Transcript for "Listening - with Kato McNickle"

(Interactive content will replace this message when viewed in the Forum.)

00:00.00
podcomm
Hello I’m Craig Constantine

00:04.76
katoagogo
Oh hey, hi Craig I am Kato Mcnichol

00:11.90
podcomm
It’s not live. Is it live or is it Memorex I don’t know why I felt like doing all the old old the tv show references today. Um, first of all, thank you for taking the time to hang out with me and to talk. Um. As everybody should know by now we do a little bit of conversation beforehand and I was going to say like so you still think you got nothing to say about podcasting I I never ceases to amaze me. How people have I was going to say such different ideas I don’t mean that in a negative way I mean like every time I start talking to somebody they start talking and I go I I never thought of that. I’m just doing this because I want to learn. Um, so when I asked you about podcasting. It didn’t take us but 2 sentences to get deep into listening both as the like why. What is it about podcasting. Why is cato like podcast. How did you know what does cato really think about podcasting and and listening is the thing that you went to really quick I’m wondering. Um. So you started i’ me to say your big podcasting journey really started with being a consumer of podcasts being a connoisseur of podcasts and can you take me through um at some point that has to become like you have to become aware of that. At some point you’re just listening to podcast and I love it and then some point you’re like. You know what? I’m actually getting really good at analyzing or thinking about or making decisions like man. This podcast isn’t for me this one is for me. Do you remember when you started to become aware that you were deploying your analytical skills to what you were listening to.

01:44.82
katoagogo
Well and at first the content I was listening to was like about pop culture or entertainment I work in the entertainment field as far as theater and things so that tended to be the thing that brought me in ah and then just finding out the depth of things that. Were available that people love and they talk about on their podcast and we started discovering one that really changed up what we were listening to my partner and I ah the history of english podcast. And it is kind of a very straightforward He’s got this little theme song that plays at the very beginning that is like from it’s like an 8 bit kind of song. It’s very old school and he loves english language and he goes deep and it’s do he just the more he did it the more you could tell just his love and. And that idea of bringing this passion forward of this one guy talking with his passion and then it leads to other things like he started making folks. He became this expert and brought places and looking at how you can take this thing you love and start. Bringing it to people that you could never imagine and what does that do in this media and it was you know if you could get a microphone and start messing around with it. You can put forward a podcast and I was fascinated by that and then ah you know, just. Hearing what people love and then being able to share that also through social media. So I find a podcast that I think is dynamite and I find people that I think should also listen to it and I send them the link and we start talking about some of the things that it’ll drive conversation in some of my art circles or whoever I’m sharing these things with.

03:19.74
podcomm
Woo the connections. Yeah.

03:29.21
katoagogo
Um, it’s It’s just a pretty cool form and it’s something that I could do when I was walking my dogs or doing housework which is or if I’m doing chores. In fact I get some things done around my house extra because it’s like oh I want to start listening to some podcasts I’m going to go recycle boxes.

03:43.41
podcomm
Yeah, I’m going to go clean the time we ever self-start on that. Um, you know when you when you mention the idea of sharing with other people. Um I think most people who are podcasters of course might first think about sharing their own stuff. But I think the average person. Would think of that when you say podcast plus sharing they think of sharing some episode that they discovered um and my mind flashed to do you know? Hugh mcleoud is the guy from gaping void started drawing little cartoons on business cards right? Okay so um, side note, if you don’t know who hum mccloud is go to um.

04:11.30
katoagogo
Yes.

04:19.97
podcomm
Gaping void g a p I n g void dot com um, wonderful long backs story about the guy in marketing and blah blah blah but one of the things that he talks about comes up multiple times over the years is the idea of social objects. He likes to talk about among many other things. How. People don’t just get together and talk they talk about something like there’s you know there’s a a thing in the middle of the room and when you said I love to share podcasts with other people to find people who would enjoy it to make that connection that we end up talking about it then I take it I’m just like yeah you’re you’re. And I’ve realized now. Oh I’m doing it too. Then I’m I’m seeing the artifact not just so much. Not just solely as how awesome it is but also in what it would enable me to do if I shared to other people like yes, this diamond is cool but like if I make it a talking piece between me and cato then we can. Have a conversation that we might not have ever gotten around to having before and then my brain just went metal like hey guess what I’m doing with this show. So anyway, um so have you have you really thought about um yeah geeks in the geeks geeking out over podcasting. Um. Yeah, so was there question there? No, there wasn’t really a question there.

05:35.49
katoagogo
Ah, well did that well then but there is the part that bridge for me from I love podcasts I’ve been paying attention to them for a couple of years and I’ve been hearing go ones that Npr and in their production values and what they do and but also hearing these homemade ones like the the history of english guy or. Any of these other little tiny podcast things I was finding the people doing out of passion and putting together organizing their thoughts and so I was asked. Ah ah, a nonprofit theater group that I work with over the years said oh we’ve got this little pocket of money we need to spend it in the next three months um

05:56.70
podcomm
Yeah minimum.

06:13.84
katoagogo
Because their fiscal year would be ending and is there a project. You would love to do and do it with with our group and ah I I know that they thought I was going to want to put together some kind of show or we’re going to do a writing class or something I said I want to learn how to make a podcast.

06:30.24
podcomm
I.

06:32.16
katoagogo
And so I found a podcast that was all about how to make podcasts and we started listening to it well remember it was snowing because I was shoveling snowwall I was doing these lessons in my ears about like how to how to make start your own podcast and where to start and um and a couple of things. To begin with and I would learn just enough to then help guide their 5 or 6 people from the group who had signed up to also learn and we were learning to gather and I was trying to tell them you know I’m I’m learning just enough to be able to come in and lead today’s workshop and and we did make a podcast and we launched it and we.

06:53.61
podcomm
Yeah.

07:04.77
podcomm
I’m only 2 minutes ahead of you right now.

07:10.98
katoagogo
Did 4 episodes I’ve seen 4 or 5 episodes and we learned a ton of things we made a lot of mistakes but we also like our little theme song. We put together was great and we started learning microphone skills and I realized that a lot of things that I had learned about singing. In performance because you have to have body mics sometimes or you have to be aware of where microphones are on the stage if you’re not wearing them. Um all these things I learned about being a performer were helpful with mic skills ah like being aware breath and being able to hear because you don’t want to breathe into a microphone and and things. So that that stuff was useful also my ear for stage and rhythm and and and my editing work in film I directed a few short films and had learned to edit for that and that is very much soundscape is so much of what sells a film it also soundscapes in plays which you might not be aware of but.

08:01.44
podcomm
Yes.

08:04.90
katoagogo
A lot of people come to see my plays and they realize that it’s also a hearing experience as well as as as well as the content of what’s being said that I work with actors to fold in how the soundscape then they’re doing a lot of with their bodies and sometimes we’re putting things through.

08:08.36
podcomm
Visual aim.

08:20.65
katoagogo
Speakers or or in effects that way but a lot of times. It’s also just orchestrating how their feet sound on certain surfaces and making that part of the characterization of what we’re putting together because there’s an emotional flow to how things sound and I’ve been working on that in my work as a playwright for about 2 decades that rhythm. And sounds will convey a message and it can be contrary to what the actual content. The words we’re hearing but the the emotional content is in this other rhythm scape and soundscape that can be separate from the what a word means it’s about what is what it sounds like and how the words come together.

08:54.40
podcomm
Yes.

08:59.00
katoagogo
And how you can chop language and break language and begin making emotional sense in a way that when it even when things don’t make cognitive sense like of the sentence structure but there’s this whole other understanding and so I have that awareness that I’d been cultivating for a couple of decades.

09:05.32
podcomm
Um, yes, the different kinds of communication. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

09:17.54
katoagogo
As a playwright that when you’re only listening and you’re isolated and it’s only the the words that are coming at you. Ah what those things start to mean and so I bring that to both when I’m listening to podcasts and how I am interacting with them just emotionally when it’s in because it’s in my ear. It’s very.

09:25.52
podcomm
Um.

09:37.45
katoagogo
An intimate relationship. It’s like this Iss almost like the little voice in my head. It’s very close to that out other but you know it’s It’s someone else’s voice and thoughts or whatever they’re creating with thiscape soundscape that that moves through that.

09:37.68
podcomm
It’s very close. Yeah.

09:53.80
katoagogo
Yeah, so like but I got paid to make this podcast with people and we made it and then after that um I decided I wanted to get better at understanding. But I now had a little view of all the things I didn’t know yet. So I thought I’d go learn more because I enjoy learning things and and I know I can apply it to my work in some way whether it’s gonna be.

10:04.47
podcomm
Um, yes.

10:13.64
katoagogo
Making a podcast or doing some other kind of audio project because what Covid has done is close theaters and I knew all kinds of things early in the process to help a lot of my playwright friends be able to do readings.

10:19.14
podcomm
Um, we are all audio producers. Ah.

10:31.18
katoagogo
Zoom and do other things because I knew some basics about setting up audio because of taking 3 podcasting courses that are like but you don’t have a podcast. Well I know but it’ll come in handy and then it did and also a lot of friends of mine. Also do audiobook their audio voice actors.

10:42.26
podcomm
Yeah, um, very close right.

10:50.25
katoagogo
And that’s how a lot of them got through have been getting through. They’ve revved up their their voiceover careers. Um, so the audioscape is going to continue and there’s been a lot of discussions in the theater world about what are the hybrid forms that are now going to come out of having so. Spent a year and a half doing audio and with some video productions but this idea of screen versus live would of the 2 mean those questions have really been asked a lot and the beginning was podcasting for me.

11:14.20
podcomm
Um, frame.

11:23.55
podcomm
Sometimes I want to just like slap the headphones off my head and hit stop. Um, and so this I went do a little dance like I got kato on recording I got ka sorry um, I’m just a little kid in a candy store. What so there are so many so many things in there ah that we could pull on with threads to think about. But um, I’m trying to like okay, so because you got me all like selfconscious here. Well let’s see if I was a good podcaster I’d be thinking about what my more my audience benefit from so one of the things that you mentioned in there. Was about um and maybe I’m just like pulling this out as ah as an arc that you in what you were mentioning that you are very aware of what other people are doing when you’re listening to a podcast like what did that podcaster do and what was the result you’re very aware of What are all the things that you can do in in terms of video editing and audio and and production. Um and then what’s the result and I’m thinking like all right? Well can you school us some on if we were podcasters. You know me or everybody else on the other side of this if we are podcasters. What are some. Ways that we can begin to um to hear the metaphor about like how do you take a barn down if you try to do it with a sledgehammer It’s really exhausting. But if you get a crowbar and you and you start like 1 board at a time that’s played a giant blog post that I’ve read somewhere you you can like. You get the first board off the rest come off. It’s like you repeat the process like it’s figuring out where to put the crowbar to get the first board off. So I’m thinking if somebody is going. Oh ah, how do I level up in terms of listening and learning from what I’m hearing are there tips that you can think of that would. Like Grammar fail learn my ear teach my ear teach me how to be a better consumer of podcasts with an eye toward becoming a better podcaster does that make sense.

13:20.17
katoagogo
Yes I think it’s similar to ah because I hear this question from in playwriting ah too. It’s and part of it. Is you begin with looking at the podcast that you do love. Listen to or what what is the kind of audio you enjoy Consuming. So is it audio books or or what is that and listening to them in a deep way where you stop not and so you have to kind of separate yourself From. There’s the content of the podcast or the content of whatever the thing is and that could be your… That’s your. Beginning point. But the next thing you need to do is start defining the difference between okay I was in love with what it had to say versus how did it bring me through and get me to understand what it had to say and so you’re looking at the mechanism this. You’re looking at the engine the mechanism revealed. So How do you then start simply dealing with what the mechanism is separate from the content a lot of times when I’m like in some of these classes. It’s difficult for people who are coming new to it to see the difference. They tend to respond to the content. Versus looking really looking at the structure because the thing you can learn to do better is the structure. The content is something that you’re drawn to and people are drawn to it or they’re not drawn to it but that mechanical part is the part you really can start to look at and and look at how it was put together and look at those rhythms and beats.

14:34.70
podcomm
Um.

14:49.82
katoagogo
And then ask yourself. Okay, if I’m putting together my story that I want to convey what if I use this as as a little map and I decide to just take the structure but put my content on a similar structure. What would that look like and what might that be like and that’s. Way that you can you can begin practicing that so and it’s helpful to look at something you’re already connected to that someone else has already done that you admire and then take it apart and then just try to take something you’re doing in real it and that’s that whole thing all artists borrow Great Artists. Steal.

15:16.85
podcomm
So.

15:27.29
katoagogo
And eventually you’ll be great and at the point where you’re stealing. You won’t even know that you’re stealing kind of that’s part of the secret of that too like you steal it. But you just go Boom is already already in your pocket because you’re so good and rehearsed at that and practice at that. But the beginning part of that is taking what you’re you’re doing and mapping a story on.

15:30.26
podcomm
Um, right.

15:42.86
katoagogo
And example which is not podcasting related but it is story related is of of doing this kind of mapping is I have decided I’ve never liked the story Cinderella my whole life. It’s always kind of I get it. But I’ve never loved Cinderella but then I realized oh wow you know Cinderella is kind of like ah she’s got a magic. She’s got a magic older person who tells her things and gives her magic. She has magic crystals and she can talk to animals. She’s kind of like a jetdi night. She’s kind of the jet. It’s the Luke Skywalker story and I decided I’m now doing a version of Cinderella where I’m taking though the structure of star wars but. 3 act structure that George Lucas created and what the different things are elements and I’m putting Cinderella in a story. That’s the same structure and while it’s not a so it’s not the same story I’m not stealing a story but I am lifting like the engine I’m putting for the the machine of the thing. Um. Just see what what happens if I’m purposeful in that kind of thing but but it’s similar with looking at a podcast you might enjoy or an audio production and then looking at how you can take the thing you want to tell and how do you then borrow that little you can think of it as a map or as the the underpinnings the structure of the bones of it. And that’s ah, that’s a place to begin and it will help you start identifying things on your own after just doing it a few times you’ll be able to start pulling out structure options and then you can reconfigure them too. You can like move things around once you start. Practicing it a little bit just like you would do if you were trying to learn how to create a screenplay or anything that brings us through time because just like just like a movie just like a or even a book really but it’s longer time because of how you sit with it all of these story structures that we have or about how do you bring aids. Listener or a viewer through um through in a 1 time viewing this story through time and how do you use that I don’t know if that made sense. But that’s that’s kind of like where you look at it like how does time factor into it.

17:53.70
podcomm
Um, that makes complete sense.

17:57.20
katoagogo
Because they’re always telling you things about like timing for your podcast like and people are realizing how long should they be well. They should be as long as you think you need but try not to have too much that’s extra ah try to start seeing that and pulling that out because that’s when you notice like oh.

18:08.19
podcomm
Um.

18:15.24
katoagogo
Oh oh they said that already. Oh or oh why? Why are they still? Why am I listening to this part and then you notice you then you’re reminded like oh I just spent 20 minutes on ah it is kind of like the same thing in a play. You don’t want.

18:16.41
podcomm
Um, yeah, yeah, go.

18:29.80
katoagogo
But let people lift out of it long enough to realize oh I’m I’m watching a play. What am I doing later.

18:31.86
podcomm
Um, what’s Thursday yeah, what’s for dinner ha I’m torn between taking notes about all the things I should change about my podcasts and trying to get continue the conversation. Um, maybe but I’ll just do in this one is just delete my track entirely. So it’ll just be cato giving us.

18:51.41
katoagogo
Ah I don’t know your track though looks pretty great as I’m looking at the signature of it. You get a great set up there as um im like oh what? a great sound wave that is ah.

18:51.48
podcomm
Laying down the words. Um.

19:00.89
podcomm
Yeah, that’s it Yeah well see I got I got no content. So I’m just using the engine. That’s all I can do is get the technique get the technical stuff down. No in all seriousness. Um I’m starting to think if there’s anyone’s like a small thing that I can pull out of all that awesomeness to try and.

19:06.54
katoagogo
Um, a.

19:20.67
podcomm
But I got I got nothing I’m completely swamped I need to go listen to all that again at 90 % speed um yeah I don’t know what’s what’s a piece of advice that you have heard given to podcasters. That’s completely wrong.

19:39.51
katoagogo
Um, well what an interesting question. Yeah.

19:43.19
podcomm
I aim to confuse. Ah.

19:47.66
katoagogo
Ah, ah, that’s completely wrong. Ah yeah, you know I think it’s just the standard things of you know you hear all the different things about what is the I think most of us the advice though about when it’s ever. Like not about the the listener. Why is the person listening and why are you telling it when they when they’re getting around skirting around really getting somebody to understand why they are making their podcast and getting them to articulate it. It’s when they’re doing all the other things about the the marketing or the how you do the. Whatever in the stories on Instagram and here’s how you promote it. Um that that whole part of it is so disheartening I guess so I don’t know that it’s about wrong, but it’s when when they are looking at it as. This way of either marketing or instead of wea. What’s the thing you love and what is your why because the pot as everybody famously says you know podcasting isn’t going to make you any money. So here’s I’ve learned how to do podcasts and I’m really good at theater. Things famous. We’re not making any money. Ah, ah, oh so ah, yeah, yeah, or people who just think the podcast is really going to be. They’re just goingnna get all kinds of listeners and I listen to people know you.

21:03.73
podcomm
Whoops.

21:19.74
katoagogo
And then they’re discouraged after they’ve been doing it a couple months and they’re not getting listeners and and it tends to be like this this idea of you’re trying to let me know about your content and you’re trying to get me to press play. But that’s not going to get me to press play The second time. If I’m not hearing something that I’m interested in or and if there’s all kinds of audio problems. Um, even if I am interested in it I’m usually going to get pretty frustrated pretty fast and so part of what I would I Love putting forward is this idea of championing a culture of championing. Because what gets me to listen to a podcast isn’t you telling me to listen to your podcast. It’s somebody else telling me did you hear this and giving you a reason why or when people only post like here’s my podcast listen to it but they don’t have a they haven’t tailored their.

22:06.26
podcomm
Gan.

22:15.27
katoagogo
Introduction to wherever they are posting that in particular like so if it’s on a particular message board and it’s one where we have personal connections the use you know hey I I’ve been working on this I am excited about this because here’s why I’m hoping you’ll give it a listen and then when you’re. Maybe putting it on other things that have more of a are depersonalized or or things where it needs to be a little more businessy here’s a thing that will give you 5 ways to but blah blah whatever those things are but to change that interaction because it’s not.

22:41.15
podcomm
Brave.

22:50.47
katoagogo
Ah, get it. They get it glumped up with marketing. They think they have to market it. But what they need to do is make connections with people wherever they’re telling you about it because that’s what the podcast is for right? The podcast is about making connections with people even if it’s only you on a microphone you are still trying to connect your message to that listener that 1 listener. And they forget that they think it’s you’re going to be so dazzled by my message then but they’re failing to then connect outside of that click idea and and really interact with people because the whole beauty of it is interaction.

23:13.11
podcomm
Um, ah.

23:30.12
katoagogo
Eventually yeah, a click is an interaction so that’s that’s the part is so championing others because that’s what will also help you buy the street credibility.

23:31.22
podcomm
20

23:44.95
katoagogo
I will consider you credible if you have recommended a couple things and I’ve clicked and gone. Oh wow, This really is great and then oh wow that was an important thing to hear right now you are right? that is of this moment and then I find out that you also oh you’ve got a podcast I’ll check it out because I understand that I can.

23:49.24
podcomm
How did I miss that right.

24:03.40
katoagogo
So You can use other people’s things and then other people always happy that you share their stuff and and then you can you? you build credibility through that and I think that park gets missed out on that you being a champion of others enables you to make better work. And it enables you to get your work to the people who might appreciate it. But you you build all of that by championing others and and making that part of your mission like I know that that’s part of my big mission statement. In fact, if I if I were to write a self help kind of book or one of those you know. I Don’t even know what the category is. It’s not self-help you know what? I mean like ah those yeah the big idea section of the story is it would be about creating and maintaining a culture of championing and championing others it because it does all it does all it makes you feel good.

24:44.88
podcomm
A big idea.

25:01.54
katoagogo
It makes you ah also eventually makes you look good I’m hoping that’s not the only reason you’re doing it. But even if it is. It’s a beginning place and then once you start practicing though you do start feeling good. So even if you’re beginning place is for a sec kind of more self selfish reason once you start practicing and really doing it. You’re just going to get into that and it’s gonna feel so good.

25:05.98
podcomm
Right.

25:21.41
katoagogo
And that you that you continue doing it and incorporate it into into how you build your work and then that invites the kind of people you want to talk to on your podcast I think I think so I I find that in the Arts community.

25:29.26
podcomm
Yeah, becomes a self self-feeding Upward Spiral cool.

25:39.68
katoagogo
Over and over again.

25:40.40
podcomm
You know all right cato. Um yeah I mean we could buy talk for hours but I don’t know like I think like I said I’m super excited that we got a chance to talk and I know everybody will find that as useful as I did so thanks for taking the time.

25:45.61
katoagogo
Um.

25:58.90
katoagogo
You’re welcome Craig. It’s so good to sit with you and do this it had a lot of fun see you there Greg.

26:01.34
podcomm
Thanks bye.