►Tell us about you and your podcast
I'm Chris Dudley, and with my co-hosts Sharon (my wife) and Pete, we host DragonReel, the Fantasy Film Podcast. We use conversation and comedy to appeal to movie-lovers and fantasy fans alike. Anyone who enjoys light-hearted discussion about fantasy movies should fit right in.
►Why & how did you start this podcast?
I'd been listening to podcasts for a while and felt I had something to add. One of my favorite podcasts is Film Sack, which picks a different movie every week to discuss. My friends and I watched a lot of the same movies, and I thought we had something to say that would resonate.
One of my goals was to take on a genre that gets a lot of snarky critique from the web and try to review it and examine it without the snark. We still joke around, and sometimes we'll dip into snark, but we also consider the fact that some people put a lot of hard work into making those films. We started a few years ago. I had initially intended to get a few episodes done before releasing any, but we got so excited about sharing our first episode, it just had to go out as soon as I could finish editing it.
►How'd you find the time and funding to do this podcast?
We try to release an episode at least twice a month, but that gets difficult sometimes. We average about one a month. Finding the time to edit and release a show is the hardest part. All of us work full time but I (Chris) am the one who shepherds the show from raw recording to releasable podcast. After recording the episode, which we usually do on a Sunday night, I have to go through and edit out the parts I feel are unnecessary. I also try to fix sound levels so that the whole thing comes out even instead of loud and quiet bursts. That takes about 3-5 hours for every hour-long show. After that, I listen to what I consider the final product one more time. I find the time, but I balance it with family time, social life, gaming, and practicing the piano. To fit it in, it must be a labor of love. I have spent a couple thousand over the years on ads for Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit over the years, but none of them have really gotten great results. I'm also paying to host the podcast. For now I'm enjoying keeping it going.
►What do you gain from podcasting?
We haven't taken on, and don't plan to take on, any sponsors. We like having a commercial-free podcast because no one wants to have to dig out the player and skip ahead 30 seconds while I talk about mattresses. You don't want to hear it and I don't want to say it. But that means that the money all comes from my day job.
Our numbers aren't great, but we seem to get a few hundred downloads per episode. Our metrics aren't the best. I'm using a WordPress app and I'm not really sure I trust its numbers.
I don't benefit in any material way from podcasting, but I really enjoy doing it. I enjoy getting together with my wife and friend and a guest or two and talk about a movie that we might otherwise ignore or just watch and file away under "seen it" with no further thought. I like to hear other perspectives on the movies that I watch, and sometimes they'll change my views entirely.
►How does your podcasting process look like?
Our system is pretty rudimentary. I have two boom mics (one for me, one for Sharon) in my office going into a mixing board, which connects to my PC. Since our co-host Pete is about 300 miles away from us, and whatever guest we have could be anywhere in the world, we have to use VOIP. Our calls are recorded over Skype using an app called, appropriately enough, MP3 Skype Recorder. I have been trying for ages to find a sound board that will play audio clips directly into Skype, but the one I had been using (Pamela) stopped working. The more reliable way is to play a clip into the mic and then go back and redub it later. I edit the recording in Audacity and release it using our WordPress site. If you're noticing a trend that all of the software we use is free, that's not an accident.
Our guests come from our list of friends, from other podcasts, and from posts on social media asking for guests. We only have one requirement, really, and that is that you watch the movie we're talking about within a couple weeks of the recording. I'll have recorded some clips from the movie to play during the discussion, either to use as talking points, or because I found them noteworthy or just plain funny. I'll often have about two or three times as many clips as we play on the show, just to be prepared. Of course, if you listen, you'll notice that no matter how many I have ready, Sharon will ask for one I didn't record.
►How do you market your show?
This is where I'm obvioulsy a babe in the woods. Were on iTunes and I've released the feed to a few other wild podcatchers, but finding new listeners is difficult for me. I really think we could have a pretty good audience if I found the right outlet to publicize, but I've so far failed to find it. Facebook was the worst so far. I've gotten "likes" from such randomly dispersed people around the world who have never engaged, never clicked, and I doubt speak English. Of the over 500 people who have liked our page, perhaps 5 have posted on the page in response to a question. One person was offended enough my by Facebook advertising to send me a profanity-laced message telling me what I could do with my spam. My Twitter ad was apparently served up to one person half a dozen times in one day. I would guess that my biggest successful advertising is from Reddit, since I get a strong uptick in listener downloads when I advertise there.
►What advice would you share with aspiring (new) podcasters?
The biggest lesson I've taken away is to always do a sound/tech check before starting the show. I've lost my side of the recording before and had to post a hacked-together version of it, and on one of my favorite movies, too. The hardest lessons are that some conversations can't be remade.
Other than that, I'm still learning, still growing my audience, and still hoping to build more engagement and a stronger community around the show.
My advice to a new podcaster is something that I can't follow myself. Produce. Continuous content is necessary to keep people subscribed. The easiest way to do that is to create a backlog of shows in the can ready to go. Then, keep recording while you slowly trickle those out.
►Where can we learn more about you & your podcasts?
Updated: 6 months ago