We started a podcast(!)
After going on and on about how much I love podcasts, I finally collaborated on the Small Town Big Dreams Podcast with comedian Graeme Watson (The Infinite Jest) and Christine James (Blick Shared Studios) and you can now listen to Episodes 1-4 here.
Our origins story
The idea for Small Town Big Dreams came to us at the start of last year when we met up in Clements Coffee near Queen's University and our collective love for The School of Life and related subjects. We chatted about how we wanted to create a different kind of business podcast - more informal, real and creative. We felt that the uniqueness of each business' origins story and the advice they could give was worth recording and so we set out to plan and research the project. You can read more about this on the Small Town Big Dreams blog.
With support from Creativity NI through Department for Communities, we were able to get the podcast off the ground in March 2018 and also did a live podcast at The Black Box Belfast interviewing Kyle Gawley from Get Invited & Get Started, Vicky Potts from Whitepot Studios and Simon & Lorna Mills from TACA.
The whole process has been a really interesting learning curve - learning how to make a podcast, how different interviewees respond to questions and how to interview together as a team. Graeme has done a fantastic job mixing and editing the sound as well which is a lot of work in itself! Listening to Episodes 1-4, you can definitely hear some of our creative influences, to me the styling is a bit like Gimlet Media and the feel of it is like This American Life (in terms of its documentary style). We are getting better at it each recording (or so we hope!) and are planning to continue Series 1 this year and record further episodes.
A variety show
Interviews 1-4 are with musician Tony Wright of VerseChorusVerse, writer and film director Aislinn Clarke, video game developers Billygoat Entertainment (well William Barr, Paul Kelly was there but silent!) and ceramicist Wendy Ward of Wendy Ward Design. We set out to interview a wide range of people and companies big and small. One of our aims was to highlight that people start businesses for a wide variety of reasons and that their paths to getting there are all different too.
Artwork and designing of
Developing our design ideas and artwork
We felt that the podcast needed to be backed by interesting imagery, photography and behind-the-scenes elements. This was particularly important when telling someone like Wendy Ward's story. We were delighted when she went to the effort of actually creating her ceramic products which was amazing to watch and film. We also wanted to take pictures, film and record in a variety of locations - in people's studios, in places they like hanging out and where they work. We wanted to showcase creative Northern Ireland at its best.
We wanted the artwork to be different to what was currently out there in business podcasts. We wanted a more creative feel to it all and were inspired by Wes Anderson when coming up with the colours and styling of the logo and artwork. Each of the individual illustrations in the podcast will gather together at the end of Series 1 to form the first "town" of creative entrepreneurs, so watch this space to see what that looks like.
Mental Health & Design
I feel that this needs a post of its own but this rarely discussed subject was a topic that came up in so many people's interviews that it deserves a mention. The often long hours, lack of network or support and uncertainty of business can take its toll on many creatives' mental health. People are afraid to speak up about it lest it affect their careers or how they are perceived. The discussion of this topics was also appreciated by members of the live podcast audience, so we will try and expand on it!
In the meantime, dive in to an episode here and comment and tell us what you think! I love the Soundcloud feature of commenting at specific points, so if you feel like it, definitely do that.