“Hey Chris, where’s the next Metamor City ep?”
or, Why You Should Never Start A Podcast Without A Backlog
THINGS UNSEEN debuted on the Metamor City Podcast at the beginning of March, with a stated release schedule of one episode every two weeks. At the time, I thought this wouldn’t be a problem: my narration for half of the book was already recorded, I only had one other voice actor to coordinate with (the extremely talented Dawn D. Wood, also known as @phynixism on Twitter), and I already had a well-established library of music and sound effects that had helped to define the Metamor City style. While I had some trepidation about not having a backlog of completed episodes, I thought that we could keep up with a biweekly release schedule.
I was so very, very wrong.
Almost immediately we started having problems. A hard drive failure killed much of the audio that Dawn had already recorded for the podcast. When she re-recorded in February and March — a truly titanic effort for which she deserves huge props — her computer did not inform her that, due to a defective USB port, she was not actually recording through the high-quality microphone in her recording closet, but through her laptop’s internal microphone. Then she switched to another USB port, started over AGAIN, and THIS time the audio cut in and out between the studio mic and the internal mic (again without the OS telling her this was happening). Finally she borrowed someone else’s computer, and she is now re-recording lines for a fourth time.
Meanwhile, I was having problems of my own. Listening to my audio for the podcast, I realized that it was pretty much impossible for me to maintain a consistent voice for David Silverleaf while switching back and forth between David and my narrator lines. Since David’s a major character in the novel and having a distinctive voice for him was important, I had to go back and re-record my lines for David, then splice them into the recording along with Dawn’s lines.
Now, as all of this was going on, we were able to keep on top of things just enough to get the first three episodes out more or less on time … but we were losing ground, and we knew it. Then, when we absolutely could not afford any more delays, we got hit with a triple whammy:
1.) The end-the-marking-period grading rush. Piles upon piles of student work for me to grade.
2.) A long-planned job hunting trip for me and my partner Melanie. We were on the road through all of Spring Break (April 13-19), and while I was hoping to get editing done on the podcast during this trip, that turned out to be a lot harder than I’d anticipated.
3.) On top of everything else, Dawn got hit with a case of food poisoning that knocked her out of commission for about a week. We’re talking serious hospital time here. It was bad.
Week after week slipped by, and while we’ve made headway, it has been slow going. We should be able to get Chapter Three out this month, but it’s clear that we can’t keep going like this. Something needs to change.
After discussing the matter with Dawn, here’s what I’ve decided to do: after Chapter Three is released, we’re putting the podcast on hold while we build up a backlog — not just finished narration, but actual finished episodes. There are a lot of things coming up in the next few months that are going to demand my attention — Balticon, finals, packing, cleaning house, moving to Montana, hunting for a new job — and I’m not convinced that I can keep a consistent schedule with all of that going on. (Especially since we haven’t been able to keep a consistent schedule even WITHOUT those things going on…)
We’ll come back when we have six complete episodes in the can; that will give us a three-month head start on further production. I don’t know exactly how long it will take for us to put those episodes together, but I’m optimistic that we can be back on the air by September. In any case, we won’t start releasing again until those six episodes, Chapters Four through Nine, are done.
I’ll keep you posted here on the status of production, and send you updates at least once a month on how the work is progressing. It kills me to put the show on hold again when we just came back from such a long hiatus, but it’s time I admitted to myself that I jumped the gun and came back before I was ready. If I’m going to release content on a regular schedule, I need to take a page from Abigail Hilton’s playbook and just get the content ready in advance. I think it will be worth it in the long run.
10 Replies to “Metamor City Update, 2014-05-11”
Thank you for the update, so many of my favorite podcasts have gone silent with no explanation, I am very happy to know that this one is still going strong!
I completely understand about life getting in the way. It never fails!
Looking forward to the new episodes.
Good things are worth the wait. Thank you for all the hard work, we’ll be here when it’s ready.
Wow, makes me appreciate all the effort you put into this even more.
Just knowing you haven’t abandoned it means a whole lot so I appreciate the update.
Of course we’d love more episodes, but the reality of what goes on at street level is what it is. Thanks for keeping us informed. New job? Montana? Weren’t you just gushing about the California school?
Just echoing Ryan – Metamorphs are faithful fans and we WILL be here when the city rises again. Take care of life and let us know if we can help. Press On!
I have been a huge fan of this podcast for some time, I bought and read Things Unseen shortly after it came out, and I was very excited to find out you were going to do a podcast of it.
While I wish this could be a full time thing for you, I get that you have other obligations that need to come first, and I look forward to a time when we will be getting new episodes.
As a great podcaster once said, until then keep it on the bright side.
OK, I admit it. I need an update. I need my Metamor fix!
How are things going Chris?
Hi Amanda! Thanks for checking in. My partner Melanie and I have completed our move to Montana, and I am settling in at my new job at a biotech company here in Bozeman. The apartment is still filled with boxes, but we are slowly getting things organized and I hope to have the recording studio functional soon.
Production suffered another major setback, however, due to the theft of a laptop that contained many hours of voice acting that had not yet been backed up. 🙁 We are working now on re-recording these lines.
As soon as I have more information, I’ll let you know.
I am not sure what is worse, packing and moving or moving and then unpacking!
Sorry to hear about the laptop, the thief should be tarred and feathered and blown out an airlock and suffer unimaginable pain and suffering…(Hell hath no fury like a Metamorph scored!)
As always, thank you for the update. Its great to hear from you and know that you are still alive and well.
Best wishes on the new job and getting settled in!
You and your crew really do an amazing job! I know that we all look forward to the next episode. Good luck with battling the chaos that is life! Good luck at the new job too! Thanks for all that you do to give the denizens of the internet some kick ass entertainment!
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