I have worked on six podcasts. Two of these podcasts focused on horror stories (Wicked Library, The Lift), one based on mythology around the world (The Legends, Myths, and Whiskey Podcast), one on true crime (True Crime Fan Club (Podcast)), and two on factual & historical knowledge (Entwined (Podcast), History of Europe (Podcast)).
Working in podcasts brought its own host of challenges which I didn’t expect. The majority of which came down to scheduling. With episodes being brought out every fortnight (or even more frequently), the time that can be spent creating the music is dramatically reduced. For every Episode created within a fortnight:
- One week is spent on choosing the stories.
- Three days is then spent on recording the narration track.
- Two days is alloted for the narration track to be sent over to me, and sent back with a complete score.
- One day is then spent editing the episode
- The final day is spent reviewing the episode, and uploading it to the sites so it will be released on time.
The first thought I had was that the music would suffer greatly from the time constraints, but there were ways to combat this.
The first is understanding the narrator’s voice. Knowing their natural rhythm, pitch, speed, and anticipating where they would pause in the story, grants you those extra three days, as you can read the story in their voice in your head, and get to work creating the music before the narration track is sent to you.
The second point to learn is the genre you are writing for. If you’re writing for horror, you don’t need the story to lay the foundation of the score, you understand that the soundtrack would be mostly non-obtrusive, and constantly evolving to match the pace and timing of the horror. This lets you learn the broad skills involved with the style. If you are writing for music in other countries like I did, you can spend time researching that country, their instruments, their music scales, and practice writing in their style before you’re given the story. So that by the time the narration track is sent to you, all you are really doing is shrinking and stretching what you’ve written previously to immersify the story.