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Posts Tagged ‘The Messengers: A Podcast Documentary.’

So I started blogging in 2008, and around 2012 Adam Levenberg (author of The Starter Screenplay) said I should start a podcast. That just seemed like more work with very little payoff. But Levenberg’s a smart guy and I should have listened to him. But back in 2012, podcasts were off the radar for most people. (Scriptnotes began in 2011, but I listened to those early shows on my computer rather than my phone.) I point to the fall of 2014 when season one of the Serial podcast dropped. Since then there has been an explosion of podcasts and their popularity. (In the past year, I’ve listened to more free podcasts than watched movies, streaming and TV shows.)

By 2015 I was hooked on podcasts. I think that was the same year the Chris Krimitsos launched the first Podfest in Tampa, Florida. The had 100 gather for that event. Last year Podfest was in Orlando and I started watching the videos with an eye toward launching a podcast. Last week there was a Podfest Global Summit and I watched as many of those as I could. I’ve never heard the word niche spoken so many times in a short time.

But what is screenwriting if it’s not a niche market? In the next week or so I’ll try to pass on what I’ve learned about podcasting and why I think it’s a great avenue for screenwriter to explore. But before we get to narrative and non-narrative podcasting, and how you can launch your own podcast this month, I want to start with the basic concept of starting ugly.

“What is the foundational principle of Starting Ugly? Basically, you need to do some research and planning but then you need to put your ass on the line and take action! That’s your Start Ugly moment.

You can’t wait for perfection. Or to be perfectly organized. You can’t wait for approval. You have to be thoughtful in creating a plan, but more than anything, you must BEGIN.

—Chris Krimitsos
Start Ugly

That reminds me of the story where Bob Seger told Glenn Frey (before he was with the Eagles) that if he wanted to break out from Detroit he needed to write his own songs. Frey said, “Well, what if they’re bad?” Seger said they would be bad, but to stick with it and that’s how you get to be good.

That’s why Scott Beck and Bryan Woods wrote around 30 screenplays before they hit it big with A Quiet Place. It’s why before he became a hit TV writer back in the day, Stephen J. Cannell said that because he was unable to land any film or Tv industry work he went to work for his dad. Then he wrote after work.

“I’d come home every night and write for five hours—I had a snack and wrote from 5:30 to 10:30 and then had dinner. I did that for five years and couldn’t get an agent. I was basically doing spec (sample) scripts for television, but no one would read the stuff. I’d send ’em out and they’d come back—some unopened, some with nasty notes like ‘There’s nothing here.’
—Emmy winning writer/ producer Stephen J. Cannell
GQ, “Exit Interview: A Final Chat with ‘A-Team’ Creator Stephen J. Cannell”

It’s okay to start ugly. And one good thing to come out of this pandemic is we’ve accepted all kinds of bad audio and video production. So the crazy thing is if, you start ugly now, no one is really going to know the difference. And as the pandemic draws to a close (some time) you’ll have improved greatly just by learning as you go.

Now if podcasting is still way off your radar let me point you to the The Messengers: A Podcast Documentary.

P.S. In case you missed my first podcast interview, here it is with Alex Ferrari on Bulletproof Screenwriting. Probably the jump start I needed.

Scott W. Smith is the author of Screenwriting with Brass Knuckles

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