As I mentioned in my inaugural post, in addition to my written musings on pop culture ephemera (I feel that here I should note that I definitely stole that phrase from NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast cohost Glen Wheldon. I couldn’t help it, I just love it so much), I also verbally express them in a podcast that I record with two good friends called The Best Picture Show (available via iTunes and Podomatic Podcasts, sorry had to due the required plug). I plan on posting links to new episodes here on the blog so I wanted to take some time to describe what the podcast is about and what led us to start recording. So join me, on a journey through the history of my love for podcasts!
It was spring semester of my senior year of college when I first discovered the wide world of podcasting. My first podcast love? The aforementioned Pop Culture Happy Hour. PCHH is a weekly podcast put on by NPR which, as the title suggests, focuses on anything and everything pop culture. I stumbled upon it simply by searching “pop culture” in the podcast section of iTunes. One episode and I was on board with this whole “podcast thing”. The thing that I initially loved about podcasts, and that I still do love about them, is that they can be about anything. If there is something that you truly love, there is probably a podcast about it. And if there’s not, then you can start one. Another thing to love is the personal touch of the podcast. Listen to a podcast long enough, and you’ll feel like you know the people who create it. Something about the nature of podcasting seems to make people truly be themselves, probably because you don’t really ever make any money from it so you do it purely because you enjoy it. I imagine that it also helps that most are audio only, there is something about not being visual seen that makes people say things they truly mean (see any comments section anywhere on the Internet). These two things combined make podcasting feel like a very personal medium.
This enjoyment of podcasts led to a desire discuss podcasts with others. Which more often than not resulted in blank stares and confusion, but occasionally it resulted in recommendations of new podcasts to try out. And so my podcast subscriptions grew, Savage Lovecast and Doug Loves Movies got added to the rotation. Then the podcasts I listened to would mention yet more podcasts, Comedy Film Nerds, The Dork Forest, the suite of How Stuff Works podcasts, all added. Some of these podcasts have ended (RIP Popstuff), some I have lost interest in (though I still immensely enjoy Dan Savage I no longer listen to the Savage Lovecast on a weekly basis), some I still pull up occasionally (Stuff You Missed In History Class), and others I never miss a single episode (Pop Culture Happy Hour, Doug Love Movies). In other words, podcasts became like any other medium I enjoy, with me employing the same habits and enthusiasm as I do movies, TV, and books. Of course that meant that I started talking about podcasts with my friends, primarily my best friend Maija.
This led to off hand remarks like, “We should start our own podcast. Wouldn’t that be fun?”. Maija introduced me to her friend Tony, who also loves podcasts and was going to school for film editing/directing because he loves movies so much he wants to make them for a living. Then it became, “We (Maija, Tony, Alex) are going to start a podcast”. A few brainstorming sessions later we had an idea, we would watch every film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture and discuss what we thought of them. We came up with the perfect title, The Best Picture Show, and a format for the episodes, each episode would have a theme and we would pick three films (one from the early years, one from the middle years, and one more recent) that fit within the theme. And another podcast was born.
Here I feel I should give a huge shout-out to Tony. Not only does he have the equipment that allows us to record, he also effectively acts as our producer. He does any necessary editing and uploads all of the episodes to iTunes. Without him there would be no The Best Picture Show. Now, back to the story. Our first theme was Movies Through Time. We recorded shortly after 12 Years a Slave won for 2013, so we decided to discuss the most recent winner (12 Years), the first winner (Wings, 1929) and the one that falls most closely to the middle (The French Connection, 1971). Maija and I were incredibly nervous when we recorded that first episode (which is pretty adorable considering the likelihood of anyone ever hearing was very small. Even now only a handful of people listen, but we are proud of that handful!). There may have been several restarts due to nervous laughter and stumbling over words. Eventually we hit our stride and began discussing the movies just like we normally would if we weren’t recording. Which was the whole idea behind the podcast in the first place, we already talk about these things, why not record it and throw in on the Internet!
Since then we have definitely perfected our podcast (notice I say our podcast, not the podcast. I would never claim that we are making the perfect podcast). We have a rhythm now and the conversations feel more organic. Most importantly, we have fun making it. We are seeing a lot of great movies (along with some not so great ones) and having some really cool discussions. We don’t have thousands (or even hundreds) of listeners, but some people we really love and respect listen, and that means so much to us. The best part however, is that we wanted to start a podcast and we did. It is a real thing. It is on iTunes and anyone can go download it. And that, well that’s just pretty cool.
You can catch up with The Best Picture Show on Facebook:
And, of course, you can download it via iTunes: