USS Atlantis NX-63546 presents...
Last year I attended a workshop on Podcasting at Conflux 3 and gained a broadstroke introduction to the technical and stylistic aspects of podcasting from the guys at Coolshite. Since then, I’ve been an advocate of fan audio productions on the internet and I hope I can convey some of that enthusiasm to you today.
Everybody's heard of them but not everyone understands what they are. Think of podcasts as radio programmes that you can listen to any time you want to, as many times as wish. There are fundamental differences of course. They are not professional productions although some are sponsored. Some of the best ones play on their spontaneity, their freedom from commercial broadcasting pressures, such as the classic video podcast “Ask a Ninja” with its manic ‘stream-of-consciousness’ wit.
Most serve a niche market. Hailing Frequency for example draws it's fanbase from the Star Trek gaming world. Run by Zach and Kinneas, and not to be confused with the newsletter of TrekUnited, Hailing Frequencies Open, they entertain and inform with a sequence of fast-paced, authoritative yet casual segments from a cast of colourful characters.
I'm not much of a gamer, although I'm the sire of two manic gamers, but this is rapidly becoming a favourite of mine. Sure its a quick & easy way of keeping up with gaming news and opinion but it's also, when you look below the surface, real multimedia! Kinneas is an accomplished artist and topics reported on Hailing frequencies have got a habit of being lampooned in ST:Oned, his fanzine now with it's own website. Similarly original music featured in "Fleet Radio", an idea for a radio station actually IN Star Trek:Online, sometimes gets the Kinneas treatment as a music Video. I'll tell you more about that on Day 7 though! The Hailing Frequency forum completes the package with episode links, interview transcripts, feedback and discussion threads as well as galleries
The multimedia continues next episode with a short audio drama! The valiant crew of the USS Devilfish must fight to save Christmas from an evil foe - good meets bad in the ultimate battle. Old enemies return and new enemies are revealed. Resistance is definitely not futile!
Twerpcast is another podcast that has ties to other media. TWERP - Time Well Electronic Recording Productions - is a group of friends who also create audio dramas: Star Trek: Eras is on act 1 of it's 3rd episode whilst Star Trek: NX-01 is in pre-production. It was started in the summer of 2006 by two Star Trek geeks, Jim Caswell and Doug Zeitlen who realised that there was an audience for audio presentations, "which meant we didn't have to actually step in front of a camera to convey our stories -- and the world cheered! Realizing that we had more than just Star Trek in us, we developed a production company. It was Doug that wanted to do a podcast as part of our stable; thus TWERPcast was born."
Now on their ninth episode, they talk about their favourite movies, television, books - whatever moves them at the time. Their usual formula is to show where we've come from, where we are and where we'd like to go. The podcast they have created for us lives up to my every expectation! Like expert collectors showing you over their collection, they point out the details and generalisations that define where Star Trek has come from, The Original Series, and where it is going, the upcoming film.
They are great people to know - quick to help anyone who is trying to get set up with an audio production of their own. Their whole production comes across as casual and laid back. "We try to give segments of our lives, presenting a show that's more like listening to a couple of friends chatting than tuning into a podcast. We all have those friends that we just sit and talk with. We want to be those friends to you."
"The Love Long And Prosper Podcast", winner of the Winter ’07 Podcast Peer award, has a strong, upbeat formula that draws you into the life of Dan and C.J., a young Middle class, Arizona couple who talk about life, the universe, and the joys of parenting within the context of Star Trek fandom. In every podcast they talk about a different Trek episode or movie in ‘Private Quarters’, this week it is ‘Day of the Dove’, and this week they feature a classic story re-told by the one and only Worf (sounding suspiciously like Admiral Andy from The AndyCast) – they even get Filky with a Trek Christmas carol!
Podcasting is a very supportive community and Dan & CJ’s production has featured many of their friends from around the internet over the past couple of months, including
Shelly’s Podcasts, The Redboy Podcast , Tvindy Time and Barely Podcasting. For example as they complete reviewing a season of Star Trek, they host an awards show, appropriately named the LLAPPys, with winners in various categories, including “best newly discovered race”, “best weapon”, and “most homo-erotic moment” announced by their friends from all the different podcasts.
Which brings us to our last podcast - Things are Looking Up With Indiana Jim! (TALU) Jim Perry's passion is writing and podcasting and he combined both recently with his audio drama comedy, "Thesis A Fanstasy". Jim was able to rope in some of his favorite podcasters as his voice actors, such as Jack Mangan, LeAnn Mabry, Podcasting’s Rich Sigfrit, Doug Rapson, Jack Hosley, Christiana Ellis. If you listen closely you'll even hear a certain Shlomi of Vulcan!
He's reported extensively on podcasting, recently interviewing author and 'podcasting legend' Tee Morris, and has tried a few different projects of his own, most recently The Fanboy Sportscast. His other major interest is the craft and business of writing, most noticeably the interface between amateur and professional writer. I know Jim from articles he has submitted for Sci Fi Studios magazine so when I found out his interest in interviewing writers who had made the transition from fan to professional I introduced him to Larry Nemecek, the Editor in Chief of SFS Mag.
Larry made that transition way back in the 90's! Starting off by writing several successful fanzines, working in fan clubs and organising SF conventions he got his big break in 1989 when his annual episode guide and concordance fanzine for Star Trek: The Next Generation came to the attention of Gene Roddenberry. Since then he has published the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, become a regular contributor and editor on startrek.com, edited The Communicator for the Official Star Trek Fan Club as well as writing columns for various Star Trek magazines.
Jim has been delayed in getting his podcast out because Larry has been a might preoccupied with the disappearance of his job with startrek.com last week, but has finally been able to connect with Jim to deliver a great interview!
Personally I can only see an expansion of the world of podcasting in the future driven by advances in technology – expansion into community & satellite radio, faster, cheaper internet connectivity, a blurring of the boundary between mobile phones and PDA’s that will turn them into mobile entertainment systems. The only problem with such expansion might be a flooding of the aether such that it will become hard for the listener to know what is worth listening to.
Plug yourself into podcasts! Pickup an mp3 player, load on your podcatching software – I use PodcastReady – hook yourself up to the ‘Net and choose your downloads – Don’t forget to load these four up! Here are the RSS feeds…
Twerpcast (Has no xml)
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