As of this past weekend, season one of Sherlock Holmes Is Real came to a close. I haven't written too much about it here, as it has been a test balloon into the stratosphere of podcasting from the start, and just having some fun with friends while seeing just how the whole medium worked.
Podcasting has been replacing radio, and people have slowly begun replacing "Bob and Tom" with a more specialized "Burt and Scott" -- at least those who listened to radio to start with. Under a particular age, downloaded and streaming audio has been the only way to go for quite a while now. And something that powerful, that widespread, sure seems like it should be pretty hard to do.
But it's not.
That was the message emphasized time and again at last year's 221B Con panel on podcasting, and after following that advice, I discovered that the panelists weren't wrong. What you know if you've listened to podcasts is the steeper grade . . . holding an audience. I know that my own listenership has subscribed and departed from a legion of podcasts at this point. Even ones I liked a lot at first, but eventually just got tired of. It's a rare and special 'cast that can hold an audience for years . . . or even more than one episode, sometimes, and something that only comes from people trying . . . and then some other people trying . . . and some other people trying . . . .
Knowing all that, I actually spent a year with a brand new microphone on my desk before I ever made my first real attempt at a podcast. The whole "let's just chat for an hour and be entertaining" didn't seem like something I was ready to commit to on a regular basis, and those were what I was listening to at the time. Then the non-fiction serial documentaries started trickling into my routine, and then fictional serial documentaries, and then I head the one that just sounded like the kind of fun I wouldn't mind having.
So I committed to six little episodes. Just six. And Sherlock Holmes Is Real was born.
Not saying that was a great moment in the history of the podasting medium, just saying it happened. Because, like every other bit of my Sherlockian life, I did exactly as much work as it was fun to do, and not much beyond that. While there are those great and dedicated souls out there who will drive themselves hard for the world of Sherlockiana, I will definitely admit to not being one of them. And, as a result, sometimes also not one of your higher-quality-output folks.
In the world of the written words, there was just grammar and spelling to worry about, and if you read enough and were lucky enough to have parents who spoke decent English, those sometimes come easy. But in the world of spoken words? Mouth noises. Pause lengths. Volume. Background sounds. Breathing. Things you don't even think about in daily conversation suddenly become points of maniacal fixation. Or not. Or obsessing about one thing and ignoring another thing.
But, despite all that, the basics of podcasting are not too hard to pull off. If you've ever considered it, I would definitely advise as those folks on the 221B Con panel did, that you give it a try. I committed to six episodes just to make sure I gave it a fair shake, and as time and co-conspirators allow, I intend to keep going. So many podcasts I've listened to started from very flawed and amateurish beginnings but got better over time, and hopefully, Sherlock Holmes Is Real will do that, even if it's just going to that audience of a hundred or so Sherlockians that most of my projects have wound up with.
As with all things Sherlock, though, the fun is in the doing.