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After just over two months, the latest episode of Directional Influence has finally been released. You can check it out here: http://www.vvv-gaming.com/forum/topic/53169-directional-influence-episode-47-back-in-your-ear-canals/page__pid__483921#entry483921 Moving on. I'm actually quite happy that the episode got released when it did. It feels right. Being gone for two months, not doing my podcast left a void in my weekly routine that I couldn't really shake. Though I have been very busy over the course of the past two months, free time never became an issue to the point that I wouldn't have any time to do the show. Essentially, what it came down to was the quality of the show. Physically, I could do record the episodes, but the quality of the recordings were absolutely terrible, at some points so unclear it wasn't even worth listening to. For putting so much effort into the show for over a year, it wasn't worth trying to struggle with what I had at my disposal. However, my situation is now much better, both in terms of quality of internet, amount of work, and more. So getting this episode of Directional Influence was actually not very hard, at all. I was able to interview vVv Zero, this episode's special guest, quickly and easily last Thursday night, while the rest of the episode was recording Monday night with myself and Will, Zero not included. Fun fact: This episode wasn't even the episode that was going to originally be Episode 47. Episode 47 had two other incarnations. The first, which would have released two weeks after Episode 46, had no special guests planned. Instead, Will and myself had topics including the Metaknight situation and college Smash scenes, plus our usually screwing around that the podcast is known for. The second variation, which was attempted a week after the aforementioned episode was to be recorded, would have featured vVv Zero (for the interview that eventually would be recorded for the final release) and vVv Chibosempai. Both variations never left the drawing board. Concerning this episode, the only problem I ended up finding was the settings I use to maintain the quality found in all previous DI episodes bar the video episodes. To help settle into my new environment when recording the show, I fiddled with some settings to hopefully make the sound files easier to work with, as well as easier to record. As it turns out, my original settings would have been just fine and the ones I ended up using created slightly poorer quality in the sound recording. Thus, segments of the episode sound a bit different than others, a problem which will not show up in future DI episodes. Looking towards the future, Directional Influence seems to be back on track. We'll continue with our weekly show as we have since 2010 and, as of right now, nothing will stop us for doing just that. Not only that, but we continue to work on our live show at this year's Apex 2012, which will be an absolutely awesome experience. Overall, I'm happy with Episode 47. Not only does it feel great to have it finally out the door and in the hands of the public, but overall the show is a true return for the show. We've changed the podcast quite a bit: trying to get more organized, going the route of live video, etc. And, as many of you know, we've had "hiatuses" and "returns" over the past few months as we've tried to re-invent ourselves. But, to be honest, I think what we have going on here is a great thing - we're finally back to doing what Directional Influence was originally created to do: to talk about competitive Smash, feature awesome games, and give the community quality entertainment. So, yeah, we're back. Finally.
As the donation drive comes to an end, I want to personally thank all of you for your participation. We had about 50 people contribute, which is roughly 30% of our community. I am proud to say that we met our goal of $4,500, and when our new website launches, you can thank the donors that made it happen. Our growth for 2011 is explosive. Our site gets nearly double the visits we got last year, and I expect this will only continue to grow. Of course, we want to further that growth by adding more reasons to visit the vVv Gaming website. To fully understand HOW MUCH we have going on, I wanted to break it down by division. I promise to keep it as short as possible, so forgive me if I leave anything out. Brawl vVv Gaming has officially partnered with Apex. Currently, we are sponsoring the The Road to Apex: ONLINE EDITION! We also have formalized our sponsorship deals for Apex 2012 and our sponsorship structure for 2012. Chibo continues to do a great job leading the division, and you can expect more from vVv in Brawl for 2012. Call of Duty With Modern Warfare 3 releasing on November 8, we will keep a close eye on what Major League Gaming (MLG) will do with the title. Meanwhile, we look forward to our Call of Duty 4 PC team coming to Chicago for the Ignite LAN from October 21-23. I look forward to meeting Cubed and the team in person. We do not expect to sponsor any CoD console teams for MLG for the rest of the year. Crossfire Our Crossfire team has been busy with it preps for WCG. We are waiting to hear when the WCG Nationals are for Canada. The WCG World Finals will be held in Busan, Korea from Dec 8-11. As always, vVv Lifeline is our one and only Crossfire team, and we fully support the relationship we have with them. Gears of War I can’t say enough how excited I am for this game. We will be launching our Gears academy, and I expect the competition for one of the spots to be fierce. This will be a chance for teams to train in a structured environment, as well as a chance for the top team to earn their team pass and hotel for the first MLG event. I am looking forward to experimenting with the maps and game types. Our official position is to remain silent on changing any settings until we first determine the best maps and game types to go with those maps. I encourage all of you to contribute your ideas to the best maps and gametypes HERE! Think about the SPECTATOR experience when you make your suggestions. Expect to see TNO at DEVASTATION. Also, expect vVv Gears players to attend the NJHalo/KotC event on the east coast. Both events are the weekend of October 8. vVv Gaming’s Gears team will be at the New York invitational event from October 21-23.. We wish our Gears players, Enmity, Monk, Leon and Myth the best of luck! Halo We will be supporting Believe the Hype for the rest of the season. Next season, we'll see what MLG does with Halo before making any other decisions about teams. BelievVve! League of Legends Our League of Legends (LoL) team continues to surprise people. Not only has the team surprised people, but I see many of our core members playing League of Legends. Expect our focus, coverage and content surrounding this awesome game to grow. I want to say so much of LoL, but for now, just know that we have been very impressed by the game, our players, Riot and the opportunities. JayC will be one busy manager in 2012! Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) and Guild Wars 2 (GW2) is where you will find us. SWTOR will start us off, and expect us to have a lot of fun. GW2 will be much more serious as we try and build a top roster for the game. Mortal Kombat vVv Reo will be at DEVASTATION, and he will be ready to compete! Expect to see other vVv MK players like vVv Krazie at the event, as well. Rhythm Our rock band is going to DEVASTATION, so expect vVv Adrenaline to entertain the fans at this event. After DEVASTATION, expect our rhythm gaming division to be fairly quiet until either a release of a new title or a new event stirs some excitement. Sports Michs09 is going to Korea to compete in IeSF World Championship event for the game Hyundai Veloster HD. He will be in Korea from October 6-10. He will be joining 400 players from 40 nations! Also, we are keeping our eye out for top players. We just added Jrock to our roster who is a top NHL player. Welcome him, and add him on PSN if you play: vVv Jrock Starcraft Hasuu, Murder, Ruff and Titan are all getting ready for MLG Orlando. Also, Doom, Titan, Spectral and I will be attending the KoDeF event in Korea from November 1-4. We have finally formalized our mandatory practice schedules and weekly meetings. Expect Roar to take a more active role, as well. Expect Noxie to come back soon. We also launch the Starcraft Academy this week, where the top player will be attending MLG Providence. Sugarbear will have the awesome responsibility to get this running, so I ask all Starcraft players to support the academy. Be available to assit and answer questions. There has been a lot of conversation about us picking up players, and it is true we spoke with dde, Faith and Vibe. In short, these players were asking for more than we could justify, and they all took other offers. We will be picking up players after MLG Orlando, so stay tuned, but our main focus will be our players who have been developing with us and are currently sponsored. OK. WOW! That was supposed to be a short synopsis of what we have going on, but as always, we do so much, you sometimes don’t see it all until you put it all down in one place. On the content side, we will be completely restructuring everything with the new website. I don't want to spoil any suprises, so I will just talk about what we have going on right now. The Loser’s Bracket will continue. Expect us to broaden our focus by inviting more guests from outside vVv Gaming to share their insight and perspectives. I promise that I will rant more. You keep asking for it, so I will deliver. Directional Influence will not. Also, with Rapture starting college, and no longer having a quality internet connection, we have stopped the Brawl podcast show for now. We are open to others who may want to pick up the slack, but for now, Directional influence is in hiatus. We just contributed our 100th article to Geek to Me. We will continue to deliver great content to this blog. We are ALWAYS LOOKING FOR WRITERS! So, if you can handle the deadline and write consistently, let us know! Wednesday Night Starcraft (WNS) is something that we are currently examing, and more will follow in a spate update. We will add a lot of content for 2012, as well as a few surprises that only Doomhammer and I know about. Expect us to continue to support the exact same mission statement: Again, I just wanted to thank those of you who donated, and give everyone an update on what we have going on. It is amazing when you put it all down in one spot. I promise that 2012 will only get better!
Alright, let's get down to it. You've created a concept for your show - you're unique, doing something different and you have the passion to keep it going until the end. You sat down and really thought about why someone would even bother to listen to your show in the first place. Now you just have to actually start with the physicality of the show. Enough brainstorming, it's time to get real work done. However, if you are really still stuck on what kind of show you want to make, head over to part 1 of this series for some help ( http://www.vvv-gamin...pts-and-basics/ ). Now, obviously it's very important that once you think about a podcast and get a good idea of what you want to do, that you actually go ahead and do it. Nobody can listen to your podcast if it's solely a figment of your imagination. But creating a podcast isn't just talking into a microphone and hoping people happen to come across and listen. There's a lot of work for you to do before you get people loyal enough to wait for each and every new installment of your series. And you'll be one of the lucky ones; many podcasts rarely get off the ground and stick around long enough to develop a fanbase at all. Most fade away into the endless data streams of the internet. But I'm not working with losers here, I'm working with someone who wants to be the best...right? Here, Take This! There are a few things you'll need before starting up this show of yours. This list falls between concept and physicality - you'll physically need these things, but they are more conceptual than going out and buying a new headset to record audio. These next few questions should help you figure out what exactly you'll need to do a show in this stage: -What kind of podcast is this? -How do I talk to my audience? -Who else gets to talk to my audience? -How long will my podcast run for and when does it get released? -What is my goal in doing this show? That's a lot to think about, so let's go through it together. Feel free to stop and re-read, there's no rush. 1) What kind of podcast is this? This should seem easy, but it's something worth thinking about. It may have come up during your conceptual brainstorming, but this is a question posed in a different way. I'm not asking if you're doing a video game podcast or a movie review podcast, as in, what kind of podcast, not what genre it finds itself in. By this, your podcast can be a talk show, a skit show, etc. Most podcasts are talk shows in which the cast members discuss topics and news in a roundtable-like manner, though others pride themselves as being interactive shows, some having skits, a few being all sorts of different kinds of things. For a beginner, doing a podcast in the manner of a talk show is not only the easiest to get into, but the easiest to master, as talk shows take less preperation and work to get off the ground. You must also be aware of how much scripting your show has, if any at all. Many podcasts have scripted segments, more common in sketch comedy podcasts or story-telling shows, but many have barely any scripting, if any, at all. These are improv shows, ones in which the people on the show talk simply off the top of their head and do not read from a script. My podcast, Directional Influence, is completely unscripted, right down to the intro and outro segments. However, just because you may want to do an improv show doesn't mean you don't have to prepare at all. Many shows split their episodes into segments, which are usually separated by some sort of audio transition, to organize the episode into relevant topics. For example, a video game podcast may have three segments in an episode, one in which the cast talks about recent news, the second being a group review on a newly-released video game and the third being an interview with someone from a development team. Though all these segments revolve around video games, they are distinctly different enough to be split up into different segments. This also helps the listener know what exactly they'll be listening to, as if an episode is one long segment, the listener will never know when a discussion or interview will start until the cast just starts whenever they feel like it. 2) How do I talk to my audience? This also seems relatively simple, but there are so many ways to screw this up it's not even funny. When it comes to a podcast, the show essentially lives in its own bubble that, while doesn't necessarily always react with the outside world, can frequently acknowledge and always has to be aware of everyone outside of said bubble. Unless your podcast is only being kept to yourself or no one cares to listen, the podcast cannot function in its own bubble without being aware of everything that doesn't happen to exist just in that space. Most talk show podcasts function in the same way actual talk shows on television and radio work - the cast talk with themselves and whomever else may be a guest on the show and have a conversation amongst themselves. However, this conversation is obviously being listened in to by the viewers, so the conversation almost works like a question and answer panel without anyone asking questions. The cast instead converses, but does so in the direction of the audience as if they were actually there. The reason for this is because the podcast is for the audience, not for the cast. If the audience doesn't care, the podcast doesn't matter. Thus, podcasts that are riddled with inside jokes only the cast understands or shows that allow cast members to freely chat about whatever they want will simply not work. Remember, people go to Q&A panels to talk about the topic at hand, not about what a cast member's cat had for dinner. 3) Who else gets to talk to my audience? Now this is important. Most podcasts tend to have a cast of at least two people and mainly this is because you can only have a conversation with said two or more people (unless you're having a conversation with yourself, which 99.9% of the time will never work and will never be found funny). Having a cast of many people allows for different opinions, different perspectives and different personalities. Having a podcast with a guy who likes to talk about stuffed animals is infinitely less funny and entertaining than having a cast with a guy who likes to talk about stuffed animals, a girl who likes to set stuffed animals on fire, a businessman who sells stuffed animals for profit and a conservationist who is against the production of stuffed animals entirely. Essentially, your cast must have flavor. Just because you have more than one person doesn't mean your cast is good - you must have a rich mixture of people that aren't all the same. With that said, it's best not to have a cast that typically agrees with each other all the time and likes everything the same way as everyone else does. For a movie podcast, for example, it makes sense that everyone on the show likes movies, but it doesn't make sense to have all the cast members adore horror movies (unless the podcast is specifically only about horror movies). Additionally, people must either care about the opinions of the cast or must be equally entertained by all the members of the show. If the show is more of a talk show, then the opinions must matter. Last segment I discussed that you don't necessarily need to be the most important person in the community to start a show. However, on the other hand, no one is going to listen to a podcast filled with random people that have no influence on whatever they're talking about unless the show is hysterically funny, in which case the opinions still don't matter, only the entertainment value does. For example, my show Directional Influence is pretty diverse in terms of the opinions that appear on the show. When I began my show, I was not extremely knowedgeable on the competitive scene I was a part of, nor was I a top player or tournament organizer. Thus, to round out the show, I invited the two other cast spots to be filled by a top player and a tournament organizer. Currently, my show now has three distinct personalities - an amateur player who is better at analyzing the game than playing it, a top player that provides a perspective from being one of the better players in the game, and a tournament organizer who knows how the tournaments and the community function. That sounds a lot better than three randoms talking about things they know nothing about. 4) How long will my podcast run for and when does it get released? Now we get to the personal preference part of this. There is absolutely no limit to how long or short your show can be. Likewise, there's no rule that defines when during the week and at what time and how many times you can release new installments of your show. It's all up to you. But, with that said, use logic and be reasonable. You have to understand both yourself and your audience when thinking about these things. First off, how long your show is. A good talk show podcast can go for 45 minutes to an hour, sometimes even an hour and a half or two hours. If your cast always has a lot to talk about, there's nothing wrong with making an episode a bit longer than usual (and remember this, not every episode has to be the same length or fit a time slot like on television or radio). But, you have to be reasonable - drawing out an episode for almost three hours should make you think why it took so long and should persuade you to go back to the file and see if there's any slack you can cut out that's not necessary. 9 out of 10 times recordings have a solid amount of useless talk that can be trimmed before release, so feel free to make cuts if you need to. You also have to realize that most people will probably not listen to a podcast that is two hours long unless they are extremely passionate about the show or the show keeps the listener glued to their headphones for the entirety of the two hours and that's extremely difficult to pull off. Thus, having a show that rounds out between 45 minutes to an hour is a good way to start out. Then you can mix things up if you feel like the show needs to be longer or shorter. Just remember, the fans always matter - never make your show too long that it bores them or too short that they feel cheated. Then you have to decide the routine in how you release your episodes. Some podcasts use a weekly or bi-weekly formula in which each new episode is released on the same day of the week every week or two. Some shows opt for a monthly release or a "around-there" release format. The "around-there" format is essentially when a podcast releases around the same time every few weeks or month without it being a written ideal. As in, a show may release every three to four weeks, but it's never actually said when the show is scheduled to come out - avid listeners just know when to expect a new episode. As a beginner, stick to a routine before you get reckless. Just don't burn yourself out. You will never need to release a new episode every few days, a weekly format tends to always been the minimum unless it's a special occasion. And if you feel like you're being burned out by weekly releases or that there isn't enough to talk about each week, maybe change to a bi-weekly or monthly format to let topics accumulate. 5) What is the goal in doing my show? Finally, the million-dollar question: what's the point of doing this? What is your purpose? This should be something you know before you get into any of the above, actually. Do you want to have your show be the number one source for news and entertainment in your community? Do you want to have the show just to express your opinions on a bigger platform? Do you want to gain more recognition for your accomplishments, personality and ways of thinking? There's not much more I can tell you than just that you have to know why you want to do this and to not lose track of your goals. Don't try to be something your not and never try to become something that's not what you want. Stick to what you believe in and just do it. Coming Up in Part 3 Well, now you have everything ready to go. Now it's time to really start your podcast. But, before you do that, you're going to need to know what equipment you'll need, what software you'll need, and all of that. As I said, it's not simply just talking into a microphone. --------- Written by Dakota "Rapture" Lasky of vVv Gaming. 8/3/2011. Do not reproduce without giving credit.
I think it's safe to say that after being part of the podcast scene for well over a year, it was only a matter of time before I wrote one of these. I've always been an advocate for encouraging others to start their own shows regardless of where your interests lie. You may be a gamer, a movie buff, someone who listens to music or plays sports all day, and you may even be someone who wants to do more than just enjoy their hobby. Instead of just being seen as a participant, maybe you'd like to be seen as an analyst, a commentator, or at least some kind of person that can share their thoughts on a particular subject for the entire community to hear. One of the best ways to get your voice heard or to do your part in the community, or to just enjoy the experience of it, is to start doing your own webshow. It's not as hard as it looks, but it isn't a walk in the park; it's a trade only so many have mastered, and while anyone can do it, it's not like everyone should do it. But if you're dedicated and have your mind set on becoming a podcaster, then keep reading. What is a podcast? In simple terms, a podcast is an internet broadcast that's either live or pre-recorded, and consists of either all audio files (like radio) or is supplemented with video. Podcasts cover an immense range of subjects (you can find a podcast about literally anything), can be however long or short they want depending on how the host sees fit, and they can be produced with tons of different concepts, like being a comedy skit show, a news show, a lecture show, etc. Podcasting has almost too many options for any one person to comprehend, but at the very least the medium thankfully allows any one person to make their show as unique and productive as possible because of how many diverse ways the medium can be handled. If you want to do a podcast, understand that podcasting can be as big or small as you make it. If you want to do a small, audio-only broadcast talking about cars, go for it. Or you can do a big production with visual interviews, videos about cars, interviews with big names in the industry, or even show of your own car masterpieces, then you can do that, too. Visual vs Audio-Only A big decision when starting a podcast is deciding on what kind of broadcast you'd like to do. Audio podcasts are essentially internet radio broadcasts, as the only kind of output the audience gets is whatever sound is on the file, whether it be music, sound effects, or just the host(s) talking. Visual shows, on the other hand, usually consist of similar traits as the audio-only like having hosts speak and having sound, but it is also supplemented by a visual factor. Audio podcasts are certainly the most abundant of the two, as being a listener of a podcast means less physical investment than someone who has to watch an entire livestream or video to be part of a visual podcast audience. Audio shows are usually prerecorded, in fact most of them are, but some can be live. However, because audio podcasts can be easily edited by audio editing software, most audio show hosts tend to stick to their shows being prerecorded. Audio podcasts can also be put on iTunes and uploading sites, allowing for fans to download episodes and listen to them wherever they want. On the other hand, visual shows rely less on just audio and more on a bigger package where hosts can discuss topics and show video of said topic, as an example, to make the experience much more in-depth. Visual shows can also be live or prerecorded, and can also take advantage of streaming sites like justin.tv or ustream.com that allow them to do their show live for people to watch in real time. Visual shows have a much easier time at doing this, not to mention that a live show can have its stream be recorded so people who did not watch it live can watch it at another time. While visual shows cannot necessarily take advantage of things like iTunes, the ability to have visual shows on streaming sites and even on Youtube makes up for it. Note, just because a visual show may seem like a much bigger production, it does not necessarily have to be. Audio podcasts can be just as well produced, just as a visual show can be. The only limitations with either kind of show is how much the host(s) are able to put into the show and what kind of equipment they have available. Creating the Concept So you've decided that podcasting is what you'd like to do. You saw the road sign, looked at your options, and took the path that felt right for you. Now you're heading down a trail of success. All you've got to do is just be the best like no one ever was, right? Well, no, wrong. Like I said earlier, podcasting is something anyone can do, but isn't for everyone. Physically, it's not the hardest project to start and keep running, but to be a success, you have to do everything right and that's not necessarily easy. First of all, you have to know what you are interested in. Where do your interests lie? What do you like to do with your free time? What do you have the most opinions about? What do you find yourself always trying to talk to others about? An idea for a show can easily lie in the answers for those questions. Anything that you are able to talk about freely is most likely your best choice for a show. Sure, you'd think a podcast about Jersey Shore would be really popular, and maybe it would be, but if you're not a fan, it'll be very difficult to keep the show going no matter how potentially successful that might be. On the other hand, you also have to keep others' interests in mind; you may find discussing the color gray being a top choice in paint colors a really amazing topic, but you'll probably be the only one on that boat. Remember, it's really not about you, but the fans themselves. They have to be interested to keep watching or listening, so if they aren't interested, or if you are interesting, then the show loses all of what truly matters. So let's say you've picked the subject you'd like to talk about. Hypothetically, being a gamer, you decide you'd like to do a show about console gaming. You love discussing console wars, you love reviewing console games, you own almost every console that has ever been released. Or maybe you're just a gaming enthusiast, but not really into the PC gaming world. You own an Xbox 360 and maybe some last-gen systems like the Gamecube, but you like gaming so much that you'd just like to have a show talking about games. A show talking about video games is fine. A show talking about cars is fine. A show talking about Oprah Winfrey is fine. But what isn't is that you won't be the only one doing this. You aren't the first to do it, you won't be the last to do it. You'll be just another gamer who has a show like hundreds of other gamers, and you'll be sharing opinions most likely shared by thousands upon thousands of other gamers, too. You're just like everyone else. But don't be discouraged, this is how everything starts out. Right now you've established the general concept for your show: you're doing a show about games. But now you have to get more specific and more unique. Not only that, but you and the show itself has to be unique. You can't just be a "news show", as it's been done before. You have to provide content that no one else does or you have to provide said content in a way that is truly unique. This is one of the most important, yet overlooked, factors about getting into media. You cannot just start up a general gaming show and hope that it'll become an internet sensation if it doesn't bring something new, fresh or different to the table. Your quality may be golden, but if you seem to be just like everyone else, you'll be treated like everyone else. People want entertainment, but they also do not want to watch the same entertainment over and over again. This is where you need to establish your identity and angle. Who are you and how do you see or how do you talk about the topic? One of the best things about doing anything in media is that you really don't need to be a "somebody" when you start out, as this is something that comes along with the trade. Sure, it helps, but if your media skills are good enough, you're name will become more widespread than you'd might think. I started my podcast, Directional Influence, as being a new player with very little tournament experience and skill. Today, I'm still not a top player, but because of my show's success, DI has made my name much more known that it normally would have been without doing the show at all. However, it doesn't matter who you are if you don't have a unique angle or trait. There needs to be at least one thing (preferably a lot of things) that make your production different from being too similar from other shows. To lay it out for you, I'll use one of my favorite webshows out on the web, Zero Punctuation: -Host (alias Yahtzee) reviews games with a very fast talking speed -Reviews are scathing and almost always negative -Videos are supplemented by funny animations that represent Yahtzee's gripes -Never too long, always entertaining and reference-worthy Yahtzee doesn't just review games, he critiques them heavily. Not only does he do this, but he is laugh-out-loud funny and supports his comedy by speaking oddly fast, making all of his reviews hilarious. He's also a smart fellow and uses his location of Australia to take jabs at the industry and the country himself, while doing the same to "mainstream" games, chest-high walls, and quick-time events. Just as Yahtzee has his own way of doing things, you too should have your own way of doing things. Do you want to review games on this show? Well then you have to review them in such a way that your reviews are not just any game review. Use your imagination to figure out how to be as original as humanly possible. Coming Up in Part 2... So you want to do a show. You've picked your topic and you've decided how you'll be unique compared to all the other shows on the same topic. Now you've got some planning to do. Stay tuned for Part 2 to learn about how to physically plan out a show, including how it will be run, who will be on it, when you'll be doing it, and all of that. You may have the concepts down, but now it's time to get some work done. --------- Written by Dakota "Rapture" Lasky of vVv Gaming. 6/27/2011. Do not reproduce without giving credit.