What does it mean to produce a podcast? The Pod Bible gang wanted to bring podcast producers out from their editing bays and research caves to tell you why they’re passionate about creating podcasts and what a producer actually does. Without further ado, we’d like you to Meet the Producer – Ali Gardiner, Episode 3 “Vivienne Dick” of The Last Bohemians.
POD BIBLE: What appealed to you about the project?
ALI GARDNER: I loved the idea of celebrating older women, particularly those who’ve followed an alternative path, and give minus fucks about convention. This series amplifies their wisdom. Vivienne Dick said that you can feel invisible as an older woman and this is unsurprising in a society obsessed with youth over experience. Yet these interviews are a beautiful illustration of what you can learn. And more than once I found myself nodding in vigorous agreement, when recording with Cosey and Vivienne, because their strong sense of self inspired me. Exposure to these brilliant and badass bohemians is life-affirming.
PB: What does a producer need to consider when tasked with a single episode of a larger series, versus an entire series?
AG: This series had a strong vision and a good brief. As a result, the model of a different producer looking after each episode works brilliantly. It’s been fascinating to listen to what others have done and to nerd out on the details of how it was recorded, or edited. It was also a joy to get together with the other producers after series one and I look forward to the crew of two socialising post-corona.
PB: How do you strike a balance between the right amount of preparation and allowing for “happy accidents” in an episode?
AG: Happy accidents are everything. But preparation means you’ve a better chance of connecting with your interviewee. You will be more confident and you have a better chance of steering the conversation if you know your subject, and have a sense of structure, before you turn up. But it’s so important to allow for digressions, to listen carefully, and then pick up on any interesting threads (time permitting). Also, and I realise this is an obvious tip, but hit record early and only switch off when your departure is imminent. Conversationally, we often revisit points or recapitulate with greater fluency.
PB: How did your work on Series 1 inform your approach to your episode in Series 2?
AG: My work on series one informed my decision to do series two. I was busy but knew I’d feel desperately left out and regretful if I’d not been part of The Last Bohemians’ second incarnation. Having spent the intervening 12 months working on an interview series, I also felt more confident in the edit. But I’m always learning. And it’s really healthy to flex your production muscles working on different projects.