I’ve been a fan of the various This Week in [insert topic here] podcasts for years. The podfather namesake of this family, so to speak, is This Week in Tech. Recorded every Sunday, TWiT is Leo Laporte’s baby that evolved from a post-TechTV recorded get together a few years back. Fast forward a bit and it has become a podcast network with several of the shows being among the most popular, cornerstone shows of the entire podcasting scene. Hell, Leo has just set up a whole studio and is gunning for about 25 hours a week of content, much of it streamed live by video now, too.
A core player in the TWiT scene is Alex Lindsay, founder and chief architect of The Pixel Corps. I became a fast fan of Alex’s work through a number of his appearances in various podcasts and, most directly, when I got hooked on This Week in Media, a podcast that he hosts with a great team of regular contributors and guests. I also found The Pixel Corps fascinating and, thanks to Alex’s generosity when I met him at MacWorld in 2007, I was given an opportunity to become a member of that awesome community. Things I’m learning there feed straight into other projects I’ll blog about later.
I started listening to Scott Bourne, too, through his various guest appearances in Leo and Alex’s shows (MacBreak Weekly being a TWiT/PixelCorps podcast as well). Scott has also become a major source of podcasts including The Apple Phone Show which was born in the run-up to Apple’s iPhone release. It is –the– show about all things iPhone. Scott is a renowned wildlife photographer, former radio host and author of quite a number of books on photography and Apple’s Aperture.
A few months ago, Scott and Alex teamed up to create a new podcast, This Week in Photography. Needless to say, this is a rather ideal combination of hosts and topic for my particular interests. 🙂
I responded to Scott’s call one day for a volunteer show note writer. In the podcasting scene, show notes are the written, web-based guides to each show that include a summary of the discussion and provide links for many of the topics (and sites) discussed in the course of a show.
After several episodes and many zillions of show note lines later (I have a bit of a reputation now for writing detailed notes), I started tossing out some guest ideas and took it upon myself to try to line one up: legendary photographer and author, Joe McNally. Joe graciously obliged, hooked up with us on Skype and did a fantastic interview. Somewhere around that time, I was very flattered (and startled) to be asked to become the producer for TWiP and help manage the guest wrangling, topics, and schedule for the show itself. I’m about eight shows into working with them now, enjoying the heck out of it and starting to get into more of a groove with the process.
The first thing I did was build an internal, private wiki that we use within TWiP. It’s evolving quickly now as our central organizing resource for each show and provides the schedule from which the hosts work as each episode is recorded. By design, a wiki provides a growing, searchable database of content and, more importantly, is by its very nature collaborative. The hosts and our regular contributors, Ron Brinkmann, Frederick Johnson and Steve Simon can all directly add notes, content, etc., throughout the week in the run-up to each show.
That’s some of the “technical” side of the process. The other side, though, is the fun of working with everyone. Getting a chance to chat with the various guests, such as Joe McNally, Rick Smolan, Richard Harrington, Christian Bloch, Bill Crow and others has been a real treat. Beyond that, it’s tremendous fun gaining insight into the production process via the show and The Pixel Corps, especially after listening to Alex detail much of the evolution of the process in other shows such as This Week in Media and Gear Media Tech.
I’m always connected via Skype during the show to chat a bit before and after with the gang and listen in on the live recording. They are also brave enough to let me pipe in once in a while during some of the episodes. It’s never been my goal to be “on air”, but I’m glad if I can bring something to the table once in a while that might be of use to listeners.
If you’ve not already, be sure to try TWiP. You can subscribe via iTunes, stream it from Pixelcorps.tv and follow the other half of the show’s content via the TWiP Blog. If you’re truly into photography, be sure to check out TWiP’s Flickr Group which has discussions and photo sharing along with a critique forum and bi-weekly contests that, yes, include prizes. 🙂