Monday, 11 July 2011

Open House Day 42 - Jennifer Caress

 A Horror Writer’s Fumbling Journey Into Podcasting

Reasons why I started a horror podcast:

1) My brother had a podcast and made it look both fun and easy.

2) Other people having podcasts ignites my competitive streak. I remember saying to myself, Self, there is no way we’re being left out of this wild podcasting craze. Nosiree!

3) This is a new way of getting my writing out to new people. Yay!

4) As a small press author with no agent or publicist, and with no other marketing skills to speak of, I need the publicity

5) As a small press author with a limited budget (read: zero dollars), I need free publicity

6) I appreciate a challenge; especially one I know will most likely cause copious amounts of stress, a flare-up of my drinking habit, and will eventually cause me to collapse in a heap onto the carpet while I rock myself back and forth whimpering about files being corrupted after 5 hours of editing milliseconds of audio.

7) Listening to the podcasts of others has been a fabulous way of entertaining my mind while my body carries on with daily tasks and I don’t have to be anchored to a television for said entertainment.

8) Podcasts are better than radio because once the file is downloaded the listener can stop, start, forward, and rewind the audio whenever they like so one doesn’t miss a thing.

9) I really need the publicity. (Have you ever heard of me? Then you see my point)

So it was settled. I would podcast. But how to begin? Google, of course. I googled “how to create a podcast” and went from there. The steps from beginning to end were relatively easy but the process wasn’t entirely smooth. There were glitches along the way with the audio software, with converting files to MP3 format, with uploading, and most—not all—of those were user error.

One of the biggest hurdles is my inability to speak at a pace where people can understand what I’m saying. I sent out craigslist ads in a dozen or so cities asking for voiceover actors to read my work for me, but because my budget is null I had to ask that everyone work for free. It was the free part that made trouble, but after a few nasty emails from people who thought I should have nails shoved into my eyes because I didn’t offer payment, I met with several actors willing to put the experience on their resumes and call it even.

Once I got through all that there was a glint in my eye and stride in my step that told the world I had conquered a new phase in my life, the broadcasting-works-of-horror-from-my-basement phase.

My initial plan was to air my previous published work, one story per episode, but I sailed through those stories fairly quickly. I started to panic. Now what do I do? That is when podcasting really started to get fun because I began experimenting with new short stories written just for the show, and experimenting with new ways of recording.

Perhaps in a perfect world I would have a lavish recording studio where all my ideas for the show are possible. But where’s the fun in perfection? Flawless has never really been my style anyway. For instance, my brother lives in Utah, I live in Colorado and in the latest story, we recorded a fake interview between radio show host and demon with my brother and I speaking over the phone with one another, acting out the script I wrote the night before. While on the phone we recorded our lines on the computer in front of us, then he emailed me his recordings and I edited the whole thing together that night. I think it came out well and listeners can’t tell that the interview was recorded in two different states, with many of the lines being rewritten over the phone during the mock interview.

Tomorrow my brother and I are recording a promotion for my next novel, and this time I will be experimenting with using various voices overlapping one another to achieve the perfect haunting sound. Tomorrow night I’ll be in the office closet, attempting to make my own sound effects with items I have around the house using a recording app on my cell phone (history has shown that microphone cords stretched across the room are too tantalizing for cats to resist). How well this will turn out is anybody’s guess and I find that exhilarating.

Podcasting has become a new creative outlet, one that allows me to fail, flop, stumble, grow, and learn using a whole new medium. Writing is still my main focus and podcasting is, for me, an extension of that, but The Jennifer Caress Horror Podcast has allowed me new ways of venting my craziness. So far the stress has been worth it, but drinking helps, too.

Jennifer Caress is a 30-something dark fiction author of Perverted Realities, Dragging Wings, and Blood of the Broken. She is also the creator, editor, and co-host of The Jennifer Caress Horror Podcast.
Social networking sites:!/Jennifersghost
Podcast site (also available on Itunes):

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