Comments wanted on my host-on-mic format

For a few years I’ve been collecting my thoughts on recording conversations. Today I published the first episode of a simple host-on-mic format, structured around my thoughts. It’s posted in #listen, at Prompts, and it’s not a test. (And wherever else you already listen to the Podcaster Community show.)

I’d love any feedback, on any aspect of it. :slight_smile:

…and happy to discuss my thinking behind the various artistic choices I’ve made.

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@craig Last night I was able to start catching up on the NEWEST Podcaster Interviews in the Listen Category. At one point, as you were rolling on the waves of a wonderful riff, I thought to myself … “Why does Craig send signals that he’s not so comfortable with Host on Mic? Listen to him go. He’s essentially enhancing this Interview with some tasty chunks of Host on Mic.”
Then, a few minutes ago, I tapped play on your Host on Mic recording. Enjoyed that you started with your same signature opening but noticed that it didn’t sound quite the same. Then I realized you sounded different - not so comfortable - just as you’ve said. Next, I thought, WOW :open_mouth: on the same day that POD10 has it’s first assignment to record their Voices in essentially a Host on Mic style - you took up the challenge! Finally I felt honored to have heard it. This is your interstitial moment, start of another strong branch, growing out into - Craig the Mighty Host on Mic!

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Thank you for all the compliments and positive feedback!

Can I pick at this for a bit more detail? “sounded different” — do you mean in the intro/opening part… are you referring to the tone of the entire piece.

(If anyone hasn’t listened, the entire episode is only 2 minutes— so that’s not an insane question to ask :laughing: )

This has been cooking for a few weeks and I was considering “exposing” it within POD10. (In the “your space” area.) But I didn’t want it to feel like showing off. I’ve serious concerns about it appearing like I just tossed it together and students getting discouraged.

…that said, it’s possible I’m also hiding . . . :thinking:

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@Craig I PROMISE to come back and give more detail! :+1:

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@craig OK, here is my Tale of Two Cities feedback. I’ve probably listened to over 25 of your PC interview episodes. In fact, your podcast is one of my favorites. Your easy-going, inquisitive and thoughtful style invariably ensures that I will learn something from you and as well as your guests while also being entertained. I truly appreciate you sharing these conservations.

But I’ve often heard you say that host on-mic efforts are much harder and less enjoyable for you. I thought you were just being your humble self. But this latest solo effort does suggest you may be right (at least for now). Your typically joyful spirit was muted. The recording felt scripted and that’s fine, but it felt like you were laboring at times. There were even depth breathes that suggested this was hard work. At times it felt like this was a ‘class project’ where you were ‘defending a case’ rather than sharing an opinion or observation.

All that said, you’re bright, interesting, insightful, knowledgeable and care so deeply about this podcasting community. So I will continue to listen to anything you record. But I just want to hear the typical spark, excitement and joy from your interview shows work its’ way into the host on-mic episodes. Sorry for the harsh assessment and I realize that his is just one man’s opinion. In some ways, I feel like I am criticizing the ‘podcasting pope’. In turn, I hope your ‘faithful’ don’t light me up too badly. :grinning:

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@craig - I think I put my feedback in the wrong place…good luck finding it!

ooooh (the “that’s interesting” / “excited” sound), this is really helpful…

For these (this is the first of many I have to do) I am trying to figure out how to read, without it feeling scripted. I think I’ll redo this one a bunch of times, and then listen to the original to see if I can hear any differences.

And breath/struggling: it was, now that I think about it. It’s about two minutes of trying to control every nuance, and now I suspect I wasn’t breathing right. I mentioned [elsewhere in POD10] about wondering about trying standing up—this one, like all my work was done seated. So that’s another thing to work on.

I was also “riding the brakes” the entire way. I can really whip into a talking frenzy and I want these to be slow enough that you can “hear” it on the first pass… maybe just a tad faster, and with a little more smile and mischief . . . that’s where the joy is to be found, I think.

One things I really don’t like about this [host on mic] is that there’s no spontaneity— and there can’t be since I want to deliver thoughts that are pre-organized. I’ll try reorganizing the written part, to be more phrased — rather than simply trying to “convert” from written to spoken. It’s all written in my first person voice, but as we all know well, that’s not the same thing.

Thanks @Hoagie and @maryjlrowe — super useful feedback [I don’t see a harsh word anywhere!] I’ll be returning to read this stuff several times :wink:

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…easy to find! You put comments under the topic itself over in #listen.

Which, frankly, is freakin’ perfect cuz your comments are in response to the content of the episode. Which is a whole different ball of wax from what I wanted to start here. And having little discussions break out, in response to each of these is something I very much want also. :slight_smile:

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@craig Reply #2

FIRST - Thankyou because YES, I really want to know your thoughts on conversation - got beaucoup reasons for that.

SECOND - thanks for asking for an Evaluation. It’s the other pole in any version of giving a “speech” and another area where so many of us want to develop skill. Ex: the speaking organization, Toastmasters International, revolves around speaking and evaluating.

By asking for a Host on Mic evaluation, you’ve opened yourself up to an evaluation of your Interview Style as well which I’m also a huge fan of. I listen to your interviews 50% for the guest and 50% for you! For example, when you pause - it’s like watching a coin toss, hold breath, where’s it going to land?

So for those who know you only as an Interviewer, Craig as Host on Mic - where you are your own guest - is just a new twist.

The Opening
love the hello - always generates an immediate upper, and in your Interviews, it is always followed by - I’m Craig Constantine (still up in tone).
But this time, hello was followed by “Craig here” - and you dropped your voice a little. That was the difference. It was a simple brilliant way to distinguish that this is a different program. Only those who listen to you frequently as an interviewer would catch it. Suggestion: perhaps play with exaggerating that lowered voice on “Craig here” just a tad. There IS a joke in there. I liked it, just experienced a brief disorientation the first time. Funny how I depend on the consistency of your Interview opening to prepare me for the beautiful circus that follows. :star_struck: Your Host on Mic opening - though only slightly different, will be just as dependable. :+1:

Thumbs up to the next several seconds where you make it super clear EXACTLY what you’re up to and it’s such a refreshing mission “creating better conversation to spread understanding and compassion” like a warm yummy beverage on a freezing day. That you include the promise of additional notes, citing sources that inspired your thinking - crazy cool. For some types, that will be a Treasure Chest playground.

The Body of it
Again, might not even be noticeable to new listeners, but compared to your Interviews, it’s more measured, paced, careful - which allowed you to say a LOT in less than 2 minutes. Oddly, when I listened a second time, my enjoyment went way UP, perhaps because I was really listening to what you were doing and saying, not just how it was a different version of Craig.

The Ending
Very very nice, iconic even — folks will listen for it, (just like the opening) and release happy hormones when you say …
“- hmmm! My thoughts, what are yours?” Secures the ending, includes the famous “call to action.” A sweet polite goodbye (so Craig) that leaves us with an invitation.

I hope you find a way get responses (evaluations) from people who have NOT heard you interview others. Is that possible?

Final thought, the opportunity to evaluate you, generated a valuable self-evaluation.

Hi @craig
I’m a big fan of your conversations and conversational style…
I also understand that going host-on-mic is a way for you to push the envelope and grow as a podcaster…
so I’ve got to agree with @Hoagie start to finish…

being exclusively host-on-mic myself, I’ve so far learned that if my script doesn’t sound relaxed and natural coming out of my mouth, it’s usually got more to do with the script than anything else…
I think the same thing is at play here for you…
for example:

I’m listening to comprehend; not listening to respond nor refute.

I don’t think this is a sentence that lends itself to verbal relaxation… it’s too formal…
I get that it’s exactly what you want to say… but I think this is one of those sentences that kind of paint you into a corner of the kind of formality you’re looking to avoid…

finding a more conversational and playful way of saying what I want (and need) to say in my own podcasts is one helluva tough row to hoe… and that’s because script writing is something I was never trained in…

I also listened to Steven Pressfield’s “Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t” and find that every time I feel I’ve gotten somewhere with my writing I start having overflowing toilet dreams… :rofl:

keep playing with the language, bro…! I love what you’re doing…!!

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:point_up: This entire thread is packed with great criticism. As I’ve said above, I’m cherry-picking as a sort of first pass. I’ll be returning to all of this.

This is a great, “oooooooooh, I’d not thought of it that way” . . .

The sentence you pointed out, was intended to be a rhetorical mic-drop, so there’s quibbling possible on that sentence.

But your point is broadly applicable to every word in the script — because it wasn’t actually a script. Now I’m realizing that if I went and did my 20% (the 80/20 Pareto 20%) about scripting for host-on-mic, that would bear fruit. Noting that I’ve always skimmed-mostly-ignoring everything about “how to host-on-mic”.

Question for all the HoM’ers out there: Any suggestions for articles or resources for the “how to script” side of it. @steveh I seem to recall a discussion somewhen/somewhere about some Hom’er who did a deep dive on how they script out explicitly every line and sound . . .

??

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This made me chuckle. “Hello! Craig here.” is how I start my Little Box of Quotes episodes. I’ve said that for 700 episodes.

:exclamation: And another insight comes. There’s a HUGE chasm between how I feel and am when I say that opening (relaxed, open minded, playful, smiling) compared to what “happens” next as I went into the scripted body of the piece… more practice!

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Love the ‘spontaneity’ reference. When you are interviewing you have such an engaging and free-flowing ‘engagement’ with your guest. That’s what I missing. Glad to help in any small way. Cheers.

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Two thoughts

  1. @craig - you have eloquently expressed so much of what I experience when I do a HOME* segment (read w/o feeling scripted, redo ideas, breaths, breathing awareness, sitting vs. standing, speed of speech, remember the smile, spontaneity).
    *Host On Mic Episode (I even called one or two of my episodes that at one point, before I switched it to something else. I may go back and resurrect that moniker - and cover art - again, now that I’ve read the string above)

  2. @Hoagie and @maryjlrowe - really helpful feedback/feedforward you shared! You have no idea how your observations and/or questions will serve as filters for reflection for my next few recording stabs. Good stuff!

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It does sound like you read it but not in a distracting way. I sometimes record what I am going to say without reading and then use that transcript as my new host on mic script. I put some puppets in front of my to feel like I am talking to someone. Everyone told me my original intro and outros were stilted so I said them while rubbing my dog and that made it come across more conversational. While rubbing my dog I was talking more natural. Great first jump into host on mic.

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Zoinks. It’s be almost two months since I was working on this… but it’s not been forgotten. I was off working on something else, but now I’m back to work on this more regularly.

I just published…

Very similar scope and scale of content as the first one of these. I intentionally want to try change one, (or as few as possible,) thing at a time as I try to improve this work.

For this one, the significant change is that I’ve changed to a standing desk, (generally for everything.) And so this one is recorded standing up. A small change, but I feel it’s reflected in the piece. Otherwise it’s the same editing (ie, none, just final mix-down leveling) as the first one.

Thoughts?