Weekend Write-In Podcast Group

This thread is for those interested in creating a podcast based on the Weekend Write-In entries.

If you want to keep discussing the Weekend Write-In, then you can find that over here: The 500 Word Weekend Write-In Discussion Thread


I Thanks @johnnedwill for moving the discussion over to a new thread.

I think it would be nice to know from everyone:

What is your vision of a Weekend Write-In podcast.

Why people would like to make a podcast (motivation rather than finished product vision).

If they are interested in the development and production or just submitting a sound clip or even just a story for someone else to read.

Tech skills/ prior experience you have to offer to the group.

Downsides people can think of.

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Once a month 20-30 min in length (4-5 stories) with an intro by someone such as @mediocrebrit

Celebrate a very special group you all have created and which I’m honored to feel a part of.

I’ve made some fairly simple Wordpress websites and have been playing with GarageBand an Audacity which are audio editing tools. They are much harder to use than a simple all inclusive tool like Anchor.

Not having everyone like it?

I have access to Adobe Premiere for editing together sound and images, though my skill set is rather limited on it. My free time will be rather limited the next few weeks, but after the middle of the month things should open up a little.

What is your vision of a Weekend Write-In podcast.

I love the idea of it. I could see it growing into something that might become quite popular in the world outside of WP.

Why people would like to make a podcast (motivation rather than finished product vision).

Reading your own story out loud, I think, would quickly emphasize its flaws (such as unrealistic dialogue) and highlights (such as flowing well).

If they are interested in the development and production or just submitting a sound clip or even just a story for someone else to read.

I’m a lifetime techie (software designer/programmer/etc.) with not a clue about podcasts or audio editing. But it is something I would be interested in learning more about.

Tech skills/ prior experience you have to offer to the group.

I’m really good at procrastination, if that would be helpful in some way.

Downsides people can think of.

Finding out just how bad our stories are when read aloud :slight_smile:

Vision of a Weekend Write-In podcast: Just a bunch of us reading out our stories, really.

Why?: It sounds like an interesting thing to do.

If it goes ahead, I’ll quite happily read my own stories, although you may be disappointed in my accent. After almost 30 years living in England, my accent sometimes needs kickstarting. I can offer some tech support, but I’d be learning on the job, so to speak. I’m willing to learn, but I have no experience with podcasting, let alone social media.

Downsides? There are always downsides. The worst downsides will be those we generate ourselves. Technical downsides are easy to deal with. Personal downsides, on the other hand … .

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Vision of the podcast: I like the idea of creating a “channel” so to speak, where we can individually post our pieces for the week. Makes it much less tech-oriented to simply upload an mp3 file than to send it to someone for post-production. It also keeps our channel fresh with new content added all of the time, worthy of a subscription.

Why: Exposure almost never hurt any aspiring author, though an expiring author may well have suffered from exposure (without a good blanket or fire).

Tech experience/help: I do have some sound-editing software at my disposal in case someone lets out a mighty belch in the midst of an otherwise awesome reading, and can help as needed.

Downside: Realistically, the amount of time it will take to build and maintain might become too much of a commitment for most. We’ll start with a decent group, then find fewer and fewer submitting readings as time goes by. To that end, I would recommend (as with anyone starting a blog) building a healthy backlog of material before going live.

Opportunity for more growth as an author and more useful feedback from the group.

Oh, thank goodness. I’m not. I’m trying to teach myself Audacity (just a free but good sound editing tool). But Anchor is really idiot-proof - think Wattpad version of podcasting. Anchor includes limited editing software and a host which automatically uploads to itunes/googleplay/spotify. It would be very easy for us to splice our audios together on Anchor or even interview one another by phone via Anchor and then add them to a podcast.

With Audacity, we still need a hosting platform from what I’ve read in order to have an RSS feed to send to itunes/google play/spotify and we will manually have to send it to them. SoundCloud a free host (three hours per month limit) and @cdcraftee already has one of her stories on it. SoundCloud is not beautiful, but free.

And just in case it would be helpful to have a webpage, I reserved the domain www.weekendwritein.wordpress.com. I put an example of a link to Anchor (crappy quick podcast I did in my car in the parking lot) and to SoundCloud (quick crappy done while getting my kid to school). Both could be much better. These were just reckless test drives.

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Good idea

Engrish? You can talk in an American southern drawl or with a South African accent if you like. It’s the internet. We won’t be disappointed.

I’m a mom so I’m good at nagging. But that gets tiring and then I need a drink.

My worry too.

That was awesome! Looks like you’ve already done all the hard work for us.

I was thinking a little more about this, as you said a 20-30 minute podcast vs. what I mentioned as probably 3 minutes per story, posted individually.

I think we could stitch together whole episodes AND post individually. My thought is that if you’re streaming on mobile or you don’t have a lot of time to listen to a whole podcast, you can grab an individual story that catches your fancy. If you are on wifi and want to download the whole episode, you could do that too, it would contain everyone’s story.

Some of the issues with a whole podcast include:

  • Getting someone to put it all together
  • Having intros and outros for each piece (essentially a moderator/host)
  • More bandwidth needed for downloading/streaming
  • People wanting to skip through a story to get to the next one

Individual posts have their problems as well, like no intros/outros or sense of continuity with the other stories for starters. More clutter on the site is another.

I see pros and cons to each approach, just wanted to throw out a little food for thought.

I searched for some other flash fiction podcasts to see what is out there. What I see as unique to this group is having authors from around the globe reading their own work, the history of this group, and how the stories are prompted and written.

I have some quiet time on Friday to tinker with programs and think.

Here are some sites I looked at with similar kinds of podcasts:

Professionally produced with music in the story itself. Maybe could manage the website but not that level of production.

One dude reading. Very short music clip at the start. We could make a website this nice. I like the reader’s voice.

World’s slowest loading webpage. Music at opening introduction and ending. The actual reading is clearly a separate clip. Probably close to what we (I) could manage.

My take on podcasts is that they don’t take up that much data. The podcasts I download from the BBC (audio only) only take up about 15Mb for a half-hour. However, I do believe we should keep things simple to start off with.

While most sound-editing software will allow multiple tracks (so we could do music backgrounds), I think it’s something we leave out for now. Adding intros and outros would be as easy as stitching the individual readings together to make one podcast.

Given it should only take about four minutes to read out a 500-word story, I don’t think running time is that much of a problem. Besides, scrubbing through a podcast is pretty easy on most devices. If people want to skip, you can’t stop them; but anthologies still sell.

I may try some experiments this weekend. I can see if the electronics exchange in town has any mics, and investigate the possibilities of GarageBand.

My sister has a mic I can steal and I DO need a new car…decisions. I guess I’ll hold off on the car upgrade for awhile for the sake of the Weekend Write-In.

Now I just want to watch Blues Brothers videos, but I have to go back to work. Painful.

Ok, just one. Maybe @mediocrebrit procrastination skills are rubbing off.

I’m looking and signed up for an account at Podbean which looks like it was just a hosting platform like SoundCloud or others that give you an RSS feed, but now appears to have features like Anchor for editing. It was also not free but now it has a basic plan that is free for up to 5 hours a month.

Alright - serious questions time.

Do we want to use a podcast hosting service like Anchor or Podbean? If so, what are the key features we want from it?

You need an RSS feed (which I could not explain to you what exactly that means) to upload to iTunes/Googleplay/Spotify. A full service host like the ones above make it easy to upload to places where people go to get podcasts. I just checked and you can upload podcasts from a WordPress website but only with a paid subscription. The details are here.

If we use Podbean you can embed a podcast into the Wordpress website which I think might look nice. I will try that over the weekend.

RSS, in simple terms is roughly the same as push notifications from Facebook or Wattpad (where you see a red number telling you something has happened). People subscribe to the feed, essentially enabling notifications. A subscriber’s browser will ping the system to look to see if there is something new in the feed.

I don’t understand how anyone can reasonably expect a writer to have enough money to pay for anything.

I’m going to try to carve out a little time to do a reading just so you have a sample or two to play around with.