This is Episode 1. in the Van life Culture series. Where we put the lens on the van life travelling and blogging movement established by Foster Huntington, who famously quit a Manhattan corporate job to travel, and blog full time in Volkswagen.
4 minutes 45 seconds + music.
Reflecting on the Podcasting Process in 600 Words
Topic: If you have followed my blog and social media channels, you know by now about my interest in van life. You won’t find it surprising that one of my first big podcasts was about van life and how the democratising influence of the internet, which has been talked about since it’s first days, is achieved through the crowdfunding platform, Patreon which many van lifers use. Communication Generation is all about democratisation participation as the tagline implies. I had also watched Robert McChesney (2018), documentary Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy and totally agreed with his conclusion that the takeover of the internet by capitalism is at the expense of democracy. This was an important story to tell and I paraphrased a central idea of this text. The countless episodes of the Douglas Rushkoff‘s Team Human podcasts, and previous research I had done also helped fill in some of my gaps in understanding.
The democratising potential of the internet is not a given, however. Many of my other posts focus on how the technology is great, but the way it is getting deployed by capitalist interests is causing real problems. Even on twitter, I say that ‘disrupting feudal era, monopolies is as easy as embracing worker-owned co-ops, or open source’. Then in many ways, this topic is at the core of what communication is about and although Patreon is not yet open source and charges 5%, those times are not far away.
The democratising effect of the internet, crowdfunding and van life, all take place within a historical socio-cultural context. In media studies, it is important to take a wider view and I wanted to also place these movements within the wider context of society to provide some perspective. Roland Barthes tells us that more than anything else, vehicle advertisements can teach us about society and culture we live in. And as I will continue to look more closely at van life in a socio-cultural context, this is something I at least wanted to touch on in Episode 1.
Music: To find the music I searched SoundCloud using the Creative Commons search. It took a bit of searching to find some music with the right vibe and to match the content of what I was writing, but it was worth it in the end. I needed to contact the artist to download the CC music I found. It was made by her and a friend as a celebration of finishing college and I appreciated that she shared my podcast when I uploaded it.
Practice Attempts: I find the praxis of creation and reflection important to the enjoyment of my work and I have included a couple of my first attempts with reflections below. I’ve learned to let go of the cringe factor that sometimes comes with releasing content and slowly learned to use this as a creative motivating force instead. I think I am at last starting to enjoy having a public profile.
Podcast Cover Image: I did, however, choose a CC0 Public Domain image for my lead image (and referenced it) which worked better than the CC images on offer.
Learning Audacity: Creating a video series to share what I learned about using Audacity helped with motivation. I was determined to get it right for my viewers. And having only a headset and a PC, I did have to add some normalise, equalisation, and compression effect filters to improve the sound quality.
Overall, the experience of making a podcast was incredibly rewarding. At times it was really difficult. After my first attempts, I cringed at my results, and even after this one could not bring myself to share it on some of my social media accounts. I share some more reflections about these below, as well and in the video series, I created. See also how I dealt with not liking the sound of my own voice here.
Extra Resources and Reflections
Making a Podcast video Series Episode. 1
Making Podcasts Episode. 2
My first practice attempts at making podcasts: I created the Van life 101 to explores the theory and practice of van life in a kind of practice attempt. Topics such as authenticity, subcultures, crowdfunding and even democracy will get covered in this series and I wanted to touch a little on each of these topics. I often watch van life videos on YouTube and in the future, I would like to set up my own crowdfunding account and get started on some type of creative enterprise like this.
This was my practice run at making a podcast!
After this first attempt at a podcast without a script was a little clunky, I knew I defiantly wanted to have a full script for my first official podcast which would become Episode One in the Van Life Culture Series. The Democratising influence of the Internet and Crowdfunding was a natural fit for my channels launch because I already consistently speak out about these topics and follow podcasts that discuss these issues.
Another Practice Run! Where I promote Team Human.
I really wanted to tie these ideas to van life because of the obvious fit. The related series of stories like the Think Small advertisement, and the hypocrisies about Silicon Valley performing youth culture were included to provide some context from a historical perspective and the opportunity they offered to research related areas.
I know I said I would keep my reflections and advice to 600 words. But for those who would like a little extra reading, I have included some more tips below. here.
Some people also find it difficult to get over the sound of their own voice. I believe there is some science behind the idea that your voice sounds bad when you hear it recorded and played back to you. Although I do sometimes cringe when I do hear my voice played back I’ve long learned not to indulge myself in treating about this. In a past life, I trained under a Julian College (New York) trained acting teacher who was happy to throw a shoe or two at the slightest sign of what he considered the vain indulgence of worrying what you looked or sounded like which he considered disrespectful to the audience.
While I may not have picked up too many acting skills, this consideration of the audience is one important takeaway that I have from those acting days.
Brings back memories pic.twitter.com/BhL8PTAm2c
— Ricky Wright (@_ricky_w_) May 10, 2018
Get started NOW
I found myself listening to a Sir Paul McCartney interview where he was giving songwriting instruction to his students when one gem of instruction jumped out as especially pertinent. You have to get started.
Despite all the technical advice he could have given, and even with the wealth of success someone like Paul McCartney has had with the Beatles, the thing is none of it would have happened if he didn’t, strum his guitar and get writing. If you don’t get your ideas down and recorded they will only ever stay as ideas, and if you don’t practice you won’t get better.
But if you haven’t written your script yet start LATER
Malcolm Gladwell made popular the idea that you need to have 10 000 hours experience before you can become a real pro at anything and he used the Beatles as an example, but here was Paul McCartney speaking directly to this beginning podcaster, through YouTube, saying “START NOW”.
The truth is you while you may never achieve the level of success as the Beatles, the most substantial improvements in your practice are going to happen at the start of your journey. With this in mind, I got started on my journey to podcasting fame.
McChesney, R. 2013, Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy, The New Press, New York
Music: Road Trip by Lane Petrosenko featuring Racquel Deveau (CC BY-NC 3.0)
All Images used on Youtube are from the Public Domain. CC0
Podcast by Timisu
Episode 1 Image
Soundcloud by Digitalpfade CC0
Episode 2 Image
White Male by 3dman_eu CC0
Episode 3 Image
Microphone by the angry Teddy CC0
Vanlife First attempt
feet by rawpixel CC0