For the last 5 years, I have desperately wanted to make a podcast. I love listening to them at every opportunity – cleaning the house, walking the dog, on my morning commute. There’s no everyday task that can’t be made better by escaping into an auditory *world*.
At my organisation, We The Curious, an interactive science and culture centre, we are rich in questions and ideas. In fact, questions are what we’re built on. Real questions from real people shape everything that we do. We have a database of over 10,000 of these questions, about everything from robots and rockets, to gender and religion. Prime podcasting territory.
I had been mulling over the idea and format in my head for over a year, and DigiLab presented me with the perfect opportunity (excuse?!) to just go for it! To get it done and avoid hurdles and delays in doing so, it had to be nimble. Using equipment that we already have and 3 colleagues who are always up for a chat, we recorded our first ever podcast session!
May I present to you…drumroll…the world’s most makeshift podcast!
The makeshift studio I cobbled together worked surprisingly well!
Using a bunch of fabrics we had in the storage room, I fashioned a recording booth in the corner of a meeting room. Copious amounts of duct tape were used! Our nifty hand held recorder was placed in the middle (in a pot of glitter to keep it upright) and we were good to go!
I had plucked a question from the database that had lots of scope for discussion, tangents and incorporated more than just science. It was “Why are the other planets different from ours,” submitted by a 10 year old. What ensued was one of the most fun hours I’ve had doing this job! We bounced from topic to topic with lots of laughs, covering space, geology, civilisation, aliens and parallel universes.
The recording was hugely fun, but it was the editing phase that presented a number of challenges! Firstly, I had never done audio editing before, so spent many hours with my head buried in YouTube tutorials and forums to teach myself how. Secondly, I noticed lots of structural and facilitating improvements needed to be made – as the presenter, I definitely got carried away with conversation. I now know that I need to work on adding more structure and be more assertive when driving the conversation. The speakers / guests need to be better supported and prepared by me, instead of being thrown into the deep-end and seeing what happens (something that I thought would make better conversation, in hindsight that was silly on my part!) Finally, editing takes time. Much more time than I had anticipated!
Working forwards, with episode 2 in the pipeline, I have learned so much from this pilot episode that I’m confident in making the next one better!
From left to right: Sam, Education Officer; Tam, Live Science Team member and Will, Creative Producer – the podcast pilot dream team!
Ginny Russell, Digital Communications Producer and Coordinator at We The Curious