Explaining My Podcast Documentary
The deadly hobbyist
The issue we talked about in part 1 of the I Podcast Too production explanation was "why make a movie about podcast?" In this we'll talk about "who makes podcasts."
The 'who' of podcasts is kind of what this movie is about, but explaining it more explicitly gives insight into how difficult the pre-production and production of the documentary was. The movie, as you will gather in the next episodes, tracks me: a young filmmaker and comedian who turned his talents towards podcasting, and is slowly making it as an internet era entertainer.
Let's start with the term "making it." Understand that I was and am a part of the less than 10 percent of all podcasts that are paid to do their work. The majority of podcasts will now, and likely forever, lose money on their podcast. Therefore if we are creating a movie where we feature the state of podcasting we had to include the following types of people: amateurs, audiophiles, and hobbyists.
Let's examine that last word: hobbyist. If you're not in entertainment, you may think of this as a benign term for somebody that builds bird boxes. However, entertainers use this word to talk about people who are only entertainment for their own amusement. That also may sound benign if you're not an entertainment, but keep in mind that when you go into entertainment you're doing it for two reasons:
You want to entertain others. Your art is not for yourself, but for other people. Second to that is the fact that you want to be the best. In America, we have a capitalist society, and that often means being the best means making money. A lot of the time the mark of a really good artist is being paid for it. Not because money actually indicates the success of art, but simply because Americans vote a lot of times with their money. There's an element of fandom to this as well, but it's not worth going into right now, because I'm simply trying to illustrate this general idea regarding who does art as a profession. And by the way, even the faction of hippies who generally populate at this point are all fine being paid money for their work. There exist very few very good artists who are trying to espouse this idea that art should be free, and there are very few very good artists who are trying to espouse the idea that art should be free, and don't already have a lot of money.
The other reason to work in art is that you might want to be part of a cool team. This is less often talked about in the world of starting an art career or an entertainment career, but the fact is that when there are sustainable entertainment industries such as Hollywood or TV, there is a place for anyone to join, and help keep something alive. Working on a crew is a laborious process, but if you can get into it, it can actually be a whole other life style. Waking up early, working all day with the same people, waking up with them the next day, and really experiencing nothing else other than film is the process of many professional artists. It's also not a nine to five desk job. I never saw something as important, but there are a lot of people who identify with that idea too. Art has always represented the dregs of society, but in a world in which you could really be a professional at it, it makes it feel like a sort of club. There are more eloquent people who know about the studio system more than I do (I am independent and freelance, plus I focused in post production—which is also much different at a huge studio) who have eloquently compared it to being a pirate crew or a military unit.
This is not the case with hobbyists. Hobbyists really upset professional artists. You'll see as we go deeper into the movie that we address hobbyists and amateurs, and how they disrupt a business. In the next part, I'll discuss the issues of working with hobbyists for the documentary, if there were any. You'll have to read to find out.