Behind the Trees- Episode 1
Ladies, gentlemen, children of the forest, it was my esteemed pleasure this week to announce the debut episode of the Isle of Faces podcast: Episode 1: Davos Fingers.
If you have been paying attention to my inarguably charming tweets, you’ll know that this has been in the pipeline for some time (and yet, this is not LARGE ASOIAF PROJECT. Oh no, that comes later), and after numerous cries for help, hundreds of helpful answers, dozens of Youtube videos and endless, endless hours of having to listen my own damn voice…we were finally ready to roll.
For those of you not addicted to my tweets (and if not…how in the world did you end up here?), the Isle of Faces podcast is an idea I came up with and then immediately dismissed. I thought the premise of a podcast dedicated to a fandom, and the people within that fandom, was pretty cool. I, and others, have been spoilt rotten by years and years of theories, essays, podcasts, videos and art. There’s no doubt in my mind about the ASOIAF fandom being the most talented there is. I’ve been lucky enough to be welcomed into it, and have even tried my hand at being one of these superb content creators.
Now I’m not going to match a lot of these fandom heroes. You know the ones. The stuff they come up with, and how they all present it in so many different ways, is not replicable. Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but I feel getting someone on a podcast to talk about themselves is probably pretty sincere.
So, I had a premise:
- find talented ASOIAF fans (difficulty level: offering Robert Baratheon a drink)
- Persuade them to talk to me about themselves (difficulty level: Convincing Robert Baratheon you are refilling the cup, not taking it)
But what about a medium? Immediately, I thought podcast. Immediately after that I realised I had zero idea how podcasts worked, or indeed anything to record with in the first place. Hence began the video searching, the article reading and the tweet pleaing. Briefly I thought it would be a better idea to just do it as a written interview, but the heaps of helpful replies I received from the very fandom I was trying to spotlight convinced me audio was the only way to go.
Equipment, check. Program, check. Knowledge of how to use either one…well, getting there.
You might have noticed something missing. For this premise and podcast, a guest is pretty essential. So just to be sure, I went and got two.
Asking Matt & Scad of Davos Fingers was an idea that came to me the same day I thought of doing a podcast. I knew they would be a perfect fit for a first episode, and I could not have been more right.
Not only was I incredibly lucky in the guys even replying to me: even better, they said yes.
Now the pressure was on. With guests that good, I really had to deliver on my end. A time was agreed, I messed around with an intro (goddam awful), and started just taking a look at the finer points of podcasting. But that intro was bad. Really bad. I knew I had a deep voice, a flat voice, a rubbish voice. I just didn’t know how deep flat and rubbish it was.
Come the evening of our little Skype date, and I was still trying things out. At first, I tried to copy Aziz, my dear friend of History of Westeros fame, and wrote out a script I would read from.
As it turns out, I am not Aziz. It sounded exactly like I was reading off a piece of paper.
So bullet points next. Better, but not great. Damn, this was seeming like a really bad idea. The Davos Fingers guys were probably going to come on, log off and then block me on Twitter forever. And who could blame them?
I genuinely considered calling it all off. It was 2 AM. I had woken up from my two-hour nap and I thought I just way overestimated myself. Worse, I genuinely did not want to waste the guys’ time.
Luckily, I stuck with it.
Not so luckily, half an hour later, I remembered the guys were on Mountain Time. I had another two hours to wait.
Sighing so loud my nose rose two inches up my face, I slept for another hour and forty-five, laying on my living room floor with a blanket atop me and the television on the background.
Finally, at the correct time, the Skype call was answered. Straight away Scad and Matt were checking I was ok, did I have everything set up ok, did I need anything answering. We make the point during the podcast that the guys are famous for their laid-back, easy access vibe. That came across straight away once we started chatting ASOIAF. Before you knew it, we were away. As they say, the rest was history. Or will be anyway.
What followed was about a week of me trying to cut out all the ‘umms’ and smacking lips that I apparently wield to my hear’s content. Then fixing the volume. Then breaking it. Then finding intro music (my biggest win so far.) Then rewriting the intro. Then the outro. The only highlight was I got to listen to the guy’s stories over and over.
Matt and Scad, being nice as always, have since told me I came into it quite naturally. No doubt I was leaching off their own charisma, but the main thing is they felt comfortable. We all benefited for it, in the long run.
Which found us on Tuesday, when I was up at 4 am and desperately trying to finish. I don’t regret that either, because the response was beyond description. I honestly couldn’t believe it. It gave a me a grin, gave me confidence, and even gave me some self-esteem.
I won’t have this much to say on Behind the Tree’s next outing. But if anyone or thing does come that needs some highlighting, I and the trees will be right back on you.
In the meantime, have a listen to episode 1 and do pass on all the thoughts, suggestions and other things you can mention. And again….thank you all