“We should make a podcast.”
It was a simple suggestion that sat in our minds for a while, perhaps born a lighthearted statement without real commitment, it lived on to be a genuine feeling, one that affirmed the inquisitiveness of our conversations as best friends. Janelle and I had been friends through our college class Facebook page, I had posted about my interests and she had commented back pointing out our shared taste in indie music and art. I did not know that moment in time would ignite a friendship that would last the trials of growth. For 6 years we grew into our adult selves alongside each other, as colleagues, as roommates, and as sisters. Janelle has always been the easiest person to talk to, maybe it is the combination of our shared experiences or interests, or it is the rare mental connection you’d be lucky to make in your lifetime that plays a part in why, but we both knew the special conversations we had with one another was worth sharing with the world.
We both had no idea how to make a podcast, but the thought of trying a new creative medium together sounded extremely worthwhile. As both of us identified as photographers and writers, we knew the importance of getting out of one’s comfort zone to try something new. Having this as a season 2 project for Simplex also gave me the extra push needed to see the project come to fruition.
PHASE 1: Brainstorming
We started the process by brainstorming our ideas. Being bicoastal, we had done this through our handy dandy Facetime and Google Docs. We started the doc by sharing a shared Spotify playlist of our podcast recommendations, podcasts that we liked collectively and individually, and creators that inspire us. We also started thinking about our podcast in a bigger picture and asked ourselves important questions like, “who are we?” or “what type of podcast are we trying to make?” At the end of this deliberation, we related the idea of podcasting to a shared experience: a fateful night at Congregation Ale House in Long Beach where we ended up in tears holding each other’s hands. We recalled the idea of intimacy and comfort that our conversation provided us. We valued the idea of creating safe spaces and that is how the name of the podcast, “Comfort Crowd” was born. Safe spaces could be people, we thought, and how special would it be if we provide that to our audience?
Next, we made a list of “Zillenial” topics that we wanted to explore ranging from meatier topics pertaining to relationships to topics informed by pop culture. We decided no matter how “light” a topic may sound we have a tendency to skew our conversations to discover new things and dig deeper to connect what we are talking about to our own experiences and observations.
PHASE 2: Setting Intentions
This process of brainstorming topics took a night’s session, but towards the end of that first session, I realized that we hadn’t set our intentions for making the podcast. I felt like setting intentions was extremely imperative so we don’t lose track of why we are making the podcast in the first place. So we talked it out and wrote out intentions down, I don’t want to share all of them but a few included being helpful and insightful, offering new perspectives, and creating things that come from the heart. I think it’s important to have really good communication and to be on the same page when you have a creative partner. Knowing why both of you want to come together to create is a surefire way of getting things done with synergy and comfort.
PHASE 3: Logistics
Figuring out HOW to make a podcast is also half of the work needed to make a podcast. Luckily, there is a very user-friendly and free podcast App by Spotify called Anchor. You could record directly using the app or upload your own media, and use their editing software to be able to upload directly to Spotify. It’s amazing honestly, and very accessible to anyone interested in launching their own podcast. We decided to try out our pilot episode recording directly in anchor using the host and guest setting while using Facetime to be able to see each other’s faces while we record our call.
PHASE 3: The Pilot Episode
Since it was our first time ever recording a podcast we wanted to make sure to cover our bases. We chose a topic that we found fun and interesting for us both that was not too “high stakes” to lose out on if we feel like we messed up on our episode. We decided to do a pilot episode on our reading lives, which turned out to be a very eye-opening couple of hours for us both. After we hit stop on our podcast we were met with a moment of silence and a “did that just happen” dumbfoundedness. It felt like an out-of-body experience to me, I asked Janelle if she felt similarly, and she said yes. It’s hard to describe why it happened, but we debriefed amongst ourselves on how it was a feeling we felt never before. While Janelle and I had felt like we know each other quite well and share very intimate conversations, the added factor of an audience heightened our sense of intentionality with our words and our questions, channeling the flow of conversation to a new type of intimacy. To put it plainly, it felt like Janelle and I got to know each other on a deeper level. The feeling was addictive and it felt validating. It felt like what we are doing is definitely meant for us. Although the recording was not perfect and we had kinks to work through, the topics and the inquisitiveness were present.
PHASE 4: Editing
We decided not to edit the entire pilot episode because we felt like we needed to put our energy into the next episode. However, we did spend a session together doing a mock edit, seeing how we would edit our first official episode. Using the Anchor app was very easy and we were able to divide our audio into key parts. Janelle and I realized editing is a lot of work at this point, and commended podcast creators for their diligence of editing their podcasts weekly if not daily. It was also very humbling to hear ourselves when we are unsure. We took many notes of improvement for the next episode such as trying our best not to say “uhm” or “like” and keeping our active listening sounds to a minimum to let the other speak more uninterrupted. During this time Janelle had a peer suggest to her that we record ourselves on Zoom or Google Meet the next time we record, that way we are able to grab sound bites with our faces for marketing purposes. I thought that was a great idea and we made sure to implement it on our next recording.
While we are not planning to release our podcast episodes until we have at least several edited and ready to go, we still learned a lot throughout podcast making so far.
Overall we felt like doing the pilot was a really wise thing, since we found many ways to improve for the next recording. Through trial and error, we found that the best practice for recording a podcast is to do it in segments rather than in one go, as you are able to collect your thoughts to rerecord bits that might have been forgotten during the conversation. Since we recorded the pilot episode in one recording there was a lot of pressure and moments we felt we were unprepared or lost a bit of intentionality in what we were talking about in order to keep talking. In our first real recording, the act of pausing gave us more clarity and intentionality to the topic we were sharing.
There is still a lot of work between us to do and figure out, we still haven't tackled our graphic design and branding as we wanted to prioritize the quality of the content first. We don’t know where podcasting will take us, but we want to share ourselves and take space in these audio spaces, having a firm conviction that there is someone out there that can benefit from the conversations we share.
Stay tuned for further updates within the Simplex World and we will definitely follow up with a post with an update on our future launch. Thank for you following us on our journey so far!