Today as I was uploading The Agency’s 34th podcast episode, Bad Wigs, I thought back to last summer, when the project was hatched on a wing and a prayer, mostly based on a long friendship with Candy Minx, punctuated by our 30-some-odd year history of discussing art and culture and film and just about anything else.
I recall being quite nervous when we began recording these podcasts. I would arm myself with a raft of notes, far more than I could reasonably hope to consult during any kind of discussion. We wanted to be prepared, but not scripted, but at the same time we were springing topics upon one another totally cold. What if I mess up? What if I lose my train of thought, or say something inaccurate, or not have anything to say at all? What if we run out of content after a few episodes? It was scary, until it wasn’t.
Something changed a few episodes in, when both Candy and I put aside nervousness and misgivings and just talked with one another, as we’ve done hundreds of times over the years. I continued to come to each recording session prepared, but I scaled back my notes to just enough key words and phrases to help keep my thoughts organized. I found myself able to listen more, worry less, and have lots more fun. Instead of being anxious about the unknown, I feel that after a few episodes, I started to enjoy those times when our conversations drifted into unexpected territory.
Along the way, we switched from Skype to Zoom, which has been a more reliable platform for us (thanks Tim!). While we both have modest setups at our home computers with a mic and headphones (for those who don’t know, Candy is in Chicago and I’m in Toronto), we’ve learned that it’s way more important to us to produce episodes regularly than to always do so under ideal conditions.
And so, along the way, we’ve recorded at times using just a smartphone from a chicken coop, a busy restaurant, hotels and cafes. No doubt sound quality during some of these efforts has not been as clean as we would like it to be, but on the other hand, I think our willingness to record from anywhere adds character to the podcast. It helps that Zoom lets us record our calls on separate tracks with their native recorder. This gives us a chance to balance the tracks some in post-production (we use GarageBand), which is helpful when one or the other of us are recording under less than ideal conditions.
My fear of running out of content has proven to be, for the time being at least, unfounded. One thing producing the podcast has demanded though, is that both of us really have to be on the ball, reading books and articles, keeping up with the news, watching film and television, and so on. It helps that we cast a wide net. We also really appreciate hearing from listeners, and a number of emails we’ve received have led to discussions on one episode or another.
There is no master plan. I think we both have ideas for topics and episodes and sometimes the whole business seems to evolve almost organically. I can’t really tell you what next month’s lineup of episodes is going to be like, and that’s part of the fun and excitement of the project for me.
I want to thank our listeners for sticking with us. I hope we can continue to offer up interesting and engaging content for you for a long time to come. Please keep your emails coming! Last but definitely not least, I also want to thank our fantastic Patreon supporters, East Texas Red and Michelle! Your support means a lot to us!