On Tuesday May 26th 2015, exactly four years and three months after the first episode was published, Gillian and I uploaded the final episode of The Babble On Project to the GeekPlanetOnline servers and made it live. Today, five days later, it feels appropriate to order my thoughts about the show and everything we’ve achieved. And yes, I’m struggling not to use the now-cliché word “journey”.
Last year, at the Nine Worlds convention in Heathrow, London, Gillian and my business partner Dave – latterly of The Eclectic Podcast, Tangential Deviation, Shake & Blake and many other shows – were both invited to take part in panels discussing the realities of podcasting. These panels were attended by those seeking advice on beginning a podcast of their own, and to their credit despite extolling the positive aspects of the craft both Dave and Gillian were exceptionally honest about their experiences. If asked myself my answers would have been little different.
The truth is that podcasting is hard work. Successful podcasting – that is to say, producing a podcast which finds a reasonably-sized audience, which thankfully The Babble On Project did – is even harder. Very little of that work goes into the actual recording of an episode; the conversation is the easy part, taking little more than time. The work comes from the planning, the preparation, the research, the editing and (in our case) the writing. The work comes from realising that having gathered an audience you now have something of a responsibility to reward their interest with good-quality content. The work comes from the rod you make for your own back. If this sounds negative it is not my intention. Podcasting as a hobby or vocation comes with tremendous reward to offset the work – after all, if it didn’t then we wouldn’t do it! – but it’s important not to misrepresent the process of making an average of three hours of entertainment per month. So with all of this in mind, how do I feel about The Babble On Project now that it’s come to an end?
Sad. Relieved. Bereft. Prideful. Confused. Pleased. Disbelieving. Amazed.
A tremendous mix of emotions. Genuine ambivalence. Both sad and relieved that a series which consumed one full week out of every three of my life, but in doing so allowed me to chat about my favourite TV show with one of my favourite people. Bereft that a huge part of my life is now gone, but prideful of all that Gillian and I achieved. Confused – what the hell am I going to with my time now?! – but pleased that I now have the free time to do other things (and of course produce other content for GeekPlanetOnline!). Both disbelieving and amazed that we actually completed the journey we set out to make. Exhausted, but happy. Kinda smug that the 60-episode prediction that I made in the opening credits for our season one episodes was only off by five (*shakes fist at specials*).
This is the reality of podcasting. Both Gillian and I sacrificed a great deal to make The Babble On Project come to life every month, but in doing so we had the privilege of spending airtime with some of the show’s key talent and its creator (and one of my personal heroes, speaking as a writer) Joe Michael Straczynski. We had the privilege of making the acquaintance of so many fellow fans, of having our views of the series, its plots and characters challenged and expanded by one another and by our listeners, and of seeing a small but beautiful community grow and unfold before our very eyes. We discovered Tumblr, a social network which (whilst not my thing) Gillian continues to use to this day. We were able to watch as wonderful, talented people took things that we’d said, characters we’d invented and silly jokes that we’d made and turned them into art. A daft curse I made during an early episode – “Sweet Minbari Jesus!” – spread throughout our community, and on occasion to other podcasts. And most of all, we got to share our love of Babylon 5 with hundreds of people, convincing several to watch the show in the first place.
The Babble On Project is quite possibly the finest thing I have ever helped to create. I couldn’t be prouder of it, I wouldn’t change the time I spent making it for the world – but I am so very, very grateful for the rest.