RECORDING YOUR STORIES

If you’re tuning in for the first time, let me catch you up.

Over the past four weeks I have been developing a new podcast called Choosing Your Reflection, based on the mystique that is wrapped around choosing a wedding outfit. Each podcast will feature an interview during which we ask our guest to TELL ME YOUR STORY — including the joys, sorrows, and/or frustrations they encountered while shopping/renting/wearing their wedding outfit.

To date eleven interviews have been conducted, with three additional sessions scheduled this month.

Guests indicate their wish to be interviewed by taking the Wedding Outfit Survey. The response to the survey has been excellent (see SURVEY SAYS … for more details) and responses continue to drop in.

By the way, if you indicated you are interested in being interviewed and I haven’t gotten back to you yet, please be patient as I pull all the pieces together.

Here’s the skinny on how the process works.


The Interview

Each interview so far can be summed up in a few words — a lot of fun! My daughter Lauren serves as the host while I moderate. Some of the questions are based on the Wedding Outfit Survey, but most of them are composed on the fly as we listen to each guest’s story.

A ZOOM session is used to capture the audio and I use the chat function to feed Lauren any questions that come to mind during the session. They usually last about an hour but can run longer. Each guest is given as much time as they need to tell their story.

Each session is unique, and many times we end up sharing our own thoughts and experiences as well. There’s also a lot of laughter and occasionally a few tears. A few people even said the interview felt like a great therapy session!


Creating a Transcript

Once the recording is in place, I find it useful to generate a transcript of the session. Depending on the type of license you have, ZOOM may be able to do the work for you. If not you may have to use an outside service. This step helps in the next two stages of the process — crafting the content and editing.


Crafting the Content

Next comes the storycrafting. I have an hour of story to tell in a 15 to 20 minute podcast, so I get to the essence of the interview by listening/reading/watching the recording. I use the transcript generated previously to highlight important items and make notes about any technical issues that need to be addressed.


Editing

Once my storytelling plan is in place I can begin to editing. I use two applications: Adobe Audition and Audacity, a free, open source, cross-platform audio software.  Both are great tools, but I tend to use Audacity more frequently just because I’m used to it.

If you’re new to Audacity, you might find CyberDog Studios’ video Audacity Editing for Beginners: 16 Tips in 9 Minutes helpful.

Editing is demanding and requires a lot of patience, and it’s a whole lot easier if you have a good recording. Better to capture a clean audio track from the get go than to have to “fix” things that could have easily been avoided.


Free Advice

Here’s some common sense tips for capturing a good audio file on ZOOM during an interview session, based on my recent experience.

Test your microphone ahead of time. If you’re using ZOOM you can do a test recording ahead of the session to make sure you’re going to capture good sound quality.

Provide guidance. Give your interviewee a quick overview of what the session entails, how long it takes (generally), and things they can do to ensure the recording you capture is good.

  • Try to avoid making any extraneous noise.
  • If possible, secure any pets/kids/spouses to avoid distraction.
  • Avoid any unnecessary movement if possible.

Be patient. Let your interviewee talk until they’re “empty.” Some of the most interesting aspects of your story will come at the end of the interview, so allow them adequate time to relax and get comfortable talking with you.

Most importantly, have fun. If you are relaxed and having a good time, you’ll send that vibe to your guest.

For some professional advice, check out Derek Pando’s article on how to run your podcast on ZOOM.

until nxt time …

References

CyberdogStudios. (n.d.). Audacity Editing for Beginners: 16 Tips in 9 Minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWFvG1-AmNk

Pando, D. (2017, December 18). We Asked the Pros: How to Run Your Podcast on Zoom. Zoom Blog. https://blog.zoom.us/wordpress/2017/12/18/we-asked-pros-how-to-run-your-podcast-on-zoom/

Header photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

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