The Bizarre Couch Podcast Endeavor
Gen Z Society & Culture Podcast
The Bizarre Couch Podcast started as an idea had by my nephew, Michael Martinez, AKA Lofetic. He wanted to host a show that featured conversations with his friends discussing everyday life as 11th graders in high school, entering the workforce, dealing with relationships, and weighing in on values of his generation.
Naturally, this was of interest to me as an aspiring arts and digital media educator, not to mention that I once begot a never-released podcast with my friends as well. The opportunity to test-run a project that could be used in a digital media program in the future and to observe the process, development and outcome of students his age working together were invaluable to me.
The last time Michael and I worked together on a project was to film and edit a short called NINJA! I’ve enjoyed working with him and his friends in the past, so I was already on board.
We Provide, That’s What We Do
In preparation for the podcast, Michael wrote lyrics for an intro song and sent them off to a hidden gem of a singer he discovered named, Mor Nakar, from Israel. She created a song from his lyrics that was unexpected and elevated the expectations for the success of his podcast. In fact, I joked with him that living up to her intro is going to be the hardest part for his crew.
After a few conversations and lots of enthusiasm on his part, I supported his project by providing a few basic resources including use of my Blue Snowball Mic, my in-home studio, and some very strong suggestions for rules and manners.
On February 5, 2022, Michael and his friends, Andrew Moens and Derek Smith Nautel, joined together to record their first podcast pilot, appropriately titled, Mild Salsa.
Gimbal Test Drive – DJI OM 5
Prior to the recording of the podcast, I bought a DJI OM 5 Mobile Gimbal from Amazon. I literally only had the gimbal for a few days prior to the recording date, but it was just enough time to learn how to work some basic functions. Manny and I ran around the room to film the boys as they began their conversation, and afterward I stitched together some shots against Michael and Mor’s intro song to create a preview to build enthusiasm and excitement for the boys.
Seeing the shots on their own, I was worried we failed miserably, but in the end, it came together.
Keep It Short
The original, raw podcast recording was about 70 minutes long. I advised Michael to reduce it to at least 30-minutes because the attention span of a typical Gen Zer is probably less than 3-minutes thanks to Tik Tok. Obviously, not much can be discussed in 3-minutes, but 30 is an episode’s worth.
We’re banking on the fact that other students at his school and friends of friends will want to listen to their peers discuss things that are relevant to them here on the Treasure Coast, otherwise, his podcast may not have a large appeal to a greater, general audience. Not to start with, anyway.
To Edit, Or Not To Edit This Podcast…
Michael’s first edit brought the episode down to 40-minutes. After listening to it, I advised to remove pauses, pops, and any portion of the conversation that the audience would not understand without background knowledge. I also advised him to reorder the conversation to keep it tight, for example, the boys discussed their work-life 2-3 times throughout the original recording in the beginning and in the end. Placing these parts of the conversation together makes it more coherent for listeners.
Initially, Michael kept up with my advice, but certain restraints and motivational factors began to play a role, and I saw that I may need to help him keep his momentum by intervening.
I took his third edit, which was down to about 30-minutes, and reduced it by an additional 4-minutes, reordered the conversation, and added his intro as an outro. He was ecstatic over the edits but also tasked with listening to both edits again to understand what was changed and why so that the next time he could have better success on his own.
Based on the boys’ choice of their name, I had already envisioned an album cover for the podcast, but I swore I wasn’t going to do it. I want my nephew to stretch himself and grow in projects like this; as I would all my students. So, we kicked around a few ideas together, until he landed on an idea that happen to be similar to one I had yet not shared.
He attempted to create it, had some difficulty, and finally worked with me acting as a creative director assisting him only with technical issues and critiques. The outcome was fitting, a bizarre couch indeed.
First, A Teaser
Before we even released the promotional video for the podcast, Michael decided he wanted to release a teaser. We kicked around a few ideas about it, coming to the conclusion that we’d take some shots of him editing audio while playing various voices saying “It’s the Bizarre Couch Podcast”. He called up friends, recorded them over his phone, solicited the voices of his litter sister and myself, then worked up the recording while I filmed him doing it.
I completed my edits and color-grading just as he completed his audio. When we put it together, it was just magic. The post received over 2000 views in the first hour on Instagram Reels.
Podcast Episode 1: Mild Salsa (Pilot)
Without further adieu, the pilot episode of The Bizarre Couch.