By Colorado Review Associate Editor and Podcast Editor Evan Senie
The most tiring, frustrating, and wonderful part of my experience at the Center for Literary Publishing this semester has been taking over podcast-hosting duties with Daniel Schonning. We try to produce one podcast episode per month, which seems like it should be easy, and I think it will soon be pretty reasonable. So far it’s been tougher than I thought. The first (and only) episode that we produced by ourselves was a retrospective, in which we read pieces from past issues of Colorado Review. Once Danny and I got comfortable enough that we thought we could use the sound equipment properly, we recorded the rough audio for the episode. Our predecessor, Meghan Pipe, had gotten the editing process down to a few hours, and I’d watched her play around in Adobe Audition, making edits that seemed simple and intuitive. Danny and I had been charged with finding ways to bring up the production quality of the podcast, both by correctly utilizing new and high-quality sound equipment, and by looking into avenues like integrating music.
Danny and I spent eighteen hours editing the first podcast episode, which ended up being thirty minutes long. That included learning the difference between multitrack and waveform, figuring out how to incorporate music, how to change the volume of that music, and how to do fun editing tricks like fading sound from both directions. It also included numerous YouTube tutorials that were hard to follow, breaks during which we pretended to be NPR hosts, and one evening where Danny ordered pizza for us and we ate it around the little table upstairs, talking about how we were just about done, and then stayed until eleven trying to get things right. There were times when editing that first episode was frustrating, like when we realized that we had spent hours doing a slow and complicated method of fading when we could have done it in twenty minutes by clicking and dragging, but it was also some of the most fun I’ve had in the MFA program. Danny is the kindest, most patient cohost I could ever ask for, and the two of us got to hang out in an awesome, new studio learning to operate high-quality equipment and make something in a medium in which we’ve never been able to work before.
To start my first audio recording/editing experience with quality microphones, pop filters, the latest Adobe software, and a quiet room with sound-absorbing pads (put there one by one by Stephanie G’Schwind and Arne G’Schwind!) has been a privilege.
There were plenty of moments of frustration and joy, but there’s one in particular that stands out. More than ten hours into the process, Danny and I were playing around with the beautiful music Arne sent us to use for intros, outros, and transitions. We had finally figured out how to fade the music up, and after a number of tries, we got the first emphatic guitar strum to happen just at the end of our speaking introduction. It was perfect, and we listened to it over and over like excited children. Since that first episode we’ve had some audio equipment issues that have kept us from being able to produce new episodes, but those are finally fixed, and late this week we’ll be back in the studio. This time we’ll be aiming for fifteen hours, and the pizza’s on me.