Talking is great. One of the great things about podcasting is that I get to do a lot of it. Whenever the mic is on, I am granted an open forum to speak about whatever nonsense that I see fit. I enjoy vocalizing my opinions on topics but would never consider myself an opinionated person (even though I totally am). I think in order to do something like podcasting, you have to have an inflated valuation of your own opinions. I have wrote about ego in podcasting before, and I said it was necessary. I still believe that to be true. I think if a person is too self-aware it hurts the creative process. You have to be willing to experiment. You have to be willing to take risks. And you have to be willing to fail.
I was recently reminded of something that I had done when I was nineteen—which, if you have ever forgotten about something that happened a decade ago, there was probably a good reason for it—and there was.
I was reminded that I had started a blog on (of all places) Blogger. It was not good. I was young. I was impressionable. I was a typical self-important teenage douche.
There are several avenues of attack one can take when trying to convey personal thoughts, and experiences in a public, online, diary. You can try to be insightful, or you can try to be poignant. You can also try to be funny. I chose the last one, with ‘try’ being the key word.
I can vaguely recall six or seven posts, all aimed at taking my own exaggerated life experiences, as well as those of my friends, and sprinkling them with poor grammar, expletives (ie. Fuck, shit, cunt et al) and worst of all, terrible, haymaker attempts at being some kind of alt-comic, who telegraphed upcoming punchlines with over-explained drivel. It was not good. I remember checking the comments multiple times in a day, awaiting an influx of praise, laughter, and people relating to my terrible stories. The comments section remained barren up until I closed down the blog in defeat. The only page views that ever registered were my own. My online ‘diary’ was actually more secure than a real life physical diary, and only now, can I be truly thankful for that.
The blog just wasn’t me. It was crude, both in content and execution. It was offensive and unnecessarily acerbic. It was desperate and just plain gross.
So why am I bringing it up? Well. The podcast could have easily followed the same path. When Bryon and I started EHAP, I remember focusing on what the ‘flavour’ of the podcast would be. I remember wanting to be shocking. I really thought we needed to come out singing, being as loud, and flagrant as possible. I knew it would probably get some attention. Perhaps we could have found an audience, but it wouldn’t have been one that accurately represented who we are. We would have been thrown into this nasty cycle of desperately trying to one-up ourselves in the ‘shock value’ department, and it would have really been terrible for us. I would have been looking back at EHAP years from now, and regretting it, much like my terrible blog.
I remember hearing a quote that has always resonated with me. “Be careful who you pretend to be”. It’s a simple quote with a strong message. Many people who want to start a podcast ask questions like “What should I talk about?”. The easiest advice, is to be yourself (I know, it sounds like some cheesy “Oil of Olay” tagline). But its true. Just be you. Chances are, it’s not going to be great when you first start out. For most, the early episodes are very experimental. There will be growing pains. There will be missteps, and there will be mild regrets. It’s far easier to build something on a foundation of truth, than it is to try and keep adding new wings onto a lie. Just find your voice first. The singing will come later. Now go do something incredible for fucks sake.