Mind Reels Updates

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Okay guys, there’s probably other stuff I should talk about, but I just can’t seem to focus on much else today, so I’ll babble a bit about what’s on my mind. Vaguely, anyway.

Tim and I had a sort of “production meeting” last night with our producer/man behind Smithee.TV, Ryan. The conversation was long overdue, and since I know how easy it is for us to get off track, I spent some time in advance making notes about some of the points we needed to hit, both in that and in future conversations.

Including the fact that there will need to be future conversations, if we want to stop this whole stagnating thing that we’ve been doing this year.

We actually managed to hit most of the really important points I’d wanted to get to last night, which is a very good thing, and I think everyone left the meeting feeling pretty confident in our abilities to start getting back on our feet as early as next week.

We came up with an initial list of potential guests to reach out to (some that were already on my budding list, and some new ones, as well), and made a basic plan of attack as far as how we intend to shoot episodes from now on. The format will change, at least as far as video is concerned, but we will shoot the whole thing live, and the full long version will still be posted on iTunes. We’re working on ways to get both video and audio content posted much faster, as well as a general posting schedule we’re hoping to follow. Naturally, the actual shoot times and dates will have to be formed around guest availability, but with any luck, new content will be posted regularly, and a few times a week, which would be amazing.

Promoting content, and the show, and the channel will hopefully get better and more regular/frequent, as well. I wish I had more time in the day to market things and pursue things but if I can manage to upgrade my home tech soon, too, then I’ll be able to do a lot more from there, which would be a huge help. I’m still working on getting the rest of the Guinness clips up, for Pete’s sake!

There are technical things we need to learn to do for ourselves – setting up the Livestream link and promoting it ahead of time for each episode, getting the segments cut properly and adding credits, getting both video and audio cuts ready to upload to the channel’s YouTube and iTunes accounts. Stuff that will go much faster when it doesn’t all rest on the shoulders of one person to do it all, especially when they’re doing every other show on the channel, as well.

We also had some initial conversations about different kinds of content that Tim and I want to add to our show, instead of just doing interviews. We love doing interviews, and are hoping to get back to doing one a week, if possible, but we’ve been thinking of adding in even more fun things on top of our usual fare! Ryan liked all three ideas that we pitched to him last night, and I’ve talked to Tim briefly this morning (because I couldn’t stop thinking about when I got home, so naturally I did a little digging around online and managed to find a few things to get us started), so now we’re both excited about the possibility of getting at least two of those things started as early as next week, too!

There’s also the upcoming Reelie Awards show that we’ll need to start prepping for in a few weeks, once all the rounds of voting are over. It won’t be enormous, by any stretch, as it’s our first awards show, but it should be fun, and with any luck, we’ll have a few familiar faces helping us announce the winners in each category! It’s definitely cool to see fans and nominees get involved in the voting process, so it’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out for this first awards show episode.

I wonder if Tim will wear a tie. Or if I will. We should probably dress up for the occasion, right?

I think I’m definitely forgetting something, but I want to be careful not to say too much yet until closer to the time of reveal, and am already distracted by some of the details.

OH! I’ve also started sending out my own guest interview requests again. I was doing it all the time before, but lately haven’t felt confident in our ability to really devote time to building up the Mind Reels’ audience again, so I’ve just been leaving it alone so far this year, for the most part. However, I re-worked our pitch letter a bit over the past week, and made a list of people I wanted to approach sooner rather than later, so with the exception of the people we discussed contacting during our meeting last night, I started sending out requests for a few today on my own.

With luck, you’ll be seeing us back in the studio on a regular basis very soon!

Stay tuned!!!

Time To Run

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Tonight, Tim and I welcome back the subject of our very first real interview, director/writer Jeremy Lalonde! Our friendship with this incredibly talented and funny guy began after we caught the opening night screening of his first feature film, The Untitled Work Of Paul Sheppard. We’d originally gone as a show of support for a couple of the cast members, but by the time we left, we were both quite in love with the film itself. Tim wrote a glowing review, then contacted the director to see if he would be interested in speaking with us for our podcast. It felt like a Hail Mary at the time, but Jeremy responded with an enthusiastic yes, and before we knew it, we were sitting down with him in a pub and sharing laughs over a couple of pints. I’d say the rest is history, but in fact I think we’re all still writing our histories as we go, so I am super excited to embark on this next chapter with Jer, and see what all he’s got on his plate now!

This episode will mark our second time in the studio this week, as well as our second time in the studio this year. Which is…kind of sad, really. We have periods of frustration every once in awhile, and this is one of those times. We recorded our final episode of 2015 back in December, and it’s still not posted yet – and it’s awesome, so I really hope you guys get to see it! The Mind Reels welcomes Robin Dunne, whom we’d met in the home stretch of our Guinness World Record attempt! It was even more amazing to have him in the studio once we were more awake!

And there are guests we hope to have coming up very soon, but I’m finding it difficult to invite anyone to come in when I have no idea how long it will be before their episode goes up. It’s like we keep taking a step forward – and then a couple back. We just can’t seem to really get going. My level of frustration merely increases with the addition of several ideas that I want to implement, but when we can’t even seem to get a basic foundation going, it’s hard to see any way to build on that.

I feel much the same way about really all of the projects – and ideas for projects – that I have on the go these days. I can’t get anything flowing, it seems. In fact, there are so many now that I can’t even get started, let alone flowing along, that it’s actually kind of depressing sometimes! It’s still really exciting, though, so for the most part, it’s just the frustration that gets to me. I want to run, yet we can barely walk.

The other thing, too, of course, is that it’s all really more than enough for a full time job, if it’s done properly. Merely lining up guests and shooting episodes is just the basics. A lot of work has to go into marketing, and researching and pounding the pavement to keep growing the show and the entire Smithee.TV channel. We have the basics – a social media presence on several platforms, a physical studio to work out of, we even have our own app – but we lack consistency. In programming, in advertising, in finding sponsors, and in remaining a presence online. We need to do all the legwork, and do it all the time. So far it’s all been sporadic at best.

We need to really get known with conventions in the area so that we either have a booth where we can conduct live interviews with the guests on site, and/or get in there moderating celebrity panels more often. We need regular sponsors looking to advertise on the channel. We need the equipment to work properly, and we need to post content on a regular, at least once a day, basis. We also need to promote that content over the course of each day, more than once, so that it turns up in people’s feeds on a regular and consistent basis. We need to be more mobile and have the ability to conduct interviews and shoot episodes on-the-go. We need more new content, and different types of content, to build on top of what we already have on the go.

We need to really pull together and get this team off the ground. Right now we’re just bouncing around a bit, like a balloon that’s losing its helium.

We also need more volunteers to do the off-camera work – switching camera angles and monitoring the sound quality while a show is filming, getting the episodes ready to post, and uploading them to YouTube and iTunes, including proper tags and the like. We need people – everyone, really – promoting the shows online via Twitter, Facebook, etc, all the time, and tagging everything so it turns up in search engines. We need to get people talking, watching, and listening, and then keep them tuning in as we grow. We need to build a real audience, then maintain it, and grow it from there.

All of these things take time, and since we all have full time jobs keeping us busy as it is, it’s pretty much impossible to devote the kind of time required to do all of these things properly.

But I believe it can be done.

Maybe we just need some kind of schedule, wherein everyone gets a bit of the task list to do on certain days and/or times. If we get a few more volunteers to help with some of it, and maybe write up a couple of templates to make some of the written tasks faster and easier (Tim and I have a basic pitch letter that we send to agents and the like when we’re looking into getting new guests – it’s pretty much copy/paste and fill in the blanks), then most of those things would be a 5-10 minute time commitment, instead of longer. They could happen much more regularly, too, which would help boost our presence.

So many quick little things can make all the difference, but we really need to hammer out a basic foundation for the show and the channel first and foremost. Until we can say with at least some certainty that an episode will be up within a specified timeframe, complete with credits, tags and any other pertinent information required by the guest, we’re kind of just treading water. We need to know when we can go live consistently, too, and promote the crap outta that before even beginning to shoot the episode.

We need a plan. We need to be consistent with its implementation. And then we need to market and promote and shout it from the rooftops. Every day. More than once.

I believe it can be done. I believe we can rise up and be amazing.

I believe it’s time to take the first step – and then keep stepping.

I believe – with a little more work on everyone’s part – it can soon be time to run.