DIY 006: Starting a Podcast

Podcasting is not a traditional part of the “DIY” landscape, but it definitely fits with the rest of my recent creative/entrepreneurial pursuits. At the very beginning of quarantine, several of my co-workers and I decided that we wanted to start a film club. Our plan was to take turns picking movies to watch during the week and then get on a call to discuss them. Whoever selected the movie would serve as the host and steer the conversation (or, more like keep it from going completely off the rails). The plan continued to evolve once we realized we had access to audio equipment capable of recording the calls. A film club quarantine podcast? Let’s do it!

We jumped right in, watching “Day of the Locust” to kick off the series. I volunteered to edit the episodes… primarily as an alternative to the responsibility of hosting. While I certainly enjoy movies, my knowledge of and experience in film is lightyears behind those of my co-podcasters. Tommy is a working DP (with his most recent movie currently streaming on Amazon). Colin and Garrett both went to film school and have extensive filmmaking experience. Jon spent fourteen years writing for American Cinematographer magazine.

And I’m over here like… I was a robot on Westworld?

The great part is– we all bring extremely unique perspectives to each film. That’s why we ended up calling ourselves the “Viewfinder Film Club”. We watch each movie through our own lens and bring our respective takes to the discussion.

After skimming some tutorials and watching a few YouTube videos, I started editing the episodes. Garrett hooked us up with a Twitter and Instagram account. We built a website to record show notes and contact information. Jon recorded “intros” for each episode with updates and general housekeeping. Colin’s friend even made us super rad cover art:

We were ready for launch. The first three episodes went up on Podbean for distribution. You can officially hear us on Podbean, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts!

The podcast is certainly niche. The movies span a mix of genres and time periods– from Mizoguchi’s “A Story from Chikamatsu” (1954) to Paul Schrader’s “First Reformed” (2018) to Scorcese’s “Bringing out the Dead” (1999). We’ve watched notoriously bad movies (Lynch’s “Dune”) to Academy Award winners (Stalag 17). I’ve jokingly referred to these weekly discussions as my own personal film school– even the worst movies still utilize interesting filmmaking techniques. We discuss the scores and the lighting, the directing and storytelling. We all take notes on the film and bring in outside research. It all adds up to a deeply satisfying, intelligent conversation about the creative language of film.

If you’re interested in listening, I’d recommend selecting an episode that discusses a movie you’ve already seen. We analyze (aka spoil) every plot point during our conversations. Personally, I loved our conversations on “First Reformed” and “Dune”– we really hit our stride in those episodes.

While quarantine has eliminated a lot of social interactions, it has really allowed this group activity to flourish. We can’t wait to record in person someday, but until then we’ll keep jumping on our weekly call and exploring the world of film.