HOW TO TRANSFORM A PODCAST
The story of how I reimagined what ScratchThat Magazine’s podcast could be, and created Blatherskite
ADOPT A PODCAST
First you will need to find a podcast that has potential but hasn’t yet discovered who it is. Like a pre-teen ScratchThat’s podcast was full of potential but didn’t have a strong direction when I became the producer.
IMAGINE A VISION
After you’ve gathered senses of where you’re starting, look ahead to the end and imagine what success would look like. I got together with the team of burgeoning writers and we discussed what we wanted out of it, what we could contribute to the podcast market.
We decided we wanted to see more radio-plays in podcasts, and that we weren’t going to settle for just the ScratchThat website. We wanted to go big.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE
Once you know where you want to take your recently adopted podcast, reach out to everyone who will touch the process. For us this was critical as we had over a dozen creative contributors, and for me this was a particular challenge as the producer.
I met with someone from every discipline in the project, audio producers, actors, and writers – and I sought to understand what they could add to the process and what they needed to accomplish their job. I made us a timeline and some internal goals to ensure we could get there in the end.
HIDE FROM THE SNAP-LOCKDOWN
Surprise! COVID-19 is still a thing and you need to retreat with your baby to your home. Any project will reach hurdles and unexpected challenges, ours just so happened to come from a state government on the exact day of our first recording where we were supposed to get two episodes taped.
This reminded me of the importance of resilience and adaptability on both an individual and team wide basis. Coming out of the lockdown I encouraged the creative team to come out swinging to get us back on track, and made a note to myself to add more schedule padding in the future.
BUILD THE PATH OUT OF THE VILLAGE
Hopefully, disasters aside, your production will be getting up to speed and begin humming along. Now is the time to start making the infrastructure for your baby to leave you and see the wide world. I knew we wanted to expand so I began to create web infrastructure to release the podcast on every big streaming service.
I had to learn the ins-and-outs of WordPress and an open web standard known as RSS. I was well served by starting development early as it took me a while to learn this all and I discovered that ScratchThat was already a popular podcast. But after a couple of weeks I did it, and I had developed a scalable framework to launch our newly renamed podcast Blatherskite.
OIL THE WAGONS WHEELS
If you’re lucky you’ll have had your big disaster and from now on it’ll only be putting out small fires. There was continual tweaking and interventions that I had to do – a writer was unable to direct an episode because they were sick, I needed to gender flip a script for our actor budget – but in the end production hummed along.
In fact as we were wrapping up production of our first lot of episodes, season 2 of Blatherskite, the team realised that our process had gotten so good we could try something even braver. We decided for season 3 we would try to create a season that was one long connected story.
SEND YOUR CHILD INTO THE WORLD
Bidding farewell to one of your own is always difficult, but if you have diligently nurtured it, it will go on to become something of its own and mean things you couldn’t imagine for someone else.
I couldn’t be prouder of what I was able to do with Blatherskite. Under my leadership we produced a feature-film’s worth of audio-drama, over 90 minutes, and we did it on a tight time budget of under 12 weeks on a shoestring budget.
You can find it here.