These thoughts are from the perspective of someone who is a HUGE fan of podcast fiction. I love to read but don’t have much time anymore. I do, however, have a job where I can listen to whatever I want for most of the day and for the past couple of months, that has meant 6+ hours a day of podcasts. I have been catching up on my “reading” this way and having a ball. Most of the time. I have developed a few pet peeves as a listener and am sharing them here in the hopes that podcasters-to-be might read this and learn from the mistakes of others.
One of the things I need to remember, as a listener, is that I am getting this entertainment for free. These are not professionally produced audio books. Not that the creators don’t strive for that kind of quality. I know they do. I also know these are done by people at home in make-shift recording studios around the time and attention demands of full time jobs and families. I need to lighten up. I know that.
There are two sides to the issue of podcast fiction; the story itself, and the production quality of the recording. As for the story, my only comment is that the writing needs to be edited before it’s recorded. And, I do not believe the author alone can do this. If they can’t afford an editor, they need get a friend or another writer to go through the story with a critical eye. Then, they need to pay attention to what they are saying as they read it. And, if it doesn’t make sense, it needs to be fixed right then.
As for the production quality, consistency is the one thing I think most first-time podcasters lack. Considering it’s their first time, I guess that’s not terribly surprising. Things like suddenly adding sound effects half way through, or music when it wasn’t there at the beginning is one of the things that annoys me more than anything else. I would much rather listen to a simple read through without any fancy editing tricks than listen to one that changes every time the podcaster learns how to do something else. I’m thrilled that they are learning new skills, but really wish they could save them for the next podcast.
I think often the person doing the creative work tries too hard. I know I’m guilty of it myself in some of my own creative endeavors. Focus on one thing you want to improve on with each project. The idea is to get your work out there in as clean a way as possible so that your audience can focus on the message, not the method of delivery.
Finally, I need to say, “Thank you” to those of you who produce these works. You make my day go by in a wonderful way that is so different from just listening to music. I will try to remember that you are doing this on a shoestring budget (if there is a budget at all) and as an artist working to share your passion with the world.
Now, about those sound effects and background music that suddenly showed up in episode 15…