Announcing TGEN

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What is TGEN? Well, as the image above defines it, it is The Gaming and Entertainment Network. That is, a group of like-minded podcasters that cover a variety of topics relating to gaming and other forms of entertainment, coming together to form a single network.

If you are a fan of the Couch Podtatoes podcast, I encourage you to visit the site and check out some of the other shows there. I’m a regular listener of them all and I can attest to their quality and diversity. Those are some of the major tenants of our group after all! To quote the “about” page from the site:

The Gaming and Entertainment Network was formed by a group of blogger/podcasters who believe that great content can come from anywhere, and that it should be readily available. We produce content for the joy of our listeners, and for ourselves. We hope that bringing these shows together makes consumption and discovery quicker and easier so that we can all continue doing the things we enjoy the most: creating, consuming, or both!

What can you expect from TGEN?

  • Honesty – If we like something, we’ll say so. If we don’t like something, we’ll say so. It’s a pretty simple policy, really.
  • Creativity – We value the diverse, unique talents of our creators. As such, we offer a wide range of shows. At TGEN you’ll find topical discussions as well as news, opinions, interviews, and even music! All of which relate back to our main foci of gaming and entertainment.
  • Diversity – We hail from all around the globe and represent a variety of backgrounds and experiences. As such, you can expect a variety of input and opinions!
  • Collaboration – Even as diverse individuals, we understand that we can accomplish more by working together, not only as creators within TGEN, but also with outside shows, personalities and networks.
  • Consistency – While our creators all lead busy lives and release schedules may differ, we want to make sure that we have a steady flow of new content available. All shows on TGEN are “active” shows that release on as regular a basis as life allows. No waiting months between releases for our shows.
  • Fun – This may be the most important, yet easily overlooked. The purpose of gaming and entertainment is to have fun. And if we’re not having fun, neither will our listeners. Let’s build something fun together!

What do we expect from our listeners? It’s simple. If you like what you hear, tell someone!

One of the major benefits of the site is that there is a single RSS feed that will bring all of our shows together in one place, so you can subscribe and get all the goodness TGEN has to offer. I have added a permanent logo to the sidebar along with a list of links to the individual shows as well. A big thanks goes out to Braxwolf for kicking us in the pants and helping get this project off the ground. Good job sir!

The Making of Couch Podtatoes

I’m taking a page out of Syp’s book today, where he discusses what actually goes into the making of the Battle Bards Podcast. I found it interesting because there are a number of things that we have in common in the process, but there are some bits that differ. You, dear reader, might be a fan of the show, and might wonder about how it came about, the programs I use, and how me and J3w3l fit it into our lives.

An immediate difference between Couch Podtatoes and Battle Bards is the fact that CP is weekly, and BB is bi-weekly. That changes around the planning and recording/editing right off the bat. But this isn’t meant to be a side-by-side comparison, I’m just drawing comparisons as I go through the process in my mind. Allow myself to introduce myself. Anyway.

The podcast’s origins started with the NBI where there was a focus on bringing more podcasters/livestreamers/vloggers into the fold. At one point I was a guest on the Contains Moderate Peril podcast, and that saw me immediately being interested in doing my own. I started talking to other people about helping me with the project, eventually deciding on J3w3l and Doone as my brainstorming partners. Doone admitted to not wanting to be involved besides for a monthly spot, and J3w3l agreed that she wanted to do a weekly show. With the involved parties decided, it was on to decide the other particulars. We had multiple brain-storming sessions, and eventually decided on the Couch Podtatoes title, and found some of our gimmicks. From there, I mostly modeled the show around the podcasts I was listening to at the time: CMP, Massive Failure, and Cat Context, among others.

Pre-production:

Our initial schedule was a little different from what it is now, and we did do a couple of practice episodes before we had an official release. At this point, we usually start thinking about the next week’s episode on the weekend. Between Sunday and Tuesday we take what time we can to make up show notes. We were pretty strict on meeting up on Mondays, but that has changed as we’ve become more comfortable. Usually we draw upon what’s going on in the blogging community, in the news, and any other points that we might find interesting to talk about. We throw around ideas, and once we’re semi-decided on a topic or topics, we will start up a Google Document where we’ll detail what we want to bring up during the show. Once that is finished, we wait until Wednesday for the next step.

Recording:

Wednesday afternoon (for Me/Doone, Pacific time, US) or Thursday morning if you’re an Aussie (like J3w3l), we meet up on Steam. From there we’ll open up the show notes, and fire up Skype. I’ll make the call, and then we’ll both open up Audacity and record our individual parts. I have used Call Graph which is a plug-in for Skype which records the call, but depending on who is involved, I’ve found that the quality can be pretty bad. Syp mentioned Call Burner, so perhaps I’ll try that one out. When I have a group of guests, recording Skype is more efficient than waiting for everyone to send me their individual bits (plus they might not be familiar with the software). When it’s just me and J3w3l or even with Doone, we’ll usually just record individually, then they send me their parts for editing. Sometimes I do both, just to have a backup, because sometimes things happen (like the one time I forgot to hit record and missed the whole show).

Editing:

On top of using Audacity for recording, I also use it for editing. In the case of using a separate program like Call Graph, it still outputs an mp3 file so I can simply import that into Audacity for editing. There’s a little more to it in that case, but that’s not the norm. Once I get the individual parts from my co-host(s), I import them all into Audacity, and then import the intro music. I get everything placed and then listen to the show and edit as needed. Each week I pick a few songs from my music library and edit them down to 10-15 second burst to help break up subjects. A typical show starts with the introduction, we go into what we’ve been playing, music break, we have a discussion topic, music break, Idiots on the Internet, music, Community spotlight, music, outro. We have changed up the format a few times, where one topic is good for the whole show, or we have a bunch of mini stories to cover, but typically that’s how it goes. I have made sure to give credit to the music’s owners, but Syp’s post enlightened me to some of the free use policies that exist on the Internet, so that’s good to know. A typical hour show takes me about 3-4 hours to edit, but I enjoy the hell out of it.

Post-production:

Once the show has been edited, I usually listen to it in full to make sure that everything sounds good. I take notes for timing and layout the template for the post that will eventually end up on the blog. At that point I’m done for the night (I typically edit the same day I record, but sometimes it holds over to the next day). On Friday, I upload the new show to Libsyn (where we just moved) and post the notes on the Libsyn blog, my blog, and more recently Anook. Posting on my blog also posts to Twitter. I might also re-link on Twitter later during the weekend for folks that might have missed it. From there, it’s ready to listen to, and we start the whole process over again on the weekend.

Despite taking quite a bit of time it’s something that I’ve been passionate about. If you’d be interested in guesting or have questions, feel free to let me know in the comments. Want me (or us) on your show? I (we) do that too!

#couchpodtatoes #podcasting #blaugust

Rise of the Podtato!

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It’s finally here! Ever since I was a guest on the Contains Moderate Peril Podcast I’ve wanted to make one of my own. I started looking into what software I would need, hosting platforms, and asking existing podcasters for advice about a month ago. I found my co-host pretty early, J3w3l and I have been gaming together and debating each other for quite some time now. We did a few practice sessions, and now I believe we have something worthy of your ears! New episodes weekly on Fridays, don’t forget to subscribe one way or another!

 

Download this Episode Subscribe via RSS Download on iTunes Listen on Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 1: Rise of the Podtato (runtime: 48:57)

Breaking the Ice: what are we playing? (starts at 1:41)
Endgame Mechanics (starts at 19:23)
Idiots on the Internet: Valve Prank (starts at 36:40)
Community Talk: NBI (starts at 44:34)

Host Contact information:

Izlain
Blog: You’re here!
Twitter: @mevsmyselfandi

J3w3l
Blog: Healing the Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Idiots on the Internet article: http://kotaku.com/kid-developer-pranks-steam-gets-suspended-from-steam-1591730839

NBI Award winners:
@missysmojo | http://www.missysmojo.net/ “Missy’s Mojo” Adventurer’s Staff & Reader’s Choice
@stevenjpope22 | http://skipaturn.com/ “Skip-A-Turn” Good Moniker Medal
@gintrospection | http://gameintrospection.com/ “Game Introspection” Min-Max Specialist
@iogromerrybelly | http://ahobbitsjourney.com/ “A Hobbit’s Journey” Epic Bard
@thegamesnark | http://thegamesnark.com/ “The Game Snark” Media Master
@L4playtime | http://lookingforplaytime.com/ “Looking For Playtime” Frontline Champ
@puckbyter | http://tweaklotro.wordpress.com/ “Tweak LOTRO” The Avatar
@simchaandalts | http://simchaandalts.wordpress.com/ “Simcha’s Many Lives” Accolade of Intrigue
@doctor_hannah | http://doctorhannah.wordpress.com/ “From the Desk of Dr. Hannah” Prolific Pen
@braxwolf | http://braxwolf.com/ “Gaming Conversations” Promising Star – Best overall
@ranzingtonscout | http://ranzingtonscouts.wordpress.com/ “Ranzington Scouts” Promising Star – Best genre-specific

Music Credits:
“Level Up” by Cookie Monsta (from the Riot! EP)
“8-bit Superhero” by Excision & Datsik (from the album X-Rated)
“Built For Sin” by The Black Dahlia Murder (from the album Miasma)
“Rat Race” by Bigwig (from the album Reclamation)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at http://couchpodtatoes.libsyn.com/. Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

#podcast #couchpodtatoes #gamingdiscussion

Contributing to the Peril

Edit (6/2/14): The podcast is now up, and you can listen to it here.

This last week I was asked by Roger of Contains Moderate Peril to be on his show. The email stated that he would like to do a bit on the NBI due to the fact the event is rounding to a close. He wanted to have someone from the sponsor side of the fence, along with a new initiate to give their views on what the NBI means to them. I was the sponsor, the newbie in question was Missy, of Missy’s Mojo.

First, let me just say that Roger and Brian are absolute professionals and are a credit to the podcasting community. You can tell they’ve been doing this a long time, and they made me feel right at home. Missy, being a little on the shy side, said that she had been very nervous doing the show, but I don’t think anyone will be able to tell once you get to hear the podcast. Even with English as a second language she totally knocked it out of the park. I will say that I was probably a little too wordy, but I’m sure Roger will have no problem editing the shit out of me.

We did the recording over Skype, and I’m pretty familiar with the program so getting into the call with everyone was a breeze. We all had a chat before hand, and finally Roger said that he was going to get the questions rolling. I think we did a good job of giving our individual opinions on the NBI and what a great community it is, but the conversation grew into something more. I went into it thinking that it would be a stiff regimented sort of Q&A, and by the end we were telling jokes and making fun of each other. Brian even reminded me of a comment I made on the CMP website after last week’s show, where I “revoked” his nerd card for not enjoying the Hobbit movies. Little bits like that goes to show that writing this blog and being a part of this community really touches other people’s lives. It may just be a silly comment you made somewhere, but knowing that people actually do see those and make a mental note to talk to you about it later makes this all feel worthwhile. That goes for all of my “tens of readers” (stolen and reworked for context from Brian): Thanks for making this feel like a real community and something more than just me scribbling down notes for my mom to read.

This sounds like a good time to plug a new project I have in the works. I’ve been waiting til the end of the NBI to formally announce it, mainly because the end of the event signals more free time. I loved every minute of this year’s NBI, but having less to run means I can pour that effort into other ideas. So, the big reveal. Sort of.

I proposed the idea to Doone and J3w3l that we should do our own podcast. I really wanted to be a guest on one first to see how it goes, and having done that I feel like I could do it myself. One bit I’ll have to learn is where to host it, where to get connected (i.e. where people will be able to subscribe to it) and how to edit the recorded audio. I already know that there are members of the NBI community doing this outside of the CMP podcast, so I should be able to find help when needed (plus a plethora of potential guests). When I mentioned this idea to Roger and Brian, they were both very supportive and seemed willing to give advice. A couple of cool cats, them.

So there has been some brainstorming and deliberation between the aforementioned people and I, and we are still developing our “gimmick” and even the title of the show. Details will be worked out though, and I hope by this time next month you’ll be able to hear what we’ve come up with. I think between the three of our reader bases, we already have the potential for tens of listeners. At least.

A positive experience, indeed.

#containsmoderateperil #nbi2014 #newbiebloggerinitiative #experiences