Behind the Podcast Scenes

So… as I’m sure anyone reading this now knows, I’ve started the Unified Republic of Stars Podcast. Yeah, with a capital “P” because it’s that formal. And, you know what? It’s more awesome than even I thought it was going to be. Seriously, since the initial creation of this site, it’s probably the thing I’ve been enjoying the most.

Although, I will say, there are more than a few articles on the site that I’m particularly proud of, where I kind of ran with it and came up with something cool. I’m looking at you, Oceania.

I can’t really tell you why I decided to create it. I think, honestly, I was bored. In fact, yeah, I think that’s pretty much it. I was bored, sitting around, and actually listening to a lot of podcasts. I mentioned them in the introductory cast but two of my favorites were Mike Duncan’s Revolutions and Jaime Jeffers’ British History Podcast.

I like podcasts and I like history. And, well… I’d kinda stalled out on adding articles or even blog posts to the URS site. But I had three frick’n history books written for the world and I started thinking, “Hey, maybe I can do that…”

So, I did.

I logged on ye olde Amazon and went looking for mics. The one that appealed to me was the Blue Yeti mic. It was a little more expensive than the Snowball but it had a classic look… and, yeah… I go in for that kind of thing. Plus, the reviews were good, so I went for it.

It’s a nice USB mic. Which is a sticking point for some people but I’m not really planning on recording without my computer, so USB is okay by me. And it was plug and play.

It's a sweet little package. Attach a pop filter to its stand and it's ready to go!

It’s a sweet little package. Attached a pop filter to its stand and it’s ready to go!

That plus Audacity and a pop filter basically set up the URS recording studio. And I started recording.

The introduction that you may or may not have heard is not the first thing that I recorded. Obviously, I did some test recordings but I also recorded a full introduction and Chapter One but killed them. Mostly, because my girlfrien listened to them and asked me, “What do you want to accomplish with these?”

It was an awesome question. And the reason I’ve been dating her for four years. Because she can really boil things down and challenge me. And the answer I cam back with was participation. That’s all I’ve ever wanted since I put this site out there almost four years ago now. I think it would be awesome to get other people as excited about the story world as I am and wanting to set stories within it or create art for it.

So… I re-recorded the episodes. And added the pleas you’re probably now familiar with. And decided that, for some reason, my dumb story generator would get a starring role at the beginning of every episode.

And I recorded the first four episodes.

I’d just like to take a moment and say that, when you have a great mic, it’s really fucking hard to record clean audio in Brooklyn. I shut the windows and doors. I turned off the fans. I even turned off that light that kind of buzzes when its on, you know? But the city is a noisy place. And between kids crying on the street and the East Coast’s penchant for honking car horns for a myriad of reasons, I pretty much recorded an hour’s worth of audio each time in order to get twenty or so useable minutes.

But it was fun. Seriously fun.

I loved editing it and I loved listening to the finished product. That theme song by Howzr? Epic. And seriously, do check out Slim Wray if you get a chance because it is an awesome band.

But, I also listened to Chapter Three and it bothered me. Because the colonization of the stars is my favorite period within the story world. (Believe me, a cast about that is coming up.) But the episode felt really dry.

So, starting with the episode coming out this weekend, I’ve re-jiggered the format. Instead of just reading the chapter every week, I’m actually basing the content of the cast on the chapter but writing it to include a lot of the color the history book doesn’t contain.

It comes off as way more conversational, which I think is important in a podcast. It shouldn’t just be narration. It should be a conversation every week. That’s where Duncan and Jeffers really get it right.

It’s a larger time commitment. I mean, I’m not just writing intros and outros any more with what I wrote years ago in between. Now, I’m writing every word spoken and making sure it all makes sense and is fun. So, my time commitment for the podcast has gone from maybe two hours a week to at least three. And that’s not including the bevy of supplementals I’ve been writing and recording, too.

But, you know what? I’m enjoying the Unified Republic of Stars story world more than I have in about a year.

I still love this world. Seriously, love. And it’s exciting to see that other people are learning about it. And I hope that excitement comes through for you if you’ve been listening.

I don’t know where this sucker is going but I’m excited about it and plan to keep to my commitment of at least an episode a week. And I hope it not just keeps your interest but inspires you to participate. Because participation from you, adding content in your area of expertise or writing stories that interest you, will really bring this world to life.

Oh, and lest I be remiss, you can alway go and listen to it on Stitcher or on iTunes. In fact, if you’re on an iOS device with Podcasts, just browsing to that last link will ask you if you want to subscribe. Think about it!