Graphic Design and Making a Logo

Michael Wright (Ben Franklin’s Playlist)

Throughout the duration of the semester, I found that I thrived the most in the behind-the-scenes work on the podcast. I loved editing, I loved writing and most of all, I loved working on the graphics for our show. The two most notable ones I worked on this semester were the Logo that we used for our SoundCloud account and the poster that we created as a way of advertising our show.

The Logo was one of the first things that I worked on once we were assigned into teams. My group and I threw around a couple of ideas but the one we ended up going with was simple and to the point. We took the classic iPod advertisement that showed silhouettes on a distinctly colored background simply listening to music and applied it to our Philly-scene style. I found a picture of Benjamin Franklin and shaded it in so he was simply a shadow and I edited in headphones once this was done. From there, we put a bright green background in and most of the hard work was done. All that was left was to tack the show name onto it so I used a slightly cursive-looking font and simply switched the “A” in “Playlist” with a Liberty Bell to continue with the Philadelphia theme. We had two slightly different logos, one for thumbnails and one for the main account photo. The only difference is the placement of the show title.

small-logo-2                   logo
Thumbnail Image                   Account Photo

In addition to the logo, we also had a poster that I created in order to advertise the show. I used a program called GIMP, basically a free version of PhotoShop, to create this. Because our show is about the Philly Punk Scene, we wanted to take Benjamin Franklin, who the show is named after, and make him look as though he were a part of the Punk Scene. I basically took a regular picture of him and edited in a handful of things to make him seem more “hardcore”, such as giving him tattoos, green hair, an ear piercing and putting a cigarette in his mouth. Overall, creating the poster took me three or four hours but it does a good job of taking a traditional Philadelphia figure and molding him to give off the appearance of someone who would listen to our show.

bf

The creation of this poster was intended to show that our show was about punk music but we made it ridiculous enough to show future listeners that there is a comedic aspect to our show. We didn’t take things too seriously and we joked around a lot and we wanted our poster to reflect that.

The graphics design for this show was incredibly fun to work on and given the right tools, it’s easy enough to figure out that anyone can work on it. You don’t need a background in Graphic Design, you just need to have some good ideas and the equipment to create them. We wanted our graphics to display both what the show is about and the general vibe of it, hence why we parodied Apple’s advertisements and made Benjamin Franklin into a ridiculous looking Philly Punk guy. They both show it’s a musical playlist about the scene and that it’s an easy and fun listen. As long as you have ideas can really show what your show is about in a simple and accurate way, the Graphic Design part of creating a podcast is easy and incredibly fun.

 

Learning From Mistakes

Dylan Harrison(The Platform)

Having never done a podcast prior to this semester, it’s understandable that I’d be making more than a few mistakes along the way. Making mistakes in any aspect of life is expected, it’s how you use those mistakes to your advantage that will make you successful. From listening to the first episode of The Platform to the fourth and final, I can hear a huge improvement in not only the quality of our voices, but also the podcast as a whole.

The first episode was done in a number of different takes, with a lot of pausing and “ums” and “ahs” in between thoughts because it wasn’t recorded like a normal conversation and didn’t sound natural at all. That was the biggest critique listeners had of the first episode, and something we definitely improved on. From the second episode on we recorded our podcasts in mostly one take, had back and forth dialogue so it sounded like a normal conversation, and I think it helped immensely.

We also went from having one speaker for a long period of time to having a back in forth conversation, especially in our final episode. It can get boring listening to the same person speak for a long amount of time, so we needed to switch speakers often to keep the information fresh and have listeners stay entertained. Overall, each podcast in the class went from decent to great in a matter of four episodes, and I think that’s a great accomplishment since most of the students had no prior podcasting experience.

Um this is an um post about um battling “ums” by Juche Jackson

No matter how confident we feel with speaking to a large audience there are always bumps in the road we will face. A lot of those times we don’t even realize the challenges when we are speaking, however they impact the effectiveness of whatever we are trying to deliver to the audience tremendously. The bump in the road that we all struggle with is described as the “um”. What is an “um”? Um is something we say as a filler word. It is used as a way to work on saying our next big thought basically like a computer buffering music. But instead of a computer it’s your brain and instead of music it’s your words.

Do not worry though there is a way to fix this. Throughout my troubles with filler words I always found it useful to build myself a rough script. It was never anything heavily structured; just a script made up of bullet points on things to say. Therefore, by having my points in front of me on a screen I did not have to think about my next idea. Another method I used was to take shorts breaks then speak on my next idea. These methods helped my speaking skills tremendously along with increasing the quality of my podcasts and I’m sure they will do the same for anyone else.

Keep Learning – Sober or Not!

I heard you wanted to start a podcast?

Well, I’ll tell you what. I had no intention of every creating a podcast. But I’m so glad that I gave it a shot and I’m sure you’ll be happy you did, too.

The cool thing about creating a podcast is that the podcast world is literally your oyster. Open to all of your ideas, thoughts, feelings, hobbies, and interests. It can be public, private, or a mix between the two. Don’t let your dreams be dreams.

I think the most important thing to keep in mind when starting your first podcast project is to laugh at yourself and incorporate your mistakes into each episode. My team and I created a really fun podcast this semester and it relied heavily on our little mistakes, giggles, um’s and slurs. By embracing your weird side and being easy on yourself (nobody was born a perfect podcaster!), it will open many doors for humor and authenticity.

Tackling your first podcast can be daunting. Walking into a forest in the middle of the night can also be daunting.

I recommend the buddy system.

You may think you’re macho and you can handle anything thrown your way. But so did every person who ever died in a horror movie alone in the woods. So grab some people (friends or strangers) to join you in this adventure. Without the help of my partners, Tom and Dylan, there’s a good chance I’d have given up.

BONUS: I had no idea who Tom and Dylan were before we started podcasting together, and now we’re all really good friends. Which is cute and fun. Get yourself some groupies like Dylan and Tom – you will not regret it.

Pick something you enjoy. The three of us enjoy talking and drinking, so we created Drunk History of the World. The premise of our podcast was to tell our listeners about a historical event…while getting wasted.

If it weren’t for this class, I wouldn’t have had any motivation to try and connect to other students on campus because I commute over an hour to get here. Fun, informative, and relatively stress-free was the perfect way to end my Tuesdays and Thursdays and I’m grateful I went against my academic adviser’s instructions in taking Digital Journalism

Below you can find the link to our SoundCloud and listen to our podcasts – which are extremely hilarious. (Not to toot my own horn….but sometimes the melody is so sweet!)

And if you were inspired by this podcast, podcaster, or podcasting advice: I conveniently gave you your own drinking game. Take a drink each time I said “podcast” in this blog post!

Fair well my fellow creators! And like Dylan said once ALWAYS says, “Keep learning, sober or not!”

Molly Gunson 


How to Maintain the Conversation

Creating good conversation comes with creating good questions, which ultimately comes from having an open mind. The way I like to see it, is if you are able to hold a conversation with yourself in your mind, you’re more than capable of holding a conversation with another individual. As cognitive thinkers, which most people are, we tend to think about things way too much (or the complete opposite and I’m just spit ballin’ over here) . When delivering a podcast, you want alllllllll of those thoughts in your head on whatever topic you may be talking about to get answered. This is where you need to plan strategically but also from the point of view of the interviewee.

It is not going to be too hard to figure out which interviewee will be the one to give you one word answers, it’s solely based off the first reaction to you asking them if you can interview them. Some people are all about it (these people aren’t the problem), it’s those that feel reserved or hesitate to take action because they do not know what the hell they’re going to say.

The concept of keeping a conversation may be easy from just looking at the terms that make up the sentence. Just Keep Talking, it’s as simple as that. When there is a topic that is dying out, it’s your job as the interviewer to transition the conversation smoothly from one topic to another. Or juts completely change tracks and stop the interviewee right then and there. It takes one voice to keep a podcast going and I can tell you it isn’t going to come from the interviewee.

No matter what the topic is, it is important to stay confident and calm while maintaining a sense of credibility that you know what you’re doing. It is important to always keep the conversation going, because you never know what bits and pieces you can put together to make something that is truly great.

What I learned about interviewing my professor: the do’s & don’ts

Podcasts have always been something I’ve enjoyed listening to. They’re kind of an escape for me when school is too crazy and I’ve become bored of my music selection (Weezer’s Blue Album and The Beach Boy’s Pet Sounds are on constant repeat on my iPod). So when I decided to take a class devoted to making podcasts I was both excited and petrified.

How would I be able to make something that sounded even remotely close to the podcasts I’ve grown to love and admire? (Those being WTF with Marc Maron, This American Life, The Champs, and The Sporkful)

But I decided if I was going to do it, I was going to give it my best effort and get some unique audio out into the world. One thing that I’ve learned that I will be able to take away with me once this class ends is how to prepare for, record and edit an interview with professors (and just people in general I suppose).

For my first segment I decided to interview my newswriting professor, Chuck Bauerlein. I knew I wanted him as an interview subject just by having him as a professor every other day. His personality was that of a jokester, one who see flaws in the system he works for and is keenly adept at pointing them out and providing thought-out solutions.

My “do’s” for an interview with a professor or anyone else you decide to sit down with are as follows:

  • Start recording before you walk into the room.

I did this during my interview with Chuck and you’d be surprised how much gold is waiting for you before you even start asking questions. The awkward introductions, shuffling of papers, and in my case, Chuck giving me instructions on how to commence the interviewing process (in a nice way of course). I was able to edit that pre-interview audio into my segment and it truly gave it a sense that the listener was right there with me and Chuck.

  • Look at the person you’re interviewing and try to have a genuine conversation.

Being the “Type A” person that I am, of course I went into the interview with Chuck prepared with questions. But the interview will sound a lot smoother and more natural to the listener if you focus less on the notes in your lap and more on the conversation happening right in front of you. You may end up hindering yourself if you limit the topics to what you have written down on paper, and that’s why the beautiful thing about conversation is that it can go anywhere in a matter of seconds. I’m not saying to not prepare. More like be in the moment when you are interviewing and the results with be better, I promise.

Here is the one “don’t” that I really want to stress to whoever decides to start a podcast.

  • Don’t freak out over the editing process.

It took me close to six hours to edit my first segment with Chuck. And that segment was only 5 minutes. Total. Editing is a time-consuming process so do not (as easy as it might seem) stress too much about it. Breaking the process up into segments helps a lot. It will take time but if you take time and breaks in between it can end up being a fun activity.

Here’s the link to the first episode in which I interview Chuck.

I had a great time learning the basics of podcasting and now can confidently say that I feel ready to take on Marc Maron. Ok, maybe not that confident but only time will tell.

Cordially,

Rachel Alfiero

My reflections on JRN 212-John Angiolillo

For the past three years, I considered myself a podcaster. My inspiration to podcast started about eleven (!!!) years ago when I had a radio show with my two best friends, James and Gino. I had copious amounts of fun and leisure from doing a radio program, so when I grew older, I wanted to capture that same excitement with my friends. I thought that by creating a podcast I would recapture the magic of my early teenage years. However, the podcasts I had with my friends didn’t live up to the quality of our early radio years. But it wasn’t the busy work schedules or quality of the equipment that couldn’t hold our interests.

We didn’t know what the hell we were doing.

Podcasting and radio, although similar, are very different beasts. For one thing, radio is difficult to redact. What is said can’t be taken away (ask Don Imus and he will tell you.) A radio show typically has a time constraint and the program is crafted around it. A podcast, on the other hand, is up to the creator(s) as to how long the program should last. While this sounds very ideal on the surface, the absence of a time limit created the biggest issue for the shows we would do:

Rambling.

No one wants to hear rambling conversations. It would make our podcasts drag on, and since there wasn’t a threat of repercussion (going off-air without getting all the material in), the shows suffered. Even worse, the show simply lacked focused. The podcast my friends and I had was a Philly Sports debate show. While that works for radio (since radio shows revolve mostly around current events), it doesn’t exactly make for a good podcast.

So when I decided to take JRN 212, I was hoping to learn how to make effective podcasts. Luckily for me, I did.

For one thing, I learned how to properly edit with Audacity, the freeware sound editing program. My knowledge with Audacity was very limited, and if I knew back then what I knew now, I could have made my podcasts sound very professional. I learned how to edit in sound clips and to edit out ums and other unwanted sounds. This made the work I did with my group sound much more professional. Another big thing was finding free music and setting it as background music. Background music can help eliminate unwanted sounds and noise, and since most podcasters aren’t privy to sound studios, it can be a useful trick.

Another thing I learned was to improve my interviewing skills. As a journalism student, I know that interviews are an integral part of writing and producing content. Through JRN 212, I became more confident in my skills and managed to snag an interview with Flyers legend Brian Propp. Besides improving as a podcaster, I improved as a journalist and feel more confident in my abilities going forward.

Coming out of this, I feel like I can create a podcast that is not only more concise and organized, but I can do it and make it feel fun. I have a few ideas, but now that I know what I’m doing, I feel much more confident and can synthesize that knowledge with my creativity.