Day 10: Podcasts #GIG2017

Today I don’t have just some gratitude to share, but some content, too! How exciting is that?

Obviously by the title you can probably tell that each contribution still centers on a theme, and that is podcasts. Besides reading lately, I have gotten increasingly enthralled with this emerging medium. In my spare moments, especially right in the morning and before going to bed, I’m pulling out my podcast app and browsing for the latest episode of my favorites or trying to Google search for my next favorite.

I didn’t essentially see the fad this was and sure didn’t appreciate it. I remember finding the first episode of Serial and not even being able to finish it. I’m much more of a visual person, so anything that requires me to listen and keep tabs of an idea without a chance to pause and reflect is difficult for me.

I still can’t get into strictly conversational podcasts, and more informative ones need to be about an interesting topic I can follow along several episodes to keep me hooked. I’m especially fond of the audio dramas, an expanded version of an audio book or a TV show without the screen to stare at. I love feeling involved in a plotline with characters and emotions and the whole shebang.

Hence why I have my own contribution to make to the growing podcast-sphere. As part of an assignment for my Digital Media class, we all had to make a podcast with plenty of freedom to let us go wild. So the bare minimum was just five minutes with at least two voices heard and some-sort of theme.

And in my essence, I decided to take the hardest way possible to approach the assignment. Knowing my love for audio dramas, recently binging Darkest Night as inspiration, and began brainstorming on my own story to tell. With the help of my brother, we wrote a script, recorded our voices, and produced a podcast of our own.

The Witching Hour is envisioned as an hour-long program that takes some inspiration from horror and thriller genres, including Black Mirror. It uncovers the darkness in all of us and is intended to throw in some twists and turns in there, leaving listeners at the edge of their seats or just thinking far after the audio stops playing.

You don’t necessarily assume you’ll feel emotions when just listening to something. That you’ll be laughing out loud, or your jaw will drop by a completely shocking statement. But hearing a human voice is surprisingly intimate and has great potential. I want to tell some stories that I myself would want to hear, that I would be telling everyone and their mother the next day because I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

If you’re into podcasts or not, I’d suggest you give it a try, plus this is my website and I have the right to some shameless self-promotion. Many people still don’t exactly know what these new shows entail, but I see podcasts continuing to buzz from here. It’s a new means of self-expression, to allow creativity and ideas to flow, even learn something new and shocking.

But in comes the time for gratitude because wow, you don’t actually realize the extent of work that goes into a few minutes of audio. All of the considerations to make, the time commitment involved to make sure you publish the best product possible. Sure, the actual equipment involved to start a podcast are minor compared to other media, but there’s still an immense amount of strategy and patience required to make the idea in your head translate as you imagine it to.

I’m grateful for the hard-working people behind one of my favorite pastimes. I’m grateful for a new way to tell stories, learn and grow. I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to try it out, and simply put, I’d love to keep making more. The idea of reaching more people in a new way is so exciting.

What am I listening to right now, you might ask? Well, I listened to two seasons’ worth of Alice Isn’t Dead in less than a week. Homecoming came out with a second season without me realizing it, so that was a fantastic few days of quality content. I’m also looking forward to new episodes of Heaven’s Gate and Cults each week because the weird, dark subjects are admittedly my favorites.

Do you have any recommendations for me? New shows, or even your thoughts on my own podcast? Pray tell. I’d love to make more content for you all and just see where it takes me.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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Media “Hipster”

I’m always a tad annoyed when people pull the “hipster” card. And by that, I mean that they refuse to consume any popular media and claim to be the first ones to find everything exciting. We’ve all had those moments, but people who do it on a regular basis? That gets old very quickly.

Besides my distaste for the hipster mentality, I am guilty of having it. Not necessarily on purpose, I just wish I had more people to get excited with when it comes to music and TV. I’ve never been a huge movie critic, but the other two? I have high standards.

A previous post of mine went in depth about how I find new music and what I enjoy. Usually the same type of process goes with TV shows, as well. Except in this case, I use IMDB ratings. Or just recommendations from select individuals who know what I enjoy. But after I binge through a new artist or show, I struggle to find anybody else to discuss it with.

The example I’ll use here is Black Mirror. OH MY GOSH. I’m excited just writing about it. Highly recommend. 10/10. Basically a modern day Twilight Zone. While I tend to enjoy binging through shows alone so I can focus and avoid judgment if I make random comments to myself, I’m left dwelling on some high-quality content without any decent way to share it. Heck, I’m thinking about an amazing episode of Black Mirror right now whilst knowing I’m one of the few people I know who has discovered the magic.

I’ve always wondered what it might be like to be a critic of some sort. Constantly listening or watching new things and eloquently judging it. How cool would that be? Except I’m not great at articulating all of the technical details beyond “this is good” or “this is awful.” I wish I could write an 1,000-word post about a single album or show and have it make sense, but that sounds so intimidating. My tastes usually go all over the place, too. While I have high standards for my entertainment, some of the most critically acclaimed pieces don’t appeal to me whatsoever. Game of Thrones? The Velvet Underground? Not a fan.

And then we go to books. I love reading with a passion. I love English and literature. I spent several years of my life thinking I  would be an English major. I like to pretend I still am. Literary discussions about themes and symbolism and interesting motifs…sign me up. But alas, I rarely get a chance to read anymore. I’ve been keen on libraries either. Strange,  I know. During school, I usually just stick to the music and TV unless I have no classes actually reading novels. Last semester I actually craved reading so much, I picked up library books to read. I usually don’t hear as much discussion about books, so it’s harder for me to judge what’s good or not.

Why I put so much emphasis on the ratings, who knows. Everybody else I know just likes what they like and don’t really care, but for some reason, I cringe thinking about spending my time on something knowing that it’s necessarily up to par. I trust random individuals on how to spend my time constantly. Most of them probably don’t know any more than I do, but I still go to them for guidance. Subconsciously, it’s probably just a way to validate my tastes to know they are “worthy.” Which sounds a little messed up. Doesn’t mean I’m stopping any time soon. But that also means I’m avoiding the “hipster” claims when I stick to media that plenty of others already approve of. I make things way too complicated just for my enjoyment.

I never know whether or not to recommend new things to people unless they explicitly ask. Otherwise I’d probably spew out a bunch of random names people don’t particularly care about. Especially with TV shows, I go through them so quickly, the details blur together. Also, if a show doesn’t hook me in immediately, I usually give up. Probably not the best practice, but I’m too impatient to wait for good things to start happening. I’m already on to the next show or artist. And shows with more than 5 seasons? Unless it’s magic, sorry. Sometimes I take random breaks of time where I don’t watch or listen to anything. My cravings come in random spurts of motivation.

If I should make more recommendations in these areas, let me know. I would love to share some ideas, I just don’t know where to start. At least it might give me the motivation to taking my tastes to another level, plus it’d add a nice mix of serious posts and not-so serious. At least if I can figure out what to say besides “Yup, this is good.”

Hope you enjoyed my scattered Monday morning thoughts. I swear, I’ll make more organized and meaningful posts the rest of the time. I just needed to articulate my thoughts and minor frustrations. Take this post as a reminder to allow yourself to take mental breaks every once in awhile. We can’t operate at 100% on our work all the time. Walk away from the serious business and wind down with something fun. But I recommend that fun to be highly rated.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie