podcasting

Dragon Con Pro

I’m currently in an overwhelming state of gratefulness. Ash and I were able to accomplish something we were unsure would ever happen. We played a show at Dragon Con. Not only that, but it went incredibly well. I have no idea why people decided to line up, but I’m forever grateful to those people for the gift they gave us. We walked out of that show feeling like we belonged there.

The entire weekend was magical for me. I’ve been to Dragon Con now four times, and I’ve never had an experience like this one. We usually went to see some podcasts live, line up for celebrity panels, and go see some cosplay. I went this time with the sole desire to see my friends and meet some new ones on the digital media track. That truly made it worth doing. I feel like a part of something, and a peer with the folks I respect so much.

I think it was just being part of something authentic that made it so much better. It’s nice to go see celebrities smile and do their thing, but I found a group of folks in the basement of the Hilton that get to do their thing, but they also get to just be themselves when the lights go down. I got to be a part of that. To stand around and ask each other about what we do, or hear them talk so passionately about the reason they want to talk about stuff on the internet.

I sat at a table with people I respect and talked about stuff other than podcasting, just to get an idea of what they like to do and find out more about who they are.

What I walked away with is the most important thing. Ashley and I belong there. We got a place at the table, and we discovered that it was because we had something to contribute. We sat there as peers. Having just been audience members for years, we’re now part of the team. I want to definitely continue and I want to expand what I was able to do this year and help more. Now I’m itching to moderate a panel, to join in the conversation, and to keep these relationships going.

Our show was recorded and we’ll get the master audio and video soon so other folks can hear what went on. I have so many people I need to thank for this opportunity, but I know I’ll miss someone. So mainly I just want to say thanks to everyone who has supported us as we’ve done this show. Now all I can think about is how much it all means to me. Everyone who has ever downloaded the show has contributed some small piece of joy to me. That makes it all worth it.

Dragon Con was unbelievable. I cannot wait to do it all over again next year.

Building Community

For ten solid years we have attempted to grow a community around Horseshoes & Hand Grenades. We tried forums, we tried to get people to email us, we tried forums again, we tried discussion softare, and on and on and on. Never did we get enough traction to really continue the conversation outside of doing the show on Thursday.

Here we are at roughly ten and a half years, and we FINALLY did it! Thanks to Discord and it’s permiation into the gamer market, we were able to build a community. We branded this amazing group of internet weirdos The Legion of Dorks. We even have the snazzy logo at the top of this post, courtesy of Steve Musgrave from RPGHomeBrewery.

One of our viewers, JVarhol, told us we should get one. We were skeptical at first, mostly jaded by all the years of rejection. Why would anyone want to sit on just another Slack clone? Boy, we couldn’t have been more wrong. People were already all over Discord for different games and communities. All they had to do was add our little server and BOOM, they were in.

This has really been a fantastic experience for all of us. Being able to keep in touch with the community and chit-chat about things off camera has been great, especially for me. We always seem to attract great people who generally love to hang around and share in their lives with us. Not only that, they are a constant resource for new ideas.

We have rooms for tech stuff, movie stuff, gaming, and just channels for chatting with each other. I’m really amazed at what we’ve been able to do with the app, and I’m flattered by everyone who comes in to hang out. It really feels like the LoD has grown beyond just Ash, Jacob, and I, and has become something else entirely. Hopefully a force for good that we can utilize to do amazing things heading into the future. I’m feeling good about it.

Join the Discord server!

Dragon Con 2017

Every time we come to this convention, we have a good time. Man, this year is no exception. I think yesterday may have been one of the coolest days I’ve ever had at a convention.

Each year I try to meet someone from the Frogpants podcast network, or someone from the Diamond Club and just say, “Hi.” This year, I had a really conversation with Brian Dunaway, and got Justin Robert Young to sign my Contender box. Since I got here, I’ve struggled a bit with what to get into or where to go. For the most part, I’ve just been hunting cool people to see and talk to. For the most part, this is a sci-fi con. There is also quite a bit of SyFy channel stuff here that I have no clue about, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed it anyway.

The Sailor Moon voice actor panel I went to was super fun and I have no idea what any of that show is really about. Stephanie and Ashley were huge fans of it and I’ve watched some of it with them, but I still don’t get it. The cool thing about some of these panels is that none of them necessarily need to be something you’re into as long as the people who are in it are fun to see and listen to. The Sailor Moon ladies were so fun, and they clearly love what they do.

One of the biggest wins so far for me was getting the legendary George Lowe to do the intro for our 400th episode. I was beside myself. I didn’t even know how to breathe after that happened. I have no idea if it’s going to turn out okay because the mic was so hot, but I think I can fix it enough that it sounds like it belongs. He was as genuine and wonderful as ever, and it’s always such a joy to meet him.

Second major win, which is pretty much as good as the first but lists are needed. I got to meet/hang out with Brian Dunaway! He was so cool, man. We really got to hang for a few minutes and spend some real quality time just talking about whatever came to mind. He asked me a bunch of questions as well which felt awesome to me. I asked him about coming on our show sometime and he was totally down for it. I’m hoping that really works out because I’d love to talk to him about all things podcasting and art. He’s such a down to earth, cool dude.

Well, that’s day 1 and 2 for me at Dragon Con. Not even remotely sure what we’ll do today, but I think we can find some stuff to get into. I’m a little crowd exhausted, but I think we can pick it up and make it through another day. I’m refreshed after getting to meet some heroes last night so I’m ready to take on the day. I’m not sure I’m ready for the level of crowds but we’ll see how it goes.

Woo!

That Felt Good

Tonight was the epic return of Horseshoes & Hand Grenades. We rode into the internet on tigers and showed the world what real fun felt like. It was amazing. I can’t believe we haven’t done that in six months. The best part about it was that there were a ton of people in the chat enjoying it all with us! I couldn’t believe the turn out we had! Even people who had brand new babies came by! I am extremely grateful for our friends out there in internet-land and the real world who feel like we’re worth listening to. They are so very awesome. I would argue that we have the coolest listeners in the world…and I really don’t have time to take any counter arguments, so don’t you worry about that.

High Fiber

I was sitting around editing together another little masterpiece to herald H&H’s triumphant return, then I remembered, it’s blog time! I also felt my stomach rolling over and over thanks to the fiber bar, fiber brownie, high fiber taco shells, and refried beans I had today. Why would someone eat that?! I think I was replacing other foods I typically ate with a similar equivalent, but for some reason everything had “high fiber” written on it. This is very unfortunate for me.

H&H Returns

I was going to follow up yesterday with a part 2, but I’ve decided that it will be neither good for me, or anyone else. It’s just rant city, and I don’t want to be there right now. I’m having too much fun thinking about the return of mine and Ashley’s incredible PODCAST! That’s right! H&H is coming back in full force. We’re trimming the fat, losing the crap, and filling all that left over space with awesome! We are going to be melting some faces with hilarity the likes of which the world has never seen before!

It’s been nearly six whole months since we graced the internet with our presence, and, frankly, we feel like that is simply too long! No human being should go without hearing about strange news and weird crap for six months. I don’t even understand how people were able to handle it. It’s a wonder every listener wasn’t hunting us down and forcing our faces back on the air. We definitely had to pull ourselves up by our boot straps and make this happen again. We pulled together every resource we have to make our return, and we’re excited to get underway.

H&H is a great ship with a large booty, and we want to share that with the world. I’ve barely survived the hiatus myself! I’m kind of like Superman, but not powered by the sun, I’m powered by my own voice travelling through the internets to other people’s ears. I suppose it’s a little narcissistic  but I have way too much fun with it, and Ash laughs at me a lot so it makes me feel good about myself. I’m pumped! Look out world! Here we come!

 

Purpose

Purpose – 1. The reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.

I’ve spent the last couple weeks thinking about what I can do with an older podcast idea to revive it and make it into something people would want to listen to. I’ve bounced around ideas in my head about what I want the show to be, or what I want to do with it and I’m trying to pick out the purpose of the show. What do I want to accomplish with it? What do other people want to hear about and who would come on the show to talk about it with me?

The idea I’m talking about is a show called “Podcastination.” It was originally intended to be a show where I interview other podcasters. It was in the same vein as “Inside the Actor’s Studio.” I didn’t want it to just be about their podcasts and turn into a 30 minute commercial. I wanted to get to the essence of why they do it, and I wanted to hear about their lives on their way to figuring out that this was something they wanted to do.

I’ve always found myself interested in where people come from and how they get to the point in their lives that they are at. It doesn’t sound all that interesting at first, but I think people have some pretty cool stories. Maybe I’m just a creeper who likes to know where people came from, but I think when you can see where the story is leading, it’s super interesting. I’ve been inspired lately by Kevin Smith’s “Fat Man on Batman” podcast in which he interviews artists, writers, and actors involved in bringing Batman to us in so many different ways. Half of the podcast normally doesn’t revolve around Batman at all, but on their lives up to where they started working with Batman. These people are just so incredibly interesting to me, and I think the common man can have just as many great stories.

I think I may have found the purpose of the show, and I’m super excited about it. I’ve been out of podcasting too long and my epic Heil PR40 mic needs some attention. I’m coming back folks! Now to go find me some guests….

 

Jibber Jabber

I’m just sitting around waiting for Steph to call so I figured I would write a thing or two in this here weblog. I hope everyone is having a fantastic day.

I absolutely LOVE podcasting. It constantly amazes me that someone can put content out in the world that others will listen to. There is so much more power in the people’s hands than their used to be. There was a time when you had to have a job at a radio station to say stuff an even then it was dictated by some overlord with a kill switch. Now, you, me, jimmy down the street, anyone can have a show and tell people whatever they want. Blows my mind.

I’ve always loved talking to people, entertaining people, and all in all just trying to make everyone have a good time. Sometimes I think it’s my true calling. Just being there and giving people some break from the craziness they deal with everyday. I think of some of our listeners who have sent us emails or let us know that our show has really helped them get through tough times, or just brought a smile to their faces on days when they just didn’t feel that great. It means so much to me to know that Ash and I have that kind of effect on people. I love knowing that our show means something to people and they really do appreciate us. I know we really appreciate them.

I know we aren’t the best at getting back to every person or emailing everybody back. I’m the world’s worst at remembering what I said I’ll put on the show and what I won’t. A lot of the time I’ll get an email from a listener and have every intention to add their story to the show notes and I completely forget by the time showtime rolls around. I really need to take more notes on EVERYTHING throughout the day. That would probably help me out just a little bit 😛

Anyway, I’m sitting around listening to some old Ataris albums and just being altogether bored. Steph should be calling soon so I’m just going to leave it at this or I could type all night. Have a great evening everybody!

Sound Effect Madness!

Tonight was H&H night for me, and I have to say that it went swimmingly! We had an absolute blast making the show, as we always do, and got a few people in the chat that I have no idea who they were. I thought one of them might be my dad, but this person typed to well for it to possibly be him. All in all, the show went off without a hitch, except for when I muted myself so Ash couldn’t hear, and when I had to take a poo at the beginning of the show because my bowels refuse to cooperate on show night. Good times!

I’ve been experimenting with sound effects on the show lately and I think it’s adding a bit of fun to the show. It’s great to listen to people chit-chat with each other about every little thing, but sometimes it’s good to add some variety. I’ve started throwing in rimshots, music, and other sounds to add some liveliness to what we’re doing. Overall, I think it’s going over well with the listener base. No complaints yet! I’m pretty sure that the Sanford and Son theme from last week put some listeners in stitches. They loved it! I’m trying to find a happy medium though and not completely beat people over the head with weird noises.

Another thing I’ve been doing differently lately is adding a special section to the show where we do something COMPLETELY different from anything we’ve done before. I made up a game called the Google Game, which debuted on episode 141, where Ashley has to guess the top “suggestion” under Google Suggests. So I type in some random word like “Cake” and it gives me back a search string like “Cake Boss”. I come up with a handful of choices and she has to guess the right one. That proved to easy to cheat with however, so I’m trying to vary stuff. Tonight we decided to guess who the Oscar Winners will be in some of the main categories. This one should be fun because neither of us can cheat at it.

I also decided to throw down the gauntlet on Ash, like I talked about yesterday, challenging her to a BLOG OFF. Anytime she forgets to write for that day, she has to buy me a drink…or something comparable. The same thing goes for me. So this should help us both stay motivated to write, and potentially help us form the habit of doing it. I think we’re on to something here.

What’s the next phase in H&H development you ask? Why WORLD DOMINATION of course!

Production Heaven

Hey Everybody! It’s been a while since I posted anything so I figured I would pop in and write something. I have been doing some awesome stuff toward Horseshoes & Hand Grenades lately, and I think it’s making the show so much better. A lot of what we’ve been able to do on the show is the same as always, but I’ve got a lot of ideas in the pot marinating. All of which will require $$$$. I don’t have a whole lot of that, so it’s going to be coming together piece by piece for a bit.

ksm27I got the opportunity to try out the Shure KSM27 microphone this past episode and it was amazing. I was able to hear so much of an improvement in the quality of my voice through this thing. It’s clear to me now that I really need a condenser mic to really improve the show. The only downside to going with this approach is that my wonderful co-host, Ashley, will still be coming through Skype and I worry that it may make her sound worse in comparison. I’ve listening to a few podcasts with high quality mics and Skype guests and it really doesn’t come off bad, so maybe it will work. I’m actually looking at getting the Heil Sound PR40 rather than the Shure. The Shure model is excellent, but I would rather have a mic that’s more shotgun style rather than the side by side.

Another thing I did recently was pick up the greatest deal on Earth: MacHeist Bundle 3. I am SO impressed with this software package.  A lot of people have been complaining that the package really isn’t that great this year, but I think they just don’t fit in the demographic that can use the software available. Most of it is geared toward content creators, like myself, who are constantly streaming video, recording video or audio, or taking and editing pictures. There are a handful of apps that are just for “normal” folks though, and those are very much worth the $39 that this package costs. It’s definitely the best deal on the internet right now.

boinxtvOne of the pieces of software that I’ve been playing with and have been the most excited about is an app called BoinxTV. This. Thing. Is. Amazing! I can do so many things with video and do it LIVE, which is the best part. Using this little app I can drop “lower-thirds” into a live stream, do 3D transitions, and use up to three cameras for a multiple camera shoot. It’s amazing and I hope to start using it on Horseshoes & Hand Grenades either this week or next. It’s opened up a whole lot of possibilities for adding bells and whistles to our show.

Well there is quick blurb for you! If you want to catch up with me more often, be sure to check out my Twitter feed! I post there a lot 🙂