Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Ricë Freeman-Zachery: Q & A on Creative Podcasting

Recently I came upon a quote by marketing mystic Seth Godin which, google as I may, I can't find again. To the best of my recollection, it went something like, the most valuable thing you have isn't your time, your money or your health-- it's your creativity. And, boy howdy, after five decades on this planet, I know that is true. As as I prepare my iBook, Podcasting for Writers & Other Creative Entrepreneurs, which will be published by my imprint, Dancing Chiva, this summer, I've been surfing around for listen-worthy and especially creative podcast series to recommend. I've also been asking questions of some these various podcasters, which I aim to include as sidebars in the iBook itself. One of the most fun, interesting, and jump-up-and-down inspiring podcasters I've come upon is Midland, Texas-based writer and artist Ricë Freeman-Zachery, who blogs at Create Mixed Media and whose podcast is Notes from the Voodoo Lounge: Interviews with Artists, Rants, Ideas, Opinions. How to pronounce her name? Why does she have that bright red hair? What's with living in Midland, Texas? Check out her welcome video here. And check out her amazingly creative art and her many books, which include:

Destination: Creativity 
The Life-Altering Journey of the Art Retreat

Ideas and Inspirations from Working Artists

Making Room for Making Art

Creative Ideas for Transforming Clothes and Accessories

Here's more to love about this bodacious podcaster: She signs her emails 

~~Here to inspire you~~

Herewith her very generous A's to my many Q's:

C. M. Mayo: Why and when did you start podcasting?
Ricë Freeman-Zachery: I started podcasting in October, 2009. My day job is interviewing mixed media artists for profiles for half a dozen publications. They give me 1,500 words, and of course when I talked to the artists, I was getting a TON more information--fabulous stuff that I wanted to share. So I started doing podcasts. At first these were just random, whenever I had some extra time, and they went up on my own blog. Then in 2010 my publishers launched and hired me to help edit and to do a weekly podcast, so now they're regular and go up on CMM, on my own blog, on my podcast host's blog at Libsyn, and to subscribers through iTunes

C. M. Mayo: Is there anything you would do differently now with your podcasting, given what you have learned? 
Ricë Freeman-Zachery: I don't think so. 

C. M. Mayo: What keeps you podcasting? 
Ricë Freeman-Zachery: I think of people like me, who live somewhere where there's not a lot of artistic inspiration or community, who don't have the opportunity I have for talking to fabulously inspiring people. I do the podcasts for them. I love to imagine them doing handwork in the evening, maybe, listening to the podcast and making notes in their notebook. 

C. M. Mayo: Why did you select your hosting service? Would you recommend it, and if so why (or why not)? 
Ricë Freeman-Zachery: I love Libsyn. I'm completely self-taught on this, so I tried out several other hosts before I found Libsyn. It was pretty much disastrous--complicated, not user-friendly, too much advertising, etc., etc. I'd almost given up when I found them. 

C. M. Mayo: Why did you choose the name "Notes from the Voodoo Lounge"? 
Ricë Freeman-Zachery: My blog is Notes from the Voodoo Cafe, and the podcasts are a little more laidback. I think of my blog as where I work--a cafe with lots of energy and lots going on--and the podcasts as a lounge where we kick off our shoes and just chat. With wine or a fancy drink in a martini glass with a plastic animal on the rim. 

C.M. Mayo: What has surprised / frustrated / enchanted / bamboozled / amazed you about podcasting? 
Ricë Freeman-Zachery: I'm always astounded when someone posts a negative comment on one of the podcasts. It doesn't happen often, because most of my listeners are fabulous people with excellent manners, but every once in a while someone without those manners will say something snarky. I have to remind people that my guests are taking time out of their workday to talk to me *for free*. It's a gift we're giving people--the podcasts are all free, of course--and if they don't like it, they can just go about their business without telling us about it. On the other hand, I appreciate it when someone sends me a private email to alert me about sound quality or something--that's always helpful to know. 

C. M. Mayo: What equipment do you use to record and what software to edit? 
Ricë Freeman-Zachery: I have an iMac, and I use Skype for the phone call, with a headset, and Audio HiJack Pro to record the conversation (I'd like to use my iPhone, but there's no phone recording app I can use). I edit in Audacity. I don't use GarageBand because I starting podcasting on a PC, and by the time I switched to a Mac, I'd already gotten comfortable with Audacity. 

C. M. Mayo: Do you have any tips on improving sound quality? 
Ricë Freeman-Zachery: Not really. It's an issue for me. Because I use Skype, internet speed is crucial--dial-up would NEVER work. Some guests use Skype, but most are on a phone. Cells are really iffy. I ask my guests to sit down in a quiet room--I've talked to people who were chewing (raw carrots, apparently), working out on the treadmill, walking along a busy street, or sitting in the yard by the bird feeder. It doesn't sound like much to them, but you can really hear it in the recorded conversation. You might think walking on your treadmill is undetectable, but it makes you sound slightly out of breath, kind of like an obscene caller panting on the line. 

C. M. Mayo: Tips on promoting podcasts? 
Ricë Freeman-Zachery: No clue there. I totally suck at marketing and promotion. 

C.M. Mayo:  What podcasts do you like to listen to? 
Ricë Freeman-Zachery: I've never listened to a podcast all the way through. Lord knows I've tried, but I usually run screaming from the room. 

C.M. Mayo: Any pet peeves about other peoples' podcasts? (Not necessarily to name names... just trying to find things for new podcasters to avoid...) 
Ricë Freeman-Zachery: Omigod. Yes. Yesyesyesyes. Most podcast hosts seem to think the program is all about them. They talk about their dogs, their recipes, their menu, their colds, their kids. When I tune in to hear someone talk to Mr. XYZ, that's the person I want to listen to, not some host I've never heard of rattling on about how many friends she has on Facebook. I could go on, as you can imagine, but I'll stop there. Oh, and hosts who are practicing their Sexy Radio Announcer Voice. Please, people! 

C. M. Mayo:  What do you see happening to your podcasts in the future? (Say, 10 years from now?) 
Ricë Freeman-Zachery: I have no idea. I love doing this and hope to do it as long as I have fascinating people who are willing to talk to me. But I'm guessing that in 10 years there'll be some fabulous new technology that will allow me to do something completely different and even more amazing. Something closer to my dream of a bunch of us sitting around a table talking about creativity and letting everyone else feel like they're there with us. 

C.M. Mayo:  Do you sell your amazing art? 
Ricë Freeman-Zachery: Thanks, but no. I used to try to sell the artwear I made, but size is a huge issue, and rather than trying to make things to fit other people, I decided to just make myself an entire wardrobe of SoulWear--clothes I love that mean something to me. It's a wonderful adventure, and I'm having a blast. 

--> Listen in to the latest podcast at the Notes from the Voodoo Lounge: "Jill Berry Talks About Copying (And a Whole Lot More)"