points lively and well.

- MILFcast from The List

Wow, this one’s really goofy. I like the original music for the intros. I like that Kai keeps things moving with a variety of stuff, and his Game is a very clever one. I probably wouldn’t listen to this all the time, but every once in awhile when I want something completely off-the-wall instead. Not saying it’s bad – it’s very good, in fact – but it’s the kind of thing I’d prefer taking in small doses.

- The Demented Podcast from Random Ramblings of a Demented Doorknob

This one is more no-frills than the others. Nick seems like he’s still finding his footing in places, however, it also feels a little more intimate than any of the others I’ve heard so far. I listened to episode seven, guest starring Mad Hatter. I liked the conversation about classic films (which is why I chose this one) with relation to Nick’s blog, but I can’t say I cared too much for the Dungeons & Dragons-type game at the end; it got kinda boring after awhle. Maybe if it had more than one contestant? At least this got me more interested in his blog.

So basically, I liked them all, in different ways. The LAMB connections give them all a greater sense of community. Many of them do things other than talk movies, and they all have enough knowledge and material to make individual episodes last. Like I said, I'm not ready to experiment with a podcast, but I've learned a great deal more about them after listening to these.

21 comments:

  1. Thanks for the feedback! Podcasting does get addictive once you start (give it a few weeks, and you'll notice that we tend to incestuously show up on each others' shows with high frequency).

    As for doing one of your own, You'd be surprised what little you need in terms of actual hardware/software...what you need more than that is time, both for execution and post-production. Depite the time needed, it's all still wicked fun.

    As for your particular note on mine, I will concede that my shows are indeed mapped out, but hopefully they don't feel *too* mapped out. That said, I can give you an example of what happens when it's a bit more off-the-cuff. When you have a few minutes, take a listen to one of my TIFF episodes:

    http://mcneilmatinee.blogspot.com/2010/09/wicked-little-town-matineecast-tiff_14.html

    PS - Thanks for listening!

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  2. Yeah, I can see how time would be a big factor. If I were to do something like this, I'd naturally want it to sound good, and I could see myself pouring a lot of time into it.

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  3. Thanks Rich! Glad you liked our short episode - check out one with our "Star of the Week" feature. You don't need one of your own to be a part - get a $20+ headset/mic at Radioshack and join the LAMBcast. Particularly the "Whatcha Been Watching Lately" are easy to jump in on because you can discuss whatever you want.

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  4. Thanks go out to Rachel who shared your post on Facebook. Always fun to hear what people think about these shows (including the LAMBcast, of course), and yes, we're quite the inbreeding set. Come...join our cult - Jess speaks the truth!

    Many of us who listed to a bunch of LAMB-related podcasts are down two of them in the last week, as a pair of them shut down. I know I'll be looking for more to fill out my lineup now...

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  5. A $20 headset and mic? That's all I need? Hmmm...

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  6. Thanks for tuning in Rich. Which episode did you happen to listen to.
    I like you review. We take pride in being the ADD stepbrother to the rest of these guys!!! :)

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  7. Thanks, Rich! We're very flattered you liked our show. I hope you enjoy a longer, "regular" episode.

    If you want to venture into the world of casting, the LAMBCast is the best place to start (check out the LAMB Forums for scheduled eps). Then maybe move into one-on-one guest spotting. As mentioned, a mic and a Skype account (free) is all you need. If you plan on doing your own someday, the only extras you'd need is a recorder, editing software and hosting site (all also free) and there are plenty of LAMBs who'd be willing to give you some advice if needed, I'm sure.

    I will plug this on the LAMB later today, but as Dylan said, I shared it with most on FB already, since, as mentioned, we're quite the incestuous group.

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  8. Thanks for listening! I like to be intimate with my guests... wait...

    (No, that's right.)

    I can see how The Demented Tower wouldn't be for everyone, though. If you're looking for more than one contestant, listen in on the upcoming episode, which will be a Battle Royale between the Top 5 players thus far.

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  9. Thanks everyone. If I do decide to get into podcasting, I'll know who to come to for advice.

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  10. Kai, I listened to episode 17. Guess I forgot to mention that.

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  11. One problem I find with many podcasts is that they are not very interactive, if at all. While you can easily engage your entire reader base in written form, I feel most podcasts struggle to do so. Sure, they have guest and what not but ultimately, they are just talking about themselves, and usually rambles off into some boring tangents that can't be easily skipped.

    Also, well the whole rambling really kills it for me, a show that lasts an hour or even 90 minutes can usually be read as a written post in 5 minutes if you were to delete all the unwanted stuff.

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  12. I hadn't thought about the interactivity aspect. I don't necessarily see that as a problem, though. As for the rambling, well, if I were to do a podcast I wouldn't make it longer than a half hour. That's just me, though.

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  13. There is definitely some aspects that one has to be aware of if you start or already have a podcast. I think the most important one is gauging how interesting what you are talking about is to your listeners. While some of the things you do or talk about could be fun if you are actually participating in the podcast, it may be excruciatingly boring for your listeners.

    The other night, I was talking with Andrew from Row Three and he was telling me how some of his most fun podcast were when every participants in the podcast all raved about a movie. He then went on to question whether that was actually fun to listen to.

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  14. Castor - I've been thinking a lot about this recently, and I'm just not sure that podcasts are meant to be all the interactive. Given the times that most people listen to them (away from their computer) and the fact that they aren't live, you're asking your listener to go back to their computer hours (or days) later to interact with you.

    What would you say are the elements of an interactive podcast? I think games are probably the easiest means to that end, but they're also not very intellectual.

    Though, I thought you didn't "get" the whole podcasting thing and weren't a listener to any?

    Rich - Do come join us for a LAMBcast! (Castor, too, for that matter.) Even if they were tremendously boring to listen to, they're a lot of fun to make.

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  15. Yeah, I agree; I think podcasts are meant to be just supplementary parts of a blog or website that don't necessarily have to be interactive. If it's possible for them to be interactive, I'd like to see it.

    I don't think the LAMBcast is boring.

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  16. @ Fletch: I do listen to a few podcasts although irregularly ;) I don't think "games" are actually interactive because as a participant, they certainly seem fun but as a non-participant, they may not be that.

    I think being interactive in a podcast form and in the written form is the same challenge. You can be talking amongst yourselves and about yourselves or you can open it up to everyone else who tunes in. That means addressing the reader or listener directly, asking her questions as well as her input from time to time, all kind of tricks like that.

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  17. Rich - thanks!

    Castor - Maybe it's just a matter of personal taste, but I don't think piping in with a "what did you think of Drive Angry?" (for example) really makes a show any more interactive. That stuff kinda goes without saying, doncha think?

    Now, certainly, there are some better ways to do it; for example, if you have a top five list and ask your audience to write in with their own or something like that. But even then, I'd argue that it's kind of implied. People regularly write it to Jess/Rachel with their own Top/Bottom 3 lists for the actors of the week.

    Basically though, I'm generally going to worry less about making it interactive and more about making it entertaining.

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  18. I don't know guys, I don't pretend to be an expert in podcasting ahah ;) Maybe you should together on a Lambcast and discuss the issue, that could be interesting.

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  19. Rich - we gave you a shout out on Episode 37 this week! Thanks again.

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  20. Here's your new favorite movie podcast -- The Projection Booth -- a creation of Mike White (Cashiers du Cinemart) and Mondo Justin (www.mondo-video.com).

    http://www.projection-booth.com/

    Enjoy!

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