Helen Zaltzman
Roman Mars

Helen Zaltzman & Roman Mars

Host of Podcast the Allusionist & Answer Me This, & Creator/Host of 99% Invisible & Co-founder of Radiotopia

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON November 12, 2015

Discussion

Roman Mars
Roman Mars@romanmars
I’m Roman Mars. I’m the host and creator of 99% Invisible and co-founder of the podcast group Radiotopia. I’m in Cambridge, MA today, hanging out with many of the ‘Topes. Feel free to ask me questions about the show, public radio, podcasting, fund raising, design, architecture, etc. Please forgive me, I type slow. And - Hello! I'm Helen Zaltzman, from the linguistics podcast The Allusionist and the comedy podcast Answer Me This. I usually make them in my living room in Crystal Palace, London; but right now I'm in Radiotopia HQ, the PRX offices in Cambridge, MA. Please excuse my jetlag, which usually removes my ability to form sentences. Ask me anything you want about the Allusionist, AMT, podcasting, or your personal problems. Also, if you were hoping to pit me and Roman Mars against each other, he's definitely a better person than me but I can type faster than him, so I have the advantage. If you're here for advice on how to start podcasting, or want to know my technical setup, I already got you. TL;DR: distilled into five bullet points.
Nathan Bashaw
Nathan Bashaw@nbashaw · Head of Product at Gimlet Media
What resources would you recommend to people who want to learn to tell stories as well as you do?
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@nbashaw Listening to lots and lots of other shows. But I always favour the approach of not trying to prepare or research too much before doing, and instead just getting on with trying to make something myself. Other resources can't really teach me how to actually do something; I just have to try to do it, then persist and try to get better. If I replicated other people's techniques, the results would probably be painful to listen to.
Roman Mars
Roman Mars@romanmars
@nbashaw Transom.org started the year I started in radio (~2000) and it's an invaluable resource. They have the "Transom Story Workshop" and 8 week course in radio storytelling that's the best training there is in these type of stories.
Hrishikesh Hirway
Hrishikesh Hirway@hrishihirway · I make music + the Song Exploder podcast
@romanmars @helenzaltzman I've heard you both like pizza. How do you feel about the abbreviation "za"? Does an abbreviation count as a piece of design? Or as a real word?
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@hrishihirway 'za' is an abomination and I can't believe you would even tolerate it.
GadgetGav
GadgetGav@gadgetgav
@helenzaltzman Uh oh @hrishihirway - better not take Helen to Za while she's in Cambridge..!! :-)
Roman Mars
Roman Mars@romanmars
@hrishihirway I'm pro 'Za. I hear Justin McElroy (of MBMBaM) say it and it makes me happy. I've never been able to pull it off.
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@hrishihirway 'za' fails as an abbreviation because it doesn't contain the fundamental character of the word 'pizza'. But I can understand why the first syllable on its own would be prone to misinterpretation.
Hrishikesh Hirway
Hrishikesh Hirway@hrishihirway · I make music + the Song Exploder podcast
@helenzaltzman I don't tolerate it! I hate it!
Tim Cigelske
Tim Cigelske@teecycletim · Social Media Director, Marquette Unive…
@RomanMars I get the sense that all the Radiotopia shows are tied together by a similar mission. How would you describe that ethos and what do you look for when adding to the Radiotopia family?
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@teecycletim Before I was allowed in, @romanmars made sure I was a bone marrow match just in case the necessity arose.
Sarah McMahon-Sperbe
Sarah McMahon-Sperbe@sarah_mcsperb · Audio Nerd & Content Consultant
@helenzaltzman @teecycletim I knew it! Radiotopia is actually creating genetically modified podcast superhumans. I want in.
Roman Mars
Roman Mars@romanmars
@teecycletim We gravitate toward shows that evoke wonder and discovery, story-based rather than straight interview shows, sound rich, personality driven, personal. They are all independent and have an entrepreneurial spirit. Their podcast is their goal and not a stepping stone or marketing tool for something else. Plus, Radiotopia people are all good people. I can't handle unpleasant people.
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@teecycletim I'm actually a total arsehole, but because of my accent @romanmars hasn't noticed yet.
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)@emilyjsnowdon · Operations @ Product Hunt
@romanmars and @helenzaltzman Thanks both for being here today - this question is for both of you: During your career to date, what has been your a) most challenging moment and how did you overcome it? b) proudest moment and why? c) most surprising moment?
Roman Mars
Roman Mars@romanmars
@ems_hodge I did a TED Talk this year and it caused me a fair amount of stress. I kept overthinking my talk, trying to give a "TED Talk" I thought they wanted, but then I calmed down and gave the kind of talk that fit my show and personality. That's always the best policy, but the bigness of TED flummoxed me.
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@ems_hodge a) Not so much a moment, just the persistance for years spending most of my time making podcasts when there wasn't a particularly obvious benefit to doing so, and I wasn't earning enough money to live because of it. You know how successful actors say, "I didn't have a job for sixteen years but I just kept waiting and hoping for my big break, and then it happened?" I spent the whole period of my career-mess wondering, "At what point does optimism tip over into life-ruining delusion?" b) Proudest moments: 1. being part of Radiotopia; 2. whenever I get a message from a listener telling me that the podcasts have made a difference to them. My main ambition with the shows is to take people's minds off their horrible commutes or difficult days or insomnia, and give them a few facts to throw into small talk; I don't have particularly lofty aims. But sometimes the listener elevates everything. Yesterday one sent me an email that was so moving, it took me an hour to stop wanting to cry. Granted, I was emotionally shaky with jetlag, but still. c) Most surprising moment, again, is a series of moments: the fact that I have learned so much already when making The Allusionist this year, and it has turned out quite different to how I might have predicted before I started making it. In a good way, I think. But it feels like the show has its own plan for what it'll be, and I just have to obey it.
The Timbre
The Timbre@timbretweet · The Timbre
@helenzaltzman On your show, you seem to be balancing three interests: being entertaining, telling a narrative, and educating listeners. Is one of these interests more of a priority to you? In other words, what is your main objective for The Allusionist? And how do you balance these interests?
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@timbretweet I think these three priorities have assumed equal importance because I'm not good enough at any of those things individually (or strongly inclined to just one) to go all-in on that tone. I want the entertainment to have facts in it, but I want the learning to be fun and engaging and a little irreverant. The narrative is something I'm still learning about building, and I expect to be learning about that forever. My main objective for the Allusionist for myself is to find out as much new stuff as I can, and hopefully bring the listener with me as I do it. My objective for the listener, as I put somewhere else in that thread, is to give them a slightly more enjoyable commute.
Chris Maury
Chris Maury@cmaury · Conversant Labs
@romanmars 99PI is one of the most sonically rich podcasts I've heard. There are just so many textures, and they add so much to the experience of the show. What's the process for designing the non-verbal aspects of the show? It seems that there is as much effort in creating the audio experience as there is scripting the conversation.
Jessi Lauren
Jessi Lauren@searchtofindyou · Bid Coordinator, Nexstep Commercial Prod
@helenzaltzman & @RomanMars - as a fan who's consuming audio with more adoration than film or TV and more readily than the written word, what do you think makes the biggest difference in quality and likeability for an audio-driven medium like podcasting? Do you think the two are necessarily linked?
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@searchtofindyou I find it quite difficult to form a listening habit for a show I don't find likeable; like radio, the listener really has to enjoy your company when you're speaking into their ears, in a way that I don't think is so critical for TV etc.
Roman Mars
Roman Mars@romanmars
@searchtofindyou I think the likability and personal connection of audience to host is one of the critical components to the success of any podcast. It's certainly why I like them, as a listener.
Jacqueline von Tesmar
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
Love your podcast Roman!! Hi Helen, I haven't tried the Illusionist yet, but will now ;) What's something you used to fervently believe that you now see as misguided?
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@jacqvon I keep my beliefs unfervent, so that I feel less of a fool later.
Harry Stebbings
Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
Hi @RomanMars and @helenzaltzman huge fan of 99% and fellow podcaster @twentyminutevc and therefore would love to hear what tactics you used to grow the 99% audience in the early days? What content marketing strategies do you find to be most useful? What is your fave questions to ask interviews guests? SO MANY MORE QUESTIONS, LET ME KNOW WHEN YOU ARE NEXT IN LONDON, MOJITOS ON ME!
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@harrystebbings I live in London, Harry; how many mojitos are you going to buy me?
Andrew Ettinger
Andrew Ettinger@ettinger · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
What's something an industry outsider doesn't realize about the podcast industry?
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@andrewmettinger That it's all just a bunch of disparate entities and individuals floating around separately, trying to figure out what's going on.
Ryan Hoover
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Welcome, @helenzaltzman and @romanmars! What's on your "podcast homescreen"? 😊
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@rrhoover A lot of fingerprint smudges.
Alex Carter
Alex Carter@alexcartaz · Operations @ 60dB. Ex-PH Podcasts 😻
@helenzaltzman @rrhoover I love this question of Ryan's. Do you or @romanmars prefer a specific podcast app, and if so, why? =)
Alex Carter
Alex Carter@alexcartaz · Operations @ 60dB. Ex-PH Podcasts 😻
What show are you secretly hoping gets added to Radiotopia next, if you're comfortable saying? =)
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@alexcartaz I gather Glenn Beck has a podcast. I'm sure he'd fit in just fine.
Roman Mars
Roman Mars@romanmars
@alexcartaz I'm on record saying that I want a story-based video game podcast more than any other thing. Like a 99pi for video games.
Alex Carter
Alex Carter@alexcartaz · Operations @ 60dB. Ex-PH Podcasts 😻
@romanmars YES! that would be awesome =)
Alex Carter
Alex Carter@alexcartaz · Operations @ 60dB. Ex-PH Podcasts 😻
What do you think is most missing from the podcast space right now? eg More brown and black voices? Shows that break from the pub radio mold? Shows that appeal to younger peoples' interests? Shows from more interesting thought leaders that don't currently use audio as a distribution channel? Thanks!
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@alexcartaz All these things. I've been in podcasting for a long time now, and I really really want to hear stuff that is nothing like what I can imagine. I want people to take risks, because being risky is pretty low-risk in podcasting. And, now that there's so much competition for listeners' eartime, I want podcasters to try as hard as possible to make their shows a good use of that time, and put in a lot of effort, and not just shit something out and expect that to be good enough.
Alex Carter
Alex Carter@alexcartaz · Operations @ 60dB. Ex-PH Podcasts 😻
@helenzaltzman I totally agree! Do you have any examples of shows you've discovered recently that do a good job of this? I personally thought @hearmillennial was great. Gritty, raw, authenticate. It felt different to me.
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@alexcartaz I found it so hard to listen to @hearmillennial - not because of the show itself, but because after graduating I was in the career weeds for twelve years, basically until the beginning of this year when I joined Radiotopia. It was too hard to be returned vividly to that state.
Jessi Lauren
Jessi Lauren@searchtofindyou · Bid Coordinator, Nexstep Commercial Prod
I've found it elating and admirable that the podcast community has been so interactive with listeners. Has a growing audience affected your ability to be as personally responsive?
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@searchtofindyou It does a bit - I'm so incredibly behind with responding to my emails, even though most of those emails are very thoughtful and delightful and I'm flattered the listener wrote. But because I haven't had time to answer yet, they probably think I don't give a shit. However, it's kind of always been this way, even when I started podcasting nine years ago and the audience was a lot smaller. I think it's because it's so time-consuming to make podcasts. Interacting with the listeners is one of my favourite aspects of podcasting, but unfortunately everything loses out to having to get the shows done.
Roman Mars
Roman Mars@romanmars
@searchtofindyou Yeah, this is also one of my big failures. I can barely even read all the emails. I'm so grateful people want to get in touch, but I'd never do any work, even if I just responded briefly to half of them.
Marina Rosenfield
Marina Rosenfield@aninfoninja
Thanks for enriching my auditory world, guys. What podcasts do you like to listen to?
Marina Rosenfield
Marina Rosenfield@aninfoninja
@romanmars I miss Carver and Maslow! Can we have their segment come back, please?
Roman Mars
Roman Mars@romanmars
@aninfoninja Yes. They'll show up again. Since the fund raiser, I've been focusing the end of the show on that, but they'll be back.
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@romanmars @aninfoninja What's going to happen when they're grumpy teenagers? I can't wait to hear.
Marina Rosenfield
Marina Rosenfield@aninfoninja
@romanmars Yay! Give them high fives for all of us!
Alex Carter
Alex Carter@alexcartaz · Operations @ 60dB. Ex-PH Podcasts 😻
@helenzaltzman and @romanmars, thanks so much for joining us today! this was a delight! =)
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
Alright, the pizza's gone cold and @romanmars and I have got to go and sit in on some meetings. Thanks everyone for showing up and asking us things! Apologies if I missed your question, but it's nothing personal. Unless one of you is my aunt, in which case it IS personal and YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID, AUNTY SUE.
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
DAMMIT they already took all the pizza away!
Roman Mars
Roman Mars@romanmars
I need to jump off for another meeting, but I might come back in and do some clean up later. Thank you for joining us!
Jonny Walker
Jonny Walker@waljonny
@romanmars now radiotopia has the marvellous Helen Zaltzman on board can you set up £GB donation option, maybe with PayPal. I have subscribed $5 a month and am concerned how much of that goes in exchange rates etc and not to you. Thanks
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@waljonny Jonny! I donate from the UK and I think my bank charges a tiny fee (a few pence) per international transaction. But here's a paypal link as well: https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bi...
michael
michael@michael_mclean · spartan
@romanmars what has been your favorite episode of 99% invisible to produce?
Roman Mars
Roman Mars@romanmars
@michael_mclean Most recently, I went to Scotland and did the interview for "The Great Restoration"; that was fun! We all went to Chili's for lunch to record the sound of sizzling fajitas (for "The Sizzle"). Avery got kicked out of the kitchen. I was proud.
Andrew Ettinger
Andrew Ettinger@ettinger · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
What's your favorite podcast that you didn't make?
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@andrewmettinger Probably @Romanmars's. But I taught him everything he knows.
Roman Mars
Roman Mars@romanmars
@andrewmettinger I love Wittertainment! Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo film review on BBC 5 live. Slate Political and Culture Gabfests. Helen's other show Answer Me This is fantastic. So many more...
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@romanmars @andrewmettinger Earlier this year I taught Roman the secret of doing jokes. His mind was absolutely blown. He'll be touring his standup show later this year.
Kate
Kate@katesegrin · Head of Social @ GitHub
What are some examples of great design you've seen recently and some all-time faves?
Roman Mars
Roman Mars@romanmars
@katesegrin I was in Mexico, and in the hotel room, you had to put your card key in the wall to turn on the lights. I thought that was interesting. No lights left on unnecessarily, helps you remember your card key when you leave. That was pretty cool. Still processing the implications and pitfalls.
Fiddleback
Fiddleback@fiddleback · EIC, The Mad Adventurers Society
With Google Play opening it's doors to podcasts, what are some things you hope it will do that other platforms aren't?
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@fiddleback That it makes it easier to listen to shows; and to find new shows that might match your tastes. And that finally there's a low-effort option for Android users, who are around 70% of smartphone users.
Erik Hatch
Erik Hatch@thehatchmatic
@romanmars Recently there have been several formations of podcast "collectives" or companies to increase the production of quality podcasts. As podcasts matured there appeared to be a lot of friendship and cross-advertising between shows. Have you seen the podcast industry become more competitive for the ears to listen and does this create difficulty in earning revenue? What does the ideal podcast market environment look like to you?
Sarah McMahon-Sperbe
Sarah McMahon-Sperbe@sarah_mcsperb · Audio Nerd & Content Consultant
@romanmars How does Radiotopia approach sponsorship and collaborations with such a wide array of podcasters and producers to represent - all with their own boundaries and reservations towards the sponsorship format and selection?
Roman Mars
Roman Mars@romanmars
@sarah_mcsperb It's tough. As a collective, we operate differently. Each show is its own business and we each have our own rules. I'm a non-drinker, so I won't do alcohol ads, for example. Our sales person, Kathleen, is so great and juggles all of our individual ethics and rules. It's harder work for her, but we believe in it.
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@sarah_mcsperb I had a lot of reservations about taking ads in my shows. Then when I started - I think nearly six years ago now - I found that actually I really enjoyed it. For me, it's an interesting challenge to make advertising content work for the listener, AND for the advertiser. I like to find ways to make the ads sound right for the show and not boring for the listener to hear.
Sarah McMahon-Sperbe
Sarah McMahon-Sperbe@sarah_mcsperb · Audio Nerd & Content Consultant
Thanks @romanmars ! I'm curious: at what point did you guys feel it important to bring someone on for Sales? Was that part of your strategy from day one or did you grow into realizing you couldn't keep handling it adhoc?
Marina Rosenfield
Marina Rosenfield@aninfoninja
@helenzaltzman @sarah_mcsperb Indeed, I think your show features the best example of thoughtful advertising. Dare I say it? I actually look forward to it. I want every media creator reliant on ad revenue to go out and listen to Allusionist so it gives them an idea how to embed an ad in the texture of their own medium.
Roman Mars
Roman Mars@romanmars
@sarah_mcsperb It's critical to us to have sales people. I kind of like sales and navigating those relationships, but that's not everyone's strong suit and I'd hate for someone to not be able to make a great show because they can't personally figure out how to sell ads on it. That's where Radiotopia can help.
Rotund Baker
Rotund Baker@rotundbaker · @rotundbaker
I would love to hear the two of you read a children's story on a pod cast. Roman reading the narrator part and Helen he character parts. Any chance of that?
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@rotundbaker Doing it right now.
Eliot Lash
Eliot Lash@eliot_l · Game Developer
@romanmars Are you still having office hours in Oakland? I'd also like to thank both of you for making some of my very favorite podcasts!
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@eliot_l Thanks Eliot! Happy to do it.
Roman Mars
Roman Mars@romanmars
@eliot_l I'm trying to get back into those. They're fun! But I'm just so busy, it's hard to fit in. I promise there'll be more.
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@romanmars @eliot_l I love having meetups with other podcasters, and talking to people who want to start shows or have shows and don't know where to go with them. The first few years, I didn't know any other podcasters, I was very lonely. I didn't know community was a thing that was at all important to me, until I started to build one. BUT I'm so busy just trying to make the shows, I'm almost always stuck in my flat alone, listening to my own damn voice.
Elle Martinez
Elle Martinez@couplemoney · Creator/Podcast Host, Couple Money
@helenzaltzman Love Allusionist's shows and style! I was wondering what the editing process looks like for a typical show? (After you've done the main research and interviews) How long does it usually take? Any tips and pointers are greatly appreciated :)
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@couplemoney Hi! Editing is absolutely the most important part of the process for me. I like having a finite amount of material that I have to turn into the best version of itself by getting rid of most of it. Here's the process: I'll transcribe the interviews, doing a light edit at the same time. At this point, my thoughts will begin to arrange themselves, because the most interesting points will start to become clear; then I have to shuffle those pieces around and keep cutting and cutting, until there's a narrative and I've removed everything that isn't essential to it. After that, I'll script my own links, add those, listen back to the show, cut some more, publish it and collapse. I don't want to think about how long this all takes. I like to kid myself that it's only three days, but myself keeps losing on this schedule.
Elle Martinez
Elle Martinez@couplemoney · Creator/Podcast Host, Couple Money
@helenzaltzman Thank you!
Roman Mars
Roman Mars@romanmars
@couplemoney I made a slide of the 99pi editing process https://twitter.com/romanmars/st...
GadgetGav
GadgetGav@gadgetgav
@romanmars That's an incredible amount of work, but *SO* much better to listen to than the 'open mic' style of rambling podcast. That's why I support Radiotopia!
Elle Martinez
Elle Martinez@couplemoney · Creator/Podcast Host, Couple Money
@romanmars Thank you! I'm somehow going to turn your slide and Helen's notes into posters so I can hang them on the wall while I work. :)
Elle Martinez
Elle Martinez@couplemoney · Creator/Podcast Host, Couple Money
@RomanMars when you were first starting 99PI, what was your general process for compiling an episode? If you could go back and give yourself advice then about constructing the show, what would it be? Were there any worries or concerns you had then that did really matter? Or were there things you wish you knew sooner? Thank you!
neeharika sinha
neeharika sinha@neeeharika · Google, Threadchannel
@romanmars great work with 99% invisible. I look forward to it weekly. Please do check out my post about https://medium.com/@Neeeharika/5... I wanted to understand more about your creative research process. Any chance you will do a feature on transamerica building or maybe some local SF area architecture pieces.
neeharika sinha
neeharika sinha@neeeharika · Google, Threadchannel
@couplemoney what inspires you everyday?
Elle Martinez
Elle Martinez@couplemoney · Creator/Podcast Host, Couple Money
@neeeharika Kind of hard to answer, so many people and things inspire. My short answer is I love to learn and enjoy helping others so my podcast gives me an outlet to do both. Constantly picking up ideas from interviews and listeners. How about you?
Rotund Baker
Rotund Baker@rotundbaker · @rotundbaker
Have you both considered also posting uncut versions of your shows? I know that you think no one would listen, but I think you are wrong.
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@rotundbaker I don't think no one WOULD listen, I think no one SHOULD listen. If I ever put out an unedited podcast, check me into a hospital asap because you know something would be profoundly wrong.
Roman Mars
Roman Mars@romanmars
@rotundbaker This would be so terrible. Seriously, it would kill me to have draft versions out in the world.
Roman Mars
Roman Mars@romanmars
Everyone needs to go listen to the new memory palace. just went live. Nate's sitting right next to me.
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@romanmars I am doing this AMA when I should be making my episode, which is late.
Will Beischel
Will Beischel@willbeischel · Psychology Researcher
Is there any chance of you and @helenzaltzman falling in love?? I think you'd make the most intelligent and dynamic couple I can think of.
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@willbeischel My husband has a PhD so @romanmars should marry him and then they'd be a very intelligent dynamic couple. Then I can move in on Roman's marvellous and beautiful wife.
Marina Rosenfield
Marina Rosenfield@aninfoninja
Yay! Give them high fives for all of us!
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@aninfoninja Can't! Too busy typing!
Dre Durr💡
Dre Durr💡@dredurr · Growth is the only thing that matters
How do you guys balance the maker/manager dilema?
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@dredurr Badly. I'm so busy making, I can't see more than a couple of weeks ahead. I have no time or inner resources to think of a career plan, or come up with something that's bigger than just me and my show. Anyone want to do that for me?
Roman Mars
Roman Mars@romanmars
@dredurr This is hard for me to. I'm much more of a manager now than I ever desired or expected. I like the role, but I have to keep checks in balance so I don't only deal with the high level stuff. I still take the Protools session last and mix, edit, and post it personally. That keeps me grounded to the making of the thing instead of spinning off into manager orbit.
Alex Carter
Alex Carter@alexcartaz · Operations @ 60dB. Ex-PH Podcasts 😻
From your experience creating and consuming podcasts, have you been surprised to learn about the nuances around how different people consume and enjoy audio? For example, episodes some of your listeners love, others hate? Or even close friends and colleagues with generally similar tastes falling on polar sides of some podcast episode? Extending beyond pet peeves like vocal fry, but into more intangible differences?
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@alexcartaz The fact that a lot of people love long, unedited conversational podcasts is amazing to me. I am listening to podcasts to AVOID listening to boring conversations! I want podcasts to sound BETTER than real life!
GadgetGav
GadgetGav@gadgetgav
@romanmars @helenzaltzman Do either of you have any tricks to get the nice vocal sounds for 99pi or The Allusionist? I hear stories of podcasters making forts from couch cushions and pillows etc. Or is it all down to good mic technique?
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@gadgetgav I'm pretty awful at that side of things. But I mostly record in my living room, and one of the reasons we moved into our flat is because our living room is a nice-sounding room, so I don't soundproof. The downside is often I do have to stop and wait for the cessation of noises from outside the living room: sirens, arguments, neighbour sex...
GadgetGav
GadgetGav@gadgetgav
@helenzaltzman Do you do Allusionist the same way as AMT? It seems slightly different, but maybe that's just because it's one voice and not three, especially with Martin's reverb!
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@gadgetgav I'm using a different mic, and sitting about three feet away from where I sit for AMT. Also you can hear me talking via Olly's mic track, so the sound is a little different because of that. And I'm talking differently on the Allusionist, because I'm alone monologuing rather than in conversation. And I don't have to speak quickly and loudly because I'm not waiting for Olly to interrupt me.
GadgetGav
GadgetGav@gadgetgav
@helenzaltzman That brings up follow-on questions: Is it hard to edit a two person show? Do you talk over each other and make it hard to make cuts? Do you have hand signals to shut the other person up?
Rotund Baker
Rotund Baker@rotundbaker · @rotundbaker
There are a large number of story based podcasts, and a large number of them tend to tell sad stories. Why do you think podcasters are attracted to present sad stories? Also since podcasts can be made anywhere, why have the two of you decided to live in two of the most expensive cities in the world?
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@rotundbaker I don't make particularly sad stories, but it's harder to find jeopardy if everything's fine. When I moved to London, my rent was £50 a week which was far cheaper than the non-London town I was trying to live in. Also, London is huge and varied and I don't want to live in a smaller, more homogenous city.
Michael Kilcoyne
Michael Kilcoyne@mikekilcoyne · Sales, Marketing, Writer. Guy.
@romanmars what's the #1 time-saver you've discovered (post-prod, finding guests, etc.) that you'd suggest for any new podcaster?
Roman Mars
Roman Mars@romanmars
@mikekilcoyne I get the feeling I do everything the slowest possible way. The only thing I've found that helps are great people like Katie, Avery, Sam, Kurt, Taryn, and the Radiotopia/PRX teams.
Helen Zaltzman
Helen Zaltzman@helenzaltzman · Podcaster: Allusionist, Answer Me This
@romanmars @mikekilcoyne The biggest time-saver would be not editing, but that would make the show the biggest time-waster for the listener.
GadgetGav
GadgetGav@gadgetgav
@romanmars What's the relationship between Radiotopia and PRX? Who does what?
Roman Mars
Roman Mars@romanmars
@gadgetgav Radiotopia is like a music label for great podcasts. It's technically a partnership between me and PRX, but all the shows have a lot of input about how things are run and they retain all ownership of their shows and run them like their own business, which we support. PRX is the creator of the technology that allows us to function, handles sales, money, donations, all that. Radiotopia couldn't exist without PRX or the shows in the collective.
Jessi Lauren
Jessi Lauren@searchtofindyou · Bid Coordinator, Nexstep Commercial Prod
Thanks so much to both of you! I hope you get some hot 'za soon!