Note this additional post with a bunch of nuts and bolts guidance on completing the podcast assignment!
This semester, as a class we’ll be producing a podcast series about games and gaming, in which we’ll share our thinking with each other and with listeners outside the class. Early in the semester, we’ll spend a class period developing a more specific plan for how we want to structure the series, coming up with a title for the whole series, and making some decisions about the process. We will also work together to record an introductory audio segment, which will go at the start of each episode of the podcast, and to design a logo and other visuals for promotion.
Read on for further details so you have a sense of what to expect.
The first episode should be published on Friday, February 5. Each Friday from then until April 15 one or two more episodes will be published.
As instructor for the class, I will be the Executive Producer for the series. In this capacity, it will be my role to consult with the individuals responsible for any given episode, to provide some guidance in order to ensure that each episode maintains the standards of the whole, and to provide feedback on the production.
Each student in the class will be responsible for serving as Producer for one single episode. The Producer initiates, coordinates, supervises, and controls all aspects of the podcast episode production process, including creative, technological, and administrative. A Producer is involved throughout all phases of production from inception to completion, including coordination, supervision, and control of all other talents and crafts, and publication and promotion of the completed episode.1
Each student in the class will also serve as the Assistant Producer for one episode. As the title suggests, the Assistant Producer helps the Producer to create a finished episode. Usually the Assistant Producer will come in after the initiation of the idea and will help to think through how to bring the Producer’s ideas to fruition, including providing assistance with storyboarding, recording, and editing. The Producer is responsible for final decisions and should be the primary coordinator for the entire process, with the Assistant Director serving to offer suggestions and feedback.
The Producer or Assistant Producer might ask other students in the class or outside of the class to participate in an episode by providing voice talents, being interviewed on a subject, or participating in a game session. Help out your fellow classmates when you can.
The Producer will publish his or her episode by uploading an MP3 to his or her own domain as a blog post designated in the category “podcast.” As with every other blog post you write, the post should include an interesting featured image that goes with the post in some way. The title of the post should be the title for this episode of the podcast. Your post should include a paragraph of text that describes and summarizes the episode in an intriguing manner. The Producer might also promote the episode through various social media channels such as tweeting a link to it or posting about it on his or her Facebook wall.
When you publish the episode to your blog page, it will be syndicated onto the main course site on the Podcasts page. We’ll use the RSS feed for that category to create our podcast on iTunes, which will allow each of us in the class as well as other listeners to subscribe and receive each new episode as we release them.
Episode Structure and Content
(We’ll discuss this topic as a class and develop guidelines for our expectations of each episode, so the following is almost certain to change.)
Each episode should be approximately 5 minutes in length and will begin with an introductory audio bumper that will repeat at the start of each episode. After the series introduction, there will be an audio introduction for this episode that will identify the title of the episode and name the Producer and Assistant Producer.
My initial thinking is that each episode will focus on a single game title, though I might be convinced otherwise, and should also address one activity that we can do with games, drawing from Ian Bogost’s book How to Do Things with Videogames. Ian Bogost lists 20 different ways computer games are used today: art, empathy, reverence, music, pranks, transit, branding, electioneering, promotion, snapshots, texture, kitsch, relaxation, throwaways, titillation, exercise, work, habituation, disinterest, drill. The Producer of an episode will choose a game title and one of these terms, or supply his or her own additional thing that we can do with videogames. The podcast episode will then explore the relationship between the game and the thing.
Should the podcast be only about videogames? Should we allow podcast episodes to focus on board games or other types of games?