There are so many amazing things about podcasting; it truly is an amazing hobby. The amount of love and care that gets put into making this unique form of audio content is unbelievable. I have been a podcast fan, on and off, for about ten years. In that time, I have listened to news podcasts, pop culture podcasts, and actual plays (of course). Every episode that I listen to, I am floored by the amount of work put into this content. And I have barely scratched the surface of the world of podcasting!
In the last several months, I have stumbled into the world of audio dramas and I am helplessly enamored. For me, audio dramas are amazing because they allow me to indulge in genres of fiction which I have difficulty finding and enjoying otherwise. Through audio drama, I can immerse myself in a horror story without having to deal with the stress of something like a jump scare or the visible face of a creature which could give me nightmares. Instead, I can focus on the performances and the story and appreciate the artistry that is at work while I’m listening. Romance is another good example; slow-burn fiction romance is an undeniably beautiful realm, but it is one for which I rarely have patience. In the world of audio drama, I can enjoy a slow-burn romance at a different pace and in chunks which keep me satisfied from episode to episode.
While I have been a fan of podcasting for almost a decade, I have also been a podcast creator, also on and off, for about eight or nine years. For the past four of those, I have maintained an animation review podcast with one of my best friends from high school. While we have always maintained close contact, this podcast has been so important to me because it has been a stable component of my life as I go through one of the most stressful periods of my life. Beyond providing the stability and fun of creating something, producing the podcast with one of my best friends has been an utter joy. I don’t think that we would have grown apart if we weren’t doing a podcast together, but I think the fact that we’ve found something we can consistently bond over and share with others has become a sort of bedrock of our friendship. We’ve certainly had some disagreements about the podcast, but I think we have done a good job resolving them and it has made our relationship stronger.
Beyond the benefit of maintaining an important friendship, it has also been an avenue which has afforded me new friendships. Becoming more involved in the world of podcasting and engaging with other fans and creators has allowed me to interact with and meet so many amazing people. Being able to bond with others over shared interests is always an easy path to making new friends and the people that I have encountered through podcasts and their attached communities are some of my favorite people; they provide me with advice and new perspectives which I would have been unlikely to find on my own. Because of this factor, podcasting has also become an important creative outlet. I’ve always thought of myself as a creative person; drawing and writing have been two of my favorites hobbies since I was kid. And while our podcast involves neither of those things, every time we sit down to record and start bouncing jokes off of each other, I cannot help but feel the same surge of creative joy that I get out of a good piece of writing or a drawing I can be proud of. For IPM, I also challenged myself to work on something I’ve never done before: a session of actual play. Editing the episode was extremely trying for me, but I am so unbelievably proud of what we put together. And again, I feel that I am only scratching the surface of this genre of podcasting. Actual play podcasts have literally changed the way that I think about tabletop games and for that, I am eternally grateful. I have been so inspired, so enamored, and met so many amazing, kind, passionate people through podcasts and I could not be happier. I cannot wait to see what kinds of podcasts we see in the future and what other participants in IPM have put together.
Robbie Van de Motter is a graduate student by day and by night… also a graduate student. But occasionally, they find time to podcast with one of their best friends about animation. You can find the podcast they host together at animationstation.libsyn.com. You can see Robbie being a generic degenerate on twitter @lobster_writer