ACOSCast – Update #001

It’s been a busy few days in ACOS-land (ACOS being the acronym I’ve taken to using for ‘A Craft of Storytelling). Here’s an update on where things stand, and also a little bit about where this whole enterprise came from.

In the beginning was the Moz(fest)

Last weekend (28-29th October), I presented a session at the Mozilla Festival entitled “Beyond the Hero’s Journey: What do we mean when we talk about ‘storytelling’?”. I’ll talk more in episode one about the motivation behind the session, and some of its’ contents, but I was essentially treating it as a dry run.

If more than five people turned up, despite it being on at the same time as another session in the Journalism track around storytelling (focusing on VR, 360 video, binaural audio and…Pokemon Go), then there would probably be enough audience for a podcast around the same subject.

In the end, my guesstimate was about 25-30 attendees – which was fantastic. Thanks to all who came.

The fact there’s a podcast at all comes back to me wanting to do a podcast for about a year or so, now (even going so far as to buy a Zoom H4 recorder), yet lacking a subject that I thought could really motivate me to proceed; and to a conversation with a friend about whether it might be of interest.

Where are we now?

In the last few days, in the aftermath of a cold, I’ve set up this website, a Twitter account (@ACOSCast) and a Facebook ‘Page’.

I’ve been lucky enough to (almost certainly) secure a soundproofed location with decent studio equipment to record in – though actually attempting to record is still yet to happen.

Probably most significantly, I’ve been investigating options for hosting the podcast, and that’s helped me shore up a number of factors. Firstly, I’ll be aiming to keep episodes to between half an hour and forty-five minutes. There may be times when we under-run or overshoot, but starting out, it’s good to have a general target to have.

Settling on the timing, combined with refreshing my understanding of bitrates and file sizes, has allowed me to compare the various possible sites I could use for podcast hosting. I think I’ve settled on Soundcloud, as it gives me enough of what I need, for a decent price – but as things develop I might change my mind.

The tier I’ve chosen gives me the space to upload a maximum of eight forty-five minute episodes every month – and my current plan is to look at a release schedule of a new episode every couple of weeks. This, in turn, means that potentially I can start to plan a year’s worth of episodes.

And from that, I can really start having some fun with what I want to cover in each episode, as well as getting down to the nitty gritty of planning the first few episodes. So that’s the weekend sorted.

One slight setback, was that I had a crazy idea to try and see if I could get permission to use some commercially-released music on the podcast. To their credit, the management of the band (I won’t say whom) got back to me quickly, but it was clear that licensing the music would be prohibitively expensive right now. Which is a shame, as this is very much a passion project, rather than a commercial one, but I wasn’t completely surprised. The upshot is – the search for suitable Creative Commons licensed music starts here.

Finally, something that has sustained my interest in the past few days has been Jessica Abel‘s Out on the Wire – a graphic non-fiction novel about the craft of podcasting. There’s plenty of useful tips and tricks within that I’ll certainly bear in mind when developing the episodes. That said, it is very specific to narrative journalism, which is of course interesting to me for the theme of this podcast, but isn’t necessarily the only style out there. So it’s important to keep a little perspective over how hard and fast the ‘rules’ are – a point which is reinforced in the book itself.

So, in conclusion, full steam ahead for ACOS – and now to really get down to the business of plotting & scripting the first few episodes…

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