Category Archives: podcast

Employee of the Month Podcast

Employee of the Month podcast coverSometimes I scrub through top 10 lists to find what I’m missing and I ran into Employee of the Month. I don’t remember where. I use Downcast as my iPhone podcatcher, maybe there?

The show is Catie Lazarus interviewing people about their jobs. She does her research. It looks like she’s a comedy writer – she talks like a stand-up comedian, she’s quick on her feet. She sometimes asks really blunt questions and calls them out. The difference between she and someone like Marc Maron might be she’s comfortable putting the spotlight squarely on the guest and Finding the Truth, where Marc Maron injects himself into conversations so thoroughly sometimes it obscures the guest. The truth comes out with Maron sometimes but it’s often relational. He also heads where the energy is – if an interview shifts gears, he goes where the energy is. Catie seems to push very specifically at points until she’s satisfied or the guest changes the subject.

This deep analysis based on two I listened to by her – I’ve listened to a bunch of WTF. I picked out a couple related to music: Ryan Schreiber, creator of Pitchfork, the music website that manages to put the fear of God into indie bands everywhere, and Henry Rollins, who puts the fear of God into those indie bands as well as all other people who have listened to punk in the last 20 years.

The most interesting thing about Schreiber’s interview was Lazarus pushing him on still being an indie publication and forcing him to describe how after Pitchfork is now easier to find (for me, yes – they didn’t used to be the first hit on Google, it took a little searching to remember the URL, back in the day) and more mainstream, how are they different than Rolling Stone or other magazines. He basically says, our reviewers have better opinions and cover more obscure stuff (the latter definitely true, for good or ill). When she asks him to name music he’s finding that’s interesting now he blanks. This is truly odd. He’s a music critic. This is the point where his inner monologue should sort through the various albums from the past 10 weeks and settles on the three that stick out the most, gibbering about sharing the wrong one he loved the second most. I think he names one. So maybe he’s out of the reviewing game, and maybe pushing him when he’s the corporate head isn’t kind, except he says he isn’t the corporate head. Also, he leans back and forth from the mic so we can’t hear him sometimes. Come on, man! This can’t be your first interview.

She clearly came to the Rollins interview with child-like wonder. She mentions she grew up in DC, and went to ska shows in the late 80’s and early 90’s. In that scene, in DC, Rollins was a god. I grew up in Utah going to ska and punk shows in the early 90’s and Rollins was a god. In Utah.

But he’s an impressive guy. Over the interview I was tempted to draw circles – ‘scared of Mom and Dad’ and draw a line over to ‘works hard all his life to win approval from others instead’. Either way I admire the crud out of him. In high school I read a piece he wrote in Details magazine called “Iron and the Soul” where he talks about how weightlifting helped give him self-respect and identity. In the interview it comes out he was in a military prep high school, so the story about Mr. P pinning a kid against the wall makes more sense. Anyway. The essay meant a lot to me at the time. I may still have it upstairs in my Binder of Crap I Stare at Nostalgically along with my seventh grade class picture and emails with deep thoughts.

The thing about a piece like the Details article is, it’s obviously written for kids who have self-esteem issues. There’s no other reason someone who likes to work out would write it the way he did. This is a thing I really admire about Rollins. Besides his work ethic, he accepts that he’s a leader. He uses his power for good. He spends a lot of the Lazarus interview being self-deprecating about his success, but after a while it seems like he genuinely only lives to work. The work is the thing. When Lazarus presses him about joy, if it’s worth it, he hits on the best part of interview describing talking to fans after the show.

So that’s a job well done for Lazarus – I don’t come away from the interview with Rollins thinking, gee, Lazarus is a great lady, I come away thinking, Rollins, what a cool guy. So I admire Lazarus for that. I want to keep listening.

(PS If you haven’t, listen to her interview with Jon Stewart. She sets herself apart by being armed to the teeth with research but also some insight into some of his staff).

Can’t not share this great bit from Rollins – another inspirational bit that hit home for me a while back. He’s really plain spoken, something I’ve grown to appreciate.

Tools for Media Said So podcast

A few friends and I have started a podcast, Media Said So. It’s pretty good so far, I’m proud of it! You should check it out, we’ve done one about Captain America and one about 21 and 22 Jump Street so far.

Someone asked about the tools we use for it.
blue snowball

  1. Blue Snowball mic. It’s pretty inexpensive, and the sound I get from it is solid enough for our purposes right now.
  2. For audio recording I use Audition – I bought the Adobe Production Suite with Premiere a while ago and it came with. But a lot of podcasters use Audacity, which is free and really versatile. Actually I had to fix an audio/video problem with a file yesterday and Audacity did the job where Audition couldn’t (at least with the instructions I had).
  3. We’re doing this remotely over Google Hangout because all of us are in different states. I use Camtasia to record my voice and the voice of the other guests. It comes out in two tracks. I export each, pull them in to Audition, and edit it from there. It looks like someone has found a way, if your soundcard supports it, of using Kristal Audio Engine and Audacity, both free tools, to record and edit system and mic sound at once.

Something we’re going to try for our next podcast is having everyone record their voice as well on their end and share the audio file with me. If I can sync that with the recorded conversation to keep timing in place, it gives me two things: better sound quality (sounds less like an online meeting) and flexibility in editing individual speakers.

MFP – 1 – PT Anderson Film Fest, Hard Eight

This is the first episode of the Media Facing podcast. My wife and I are going through Paul Thomas Anderson’s movies in order to “get ready” to watch The Master. We started with Hard Eight. Spoilers after 6:15 – it may be better to listen to if you’ve seen the movie.


Some links from the podcast:

  • Hard Eight. Don’t watch the trailer! Both trailers I’ve seen are wrong about what the movie is about AND give away key plot points. Just watch it with no expectations.
  • Other movies with casinos we mention:
    • Swingers – It’s about a few buddies in L.A. who are trying to get acting jobs and be hip in the 90’s L.A. scene. They go to Vegas at the beginning. It’s “Swingers” in the “The Rat Pack were a hip bunch of swinging cats” sense. It’s not depressing! A lot is hard to watch like the Office is hard to watch. Watch the whole thing! I used to sit guys down in college who were having lady troubles and show them the last 15 or so minutes. It’s amazing.
    • Casino – watch if you liked GoodFellas and other Scorcese movies.
    • Leaving Las Vegas – watch if you’re a hardcore alcoholic and want a reason to get sober.
    • The one with Nick Cage with the Flying Elvises is Honeymoon in Vegas. It’s pretty goofy.

Next up – Boogie Nights.

Music in episode courtesy Kevin McLeod and Windmill Music.