As I write this I have about a week left in the Digital Scholarship Fellowship. I am grateful for this time and space to work on my podcast Workshop: Writing in Progress. It has been a great learning experience to go from an idea to an actual thing that exists. Since this project involves the creation of a podcast and relies on the collaboration of other artists I break down my learnings into two primary buckets: podcast design and podcast logistics.
Podcast design can be best described as what the podcast was actually going to be? What would be the format? What would be the tone? And how can I make each episode exciting and unique to the two guests while also establishing a consistent experience between episodes? This last factor became the focus of the work of my fellowship. I had figured out a format that the show would follow, but how to direct the conversation between creative writers who might have drastically different processes became a challenge.
About two weeks into the fellowship, I realized that I could create consistency between episodes by standardizing some of the questions I asked my guests. Many interview and discussion shows have a “signature” question and I began to brainstorm mine. The question I landed on was “what prompts you to write?” This question felt simple yet integral to the focus of the show. Since Workshop askes writers to write on a theme or a “writing prompt”, the question takes the parameters of a traditional writing prompt and turns it on its head. It is a question that asks the guests What inspires you? What motivates you? What interests you? As writers grow in their practice, they move away from the traditional writing prompts of introductory creative writing classes, but they are still prompted by the world and I wanted them to talk about that.
The second piece of the podcast I had to wrestle with was podcast logistics. This meant that I had to develop a methodology and lifecycle for how an episode is recorded, edited, produced, and published. Since I have yet to publish any episodes, I had to determine the frequency of a release schedule. Since I am a full-time student with a final year of class, I decided that could feasibly release episodes once a month. This meant that I had to figure out a production lifecycle that could accommodate such a timeline.
The biggest challenge to this was scheduling guests. Traditional interview shows needed only a guest, but this show required having two guests to compare and contrast their writing. Furthermore, the guests needed to bring a piece of writing to the recording which meant that I needed to build in time between when they are scheduled and when we record to give them ample time to write.
Over this 8 week fellowship my goal was to record and produce 2 complete episodes, unfortunately all I was able to do was to record two episodes. I only had enough time to edit one of the two recordings. I still have much to learn when it comes to the logistical side of this project, but I’m excited to iron out the wrinkles as I continue working.