How I Finally Got Into Podcasts (Hint: Big thanks to ‘Children of Tendu’)

In a first-time event, I’ve posted the same post on this channel and on the website I’m starting to use again, &NY, so if you want to read it over there for comparison’s sake, no one is stopping you.

I’ve never been a huge podcast listener. I a problem with audiobooks and podcasts – I find it hard to follow the story unless the podcast format is distinctly roundtable/Q&A. Up until now, the only podcast I (not even regularly) listened to was the Nerdist Writers Panel.

I can’t listen to them while I’m futzing around on the computer like I can with music because my brain freaks out and tries to pay attention to what I’m hearing and what I’m reading on the screen and it doesn’t end well. (Yes. I did listen to Serial. I would play it every Friday morning when I was working out. No, that still wasn’t enough to get me into podcasts.)

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Image via: Children of Tendu tumblr 

That’s all changed thanks to Children of Tendu. The podcast is the most in-depth look at television production I’ve ever stumbled upon. It’s more than ‘how to write a television script’ and more than a synopsis of ‘what a television writer does’. They take you through every single step in one “season” (13 90-minute episodes). I’ve searched the different TV production roles online before and have come up with barely scraps of information. These guys spend three freaking hours talking about every kind of producer credit in television.

It’s hard to quantify how valuable the information the two hosts, Javi Grillo-Marxuach (@OKBJGM) and Jose Molina (@josemolinatv), have freely given to their thousands of listeners. Does that make it all simply, invaluable? It probably should.

Walking around New York City though has been a fantastic time to listen to these podcast episodes. I walked 10 miles last Saturday and listened to a few hours of podcasts, and I enjoyed every moment of it. Learning what a staff writer does – but taking a step back and learning what a writer’s assistant, or how to even become ‘staffed’ or get an agent – is straight up pure enjoyment for me.

I don’t know why I resisted podcasts for so long. I love listening/reading/watching interviews with my favorite people (Grace Helbig, many of the Daily Show correspondents, television showrunners and writers). These podcasts are literally dedicated to giving me that material. An hour and a half podcast with Chris Hardwick and Grace? YES! A roundtable with writers like B.J. Novak or the Better Call Saul writers? PLEASE!

To think, while I spent all those hours meandering around Penn State’s campus for three and a half years, I could have been listening to so many more podcasts.

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For now, I have Children of Tendu until I run out of episodes – I’m trying to pace myself with the last few – The Daily Show Podcast Without Jon Stewart; Currently (co-hosted by Hypafriend, John Thrasher!); Nerdist with Chris Hardwick and Girl on Guy with Aisha Tyler. I also have randomly added Stuff You Should Know (how does anesthesia work?), Comedy Bang Bang: The Podcast, and You Tell It! to get my education/comedy bases covered.

An important part of my podcast obsession has been the app I use. We all know the pre-installed Podcast app from Apple is not the greatest. Heck, it’s not even good. So, I coughed over the $1.99 or whatever it was to buy Overcast. You can get the free version, but the paid one is so much better. I put the speed level at 1.2x, just fast enough where I feel like there’s no long pauses, but I can still understand people and they don’t sound like chipmunks.

So, if you have any good podcast recommendations, please send them my way. I’m into any topic and am thinking of going educational for my next few. I tried giving Welcome to Night Vale a listen but found it to be too much.

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