So You Wanna Podcast? Part I: Before You Begin

This 4-part series gets into the nuts and bolts of podcast production, starting with why a filmmaker should even care.

For something that harkens back to radio, there’s a surprising amount of buzz these days about podcasting. As a filmmaker who's immersed in the visual medium, do you really need to launch your own podcast? Wouldn’t a website or social media platform be a better fit to expand your brand?

Both are excellent questions. But if Roger Deakins can launch a podcast, it may not hurt. 

Ultimately, you need to decide what’s right for you. To help you navigate that process, we invite you to dive into a four-part series that takes you through the step-by-step process of launching, recording, and publishing your own podcast.  


Why create a podcast?

Kevin Smith, who once was the keynote speaker at Podcast Movement in Chicago, shifted from filmmaking to podcasting after creating such cult favorites as Clerks and MallratsAt the time, he emphatically stated he was never going back to making films and that he loved telling stories and the freedom of being able to create without having to assemble cast and crew.

Podcasting is a form of creative freedom with few strings attached. Not only that, a podcast can give you a platform to not only sell yourself as a filmmaker but sell your project to potential distributors. Think about it. 

A podcast can: 

  • Build a personal relationship with your audience base.
  • Build up your expertise in a certain area of interest (For example, do a podcast about a portion of history as you research it for a script).
  • Test out ideas by producing audio versions of your developing content (Doing full cast readings of my screenplays is next on my list).
  • Beef up your storytelling skills.
  • Perfect your audio skills through programs like Audacity and Adobe Audition.
  • Networking opportunities (Think about the guests you could have on your podcast).
  • Enhance the discoverability of you and your content.

Building an audience for your podcast will require as much, if not more effort, than launching a podcast.

There are good reasons to NOT launch a podcast:

  • They take time and effort. If you want it to be successful it's going to take focus and energy
  • Don't launch a podcast thinking it will immediately be successful. It won't.
  • Building an audience for your podcast will require as much, if not more effort, than launching it. 
  • Podcasts are effective only when they can engage with an audience. 
  • If you want to make money from a podcast that's going to take time too. 

Still intrigued by the idea of launching a podcast? Well then, read on. 

Is podcasting just people sitting around talking?

That’s certainly part of the form. But the narrative, or story-based, genre is one of the most popular in podcasting. That said, it's not necessarily a good idea to be swayed by what's popular. You'll want to consider your own voice and what your target audience will be. If you're authentic to who you are and your opinions, the audience will recognize that and come along for the ride. 

Podcasts today cover every genre imaginable. Want to know more about filmmaking? There are dozens of searchable shows, including the very entertaining No Film School podcast. That said, it's important to find your niche, and if someone else is doing a similar topic, that's ok. Your voice and perspective are going to separate you from every other podcast available. 

In the next part of this podcast series, we’ll talk about the skill sets you need and the development process for a podcast. You’ll begin to see the intersections with many of the skills you already have as a filmmaker.

For more, see our ongoing coverage of Sound Week 2020. 

No Film School's podcast and editorial coverage of the Sound Week 2020 is sponsored by RØDE.     

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