Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I'm A Talking Head

On Sunday the Cap Stable podcast recorded the first of a series of panels that will discuss the candidates running for the 10th Council of Stellar Management.  In addition to the usual cast, the guests joined the panel discussion: Lockefox of the Hydrostatic Podcast and EVE Prosper Market Show, Random McNally of the High Drag podcast, and me.

One of these things is not like the others.  That's right, I'm a blogger in the middle of a bunch of podcasters.  Now, Sunday was not my first podcast.  I've appeared on the Declarations of War podcast as well as an earlier edition of Cap Stable with Lanctharus.  However, this podcast was my first as an "expert".  I guess I know a fair bit about this CSM election, having read all of the candidates' announcement posts on the EVE Online forums, listened to all of the Cap Stable interviews at least once, and read all of the interviews over on Just For Crits.  But could I actually get the words out in the midst of all these experienced podcasters?

Instead of going into details about what we discussed, I'll just provide the link to listen to the podcast.  What I'd like to do in this post is go a little behind the scenes, because what the Cap Stable guys are trying to do is amazing.

First, I should point out that the Cap Stable podcast has a link to one of the biggest gaming podcasts, The Instance.  I used to listen to The Instance every week and when I heard that a corp named Alea Iacta Est Universal had formed in EVE, I knew exactly what was happening.  AIEU, the corp that is the home for the Cap Stable gang, is an off-shoot of the AIE mega-guild that formed around The Instance.  I heard that before Blizzard decided to kill the mega-guilds in WoW that AIE boasted a membership of over 9000 members.  That's right, WoW had a guild that rivaled the size of Goonswarm.

When I look at the Cap Stable podcast, I can see some of the lineage from The Instance, including some of the little things like the presence of the Creative Commons license and the humor in the segways between segments.  Of course, if you have access to a successful podcaster like Scott Johnson, might as well ask him how to do things right.  Over the years, I've watched the Cap Stable podcast grow up into a pretty good listen.

The Cap Stable crew is pretty organized, which is a good thing since their goal is to interview everyone running for CSM.  For Sunday's panel, I received an invite via Google mail early in the week along with a Google doc with an outline of the subjects we'd discuss on the panel.  The Google document was nice because I could track the changes as more interviews were published.  Of course, the more interviews published, the more work I needed to do in show preparation.  While the hosts were doing all the work, I didn't want to make a fool of myself by not knowing the subject!

A brief note about the interviews with the candidates.  I think Lanc discussed the format on the podcast, but I think the point needs some repeating.  The interviewers are trying to get information out of the candidates, which means their approach possibly isn't as confrontational as some would like.  But as only a couple of outlets are doing projects of this nature (currently Just For Crits is the other), getting the information out is more important than playing gotcha journalism.  Besides, I don't think that Cap Stable is just lobbing softballs to the candidates.

About a half-hour before the recording time, the Google reminder went off and logged onto Skype.  Lockefox was already on and Lanctharus was making the final changes to the show notes.  I know that show notes are a pretty standard thing for podcasts, but I still think watching the process as the Google doc updated as the conversation occurred on Skype.

I should add that the Cap Stable crew is pretty disciplined where the length of their podcasts are concerned.  The interview length of 30 minutes that Xander set for his CSM 8 interviews worked and the Cap Stable interviews continue the tradition.  A 30 minute interview is long enough to give a lot of provide a lot of information but short enough not to drive people away.  That principle also applies to the panel shows.  A 60 minute podcast is a reasonable length of time not only to listen to, but to record.  Also, I imagine the length also makes editing the recording a lot easier as well.  I feel sorry for the poor souls that have to edit two and even three hour long podcasts.

In the discussion before the podcast, we knew that Lanc was going to moderate and that we needed to take care not to talk over each other.  I think we did an okay job of that.  I haven't listened to the podcast let, but hopefully a  couple of the longer pauses were taken out during the editing process.

Like I mentioned before, I won't discuss what we talked about, but I think the session went well.  Random was a little late (hey, real life > EVE), and I think the session picked up steam once he joined.  The only awkward moment came when the last candidate's interview, Psianh Auvyander's came up, and I was the only one of the guests who had listened.  Remember when I mentioned doing show prep?  I had my notes in my own Google doc and was able to talk about him.  Thankfully, Psianh is one of the better candidates so I had enough material to talk intelligently about him for a bit.  I can't imagine trying to do that for some of the others.

Looking at the title of the podcast, you'll notice it reads CSM X Analysis Show #1.  That's right, I think we will record these shows every week right up to the beginning of the voting.  We'll continue to talk about the candidates whose interviews were published during the week.  Next week's show already has corbexx and Mike Azariah on the list, so I think that will prove interesting listening.

So now I'm a talking head pontificating on the important subject of internet spaceship politics.  EVE definitely has led me to a strange place, hasn't it?


  1. As a guy who does the editing of 2 to 3 hour podcasts, trust me when I say it's a labor of love. ;)

    I enjoyed our first panel and am looking forward to working with you, Lock and the Cap Stable crew more on the next panels.

    BTW, if you were nervous, you did fine. Cheers, man!


  2. Since you're talking in first person about the next show, am I assuming right, that you'll be on all of them?

  3. Eve leads many to strange places. When I look back at the last few years I can only marvel at just how bizarre my life is now due to Eve.

  4. Since you're talking in first person about the next show, am I assuming right, that you'll be on all of them?