Joshua Caldwell is an accomplished director, writer, producer, and MTV Movie Award winner. His debut film, Layover, was shot for $6,000, and premiered to sold out crowds at the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival where it was nominated for the prestigious FIPRESCI New American Cinema Award. Josh has been called, “The best kept secret in Hollywood.”
Pre Show Notes
— Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday Shopping? Please use our Amazon Affilitate link. It REALLY helps the podcast. THANK YOU!
— Following – Christopher Nolan’s Debut Film
— Clerks – Kevin Smith’s debut film
— Buried – The story is about Iraq-based American civilian truck driver Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds), who, after being attacked, finds himself buried alive in a wooden coffin, with only a lighter, flask, flashlight, knife, glowsticks, pen, pencil, and a mobile phone
Mazel Tov! You’re reading another article by me?! Wow, you’re a glutton for punishment. This time we’re talking about microphones…
A Quick Word About Room Tone
Sit comfortably in the room, you’ll be doing your podcast in. Now close your eyes and just listen. Pay attention to every little detail. Now open your eyes. What did you hear? My guess is, more than you thought you would.
I was not going to include this but felt I’d better. There are various mic types to choose from but for our purposes lets focus on Dynamic & Condenser mics. These two mics have different polar patterns, whichdenotes the mics ability to accept or reject sounds, coming from different directions.
Now unless you’re recording in a whisper room (which I’ll get into at another time) you’re going to have to deal with two sources of noise. Noise inside the room, and noise outside the room.
The noise inside the room can be anything from your laptop fan to your cell phone going off, etc. Outside you have much more to contend with. You’re sitting at your desk. You turn on your mic, put on your headphones, and you hear it… the roar of the traffic on the street. Cutting through that….the screams of your kids. They’ve gotten into the sugar, and now your room sounds like Mad Max Fury Road.
So to set your room, turn off your cell phone (GASP!), position your mic away from any fans, put a sign on your door that tells everyone to go away, and if you want to go the extra mile, you can put up sound proofing on your wall (this is not the same as a sound proof room).
This is the #1 question I get about starting a podcast. If you go onto Amazon or B & H Video, you’ll be overwhelmed by the amount of options. There are rules in life that seem to follow us everywhere. The rule I’m talking about today is, the more specialized you want – the more expensive it will be.
Beginners ($0 – 50)
Mic on your laptop/Tablet/Phone. If you’re going to use your laptop to record your podcast than you have a high chance that it comes with a built in mic. This mic won’t be that high quality but since it’s a sunk cost it would be handy to do for a test show.
These mics are the intermediate (medium range) mics in both price and quality. I’ve used both mics and the aforementioned problems with room tone came to late using them. They’re not bad mics but you if you purchase one you should definitely look into buying a Pop Filter.
This is what professionals use. Every pro podcast, including my show, has a set up similar to this.
Which is Right For Me?
If you have to ask, pick the cheapest. Don’t be that guy that jumps into podcasting full force, buys all that expensive gear, and then decides he hates it, and all that gear sits in a closet for years. Also I want you to pay attention to the the project management triangle. There are three sides to the triangle…
If you want something to be Fast & Cheap, it won’t be Good. If you want it Fast & Good, it won’t be Cheap. If you want it Cheap and Good, it won’t be Fast. Just keep this mind as you’re putting not only your podcast but future projects as well.
Key Take Aways
Pay close attention to how loud your room is. You’ll be amazed at the small noises that can pop up.
Last post we figured out your concept so keep that in mind for buying mics. If you’re having a round table style podcast with guests in the room with you, you’ll need that many dynamic mics.
There is no shame in buying the cheapest mics & headphones to start as everyone has to start somewhere
Where to next?
So far you have your concept, and now you have an idea for what equipment to buy. And we know what to look for to minimize background noise and interference. So now what?
Before you start asking people to come onto your cool new podcast, I want to talk about you. That’s right YOU! In the next article we’ll be talking about finding your interview style, and I’ll also tell you the tricks of hosts like Howard Stern, John Lee Dumas, and more.
(There are affiliate links in this article. If you find anything helpful please use these links to help this blog and my podcast. THANKS!)
In October of 2015 I entered the McKee Cartoon writing contest.
I actually had some faith and confidence in my submission. Some time went by and when I received the email I had actually forgotten about it. I WON 1st place and the prize was this a trip to this seminar for free plus my one page comic panel would be illustrated (as of writing this, it still hasn’t been published.)
April 19th, 2016 was the last day of my job which I’ve gone into that ad nauseam on my podcast so I’ll skip the details of that for now. The very next day I would depart and head to New York. As promised here is my experiences during the McKee 3 Day Story seminar in April 2016 in New York.
We sat together in Famous Originals Ray’s pizza (I’m not sure if this is the one Kramer was referring to)
and we had just came from the third and final day of the McKee Seminar. Neal, and Howard placed #6 & #2 respectively in the 2015 ISA Emerging Screenwriters Competition. So the three of us attended the seminar for free. We sat around, ate okay pizza (as I mentioned on my podcast I thought it would be a lot better than what it was), and talked about two main things:
What did we learn?
Would we do it again?
So who is Robert McKee exactly?
Robert McKee is renowned as one of the top (if not THE top) story analysis in the world. McKee started this Story Seminar in 1983 while at USC.
I remember having lunch with a respected Yale screenwriting professor and attorney, and McKee’s name kept coming up as THE guy. There are several well known screenwriters including John Cleese who have expressed their admiration for McKee, and Cleese himself has taken the seminar three times before writing, ‘A Fish Called Wanda‘.
What is the Story Seminar
The Story seminar is a 3 day seminar dedicated to telling stories with a main focus on writing movies.
McKee Seminar Outline
The writer and the art of story
The decline of story in contemporary film
Story design: the meaning of story, the substance of story, the limitations and inspirations of story structure & genre, the debate between character vs story design
Premise Idea, Counter Idea, Controlling Idea
Story Structure: beat, scene, sequence, act, story
Mapping the Story universe: Archplot, Miniplot, Antiplot
Shaping the source of story energy and creation
Putting the elements of story together
The principles of character dimension and design
The composition of scenes
The text: description, dialogue, and poetics
The spectrum of story genres
Act design: the great sweep and body of story
The first major story event (the inciting incident)
Scene design in Story: turning points, emotional dynamics, setup/payoff, the nature of choice
Ordering and linking scenes
Exposition: dramatizing your characters, the story setting, creating back story
The principles of antagonism
Crisis, climax and resolution
Scene analysis: text and sub-text; design through dialogue versus design through action
The writer’s method: working from the inside out; the creative process from inspiration to final draft.
How it all works: the principles of the previous days applied in a 6-hour, scene-by-scene screening and analysis of CASABLANCA
Would I recommend this seminar? Yes.
Is it for beginners? Yes
Is it for advanced? Yes
What were the biggest strengths? Definitely the third day. That’s when I felt everything really came together especially as McKee discussed Being and Becoming. Also I thank god McKee didn’t go over formatting. (Side note I find it odd that there are still webinars on screenwriting formatting. Why would anyway pay for that when all you have to do is use Final Draft?)
What were the biggest weaknesses? We agreed that since McKee has taught screenwriting to so many people, and since Neal,Howard, and myself aren’t beginners there were bound to be some information that was repeated.
What to bring if you decide to go;
A small bookbag
Energy drinks – I brought four Red Bulls. These are great to drink during the breaks. All other foods were banned.
Notebook & Pen (people do get too distracted by devices)
Story by McKee: A lot of the Story Seminar comes right from the book as McKee has memorized it in it’s entirety. Some find this helpful as they can ask questions during intermission about anything as McKee makes himself available.
McKee has a sequel to this seminar, called ‘Genres‘, which is one day that I’m strongly considering attending in October 2016 back in New York. If you decide to go please make sure you find me to say hi. This is what I look like:
Really Helpful & Interesting Resources
Master the Art of Storytelling with Robert McKee on the Bulletproof Radio
Buy Story by Robert McKee
Dialogue by Robert McKee (pre-order)
Big Think Interview with Robert McKee
Click to see Sunni Brown’s illustrated notes about her time taking the McKee seminar in April 8 -11, 2011 in London.
The Dave Bullis Podcast named Podbean’s, ‘Podcast of the Week’!
In case anyone didn’t see it, my podcast, ‘The Dave Bullis Podcast’, was named by my host Podbean as their, ‘Podcast of The Week’ (see posts below).
Thank you to all of my listeners! Moving forward I’m working on an ebook all about podcasting. So if you wanted to start podcasting yourself this is the book for you. I’m going to go through all of the pitfalls I’ve encountered and the solutions to those problems. I have a unique vantage point as I’ve recorded the podcast in a plethora of ways from using multi million dollar studios to my phone, I’ve been featured in a #1 Kindle best seller about podcasting, and have just passed over 100 episodes of my podcast.
And the best part is I’ll be releasing the book chapter by chapter onto this blog as I’ll be looking for feedback from YOU.
If you haven’t subscribed yet, I invite you to subscribe to my podcast here: