This is part 5 of a lil blog series I'm writing about my 2020. Here are the previous posts:
- 2020: COVID drain, my NG life after Grounds Patrol
- 2020: The Newgrounds Podcast was born (and looked nothing like it does now)
- 2020: The Summer Block Party changed everything
- 2020: Courtney and I left LA and drove across the USA (again)
The present and future of NGP
After the Block Party, I think The Newgrounds Podcast felt a little different for me. The work I’d put in with @GoodL, @PsychoGoldfish and @Xinxinix had felt really good. I felt personally way more connected to the show, the core team, the audience.
Xin joining the team was a natural next step. Earlier I mentioned that we’d talked about not wanting to discredit his own brand with GRNDSbreaking and Art Talks, and we started the conversation a bit tentatively because of that, but he was actually really excited to merge the brands together and centralize the community. Better one big crowd than two small ones.
After that, it was time to change the structure of the show a bit. We still had the large pool of hosts who were all expected to help with everything equally, but it was hard to tell who was active, who wasn’t, who was busy, who was uninterested, who was straight up unavailable. We were also slowly learning what all needed to be done to keep the show running: finding guests, scheduling recordings, announcing things, doing promos, editing episodes. So we ended up drawing a line between “hosts”, the people meeting every week and carrying the recording and release schedule on their shoulders, and “regulars”, people who were tuned in and ready to come on the show but weren’t obligated to pitch in all the time.
After Courtney and I landed in Florida, I had a lot of time to develop things for the show. I started getting bigger ideas for things, and I also started to fear that I was close to getting a real job and not having time to put said ideas into action, so I started working fast.
One thing that was always on my mind was having the ability to play audio clips during the show. That would open up a lot of possibilities, from letting musicians talk over their own music, to recording pre-made interviews and segments to drop in between the stuff we did live, to running game shows... So many things. So I started researching, and the best thing I came up with was using a second laptop and running its computer audio into a Discord call. Very cool! If you have a second laptop handy all the time. Note to self: if you want the show to be flexible and not rely solely on one person, don’t introduce things into the format that only you can do. I’m learning. Slowly.
I’ve also had a lot of fun being in shows myself lately. None of the post-Grounds Patrol anxiety from earlier. I’m happy to be on, I have a great time with the other hosts, I enjoy interviewing people, I like being able to play audio from my little setup. A personal favorite episode of mine from last year was the NG Audio Deathmatch Finale. Each of the four hosts recorded their own five-minute interview with a finalist, and during the live recording I played them all, as well as their four songs, seamlessly within the show. It felt like real radio.
Of course, when the technology works, it’s awesome, but when you rely on it and it doesn’t work, it’s a nightmare. During the recording of our Friday Night Funkin’ interview (which I was really excited for), our Discord recording bot stopped working. And it wouldn’t start back. It took hours for us to wrangle up a backup recording setup for everyone and finish the episode with what little energy we had left. Then editing that episode became a task. It took me two days just to sync all the audio together, and Xin even had to do more syncing work of his own before he was able to start editing the episode normally. Since then, I’ve never been able to run that bot without feeling wary of things just suddenly imploding. To this day, I still look into more secure ways to record. (I have another bot in the server now that seems to be more reliable -- pressure’s on, Alistair.)
Our most recent addition to the team was pretty recent - @VoicesByCorey joined as the newest host on December 9th. Corey is an experienced podcaster, a great voice(s) on the mic, and has visions for where the show could go. When he asked to be a co-host we all basically jumped over each other in saying yes.
Corey was actually a timely addition, because GoodL was coming to a point where he needed to step down. He covered the reasons why in his own post (basically, life stuff piled up and the balance got overwhelming, understandable), and it made sense, but it was still sad to see him go -- he and I were the ones who put the first building blocks together for all of this. But I’m glad he was able to leave when he needed to, because that’s still something that’s really important to me about the NGP setup -- it’s not tied to any of us, so if anyone needs to leave, the whole thing won’t come crashing down. To be honest, my own future is really unclear right now, and there might be a time where I’m too busy myself and need to do the same thing. I know that I wouldn’t be able to let myself leave unless I knew that it would carry on strong without me.
Where’s the show gonna go from here? Well, there’s a lot of room to grow. Right now, I’m working on getting NGP onto YouTube, the earliest draft of which you can see above. There’s just so many possibilities there -- it’s super convenient to listen to things on YT, there’s a chance for a cool visual component to episodes, and the videos can be linked and embedded into a lot of cool stuff. On the show format side, I think it’s just gonna grow naturally from what we feel like doing, what turns out to be cool, what the community suggests, and so on. We’re putting time into making the shows between interviews as kickass as the interviews themselves, so get ready for some quality time with the four of us and our closest buds on NG. I dunno, man. There’s a lot to try. Just be along for the ride!
That’s gonna do it for my 2020 review. It was... a year. If you read all of these, thank you so much, it really means a lot! Let me know what you liked, because I had fun writing everything, even the tough parts.
Have a great new year! 🎆🙋♂️🎆