022 – How to Turn a Negative into a Positive

by | Feb 8, 2024 | Podcast

Sometimes, you don’t get what you’ve asked for. You can pivot and go in an entirely new direction. Or you can decide to do everything yourself.

In this episode of Creativity Excitement Emotion, David shares how he decided to learn new media all by himself.

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Highlights:

00:17 – The story of how David ended up learning new media by himself
02:27 – Figuring out how to create content
04:23 – The trick to audio sweetening
05:18 – The evolution of David’s new media journey
06:14 – One microphone changed everything
07:02 – The pros and cons of a content first approach
08:12 – Capturing ideas as they come to you
09:33 – Don’t worry about the gear – start recording!

Transcript:

In 2009, I was thinking about going to school for a new media course, and I think I’ve told that story before. My grades were fine, there just weren’t enough seats for me to be able to join the class, which primarily focused on podcasting, video, and composing music for video games.

It was right around that point that I decided, I didn’t get into this course, and I ended up applying through a strange set of circumstances anyway. Originally, I was just going to audit a composition course because I was like, “Well, I want to continue to invest in my growth. I’m just not sure if I’m ready to enroll.”

And then I was told by the professor, “Why audit? You could totally enroll in this.” And that’s where the seed was originally planted.

So, when school didn’t work out, I made that transition very quickly to, “Well, I think I can do it myself.” It was then and there that I decided, “Let me learn the art of podcasting, and making videos, and composing for video games by myself.”

And that’s what I ended up doing. I started a YouTube channel for video game and movie reviews. I ended up kick starting the David Andrew Wiebe Podcast. As an extension of those projects, I ended up composing music. Maybe not a ton of music, but certainly like 10, 20 tracks. The music appears in some of my videos as well.

That YouTube channel did alright over time. I think it was just good timing. I could record a little bit of gameplay footage and get a few thousand views. Those were the days, that was a fun time for YouTube.

We’ve switched things up quite a bit, so I’m not too sure if there are any old guard listeners out there that remember all those projects, but if there are, just know that I super appreciate you because if you’ve followed me to this point, you’ve had to hop at least two other podcasts just to get here. So, thank you, thank you, thank you if you have been following me since that time.

And I remember thinking to myself at that time, “I don’t even know how to record myself. I just know that I have a headset.”

Which, oddly enough, those have somewhat increased in popularity in recent years. I was kind of surprised to find that because my experience with my headset was fine, I suppose, but it wasn’t anything special.

As I’m speaking, the headband would make a lot of crackling noises, and I was like, “This is kind of weird.” But I figured out how to do it at least at a very basic level. I don’t even remember what I was using to record at the time.

It was a USB headset, and I found some kind of recording app on the PC. Well, it’s that hard to believe that it’s that far back at this point that I can’t even remember what I was using.

But I plugged it in and recorded myself and away I went, right? And the podcast got going.

My first video edit that I ever did, too, was a review of a wrestling game from Super Famicom or Super Nintendo, if you will. And it went much the same way. I had to figure it out as I went. I used Windows Movie Maker to put it together.

And then I got a little bit of help from my buddy, Adam, who knew our home studio better than I did. I think at that point he’d gotten married and moved out when I was getting started on these projects.

But he came back and showed me the ropes with some of the gear and how to use the mics and stuff like that. So that was my next obsession, like, “Oh, great. I get to record now sort of on a more professional capacity using… not top-grade microphones, but studio quality or beginner studio quality microphones.” And that was kind of exciting and we had some ups and downs with that too.

But the good news is I knew little thing about audio sweetening and what sort of software I could use to automatically create great masters of my podcast. I’m honestly surprised that people still don’t know this.

They think they must sit there and sweeten the audio themselves. And I mean, look, you’re going to get way better quality that way, but the software that does it automatically, it’s just so good. And it’s so fast, too.

But there are just so many people that don’t know about it, so their audio totally sucks. Even if they have good quality video or whatever else, they just don’t get it.

There used to be CN Levelator. It has a great piece of kit, and you can still technically download it. It’s not supported anymore, but still seems to work fine, at least for me.

Nowadays you’ve got Auphonic, and I think you get up to two hours of free audio per month to sweeten up and enhance automagically. So, why are podcasters not using that? Regardless of source, of how they capture their voice, microphone or otherwise, I just don’t know.

Anyway, the point being, evolution continued from there and when I moved out of my house and into the basement suite I continued in a very similar capacity. I held on to a few mics that I liked and continued using those for podcasting.

Things finally changed for me when I moved to another house. Another basement. A little bit later, I think it was like a year and a half or two years later, and I finally bought the Rode Procaster.

And I felt cool, right? I didn’t podcast for a year, so on the one hand I was like, “Why did I buy it?” But as I was studying some new methods of podcasting that I hadn’t tried that I thought could work for me, I got excited again.

So, I think within a year of taking a break, I was like, yeah, “I’m going to get back into podcasting.” And in 2016, I did exactly that.

So, that purchase of a microphone made me feel like a pro in a way that that I hadn’t before. It’s funny to me though, like how we all obsessed over that. I guess I was somewhat similar, but I didn’t wait to get started.

I didn’t wait to have a great setup or a great microphone or figure out how to connect an XLR cable to an audio interface to a computer, which, let’s face it, it was software based in the box. Recording was still kind of new at the time that I was getting started. Nowadays, it’s plug and play, but let’s face it, it wasn’t always that way.

I geeked out and learned how to use it. And I liked the Rode Procaster. It sounded great. It’s not without its flaws, but with the right gear, you can kind of compensate for it and have it sound great, especially with some of the audio sweetening tools I talked about.

I spent a lot of time… I was convinced this content thing, somehow this content thing is going to pay off. And I wasn’t wrong. Certainly not. It helped us attract a lot of, guest posters and advertisers and, and sometimes sponsors and things like that. So, I wasn’t wrong.

It helped drive affiliate sales and product sales and book sales and stuff like that as well, but long term it didn’t work out that well.

There were two factors. There was a botnet attack on the website that, at the time I would have had no way of knowing. It’s in retrospect that I learned about some of the security issues, what a botnet attack could potentially do to your website and even its ranking.

Second was some of the low-quality content we were publishing via guest posters. I had editors to manage it and look after it, but some of them just didn’t do that great of a job. And I guess there was probably a little more of a money motive than a motive of synergy in terms of strategy and what we were hoping to accomplish.

I guess my point in all this is that this obsession with gear as well as like heavily scripted episodes is all over. I’m more in the routine and habit of recording my thoughts as they come to me. Sometimes several times a day. Usually at least once per day, although it may not happen every single day.

And I usually just get my iPhone out, and it’s weird to say, but I think it’s at this point that I’ve realized how powerful the iPhone is. You can record your audio, you can make your video, you can snap a quick photo for a YouTube thumbnail, and away you go, right? There’s your content, and you’re done.

Of course, you’re going to spend some time in editing and audio sweetening and whatever else to make the content look good, sound good, engaging, interactive, and all that kind of stuff. But as a capturing device, you know, it’s almost unparalleled in its convenience now.

For me, it has become much more about regularity and showing up and sharing my thoughts, even if unscripted, and it’s not just my thoughts anymore. I’m keen on practicing and sharing my stories and putting them out there and seeing what connects with people more so than ever before.

So, you might have heard the advice before, but I have to say it rings true for me now. Don’t worry about production value. Don’t worry about microphones. If you’re just getting started, simply start recording.

Don't worry about the gear. Worry about getting started. Click To Tweet

We’re not just talking about podcasts, right? We’re talking about music, too. When I first started simultaneous pursuits of podcasting, composing, and editing videos, I was using Fruity Loops, but I honestly had no idea how to use it. It’s called FL Studio nowadays, but I had to improvise and figure it out as I went.

I used some of the stock sounds, and it wasn’t great, but it certainly wasn’t awful. It was somewhere to start.

So, you can get started with what you’ve got, no problem. You could probably even plug in a few apps on your phone and upload your content directly from your phone if you wanted to, right? So don’t delay. You can start doing this today.

Start creating now. Click To Tweet