Creating a Podcast

Songs used in podcast: “Colder Bones” by Goliath & Me, “Fall Bicycle” by Lymbyc Systym

 

While I had no previous experience in creating a podcast, I did have experience using Garage Band, the software that I used to make it. Because I play music, I often use Garage Band to demo out song ideas. My knowledge of the software made the actual recording of the podcast quite easy. In making future podcasts however, I may use Audacity, for it better suits the recording of voice; Garage Band is better suited for more in depth recording projects, making the recording of something as simple as voice a little more complicated than it should be.

That’s not to say that I didn’t run into any complications in creating the podcast. The part of it that I assumed would be the easiest, speech, turned out to be the hardest. Uncomfortable with speaking into the computer microphone and hearing my own voice, I found it hard to speak clearly. I kept saying the wrong words, and when I could manage to say the right words, I would pronounce them awkwardly. This led me to divide the speech into parts, having to piece them together after the fact. I also ran into complications when trying to upload the podcast. I assumed that WordPress allowed users to upload podcasts directly to the site. I found out that they do, but with a cost. I wound up uploading the podcast to Soundcloud. Seconds later, I received a notification from the site stating that one of the songs that I used in the podcast was copyrighted material and that if I wanted to use it, I must have permission. At that point, I had to choose a new song, edit it, rearrange the whole podcast, and even record new parts. I then uploaded the new version, the one posted above.

For a first attempt at podcasting, I’m quite satisfied with my finished product. The songs fade into one another seamlessly, as does the speech for the most part. The theme of the content reflects the blog, while allowing elaboration. Overtime, I will only get better at speaking and editing, making future podcasts even better. Having other people on the podcast will also help speaking and editing; a conversation with another human being is more natural. On top of that, having other people on the podcast will make it more entertaining, prompting listeners to return. If I do wind up acquiring a lot of listeners, I will take it more seriously, looking into how to sustain a living off of podcasting. Perhaps I could sell ad space in each podcast? If it does not get that popular, knowing how to make one is still beneficial. For example, if I was a journalist, I could use this knowledge to create my own podcast series, engaging people seeking information. Because traditional means of retrieving information are falling by the wayside, one must understand how to present and retrieve information using effective mediums.

 

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Designing a Header

I’ll be honest, I had no clue how to design a header. I had never even used a photo editing application outside of Instagram until tonight. That’s why, as with creating the blog, the prospect of using a photo editing application called Pixlr to create a custom header, was pretty intimidating. Unlike creating the blog though, I did struggle with this task. Although Pixlr is supposedly one of the most user-friendly photo editing applications, it was far more complex than I expected. In particular, I found the “lasso” component of the application quite difficult to utilize. Using a Macbook track pad granted me little control in “lassoing” what I wanted to. To combat this, I used the cropping tool instead, if the part of a photograph that I wanted to grab was quadrilateral. I also had trouble understanding the function of the “wand” tool. I did wind up utilizing it, even though I had no idea what it was for. Despite the struggle, I feel as though the final product is pretty nice:

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I created the header with the intentions of conveying two main ideas. First, the header was to be composed of music-related content, for the blog is composed of music-related content. In both cases, such content creates a musical “world.” The record in the header is the sun, the album jackets are the mountains, sky, and ground, and the piano keys are the grass. This brings me to the second main idea that I had the intentions of conveying in creating this header, that music is life. Music is one of the rawest forms of human expression, a universally understood expression of human essence. It has the power to create one’s world, just as it has the power to change the world at large. What would the world be like if the music of artists such as Run DMC, Johnny Cash, David Bowie, Pete Seger, The Notorious B.I.G, and The Clash, had never existed?  It would be a totally different place. The effect that music had on the world is not exclusive to the past, it can be seen today, in real-time, through the music of artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Against Me!, and Run The Jewels.

 

The header is composed of three separate images:

 

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Knowing what I wanted the header to convey before designing the header allowed me to gather photos that would be most useful in doing so. The picture above, a picture that I took, is an arrangement of different record jackets. I took the picture this way to get the best lighting, and then rotated it thereafter so it could act as a literal and figurative landscape. The different designs on the jackets give the picture an aesthetic appeal, while also representing the many different kinds of music and the emotions that they are associated with.

 

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The picture above, also a picture that I took, is of Black Sabbath’s “Technical Ecstasy.” I chose the record at random and put it behind the jacket of a Moody Blues record. I took it with intentions of it representing a sun in the header, while also promoting the theme of music-related content/material. It was virtually impossible to get a picture of it without my reflection in it, but I think that it wound up being of benefit to me in the end. If my reflection had not been on the record, the record would have not retained it’s color when I used the “wand tool.” The “wand” tool cropped out the record, and I then rotated. I adjusted its size and moved it using the “free transform” tool.

 

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Needing to utilize one more image, I took this picture of a keyboard box. The box was beaten up and shiny, making it hard to get a decent photograph. Luckily, I incorporated this into the header by making it “the grass.” I wound up having to adjust the contrast/brightness settings of it, for it was too bright to incorporate into to the header naturally. After that, I rotated it, cropped it so that only the keys were left, and then used “free transform” to resize/move it.
Although I did struggle, I did enjoy designing the header, for it gave me a chance to not only be creative, but also learn how to edit photos. While this skill will obviously prove to be useful in the cultivation of this blog, it could potentially prove useful in a professional setting as well. If I were to work for a media source, I might have to know how to edit photographs in such a way. If I didn’t have to, it would at least be another skill that I could bring to the table. Also, I plan on starting my own business in the near future, this skill can help me design a logo.

 

Creating a Blog

I’ll be honest, the task of  creating a blog seemed quite daunting at first. Questions regarding theme and content flooded my brain like an incoming tide. “Should I create a blog having to do with what I am passionate about, or a blog that might not align with my passions, but that people will enjoy? Will people care about what I am writing about?” These questions were finally answered. “I’ll create a blog having to do with music, my one true passion,” I thought. “If I am passionate about what I am writing, people will take interest.” The tide receding, I dove headfirst into to the deep depths of WordPress.

2014-02-24 10.10.02_resized(Patrick Leccese)

Once I created an account and domain, I started browsing through the overwhelming number of aesthetic themes that WordPress has to offer. While many of them were appealing, I settled on “The Adaption Theme,” for it was simple; I customized it thereafter. In creating a blog dealing with music, a very broad art form, simplicity is key to engaging a possibly very broad audience. I kept this in mind when creating the blogs pages. If I was creating a blog dealing with a subject that required more context, perhaps I would have created the more elaborate pages. Finally, I integrated widgets into my blog, the source of the minimal confusion setting up the blog has inflicted. I have found the “blogroll” widget particularly confusing. After spending a half hour trying to figure out how to edit the links in the blogroll, I turned to the people of the internet for help. What I found was a number of people having the same issue. WordPress has a support page that describes how to edit them, but the dashboard that they display does not reflect the current user’s dashboard. I have still yet to figure this out.

Although I did run into an issue creating my blog, it was a fairly easy and rewarding process overall. It gave me an excuse to be creative, which really got me excited about creating actual content.

IMG_0889(Album artwork of Kendrick Lamar, FIDLAR, Desaperacidos, Andy Shauf, Chon, The Early November, Dustin Kensrue, Caspian, Drake)