Interview With A Podcaster

4/23/2017


Starting as an entertainment reviewer for SomeWhatNerdy, Billiam soon switched to the big leagues of podcasters and has since become known for his series Future Flicks. A weekly podcast where he discusses all upcoming movies as well as any news in the movie industry. Following alongside Future Flicks, he has Movie Nights. A series in which he reviews the latest blockbusters or favourites from the past. He's a lone machine in his work, which astounds many. After a tiresome day in retail, he'll come home at the pm and sit down at his computer ready to discuss this weeks releases. His hours are relentless but he doesn't give up his passion. He's the movie guy. The voice who guides you to the theatre.
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So, straight off the bat, what persuaded you to start podcasting?
The SomewhatNerdy guys started a podcast. Snarfkris, Critter, and Danger. And I didn't see why I couldn't start one too. I had been listening to podcasts for a while before they started theirs, such as Nerdist  and Acquisitions Incorporated, and so the question became "What would I talk about?" On the site I was all about movies, so why not that? What was the worst that could happen? No one listens? That's not a good enough reason to stop you doing something. If nobody does, I could stop. Easy as that.


What do you wish you had known when you started?
I wish I would've known that having a boom for my mic would really improve my sound quality. Speaking of sound, during my first few episodes, I purposely tried to put on my announcer voice, actually I don't know when I officially stopped, but I believe that when I just started talking like I how I do naturally, as in when I get high pitched from being excited or when I go deep when getting dramatic (*wiggle of the brow, wiggle of the brow* Humour of an 8 year old, Anne.), it sounds more natural. And finally, I wish I knew when my listeners would start growing. That an audience grows slowly. Because I am gaining more listeners, but it's just a slow and steady process. Almost a year into it and I'm at about 250 listeners. That's not a lot, but it's more than I ever thought I'd get. That many people tune in each week to listen to a no-named nerd talk about movies.


Did you have any worries about putting yourself out there?
Kind of. The Internet can be a mean place. I tend to take criticism personally at first, and it took some time for me to learn to take it constructively. So that was a worry, and still is a worry. But luckily I haven't been reprimanded, yet. The only things that have ever been said to me were regarding minor corrections on phrasing and things like that. For example, when I got the name of our network wrong, the “SWN Podcast Network”. I was calling it “The SWN Radio Network” and Snarfkris told me “Hey, this is not a big deal at all. But if you can, can you remember that the name of the network is yada yada” and he corrected me. So not a big deal at all, right? But I dwell on it. Like “How could I be so dumb?” “How could I make that mistake?” So now, you know, I've learnt to not dwell heavily on those things. After all, at the time, it was a bigger deal to me than it ever was to him. So that was one of my worries as I always knew that's how I would handle things.


Future Flicks started in blog form. Do you think a podcast feels more intimate with the audience versa a written blog?
Yeah. On a podcast I can talk without being scared that my words will be misinterpreted due to the lack of tone in text. Like there are often times where I make terrible jokes in the podcast and use a sarcastic tone to show that I'm a) not serious and b) mainly I'm trying to point out something. And when I tell the listeners "thank you for listening" you can really hear it in my voice unlike text, where it can come across cold or fake. To quote Dr. Egon Spengler from Ghostbusters; "Print is Dead”.


What made you choose podcasting over vlogging? As Youtube seems to be one of the main platforms for reaching an audience right now.
Podcasting is easier to start. And also as the SWN guys were starting their own podcast, I thought I would follow suit for the site. I did attempt to record a vlog and it looked really, really bad. But every once in awhile I practice with new programs or equipment, hoping to one day have something worth uploading. But for the foreseeable future, it's my silky voice you'll hear and not my dashing face you'll be seeing.


What equipment do you think is necessary to have a good quality podcast?
It really depends on how much you're willing to spend. Because I got okay sound quality with a cheap boom, a cheap pop filter, and a blue snowball microphone. Then as time goes on, you can save up and get better things. If you're going to have multiple people on your podcast, you need a soundboard and if you get a soundboard, you need a xlr microphone. Because soundboards don't have an input for a USB mic. There are converters but I've read too many reports that they interfere with sound quality. The SomewhatNerdy Radio Podcast started with, if I remember correctly, 30 dollar mics and they have professional sounding quality. My second mic was more expensive because I love gadgets, but I didn't HAVE to get it.


What do you use to edit?
Audacity. It's a free program that offers basic editing tools. You're able to combine different things, like if you have a song you need to use and don't have a soundboard, Audacity allows you to merge different audio files, take out background noise and just cleans it up and makes everything sound better. I don't even know how to fully use it and I make myself sound passably professional.


What platform would you recommend people to upload their podcast to?
Soundcloud. Get a Soundcloud account. From uploading on there you can get your podcast up on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and any other podcast listening app. How do you go about that? That is unfortunately unknown to me as I do not set it up. Snarfkris did it for me. But there are tutorials online, you just have to summon your Google-fu.


How long does it take you to complete a podcast, from start to publish?
Ho, ho, ho, ho. (*this is where I, the interviewer, noticed how remarkably similar Billiam's laugh is to Santa's expression of glee. Interesting.*) If I have a full night dedicated to it and I'm able to stay focused e.i. no distractions, 2-3 nights of 3 hours a night. The problem is.. distractions. But keep in mind that I base my estimate on a podcast that I do by myself where I have to do research prior to recording. and I'm the only one editing. When I allow for distractions it takes 4-5 days of an hour or so a night. This is on average. I'm working on intro music for each of my segments, like news and new trailers, so I don't take that into account.


Does the time differ depending on how many movies are coming out, seen as your podcast is based solely on the releases?
Yes. And also how interested I am in the movies. Episode 34, I believe it was, was one of the shorter ones. Because there were a lot of just bad looking movies coming out. And then thus, the more good movies coming out the longer it will take. Like episode 35 had Chips, Life, And Power Rangers. All movies I wanted to see. More recently the week of April 7th had 16 films and that episode took about an hour.


Do you think it's necessary to have a rough script?
It depends on the kind of podcast you have. For Future Flicks, because I'm by myself, I have lengthy notes. I'll still come up with stuff on the spot and you know, shoot off the cuff but I need help keeping myself on track because I don't have somebody else to check me. But if you have a bigger podcast with more than one host, I suggest just basic notes. Like just naming the topics for different parts of the show and that's it. I know that The SomewhatNerdy Radio and the Watch Your Mouth podcasts just have topics and the fun of listening to them comes from their banter. For me, I need a little more than that. I have no one to play off of so I need more notes.


Do you think you need more than that because you're afraid making mistakes?
That's why I do such heavy research. Even if I know a certain actor has worked with someone else before I'll still double check. Because despite my awesome outward appearance, I do make mistakes.


Whaaaaat?
Yeah, right. I also need more because the internet is unreliable as a source.


Doesn't that make it difficult when your podcast is based off of things you see solely online?
Yes, but that's why I check different sources. IMDB is most often accurate but there are discrepancies between the website and the app. So I'll double check the movie on the IMDB site, the app, Reddit and any other source.


Do you think having guests on your regular series is a good or bad idea? As in friends or whatnot.
Well, the next goal I have is to get guests on the show. Friends would be easy, but what I want is actual interviews with people in the industry. I'm not going to aim for Matt Damon right away, I don't think my heart would take it if he said no or yes. But just anyone I can get, the problem is I don't know how to start. A coworker of mine at my day job used to be a movie critic for a local paper. I want to interview him.


An interview as a segment in your weekly Future Flicks, or a different podcast all together?
Included in Future Flicks. A part of the podcast as a whole. Just a few questions about their projects. I believe people, even small time people, would be more willing to say yes if they got to plug their project.


How would the interview process work?
Not too sure. But when I can sustain myself off the podcast and my nerdy ramblings, I'd like to have a studio, even just a tiny office in some building somewhere. Or even a private place at home. Somewhere I can record with a better set up so people could Skype in or visit for interviews. Right now I'm recording in my room and I can't really say: “Hey movie industry person, come to a small town in central California and sit in my room while I interview you!”


Cool. Speaking of, what's next for Future Flicks, do you have any new podcast series that you're currently working towards?
Yeah, my friend Walker and I are working on a series of Let's Plays that we will put on Youtube but will also have a podcast review that will go alongside it. And also a couple different friends and I want to start doing themed Movie Nights. Like do all of the Die Hard's, or go down every movie Ewan McGregor has been in. Stuff like that. And then we'd watch the movies and discuss them.


No solo projects?
Future Flicks takes up enough of my free time.


So what keeps you inspired enough to keep recording every week?
You gotta keep working towards your goal. I'm not holding my breath that I'm going to be super well known, but I do hope that one day I'll be able to support myself not just from the podcast but from other SomewhatNerdy stuff like blogs and such.


You also have a segment called Movie Nights with Billiam. Do you prioritise the movies you see on what you think people will be more interested in listening to?
That's.. a little hard to answer because Movie Nights as a whole takes a backseat compared to Future Flicks. I haven't done an episode for that in a few months now, though I want to start again. But when I am doing it, I either make it one of the big ones or just something I really loved/love. Or something that I think will make for a funny episode.


What advice would you give to newbie podcasters?
Just talk about what you love. If you don't care about it, people will know. And also, despite what I previously said about the boom, just get started. The minute you have enough equipment, get started. I have a friend who has a podcast called Uncorked Gamers and they just have one mic and no editing software. They just do what they love.  Practice first. And don't stress over the numbers, or don't focus on them too much. Like, Snarfkris knows what my listenership is really at because Soundcloud is unreliable for data. And I think it's good that I can't, because then I'd look at the numbers everyday. Also when it comes to numbers, keep in mind that the late winter - especially the holiday season - is the slowest time for podcasts. If you start at that time of year, you won't get many listeners at first. Heck, even if you start in the spring. Just don't be shocked when your numbers drop. And don't be shocked when people don't comment. It took me about 30 episodes before I got my first comment from someone who wasn't a part of my website. So it's okay. People are still listening. Oh, and hashtags, hashtags, hashtag. The proper use of social media can help a lot.


What are some of your favourite podcasts to listen to?
Honestly? I truly enjoy everything on SomewhatNerdy. That's the SomewhatNerdy Radio Podcast and Nerds Of the Squared Circle. I've said on my podcast that I'd listen to them even if I wasn't part of the family and I mean it. The Watch Your Mouth Podcast is amazing too. Besides that, I still enjoy listening to The Nerdist when they interview people I'm interested in. And James Bonding is fun. Most recently The Uncorked Gamers, they're great, though some episodes can get a little weird, but it's rare.

As we've well established, you love your movies. Where did that love stem from?
I've been watching movies ever since I was a little kid. I think most of us have, so the trend continued like normal but I remember that every weekend, or mostly every weekend, my Grandpa would take me to go see whichever movie I wanted - no matter how dumb he thought it was. In return I'd go see movies he wanted to watch. So for every Ghostbusters or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I saw Apollo 13 or whichever movie had big Oscar buzz. When I got older and was able to do stuff on my own, our days together grew shorter. I just visited him on weekends for lunch and then headed off to do my own thing. I can go on about regret for not spending more time with him near the end, but I'll save all that for therapy down the line. Instead, I'll say that I never forgot the tradition of going to see the latest movies each weekend and still wish my Grandfather was here today. I know he wouldn't listen to my podcast. He hardly knew how to work his TV. But I know he'd be proud and would go along with me should I need a movie buddie.


Lastly, are you single?
No, I am engaged to be married. To a one RootingBranches. Not even Matt Damon could steal me away from her.


Sad times.

Disclaimer: Regrettably, Billiam's laugh does not actually sound like Santa's "ho, ho, ho". I was only teasing.
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To catch the latest episode of Future Flicks, check out Billiam's account on Soundcloud, iTunes, Stitcher, The SomeWhatNerdy site, and any other podcast listening app. 


Be sure to give Billiam a follow on Social Media:


Or contact him directly at BilliamReviews@gmail.com

Just share the love! I may be a little bias, but he's a great guy with a wonderful podcast that he puts his heart and soul (not to mention.. time) into. Listen to one episode and you'll be itching for the next. Trust me on that one. I'd like to quickly thank him for joining me on this post. I'm not well acquainted with the podcasting world and I found it interesting to find out the ins and outs. 

If you have your own podcast or are thinking of starting one, be sure to shoot me the link. I'd be happy to give it a listen and some support. 

- Anne x

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