[00:00:00] Welcome to the School of Moxie podcast brought to you by Sensible Woo. This is the podcast where we break the mold around business podcast conversations. We make it fun around here by using television, movies, and entertainment as a jumping off point for conversations about how we navigate the world as individuals.
I’m your host, Mary Williams, and I’ve been an online creator since 2010. I’ve seen a lot of trends come and go over the years. But one thing that has persisted is a struggle among entrepreneurs to connect more authentically with their audiences. As a business systems process and operations coach, I’ve seen how much my clients and subscribers have benefited from learning how to incorporate their fun sides.
So we’re going to demonstrate this for you here on this podcast through analogous thinking. Not only that, but we’re using media and entertainment as the lens through which we reflect on our own desires and strengths. Fiction is the vehicle that gives us words to articulate our value systems. And tells people who we are.
I find that a lot of my
[00:01:00] audience, and probably yours as well, struggle to find words for their problems until they start thinking about how to use analogies. Analogies help us build bridges between something we can’t describe into a new area that we are in the process of developing. As humans, we are a languaged species, which means we find context and meaning in our lives through the ability to put our feelings into words.
This podcast is going to help you normalize this process and see how it’s done in real time as my guests talk through their own experiences in relation to the episodes they’ve been assigned for this show. Our first season of this podcast is centered on the first season of the HBO original series The Last of Us, based on the video game of the same name.
Consider this your official spoiler alert. On this podcast, my guests are going to jump right into the conversation, and we’re going to spill all the tea on the story and the plot. So if you enjoy being surprised, I encourage you to watch the episode first before listening to our discussion. Before we get into this week’s episode,
[00:02:00] have I told you about the weekly readings that I create for entrepreneurs just like you each and every week?
I am an Akashic Records and Tarot reader, and I’ve been giving clients intuitive guidance coaching for just about 20 years now. That’s a long time. I know that most readers out there don’t focus on your business needs. So that’s where I come in; readings with me are only about your business development, and it helps you feel more aligned with your intuitive messages so that you can incorporate those gut feelings and inner knowings into your business data for better results.
Click the link in the show notes and subscribe to my weekly email updates where you can get a free reading sent to your inbox every single week. If you want more, you can subscribe to the weekly extended readings, which are just $9 per month and help you get focused on your business energy every week.
No more Sunday scaries. You’ve got this better in hand than you know, and I’ll help you see it. Now let’s get watching and talking.
[00:03:00] thank you so much for being my sound master. Have I told you that?
[Chris] All the time. I appreciate that.
[Mary] I feel like it was divine providence that I went to that podcast or meetup conference thing in Portland, and I really didn’t want to do that morning networking thing.
I just wasn’t in the mood for it. And I met someone else.
[Chris] It was so weird, right?
[Mary] And then, um, I met one woman who left right after that. She was like, I can’t do it anymore. And she introduced me to you. And I just knew I was like, Oh, I found my sound person. That was my goal. When I went there, I’m going to find my sound person.
And I did.
[Chris] Best $30 I ever spent.
[Mary] It really seriously. I feel like I made exactly the connection I needed to make. I was like, thanks universe. And I can’t imagine now producing a whole podcast without you in like in my pocket, like there’s just no way I don’t
[00:04:00] honestly know how other people produce their podcasts without somebody who is an expert with sound and can offer the compassionate support that you do.
And I’m just wondering, like, I thought it’d be cool for us to talk about this from the behind the scenes podcast, production side of things, and just so people can get an insight about why it’s important to have high quality sound nowadays and why it’s important to have someone like you and what are some of the things that you’ve seen and done and heard.
And we’ll just kind of go through all the stories, but, um, I, I like the first thing I really wanted to ask you on the mic, honestly, was, if somebody, because I’ve had this question come up this season, if somebody was like, I don’t know if I should just DIY it or if I should get help, what’s your, what is your honest professional opinion?
[Chris] I mean, you’re going to get what you’re paying for.
[00:05:00] So If you’re excited about DIY, then I think that’s the energy that you’re going to bring into a relationship with a professional. Um, it might, it might end up being more micromanagement where you’re like, Ooh, I saw this video on YouTube. You know, why don’t you take care of it for, for me like that.
And from my perspective, it’s like, I’m going to go down a different train of thought, given my experience and what I do, than someone who’s just watching YouTube videos trying to make sense of it all.
[Mary] Yeah. I, I found at multiple points that there were moments where you were like, you know what? I wouldn’t recommend that you do that.
I was like, thank God someone told me. It was like having spinach in my teeth and they’re like, you know, you really need to go take care of that, right? I was so grateful for it and I feel like you’ve saved my hide a couple of times before I tried to make some kind
[00:06:00] of decision whether it was something in an episode lineup like I wanted to do a blooper reel and you were like I don’t think you should and now I totally see the wisdom in that you know the the weirdo in me was like this is a great idea.
[Chris] Well, I don’t, I don’t know if it’s the weirdo in you, but coming from the production background that you have, gag reels and blooper reels, those are popular on like DVD releases. So it makes complete sense to me why you would want to do that.
[Chris] Yeah. But, but, you know, when I sat for a moment and reflected with
some of the words that you had given me when you told me, like, I don’t know that this is going to work great for a podcast episode. And I thought about it and I replayed my memory of hearing the conversation and I thought, it’s just going to be so repetitious. It’s really not going to work. It’s just not going to work.
And it got replaced very quickly with a better idea. Because now there was space for a better idea. And I just thought that was super cool.
[Chris] Ooh, I love that thought though. What are we making
[00:07:00] space for so that we can have better ideas?
[Mary] Totally. Right. I mean, speaking of, I mean, speaking of making space, I feel like, is it just me, but I feel like I’m watching the podcast market go through kind of a shift from this, like, I’m just going to sort of scrappy do it at home to,
I need to be a little bit more thoughtful about it. And I feel like when we make. more prioritized space for a more thoughtful approach. It actually creates greater space for better ideas. That’s just my take. Like, do you notice that because you’re working with other people and they’re hiring you too.
And so they’re making space in that way. Like, do you notice that there’s a difference between them and maybe other people who were you know, for certain that they’re just sort of homegrown podcasting.
[Chris] That’s an interesting question. I, I have to kind of sit with that one a little bit, because I think from my perspective, I have the homegrown thought on my own stuff.
So like, I, I’m not working with a
[00:08:00] professional on my own podcasts.
[Mary] Oh, I didn’t even think about it like that. I’m like, it sounds so good.
[Chris] Yeah. And in some instances it’s, it’s that. Kind of like on one hand, I’m homegrown with what I do, but then when I’m hired, then they’re hiring the expert and it creates this almost cyclical relationship of like, this relationship with you wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t of DIY’d my own podcast for seven years.
[Mary] I mean, seven years is a long time. Maybe I should have put it there, but you’ve been doing this a long ass time, dude.
[Chris] It has been a long time.
[Mary] But, okay, seven years ago, the landscape was so different, like you could plug in a pair of Apple earbuds, which honestly still have a great microphone on them, and you could just scrap.
[Chris] No, they don’t. They’re horrible. Do not, do not plug in Apple headphones.
[00:09:00] shittiest sound that you’re going to get on a podcast.
[Mary] Can I make the eraser sound on my microphone, like a erase that,
[Chris] Well, no, because people like, it’s great if that’s all you have. But what happens is if you’ve got earrings or long hair, that shit’s going to scratch the mic.
And then I’m going to rip what little hair I have left out, trying to fix it in post. It’s a nightmare.
[Mary] Yeah. Oh, the setup matters.
[Chris] Set up really, really does. And you don’t, you don’t need to go like going around the globe to professional studios. Like if, I mean, that’s great. I love that you did that, but like even just spending a hundred or 200 dollars on a good mic and good headphones is gonna
save your ass down the line.
[Mary] Yeah, I would agree. I think one of my
[Chris] I’m sorry, we’re all over the map.
[Mary] We are all over the map. And it’s my fault because I didn’t like make us
[00:10:00] a script. I was like, let’s just have a casual conversation. And I think that also points towards producing and production and being, you know, well organized.
I, I thought that there would be a little bit of a nice element in people just hearing us as normal humans without the script, even though it might be a little bit more hot messy. Um.
[Chris] Oh, I’m all for it. I am all for the hot mess.
[Mary] I feel like I’ve been so buttoned up all season and I’m like, I just need like a normal ass conversation that’s just all kind of fucked up and, and so that we can really hear you, you know?
Um. Yeah. I agree. Yeah, I, I, I find that the decision to first and foremost hire you to help me with editing created a lot of spaciousness. Because then I had room in my
[00:11:00] brain to literally focus on other stuff. I’m like, I’m a technical person. I could totally do audio editing. Is it good for me to do it? I don’t think so.
I don’t think so. I needed space to, you know, script the season and get my guests in order and make sure that the through lines were there. And because I did choose to go record in person, there were a lot of travel logistics and everything too. So, you know, there, there’s only so much a human can do. And, and, and I just feel like there’s something, um, very comforting about having a sound guy like you on the other end.
So even when I was in another studio in another city, you know, you were messaging me. While I was there, like even pep talks, you’re like, you’ve got this. Remember your voice. I remember that in LA and I was like, Oh, thank you really needed that. But I’m wondering like how many other people do crazy production ideas like me that you’ve worked with?
Like, do you think that you mostly get stuff that people are recording like we’re doing right now from our home offices or are you seeing like a change in how people are choosing to produce things?
[Chris] I’m not seeing a huge change yet. I’m seeing that there’s a lot of venture capital dollars being put into systems like this that allows you to do like voiceover IP and record anywhere in the world.
And they’re, they’re throwing marketing dollars at saying this sounds better than if you were in person. And, and I think that It’s hard for a lot of people to think, Oh, I could actually go to someone and hire a professional who maybe has a couple of microphones, a mixing board and some headphones. And it’s infinitely going to be better than what you record online and it’s
[00:13:00] not to say that these tools aren’t great.
It’s just it’s where the marketing money’s going and and it’s hard to fight that but when you have that moment where you’re in a room and you’re sitting across from someone you hear their voice in without much latency in your ears and you hear the car going down the road and you crack the joke about the little dick, you know, it’s, that’s the stuff that doesn’t make a marketing campaign.
[Mary] No, or in my case, my neighbor’s yapping dog out the window.
[Chris] Or my dog barking right now, you know, cause the garbage is here.
[Mary] Yeah, yeah. I just know that I had a creative inspiration to be in person with people. I mean, part of it was a technical reason because I invited people into my, my guest lineup this season, who I have known in the business space.
We’ve had online meetings on zoom,
[00:14:00] like all through COVID and everything. And um, and I know what their internet connections are, and I know, I know how horrible they are, and I know how data flows, and you need some steadiness in order to have any kind of equality in the audio. And maybe it’s just me being super picky about it, but I feel like the big you know, podcasting studios like Wondery or Pineapple Street, like there’s an expectation among audio listeners, whether they’re conscious of it or not, where they’re kind of expecting a certain amount of audio quality now, and they just don’t know that we can always produce it from home.
I mean, you and I have, I mean, you definitely have all the professional equipment. I have just enough to scrape by. But there is something about that happened in sitting across the table from someone. I feel like it changed the connection in conversation.
[Chris] I agree.
[Mary] I think that there were people who I interviewed who were the whole range
[00:15:00] from total noob to um, like has professional equipment at home.
And the people who are newer needed a lot more hand holding in the conversation. And that I think it’s just frankly harder to do when you’re recording remotely. And I know that that changes the conversation style podcasting to think about, Oh, well, I’m going to have to fly there. They’re going to fly to me or something, but I don’t know, Chris, like I’m, I’m having this creative moment right now where I’m like, can we all just slow down a little bit and stop trying to produce things so dang fast and maybe think about how do we allocate our dollars more in our energy and our time more.
And be more thoughtful about the things we’re producing rather than just feeding a content beast. Just cause like another episode’s got to go out.
[Mary] And I’m, I’m wondering like, how do you reconcile that with the
[00:16:00] people you’ve worked with? Cause I’m sure you’ve got kind of a real mishmash of all different styles of production.
[Chris] I do, yeah, because with my clients, they’re coming at it from a budget perspective, not saying like a cheap perspective, but they’re, they’re thinking about how much is this going to cost me?
[Mary] Yeah. Like valid. Totally valid.
[Chris] Yeah. It’s a, it’s a great question to really. Ask, because with the advent of seasons, you can then say, how much is it going to cost for a ten episode season?
As opposed to, how much is it going to cost to do 700 episodes over seven years? That’s just a question that doesn’t get asked. Like, let’s just run the clock, you know, for seven years. You know, when it comes to the seasons and budgeting, uh, I think that’s where a lot of people are at right now. Um, it’s not
[00:17:00] necessarily to feed the content beast, but I think a lot of it, especially when you’re starting is how do I find my voice?
How do and, you can’t find your voice without talking, or writing, or producing all the time. And so there’s, there is a need for that ongoing work. But then there’s a point of reflection that needs to happen. And I think with a seasons based podcast, it’s got a built in reflection.
[Mary] I love that you put it like that.
And I was just thinking, I mean, we use TV shows around here, and TV shows do run in seasons. And. I wonder what it is in our podcasting world. Maybe it’s just a symptom of business podcasts specifically. Maybe I’m being like too general when it’s actually a specific niche, but this urge to constantly be producing with no breaks.
Like I think there’s something really beautiful about creating containers of seasons. So that you can budget it out and you can get comfortable with your budget and you still get the regularity of, you know, like you said, you’ve got the irony is you have to constantly then produce content in some form, but, but the world has so many other tools for us now that allow us to practice finding our voice too.
And I think it’s, you can’t just rely on the one medium. I, I feel like this is where things like going live on Instagram or Facebook or whatever you’re doing can be really useful. Um, so you can work out finding how you want to say things and finding out your language. And, um, and then when you do these more permanent-ish mediums like podcasting, um, then, then it has, you feel like less like you’re practicing while you’re trying to make your podcasts. Like that thing.
[Chris] Yeah, a thought came up when you were saying that too of when you go live, it’s still a different voice. So I’m, I’m reconciling in myself right now, the different voices that I have and how they’re all starting to merge into one. And it’s an ongoing process because when I started my podcast, my voice was a lot different
in the monologues than it is now, when I started interviewing people, it was a different voice of interview that I had than I have now. And then I have a second podcast where it’s all conversational, you know, back and forth interview type vibe, and I’m swearing all the time, I’m 100, I’m 100 percent myself.
And so I have all of, and then I have my writer voice, I have my business voice, I have all of these different voices.
[00:20:00] And, and it’s worthwhile to do these different things, not as a form of practice, but as a form of saying, this is a more authentic version of my voice than this one over here. This one is fake as shit.
And there’s no, no wonder people aren’t tuning in over here and they’re tuning in over there.
[Mary] Oh, I love that. That’s the mic drop moment right there. Oh, that’s good. And I was just thinking when you were talking about different voices. And I did notice in the course of recording this season, there are episodes with certain in certain people being face to face.
And I noticed that one of my like little post it notes for my brain in the future was stay in the moment and like, remember that you’re recording a podcast because we would fall into real conversational chit chat. There is something that you do have to do technically wise when you’re doing things like recording, like you kind of have to enunciate your words a little bit better
[00:21:00] and which I’m still shit at and, and, and you can’t, right.
I mean, it’s like, and then you don’t want to sound like a newscaster, you know, but there’s also something that we do I’ve noticed. at least for myself in conversations with people where it’s really casual. Like we tend to kind of dip on the end of our sentences and maybe it’s just a very American thing.
I don’t know, but on a mic, you kind of can’t do that because then the audio dips like, Oh, nobody can hear that. Like that is not audible. That’s not, that’s not as clear as it could be. And I do love that part of this whole process is really about finding how you truly express yourself most authentically, as we love to say these days.
[Chris] Well, and just to kind of reiterate something that you just said about the end of sentences, there are certain frequencies that Zoom filters out. And so it tends to be woman’s voices, like if they
[00:22:00] get too high in pitch, it starts to filter out and you can’t hear it. Uh, and, and it’s a limitation of the technology that it’s, it’s squashing down these frequencies so that you can’t actually hear certain frequencies.
[Mary] I remember when you said that we were taking a break in the Vancouver sessions, you were like, did you know, and you knew the Hertz number and everything. And I was just like, I’m so glad we’re working together. There was that moment. And yeah, I, I think that there is also something to be said for being thoughtful and choosing when and how and where we record because things like that matter.
And as a female voice in this season, I had all female voices, that mattered. And I did notice that in the audio that we got from all the different studios around the world, some of the voices of these people, I’ve heard them on other
[00:23:00] recordings. Um, I’ve heard them on zoom calls and their voices sound more resonant
than they would otherwise, and I think that that’s really important.
[Chris] It is. And especially, I think, this is going back to that original question of upping your production game, what we expect. It’s not just the technology, but it’s the way that our voice sounds. Like right now, I actually have to do a real time filter in my head because I hear the echo.
Over over the line. And so I actually have to filter that out and think from the editor’s side real quick and be like, this isn’t going to be in the final product. It’s going to sound much better than it is right now. And and that’s part of the job. When you’re in those moments of interviewing, you have to almost have that trust that the end product isn’t going to be shitty like the experiences right now
[00:24:00] technologically speaking.
[Mary] It is hard when you’re doing things live. And I think it’s one of those things that, um, I’ve seen some of my clients on the business side kind of get hung up on when they’re trying to create their content. Um, because we’re so used to seeing finished products in our media that we consume.
And that’s just not what it’s like, when we’re recording live in person. And there’s enough behind the scenes stuff that we see these days. Um, like I’ve been kind of nerding out on those behind the scenes stuff that’s coming out from the Loki series, the Marvel series. And like half the time, Tom Hiddleston’s just in front of a green screen.
Like that’s it. It’s so boring. And, you know, I, I don’t know if it, the comfortability factor is higher for me because I’ve been around moviemaking for a large part of my career. Um, I’ve heard people in studios. I know what raw looks and sounds like and then the difference with a finished product. So they’re like the trust muscle’s higher.
So I know
[00:25:00] that, you know, I can hand this over to you and you’re going to add in the music and you’re going to fade here and clean up that there. And that is something I think people have to live, like they have to live through it and um, and know that like the dollars spent in the budget are well worth it for that.
[Chris] Yeah. From your perspective, you’re, you’re in these experiences live, like how do you trust, how have you built up the trust to know that when something happens that it’ll get taken care of?
[Mary] I think the first part is A, like, knowing your big the communication between you and me, like there is a definite trust in there.
Like you respond to me very quickly. Um, I remember when he turned around the rough cut of the trailer for the season and it was rough. It wasn’t
[00:26:00] the music that we’re using now. And it already sounded so good and I think it was like those little things that build up that create the trust and then honestly, I gotta be honest with you, Chris, like I think it’s just you just gotta do it like you gotta go through and do it like there was a certain amount of trust I did not have at the beginning of the season.
In all kinds of ways, like the very first recording that we batched that we did was here in town. We were in person here together. And then from there, I flew down to LA and I was in a different studio with a different sound engineer. My trust was immediately on high red alert because he didn’t show up on time to open the studio room.
And I was like, Uh, I prepaid for this and, um, it’s a very well known studio. Like celebrities record in the studio routinely. And I was like, where are they? Like, did, did they take my money? And I’m just like screwed. And, and so
[00:27:00] from then on, like I had to, you know, get into the studio and feel the trust. But there were certain things that he asked, um, and said and did in terms of like the setup and the quality check that you had done in our session.
And it was just sort of like stacking that knowledge on top of each other. I was like, okay, he’s asking me the right things. I remember Chris doing this. And there were a couple of times where he would ask us to, you know, adjust the way we were sitting or adjust our mics or whatever. And I think the thing that required a little leap of faith at the beginning is just knowing that I’m handing off the fact that this audio is definitely going to be recorded.
And I’ve heard the horror stories from people who record themselves and they like record an entire episode and for whatever reason the thing didn’t hit record. Yeah.
[Chris] Been there.
[Mary] Yeah. Yeah. I like shit happens. And,
[00:28:00] and, and so like, I know that a certain amount of shit happens. I also know that things are fixable and replaceable.
Um, you know, that whole statement, like everything is figureoutable is true, I think too, from my like movie days. I watched some fucked up shit go down in production before I filmed. I have seen some really horrible rough cuts on some movies and, um, I’ve seen some of that stuff end up in the final product because they just ran out of time.
Or they ran out of budget or whatever, and they’re like, well, I guess that’s gonna be it. And, and you sit down to the, you know, the cast and crew premiere and you’re just like, Oh yeah, you kept that in there. Okay. So I’ve seen that before. And you think that that experience has helped a lot, but I do think that comparatively from the beginning of producing this season, and now we’re basically winding down at the end, the trust
[00:29:00] muscle is
way huger because there’s just things that I know and I’m not so green at working with sound engineers and having visited a whole bunch of different studios and experiencing how different they can be. And also, like, as the leader of my project, like, it’s up to me to step up to the plate and communicate with you or Olivier in Nice and ask for what I need or just ask questions.
And I had to kind of get over the feeling of like, Oh, I’m going to feel really stupid in this moment, but I don’t know. I don’t know what this thing is, you know, and I would just ask like, what, what is this? What are we doing? What do I need to do? And just, you know, admit that I don’t know this. Sometimes we show up to things and we just want to look like we know what we’re doing.
And the fact is, it’s like, I just, I don’t know what I’m doing in this moment. And I need to make sure that I didn’t fly
[00:30:00] all the way over to the French Riviera to record people in a studio and fuck it up.
[Chris] Right. Well, and I think you just said something really important for us all in that you need to be able to ask the dumb question or what you perceive to be the dumb question and the person that you’re asking it to can
make or break that experience in that moment. I’m just being like, Oh, that’s a really good question. Actually, I get this all the time. And here’s what that means. As opposed to, God, that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Instant, instant crowd killer.
[Mary] I think too that when we hire professionals like you, You know, that you’re the professional and the expert in audio or video or whatever it is.
And like, we’re supposed to ask you, this is why we hired you.
[Chris] Right. We’re supposed to ask you. Why would you not ask me the questions? Yeah. That’s part of the process.
[Mary] Yeah. I think that collaborative nature is
[00:31:00] really important. Clearly, I’m trying to make a case for my audience that they need to up their game and hire people like you.
[Chris] Well, and, and especially if going back to earlier where we were talking about that homegrown versus, you know, hiring the professional, like I understand what it’s like to write and produce and edit and market my own show. And so that is part of what you’re buying. You’re buying not only my professional experience, but you’re buying all of that hard work of going, you know, I thought that if I had someone more famous on my show that I would get more listens.
Turns out that’s not really the case. It comes down to people actually sharing the episode, no matter how big their audience is. It’s things like that.
[Mary] Oh, that’s so true. Yeah. I love that you have
[00:32:00] so many years of experience with your own work, but also you’ve seen how other people are doing things. And I feel like whenever I get stuck, if I can come and ask you like, Hey,
have you heard of people doing this. Like, what would you recommend ?
[Chris] Well, and and it’s not, it’s, sorry to interrupt.
[Mary] Oh no, go ahead. Go ahead.
[Chris] It’s one of the big things is like you can go to a podcasting conference and get so much information and it might just be the wrong timing for that information. Thank you for saying that.
A really good example right now is YouTube, and I’m, I’m sorry, I’m gonna shit on YouTube as a search engine right now because a, a big thing that is set at podcasting conferences is you gotta have your show on YouTube because that’s the way you’re gonna get a bigger audience. Yeah, that’s not true.
That means that you’re building an audience in two places because YouTube does not syndicate.
[00:33:00] To audio platforms yet they might, but you’re going to be doing double duty and you’re building two different audiences who have two different expectations. And, and it sounds great at a conference. It’s true in some instances, it might just be the wrong time for that knowledge though, because you’re in this place of producing the first season of your show.
You’re not maybe sure where the listeners are going to come from. So you’re if you put your energy into too many areas your your audience isn’t gonna know where to go.
[Mary] That is such a great point. I’m so glad you said it because I was at Podcast Movement this year in Denver and YouTube had a very large presence there I just listened to a really great digest download of YouTube for podcasting on the Buzzsprout podcast and some of them had been invited to a private invite only
[00:34:00] event with YouTube and YouTube is really trying to figure out how to, how to syndicate for podcasts, but what they showed them behind the scenes was YouTube’s version of that, which is not the same standard as the RSS feeds that we use
for the traditional way we’ve been publishing all of this audio content. And there was such this big push for video content. I mean, there has been everywhere. It’s like everywhere you look and like, if you’re not video, video podcasting, you’re not doing it right. And you know, we started out this season.
I’m like, I have this shitty little camera and I brought it and like the battery died, like a third of the way into Peya’s interview. She was the very first one. And I was like, Well, I guess we’re not doing that and, and, and I’m not sad about it because there’s only so much somebody can do. And I had a high bar for the type of quality I wanted and I knew we were meeting it audially.
But I’m like,
[00:35:00] visually, I was like, this is not cutting it. So maybe there’s a reason for it. But when I was at Podcast Movement in Denver, the final panel was a panel with comedians for comedy podcasts. And one of the panelists was the actress June Diane Raphael, who’s on Grace and Frankie, she plays the older daughter.
[Chris] I haven’t seen the show.
[Mary] Oh, it’s very funny. You would love it. Um, but she, she is really amazing and she’s been podcasting a long time and she had some really wonderful points. And I love that we talked about how, um, some of our technology like zoom will filter out the frequencies of women’s voices. And she talked about how
you know, women get judged so harshly in media in general, and she is not your traditional, um, you know, skinny toothpick actress or anything. And, um, she fell into podcasting because she felt like she had a little more control over her creative output and how she wanted to be actually heard. And her
[00:36:00] advice was, you know, why add in another way to be judged?
Like, if you really want to be heard, take away the visual and make them listen to you. And I, that was like the big sign from the universe I needed to be a thousand percent okay, that there was no video because we were premiering the week after and I still have this head trash. Like, ah, shit, I really failed on that video.
And, um, even today when we try to sit down to record, I’m like, maybe we should try doing video and it didn’t work. And I’m like, the universe is just like, stop it, Mary, stop it. And I I’m wondering for you, because the video thing has been coming up so much, how many of the people you work with are trying to do video right now, or are you really just seeing like audio?
[Chris] There are a handful, maybe two or three that are doing video and audio. And the interesting thing is like, it’s two different types of editing. When you’re editing audio, you have a level of control. At the, at the waveform
[00:37:00] level that you don’t have with video, audio is measured in milliseconds, video is measured in frames.
And so if you’re cutting your, your audio in a video format, you might end up like right in the middle of a word on the frame. And it’s just a level of precision that’s not there. But then you’re also editing for the visual, you’re editing for all those things. And so when I’m editing with clients who are primarily doing video, they call them video podcasts, but they’re not a podcast is audio.
I’m going to get pedantic on that, but a podcast is audio only. If you’re, if you’re doing video, guess what you’re doing. You’re doing a show. You’re doing a talk show. You’re doing call it what it is.
[Mary] Yeah. Yes. Yes.
[Chris] And I think, um, there’s, there’s a push sometimes to want to add video,
[00:38:00] but generally right now it’s, there’s still a lot of audio only work that I’m doing.
[Mary] That’s really gratifying to hear.
[Chris] And I would argue that the best, the best products that I’m doing right now are audio only.
[Mary] Oh, that’s interesting too.
[Chris] Because of the quality that video has, like in Zoom, I mean, it’s, it’s 25 frames per second. That’s a European standard for video. It’s like PAL in Europe. I mean, film is 24 frames per second. Why not just cut out that one frame per second and call it cinema? Because, you know, you got tech geeks who don’t know anything about the history of cinema making this stuff.
[Mary] It’s so true. No, you get on that soapbox man. Get on it.
[Chris] Hey Oh, i’ve seen so much bad video and it’s all
[00:39:00] from I mean, it’s interesting stuff. Don’t get me wrong, but it’s just We’re we don’t have the the quality online I mean, there’s a reason why you’re spending ten twenty fifty thousand dollars on cameras because you know when you project it to the size of a you know, the screens that are in theaters, do you need quality?
[Mary] Yeah. You need big format to match big format. That’s like photography 101.
[Mary] Um, yeah. I, I kind of have my soapbox moment around video is unless somebody’s a celebrity that people want to see. I don’t think people really actually care about seeing any of our faces. Like, I would like to think that they care, but I don’t think that they do.
[Chris] There, there was a moment recently where I did a couple of reels on Instagram where I actually showed my face.
[Mary] They were great.
[Chris] And someone who’s followed me for a while is like, wow, it’s really [00:40:00] cool to see a face to the voice.
[Chris] That wasn’t, that wasn’t them asking me to do more reels. It was just, oh, it’s really good to see your face.
It’s just like, okay, cool. But that doesn’t mean that I’m going to spin up a whole video aspect of my show. I mean, the only way I’m going to do that is if I’m doing it live in person with 17 cameras and someone else editing this shit.
[Mary] Word, man, I’m so with you on that. In my business communities, we’ve been, um, tossing around this term lately, calling it proof of life, um, in all marketing materials, um, where, you know, you put things out and people look you up on Instagram and they just want to know that you’re real, you’re not a bot, that you’re doing something currently, you know, that the thing you’re not talking, that, that they just received isn’t from 20 years ago or whatever.
And and, and I feel like that’s the, I feel like that’s the benefit of doing those reels where our faces show up. It’s like, it’s proof of life, but it’s not the main dish. And
[00:41:00] I think that the intimacy of the audio from podcasts is the thing that always drew me to audio. I’ve been listening to podcasts for years and you know, you plug them in when you’re driving.
I used to have monster commutes and listening to the conversation or the story or whatever the show is, is so wonderful. YouTube is, is great. I watch also watch a lot of YouTube, but it’s just a very different thing. And I like that you made that that’s that distinction between a podcast and a show, because I’m thinking about some of my favorite people that I consume for entertainment and the ones on YouTube where it’s video,
it is straight up a show.
[Chris] And I think that’s a level of, I don’t know if, you know, clarity or overthinking it or however you want to describe it. I think when you can’t label it for what it is, I think that’s when confusion gets in the way.
[Mary] Agreed. And I think that there are viewers slash listeners who are genuinely confused
[00:42:00] right now.
Oh, I’m, I’m confused.
[Mary] Yeah, we’re all confused. That’s
like the understatement of the decade.
[Chris] Which leads me to a really fascinating idea here. And, and it’s like, one of the things that was said at the podcasting conference where we met was if your show’s not getting more listens, your show is dying. And, you know, being seven years in the game, I wanted to call bullshit so loud, but I’m the nice person.
So I wasn’t going to do that. So I’m going to pull my Northwest nice and passive aggressive that shit on the mic here.
[Mary] Yeah, do it, man. Do it .
[Chris] But I will have a month where I’ll have 3000 listens.
[Chris] Followed by a month with 200, and it might do that the entire year of like this up and down
[Chris] And I’m I don’t know what, why that is. It might have been maybe some new platform sucked down all my data that month and, you know, great, you know, or whatever, but like, I think we get caught up on that awesome conference porn statement as opposed to, you know what? You might have gotten some more listens or maybe something happened in the world where people weren’t listening to podcasts that month, maybe, you know, with all the shit going on around the world, they don’t want to listen to how to get your work to work, you know, or whatever it is.
And that’s okay. Just keep going.
[Mary] It’s the just keep going. There’s this thing and I think it’s a bleed over from the tech bro marketing world of like the line on the graph has to constantly be going in the upper right hand corner direction. And it’s like, but that’s not how it works. It’s, it is up and down.
And I am well aware that the
[00:44:00] strategy of say, using television shows on my podcast has a very up and down kind of thing. Because I purposely picked something that had strong SEO and other areas that I could piggyback off of. And then there was an actor strike and a writer strike. And a whole bunch of conversation died down.
And, you know, other than ongoing fan content. You know, things shifted over into, you know, reality stuff and just, you know, all kinds of other things. Right. And then the world blew up again. And people, honestly, they’re, they’re emotionally exhausted and they’re, you know, watching news or they’re doing this and that.
Now we’re at the holiday season when we’re recording and…We have lives, we’re human, like, you don’t always listen to your podcast 24/7 and I go through periods with my favorite podcasts where I just don’t have time to listen and then later I do and I binge like a season’s worth of stuff
[00:45:00] and I don’t think that that’s a bad thing and you know, now that the actors and writer strikes are over, The Last of Us season two is about to kick in for production.
The Emmys will finally happen in January. And this show, The Last of Us has been nominated 24 friggin times. And I’m like, guess what people are going to be searching? They’re going to be searching The Last of Us. And my stuff is going to come up in search results because it’s been built to do that. And I bet you there’s going to be some spike in some of the episodes, and that’ll be a lovely thing.
So like, I agree with you, too. I think data’s are, we need data for our business, and I’m a big proponent of follow the data. But I think there’s some measurements like the, if you’re going down dying. That is just wrong. And I also think that the seven day marker that we’ve been using, like what’s the performance in the first seven days is also a little bit off because I just think that it’s not quite how people are consuming
[00:46:00] content anymore because we watch things on demand and we tend to binge things now more than anything.
And um, I think we need to account for that more. Personally, I’ve been paying more attention to 90 day performance rather than that first seven, like the first seven days matters, but that premiere week mattered. But, um, the 90 day performance has been telling me a lot more than, than anything.
[Chris] What was the difference between premiere week and the 90 day point?
[Mary] The premiere week was like an explosion and we did we landed in well into the top 50 percent of podcasts. There’s a really big like numerical range difference between top 50 percent and top 25. And we were closer to the top 25 percent numbers that they give you, um, but not quite on and on the money.
And so I would say like maybe we landed in like top 30%. You know, and, and so that was very cool. And then there was a little bit of a dip and then now I’m seeing like people I think are catching up and because it
[00:47:00] involves a TV show, I think there were a lot of people who were like, I need to watch the show and they, and they hit pause on the podcast and they’ve been catching up and watching the show.
And then you know, they go back and, and they, you know, start watching or listening to the episodes that go with it. And not everybody has the luxury of binging a TV show that they didn’t watch when it first came out and then also binging the podcast material. So they kind of have to break it up a little, you know, and, and I am seeing that there’s not quite such an explosion in the first seven days, but the 90 day performance is still hitting that, like, I’m going to say like top 30 percent marker.
[Chris] Oh, that’s great.
[Mary] Yeah. Yeah. But like the later episodes, you can see that it’s slower for them to get there. The earlier episodes, like the first half of the season, they hit it pretty quick within the first seven to 10 days. And now it takes kind of about 30 to 60 days for that to happen,
[00:48:00] but it’s still happening.
And then there are some episodes that have performed better than than others and they think part of it is the subject matter and part of it too is who was the guest and how they shared within their audience. It, you can directly see the reflection of who did not share. They just bounce back. And their episodes have
like the worst stats on them and the people who really loved up on everybody else in their episodes, their episodes perform remarkably well. And I think it just goes to show that if you’re a host, um, I think the next season I’ll probably have stricter requirements for sharing and like the baseline for that is going to be high for everybody so that if they do more then it’ll be even better.
But the baseline needs to be where all of the people who did great this season started at. And then for people who want to be guests,
[00:49:00] like, you know, you have to realize that you have to make space to really be actively involved in the season of that podcast. Otherwise, like nothing really happens for you either.
[Chris] Exactly. Well, and I think that brings an excellent conversation around building an audience. And, and how you actually do that, because it’s not just, you don’t build an audience by sharing. You build an audience by being a part of people’s lives.
[Mary] Yes. So true. I had some guests like Eunice. I’m going to call her out because she was just so amazing.
Eunice’s episode didn’t air till like towards the end. She had a later episode and all the episodes leading up to her episode, she was resharing, sharing her thoughts every week, listening, hyping it up. And by the time her episode aired, people knew who she was and they were paying attention. They really wanted to hear what she had to say.
[00:50:00] And she had a really difficult topic to talk about. And there were some comments, I got a couple DMs and people were like, thank you for talking about this topic of, you know, abuse and recovery and, you know, and, and doing it through a medium that makes it a little more comfortable to get into that topic.
To hear it. And I just thought that there was such great evidence of her publicly and then also things that people don’t see publicly, which are, you know, all the metrics that I’m looking at on the back end. And it’s really, it reflected so much on her participation in, you know, actually being present in the process.
[Chris] No, I love that because I think it speaks to that relationship that you were looking to have with people who you’re having a relationship with I don’t know. There’s there there was something about when
[00:51:00] we were in person Like I felt like I knew everyone immediately because you brought me into that relationship immediately.
And and I think we can do the same thing online as well. And I think Eunice was an excellent example of how to do that.
[Mary] Yeah, yeah, because I you didn’t meet her in person. She was in the Denver sessions And yet you still felt that way, which I think is really cool. Um, speaking of the Denver sessions are great example.
[Chris] Yes. I know exactly where you’re going.
[Mary] This audio. Oh my God. Those files. Um, that was the one recording session. I did not have a sound engineer present for, and it was actually kind of hard to find a studio there, but Eunice knew of this really fantastic coworking center. Um, it was a very impressive place and they had a podcasting room and the woman who owns it, her son is a sound guy.
And so he had set up this
[00:52:00] room with the microphones and the board and all that, but there was nobody to help us. And then you told me later that the audio was trying to like, like equalize or stabilize or something. And like the audio kept fading in and out. It was. The roughest thing. And I was, and, and halfway there, I was like, this is where the trust thing comes back into play.
And I was like, well, part of it is going to be fuck it. And then the other part is Chris will fix it.
[Chris] Well, and from my perspective too, like I knew something was wrong because of the shape of the waveform. Um, because normally when you look at an audio waveform, you see the peaks and the valleys and everything.
And like on some of the audio, it would just have this smooth kind of fade and I’m like, oh, something’s going on with like the equipment that’s, maybe it’s a compressor or a limiter of some sort. And, and it was just the settings were so aggressive that it was affecting what the shape of the waveform actually looked like.
[00:53:00] had to like, I just had to be like. I can’t fix it. I just have to let it be. And I, I had to go through that mental work of like trying to forget it so that I could edit and move on because maybe I was the only one that would hear it or maybe the only people that would hear it would be the anal retentive people like me.
And that might be 10 percent of the audience.
[Mary] Yeah. There, because I was in the room suffering through those recordings with them. Um, I, I knew what had happened and I hear it in the audio, like only in a couple of spots. So I felt like we did pretty good in the end, but, um, I feel like that’s another example of
you know, needing professional help to help you smooth things out when stuff goes wrong. And it, it solidified for me after that session, I was like, well, there are some learned experience from now on. Like I won’t be booking a space like that. I just won’t.
[00:54:00] And you know, I, I was glad that there were professionals in the room in all the other situations. You know, it, it’s been really fun to go to these different places and sit in their, their recording booths.
[Chris] It’s a lot of money out there in recording studios. There really is. I mean, when you look at the cost of gear, I mean, it’ll give you a heart attack if you’re not careful.
[Mary] Well, that’s the thing. So you and I were at a podcaster meetup in Portland. right after we did our Vancouver sessions. I think it was like a couple days later.
And I remember we were both tired. We’re sitting in the corner and, um, you were like, and you and I were having our drinks and you were like, look around this room. They’re like, there’s so much money in this room. And you’re like, and I’m not talking about the money that they’re making because they’ve monetized.
I’m talking about the amount of money they’ve spent on equipment
[00:55:00] and I and it was a packed room and I looked around and that was such a huge aha moment. I feel like that planted the seed for me that after that when I went down to LA and I walked into this recording studio that was was good, but not
super impressive. And they’re making, they’re raking in the bucks, man. And they have so many celebrities who record in there. And then I went from there to France, which was a gorgeous space. And I just remember thinking like, we needed a studio here and we couldn’t get one. You brought your, you brought your mobile studio, but we were dealing with road noise outside the, the windows from that coworking space.
And I just remember hitting this point where I was like, I want to start a studio.
[Chris] Part of that, though, is then explaining why that studio matters. And I think that’s the challenging part, is there is that education piece of not only is it accessible, but
[00:56:00] here’s why you need it. And, and I think you, you have excellent case studies as to why you need it.
[Mary] Yeah, I mean, one season of this alone has enough case studies in it for sure, for sure. And I have this feeling that with the projects people want to do. And the way they want to execute them, having an accessible studio that’s priced the way the market is fairly priced in all these other places that I paid for myself, um, matters.
And I just feel like there’s, there’s just a big hole in the market and
[Chris] Yeah, there is.
[Mary] I’m excited to see what we do with it.
[Chris] Well, and I think not to get too strategic with it yet, but like, I think one of the things that has to start changing the conversation around is not only is it
[00:57:00] valuable, but what is the cost?
What is that return on investment of the professional studio? The professional. If we can’t make that connection to the impact on someone’s business, everything else I would say is in vain because if they don’t see the value and they don’t see the return. It doesn’t matter how competitively priced or, you know, whether it’s enough or whatever.
I mean, there, it’s not going to last. And so that’s part of the conversation that I think has to happen is like, I want to know, like, how did season one affect your business? How are you going to make season two impact your business more? You know, what are the things that you didn’t do well enough in the first season?
And, you know, that’s part of the conversation that I’m really curious about because that’s transferable then to my editing services or my production services and
[00:58:00] I think I think for anyone listening, we can take that information and apply it to our businesses.
[Mary] Yeah, I, I would say, I mean, this is very early, but I would say that the, the impact so far, well, first of all, shifting into like going back into producing media and content was a huge shift for me and my business this year.
Um, the, the coaching industry is like a housing bubble. It’s popping right now.
[Mary] It’s, it’s a very, very messy death of many things right now and I’m not sad about it, but. Um, it really changed what I offer in my business. And I realized that the thing that people had kept coming to me over the years with the same question in all these coaching rooms was around producing their marketing media.
And then when I decided to launch the podcast, I knew that the season would be a lot of proof of concept. And going into the second season, I already have
[00:59:00] I already have introductions happening with people who are have that sort of business celebrity audience with the big size and the notoriety and I’ve kind of made a decision already that I’m getting ready to in quotes cast season two and because we’re doing Ted Lasso and, and I figured out the format.
And so invitations need to go out over the next couple of months and have commitments come in. And I, I think that one of the things I’m going to toy around with is, having people only with certain sized audiences and above who come in as guests and test it and see what happens, but we’re still going to record in person and simply because of life, things that have changed and also budgeting.
Like, I mean, I knew I was having fun with my budget this year. And I was like, man, we’re not going to have as much fun next year, but we’re, we’ll do recording batches. We’ll do one up here, um, where we’re at in
[01:00:00] Vancouver and we’ll do another one down in Los Angeles again. And um, I’m going to use a different studio.
The studio I used in Richmond, GoodPeeple’s studio. They were amazing and, um, they have a studio in LA, so I’m going to switch to them for season two, I think. And so the people who come in, it’s like, we’re going to agree upon, this is when the batch recordings are going to happen. And if you can’t make it or you’re not willing, then I will just shelve you for a future season if you decide you want to do that.
But we’re going to record in person again. And I know that the impact of it is, there’s been a lot of growth. I’ve had a lot of growth in my audience. Um, I’ve had a much easier method for me personally in shifting offers from something that is an industry that is truly dying to something that people genuinely need and that it’s growing.
[Chris] Love that.
[Mary] Yeah. Yeah. And so that has
[01:01:00] been a really big. Important change. So now, now I can actually put out, you know, new offers that people can pay for related to the content production. So that’s going out after the new year. Um,
[Chris] Ooh. I can’t wait to see what that is.
[Mary] Me too. Well, I mean, I know they’re . I mean, I’m excited.
Um, yeah, I am. I, I, I have, I have. Some things that are, um, DIY, because I have some things that are existing from all of the systems coaching I’ve been doing over the years. And I’m like, when it comes down to it, I mean, the thing that saves your hiney in production is systems and, um,
[Chris] This is all systems thinking right here.
[Mary] All of it. This is all that is it’s it’s it’s that’s that’s it and um, and he thinks sometimes people get hung up on the creative part and I think that’s where, you know, your comments earlier about finding your voice, like there’s a difference in those things and, and so making sure that people have support in those different areas, I think it’s important.
Um, but I
[01:02:00] do see a future for, you know, offering things like retreats up here, me personally offering retreats, um, so that people can you know, concentrate and focus and like really produce their stuff. But the things that I thought were so obvious for my years of production, I had no idea until people pointed it out to me this year.
I thought I was just having fun and they were like, no, Mary, people don’t know about that. And, um, it didn’t seem weird to me to create you know, scripted outlines and have a production, you know, template and it, I had no idea that other people were just winging it. And I thought, doesn’t everybody do this? Like you kind of need to, and just knowing how things get produced from concept to finished product and having watched movies go through that process and being able to translate that into
this. I realized is actually something that people were hungry for because they started asking for it on social.
[Chris] Mm hmm. I love that.
[Mary] Yeah. So, um, I think that I think people are hungry for it and I don’t think they’re getting enough help with it because the stuff that they are getting is the stuff like we heard at the conference.
Like, if your numbers are going down, your podcast is dying. And it’s like, can we not focus on that, please?
[Chris] Well, and, and there there’s one thing that I’d like to bring up from my perspective working with someone like you. I think that you have fundamentally changed how I approach my creativity because of the way that you approach your own.
And I don’t say that because you pay me money to work with you. But like when when you work with someone who is looking at you know, the, uh, like 10 episodes, you’re looking at the arc of the show. You’re looking at how the message shifts and changes or however many episodes it is.
[01:04:00] Like it helps you as the professional to then be like, how am I doing that in my own work?
Or a big one that was often said throughout was like, boring conversations, like I’ll have that in the back of my head when I’m interviewing someone and being like, God, would Mary say this is a boring conversation? Those are the things that I think are important from a symbiotic, collaborative relationship where it’s not like, Oh, Mary’s attacking me.
It’s not like, No, Mary’s saying something really important here. Pay attention to it.
[Mary] Aw, thanks, friend.
[Chris] And I just think that that is the value that is in a relationship as opposed to if I’m just editing your show and not listening or paying attention or learning from it, you know, sure, I’ll pay my bills, but I’m missing something.
[Mary] Oh, God, I love that. I mean, I knew
[01:05:00] from day one. When we, when we walked in that coworking studio and you understood the assignment from minute zero and I was like, Oh, this is so perfect. Um, yeah, I just got so frustrated with, I, I, I started tuning out all of my business podcasts. I’m like, this is boring as fuck.
I don’t want to listen to them anymore.
[Chris] The question that I’ve always wanted to ask you though, is what makes it boring to you? What is it? The same messages. Is it the same format? What is it for you?
[Mary] It is. It is all of those things. It is, um, people not having a genuine conversation and coming in with their talking points because they’re launching or releasing their book or whatever.
And it’s the same messaging again and again. Sometimes they are so overly polished in their talking points. And I like polish is good. Like we need, we need,
[01:06:00] I could use more of it too, but like, it’s a good thing, but not at the expense of us feeling who you are and getting to know you. Um, you know, I’m, I’m not trying to get my guests to cry on the mic
like Oprah makes people cry in the interview chair. I mean, I wouldn’t say no to it. Cause I always love those moments, but, but, but to have some vulnerability show, like this, like you are a human and I feel like humanity is missing from these podcasts. And it makes people who are supposed to be learning from those voices feel less than and feel like they’re super behind when they’re not, and that they don’t, that they’re not an expert in their own right, in their own niche of expertise, um, or getting delusional about the things that they think they know what to do.
And I love conversations. You and I’ve talked about this. Um, I think we talked about
[01:07:00] it on your podcast. You know, like I grew up on the talk show era and I fricking love an interview. I do.
[Chris] Oh, I just do.
[Mary] I, I will watch reruns of Barbara Walters to this day. Like I just, I, her interviews with the celebrities are so good.
Her pre-Oscar interviews every year, I miss those. So I really appreciate when there’s a really good conversation and interview that somebody puts out. And if it’s somebody who’s, you know, notable for something they’ve done out in the world and you just want to hear from them like that, you know, having sort of that question answer question answer format makes sense because you really want to hear what they have to say.
But in the course of business contexts. I really feel like our business audience needs a dose of normalcy. And, and, and there’s, there’s a lot of squirrely shit that goes down in the course of running your business. And it, and it’s like to
[01:08:00] admit that suddenly, you know, it’s like, Oh no, no. And then you can tell when they’ve polished over all of it.
Um, I, I have been a guest on a number of podcasts. There, um, have been a couple in the past where they edited the final version. They edited out all the humanity, you know, we’re bantering a little back and forth. There’s some laughter. There’s moments where we overlap and we kind of interrupt each other.
And, but that sounds like normal conversation. And then these podcasts, they edited all of those things out and, and it just, it removed, um, what I would hope they see there goes the airplane. This is why I need a studio. I live by an airfield and there goes the airplane. Um, but like stuff like that, like I, if it’s, if it’s a conversation like this, I want to hear stuff like that, you know?
Um, but if I’m in a studio, I want people to be able to relax enough where I really feel them.
[01:09:00] And I just don’t feel like our current business podcasts are doing that. And I feel like a lot of them actually have run out of material too. I’ve gone on way too long about this, but I, I, that’s, I genuinely feel that.
[Chris] You have not gone on way too long. This is exactly what I needed to hear because that’s. I think that’s the fear that a lot of people feel before they start a podcast is what if I run out of material and I think if if you only have one or two talking points, you’re going to run out of material. But if you are someone who wants to learn and wants to actually talk to people and learn from them, you’ll never run out of material.
Exactly. Yes, that. Thank you for, thank you for condensing that. That is exactly how I feel about it. And I can tell when somebody is in it because they want the gain and it’s not because they genuinely love talking with people.
[Chris] Well, and I think one of the, one of the challenges is you get the
[01:10:00] disparity between PR company and the person they’re pitching.
And so like, I’ll get pitches all the time because I’ve been doing it for seven years and you know, like I’ll get a PR pitch that’s fucking amazing and then I’ll get the guests and I’ll just be like, huh, this didn’t actually align with the PR pitch at all. And it’s disappointing or the other side is like the pitch, there’ll be something there and then the person is even better then because they didn’t know how to pitch them.
[Mary] Right. Right. Right. Yes, I, I feel like it kind of goes back to the thing about relationships that you were talking about. I, I feel like we need to be able to feel like there’s a relationship that happens even if it’s asynchronous, like, like, like you’re following the material, you see the proof of life, and you’re like, I feel like I kind of know who this person is by their materials, you know, and, and if that is not existing, then I don’t, I don’t know what that at the
[01:11:00] timing is right to have that person across the table for me on another microphone.
Um, I, I personally have really loved using a form of media that I personally am just obsessed with because I watch so much TV. And I, I love using that because that keeps me from running out of material. I’m like, there are, there are so many shows and movies that we could possibly talk about and I could totally find people to do them.
I really want to do a season, um, in the future that is like people’s comfort movies and comfort TV shows and then have individuals come on and do that. I think that because people have, are very opinionated about the things that they consume. Um, immediately there are reactions to certain titles. The Last of Us was totally a passion project for me because I felt like there was a lot of deep messaging in that.
It was surprisingly difficult to get some people to watch it. People avoided it. As soon as I said Ted Lasso would be season two, I can’t tell you how many people are just like, jumping out of their seats. They’re
[01:12:00] so excited. And if I, I do the same, I find it really interesting. And I’m curious to see what the performance of that is and how they all perform collectively over the long run, because I think Ted Lasso is really easy to jump into because you’ve got
sort of this feel good pick me up kind of material, um, and it was a fan favorite for a long time. But I feel like the thing that we need is something like The Last of Us because we need to look at tough stuff right now.
[Mary] So, um, yeah.
[Chris] I agree with you there.
[Mary] Since you’re working with me, and you know we’re going to do a season two, what are you most excited for from your perspective?
[Chris] Ooh, that’s a really good question. What I’m looking for is, how am I going to be challenged this season? And I’m not talking like the technical challenges. Like, I’m talking like, how is Mary going to challenge how I think about business, how I think about life, in this
[Chris] Because that’s, that’s what you were doing for me and, and season one, you were challenging me.
I, I’m, yeah, I’m, I’m paying attention to the edits and stuff, but I’m taking all this into like, I’m thinking about like, how can I approach my own shows in different ways? You know, how can I bring different questions or thoughts? All that’s fair game. And, and I, I can’t wait to see how you challenge me next.
Like I, I literally started up my second podcast again because of the work that we did together.
[Mary] Oh, wow. I didn’t know that. That’s so special.
[Chris] So in 2021, I had a second podcast called Beyond Your Imagination. Yeah. And I wanted to interview filmmakers exclusively. So it was, it was about filmmaking and around 15 episodes.
I just thought it was done ’cause I’m like, I, I didn’t have a, a a through line at all.
[01:14:00] And just through, I think our work together and just the whole kind of wrapping my mind around the seasons approach, I’m like, okay, season two I’m gonna, I’m just gonna have the same guest for 10 episodes. Ooh. And then we can talk about different aspects of production.
And so I, I, I attribute it. Solely to the work that we’ve done together and then what happened was I got an idea for season three and it’s completely different. I have a friend who’s an instructor who teaches film appreciation and how to watch films. He’s gonna pick five films. I’m gonna pick five films and we’re gonna talk about one film through an entire episode for ten times.
[Mary] I love that that is So cool.
Oh my God.
[Chris] And again, it’s because of our work together where, you know, I’m being challenged to think about things in new ways to think about how
[01:15:00] I can, how I can not be bored, but also how I can create information that helps people learn and try things out and experiment and explore.
[Mary] Oh, that’s so cool, Chris.
Oh my God, I love that. Isn’t that funny how the seasons, they’re, they’re like their own little entity. Like The Last of Us, it made sense to do it episode by episode. And there was like a theme that really stuck out per episode. And then, um, Ted Lasso, I was like, Well, I can’t do that. That’s too many fucking episodes.
And then I was on an airplane. And I do a lot of my best thinking when I’m on airplanes. And I was on a lot of them this year. And, um, and I, and I, I purposely went on the plane, like, I’m going to figure this out while I’m on this flight. I’m going to figure it out. And I loaded up all the episodes on my, on my laptop and I’m watching them and I’m just like scrubbing through them.
And it hit me and I was like, Oh, each guest gets assigned one of these characters and they’re going to follow the character through all
[01:16:00] three seasons.
[Chris] That’s awesome.
[Mary] Yeah. That’s what they’re going to do. And, um, and then I noticed where there are characters that clearly go together in pairs. So there are certain people I’m going to invite in and I hope this works out because the invitations haven’t gone out yet, but they’ll be invited in for their individual character.
But also for a partner talk, because like whoever gets cast as Ted and then whoever gets cast as Coach Beard, they have their individual parts, but then they have the part where they overlap. There’s a Venn diagram between the two. And um I’ve already told the, there’s a pair that I really want for that.
I’ve already given them a heads up, like, you’re about to get pitched real hard. And, um, and I’m hoping that they say yes. And then there are some, there are some characters that are truly sort of individual pinpoints. But they have, you know, like certain impacts, you know, within the larger storyline. And then I have one that I’ve made a character,
[01:17:00] which is not an individual, but it is a, um, sort of like a set scenery
environmental kind of thing. And, um, yeah, and because, because I, I felt very strongly that I wanted, I wanted The Last of Us season to be about, A, we can do hard things and B, we really need to prove to ourselves that we can get through things. We can see something through to the end, watch the whole thing, even when it’s hard.
And, um, for Ted Lasso, I just felt so much that it was about talking about the dismantling of toxic masculinity and toxic femininity and the dismantling of the dude bro culture in business. Because Ted Lasso, if you really watch it from the beginning, is a very feminist show, despite having so many male actors in it.
It’s really about women. And, um, at least it is for me when I, when I look through it. And so to be able to script that out is a really exciting process, but it’s so interesting how like the seasons are
[01:18:00] so different.
[Chris] You mentioned something that I want to know more about. Yeah. Like you said, you’re about to get pitched real hard.
[chris] What is an effective pitch from your point of view?
[Mary] I think an effective pitch is something that is super clear. Like, what are the parameters? A, like, what am I actually doing? So we need to know that. B, what’s the time frame? What are the expectations in terms of participation? And, and what, like, what does it mean to this person?
Like, why should that tug at their heartstrings? I feel like for me, when I pitch somebody, I want it to tug at their heartstrings. And I want it to be something that in their heart chakra region, they’re like, Oh, I feel a pull to that. Yes, I have to express myself around specifically that. And because that’s how the whole podcast started period was Lindsay, who, you know, did phenomenally.
It was her very first podcast interview ever. And she had the Bill and Frank episode for The Last of Us. And
[01:19:00] she and I had been having these business conversations offline where she, um, had been asking me, but where does your fire come from? Cause she’s like, I kind of feel like my fire went out.
And when I saw that episode, I was like, Oh my God, it’s, it’s in this episode. All the nuance of it is in this episode. And it’s such a heart tugging thing to talk about and everything else kind of mimicked that same heart tug, um, and, and so, you know, the pitches for Ted Lasso are very much about where does that hit somebody right there, you know, in the center of their heart region, because, and I feel like that’s, you know, kind of goes back to what we were talking about, like what makes some of these business podcasts so boring to me now.
And I’m like, I don’t feel the heart in them, you know, um, I know my first season is wildly imperfect. But I feel like when you really listen to each of the people, even the ones who struggled on the mic a little bit, you can
[01:20:00] feel, you can feel their heart in it, even if it’s a confused one. Yeah.
[Chris] And you just said something really important though, and, and I, to connect it to working with a professional, I wanted to make sure to capture and honor that wild imperfection.
Because without it. I, I think we can go too far. We can go too far to edit out and smooth out and make everything sound perfect, but we lose the humanity. And I think it’s, it’s, that’s part of the conversation with a professional is what are those parameters? What are those boundaries that you don’t want to cross?
[Mary] Yeah, I love that you, I love the way, like I, because I was there, so I know that you cleaned up certain things, but I love that you left so much of the naturalness in everything
[01:21:00] that I, that is the quality that I feel is really missing in a lot of places. So glad I’m working with you.
[Mary] Well, I’m sure this won’t be the last time
that you and I talk over here on my end either. Um, but, um, I, I do want to let everyone know that I am going to be putting your info in the show notes. I’m just such a big champion of everything you do. I want everyone to follow your stuff and hire you and do all the things with you because I think that I think the way you do it is really special.
[Chris] Thank you. It’s, uh, definitely been a lot of learning on my end on, I think the biggest learning that I’ve done is how to do the work myself on myself. So that when I’m asking that of someone else, it’s not something I haven’t done before myself.
[01:22:00] Um, and I, cause there’s, I think that’s one way to build trust immediately saying like, look, I understand that what I’m about to ask of you might hurt.
But know that I’m doing this work too.
[Mary] Yeah. Yeah. Oh, thanks so much, Chris. I’ll see you in season two.
[Chris] I love that ending.
[Mary] This has been the official School of Moxie podcast with your host, Mary Williams. The show is written and produced by Mary Williams, and the episode was recorded in Vancouver, Washington at the Sensible Woo home office.
Chris Martin from Chris Martin Studios is our editor and the sound engineer for this episode. Additional production and marketing support is provided by the AK Collective, founded by Amber Kinney.
I’m Mary Williams, your host and the founder of Sensible Woo. You can watch the HBO original series The Last of Us on Max.com. As a librarian, I will always encourage you to check out the companion book Bittersweet by Susan Cain at your local library. You can find this show wherever you listen to
[01:23:00] podcasts and all of the links to resources, guest information, and anything else we might reference in an episode are in the show notes.
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