Author Topic: Intros ~vs~ Outros  (Read 21320 times)

crowne_realty

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on: May 20, 2008, 03:34:28 PM
hihi,

Here is my vote in favor of keeping Steve's insights, personal revelations, and artful segways in the beginning of each broadcast/show. His slight ramblings makes the show seem more accessible, more individual and friendly. I like the feedback/highlight reel being at the end of each show. But, the progression from robot announcer to commercial to story feels abrupt and sqaurewavey. If I have to suffer through a (granted they are brief) advert for Audible or volkswagen or bank of america, at least temper it with humanity and insight, please. Especially since its what i've been conditioned to expect from ep. 
Maybe there are other obligations preventing the intros from being what they once were a few short weeks ago, and that's understandable. But I really hope the traditional form stays around. I like it.

thanks,

cr-



qwints

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Reply #1 on: May 20, 2008, 03:50:27 PM
Keep the editorial content, but I don't mind where it goes in the show.

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Darwinist

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Reply #2 on: May 20, 2008, 04:34:16 PM
Not a big deal to me, but I like the format the way it is.  I'm in the "why tamper with success" camp.

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wintermute

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Reply #3 on: May 20, 2008, 04:40:36 PM
Rather than re-hash it, I'll just link to my comments in the other thread.

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birdless

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Reply #4 on: May 20, 2008, 06:03:55 PM
Good idea, Winter. Mine was buried at the end of the comments on the story, so I'll just quote myself.
I'm new enough to remember my take on it when I first became a listener to now. When I first started listening, it was just to hear a story, so I was less interested in the intro and usually skipped the outro altogether. However, as I listened to the intros more, and the feedback caught up with the stories I was familiar with, I became more interested in both, and I eventually joined the discussion on the forums. Now it's become more of "being part of a community" than "listening to a story," and there've been a couple of times I've actually skipped ahead to listen to the feedback first. All that to say, I'm okay with however you decide to format the intros and outros, as long as you don't leave out anything you currently use now.



eytanz

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Reply #5 on: May 20, 2008, 07:32:20 PM
Here are my comments from the other thread:

Quote
And I'd like to echo DKT's comments - EP's intros never bothered me, and this became very clear to me when I started hearing Podcastle's intros which do bother me. Steve has always been careful not to spoil stories and I always enjoy what he says, so I don't care if it comes before or after stories. In Podcastle, I want to hear what Rachel says but I want to hear it after the story, not before.



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Reply #6 on: May 20, 2008, 08:13:48 PM
One thing that stands out for me about Escape Pod's intros is how natural and unforced Steve's monologue sounds.  He sounds like he's just talking to some friends.  Rick Stringer on Variant Frequencies is almost as good, but Rachel sounds like she's obviously reading a script (though I'm sure she'll improve), and I've already gone on at length elsewhere about what I think of the hosts of Clonepod. :-\

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DKT

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Reply #7 on: May 20, 2008, 08:14:11 PM
Here is what eytanz agreed with. 

Quote
I'm good either way you go, really, but I have never had a problem with the intros here.  In fact, I'd go as far to say as there something that immediately hooked me into the podcast initially.  I appreciate hearing what Steve has to say.  It's different than some of the Podcastle intros that have frustrated me a bit because Steve isn't telling me what the story is about, or important things to note about the setting/author before the story begins.  (If it sounds like I'm being harsh, that's not what I intend.  I love Podcastle already, and I think what Rachel is doing over there is great.  I just don't think the intros have hit their stride yet.)  When Steve does an intro on Escape Pod, I feel like I'm listening to a friend tell me about something interesting and, oh, by the way, there's this really cool story that kind of ties into it.  Or, in the case of geek dad intros, sometimes doesn't tie into it  Wink

That said, I think the way Alasdair does the Pseudopod outros is perfect for Pseudopod, and perfect for Alasdair.

Hey, everyone else is doing it  ;)


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Reply #8 on: May 20, 2008, 08:15:36 PM
Rachel sounds like she's obviously reading a script (though I'm sure she'll improve)

I don't have any problems with Rachel or Anne or any of the other hosts reading a script.  If it was me, I'd definitely be reading a script.  And I agree that I think the PC intros will improve.  (Actually, I think they already are.)  It's just going to take a little time for them to hit their stride.


CGFxColONeill

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Reply #9 on: May 21, 2008, 01:12:16 AM
have not really listened to much in the way of other weekly podcasts ( have dabbled in PC a bit but have not become a " regular" yet)
but I love the intros and I think they should stay the way they have been

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Reply #10 on: May 21, 2008, 03:52:00 PM
I like EP's original format, and I've been listening to it for a while now.
First off, it's familiar. Every week we hear the sexy cyborg title the piece, Steve relates a bit of his life, introduces the story and author, then hands our attention over to the storyteller of the week. After about half an hour of fiction we get a few moments pause, some closing comments and we're strummed out by the soothing tones of Monster Surf Rock. The format has changed recently to include feedback and sponsor support (I try not to think of them as commercials), but the feedback adds to the community and the support keeps the EA empire afloat so these can't be bad things.
Secondly, it works. At the end of a story I like having a few moments to collect my thoughts or discuss the story with Shwankie (we often listen together). Each episode tapering off with closing thoughts, and a brief moment of though provoking feedback, it doesn't interrupt my train of thought or upset the mood. Cutting right to the story, then trying to hold our attention afterwards is going to be difficult, especially if Steve's done his job well and presented a particularly evocative tale.
Lastly, I subscribe. I'm a supporting part of this community, both in the forums (for better or worse) and financially. I'm subscribed because I like what EP does and because I feel a connection to EA through Steve and the community he represents. I'm probably not the only one who feels like they're 'friends' with Steve because of his intros, and that supporting EA isn't about buying units of a commodity but supporting a friend who is doing something really cool. I'd hate to see the 'friend' aspect put second so that strangers might feel more comfortable to download and thoughtlessly chew through the archives.
(I'm not saying everyone should listen to all of the out-dated intros, that's what the fast-forward is for.)

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birdless

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Reply #11 on: May 21, 2008, 05:25:27 PM
I'm probably not the only one who feels like they're 'friends' with Steve because of his intros… I'd hate to see the 'friend' aspect put second so that strangers might feel more comfortable to download and thoughtlessly chew through the archives.
These lines from Thaur resonated enough with me to post "Seconded."
So…
Seconded.  :)

<edited to say:>
Also, I listen to quite a number of podcasts, from fiction to documentary to educational to science-y to fandom, and, though it hasn't really occurred to me before now, apparently Steve has a gift with the "introing" and "outroing." Out of the dozens or so podcasts I subscribe to, this is the forum to which I'm most dedicated, indeed one of the very few that I participate in at all. Most of the fiction podcasts don't have any sort of intro, they just launch into the story, and maybe have a podcast scattered here and there dedicated to "Metachat." That works for me, but, on the other hand, I'm not part of a community in those podcasts. I just listen to the story/stories. Even the few that do have intros and outros aren't agile or interesting enough to make me emotionally attached enough to want to be part of any community that may be established to discuss the podcast. I think a large part of that is that they lack the personal, "talking to a friend" quality Steve puts into his intros, and they often lack any sort of feedback from listeners read on the show.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2008, 05:40:02 PM by birdless »



cuddlebug

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Reply #12 on: May 21, 2008, 05:39:49 PM
I'm probably not the only one who feels like they're 'friends' with Steve because of his intros… I'd hate to see the 'friend' aspect put second so that strangers might feel more comfortable to download and thoughtlessly chew through the archives.
These lines from Thaur resonated enough with me to post "Seconded."
So…
Seconded.  :)

... and who's to say these strangers might not become friends BECAUSE of Steve's intro. I was one of those strangers until recently and now I feel as if I knew Steve personally. So anyone who wants to thoughtlessly chew through the stories ... (are there really many listeners who can't bear to hear a few minutes which are unrelated to the story itself? Isn't that quite common on many podcasts? Tony C. Smith does it and I can think of a few others  :) ... well, listeners who want the literature 'pure and untainted' by personal insight can just forward and ignore the intro. That should not be too difficult?

We can always have a poll and let that decide. Put one on the website, mention it in one of the intros and ask listeners to vote, they won't even have to join the forum for that. And those who are really bothered WILL vote and if they don't, they don't care enough.

So ...
thirded.



birdless

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Reply #13 on: May 21, 2008, 05:48:33 PM
... and who's to say these strangers might not become friends BECAUSE of Steve's intro. I was one of those strangers until recently and now I feel as if I knew Steve personally. So anyone who wants to thoughtlessly chew through the stories ... (are there really many listeners who can't bear to hear a few minutes which are unrelated to the story itself? Isn't that quite common on many podcasts? Tony C. Smith does it and I can think of a few others  :) ... well, listeners who want the literature 'pure and untainted' by personal insight can just forward and ignore the intro. That should not be too difficult?
I thought about suggesting adding chapters to the podcast, but if there had been chapters, I would have probably always skipped the intros and outros, and thus been robbed of becoming part of a community that I really love being a part of (hopefully there aren't too many out there thinking, "Damn, Steve, why didn't you have chapters??"). So, not that it's been put to a vote, but I vote for no chapters. While it may add convenience, I think it would ultimately hurt the growth of the community.



wintermute

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Reply #14 on: May 21, 2008, 05:59:21 PM
I thought about suggesting adding chapters to the podcast...

Gah. No, no, no. No chapters. Ever.

Adding in chapters means recording it in mp4 rather than mp3, which means that I'd have to transcode it back to mp3 before I could listen to it. Frankly, that's more effort than I want to go to on a weekly basis, and it would probably mean that I give up on EP, like I did on Quackcast, before they launched their mp3 option.

OK, let me modify my stance slightly: Make sure there's always an mp3 version available that will be usable by everyone, regardless of what they listen on. Assuming that everyone has an iPod is just going to alienate people. But, so long as that mp3 version is available and no harder to get than it currently is, there's no reason why it couldn't also be released in mp4 with chapter marks, for those that desire such a thing. Or in Speex for the few who can handle that.

Just never, never, never lose the mp3 version, or you'll lose listeners.

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birdless

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Reply #15 on: May 21, 2008, 06:04:40 PM
There's only one podcast I listen to that has chapters, and they offer it in both formats. But regardless, I vote "no chapters," anyway.



sirana

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Reply #16 on: May 21, 2008, 06:39:23 PM
I agree with everything wintermute said in his comment.
I personally like the personal bits in the intro, but it might be that there are a lot of people who just want to listen to the story and dont care about the personal bits.

Also: NO to chapters!



milo

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Reply #17 on: May 21, 2008, 10:30:00 PM
I’m strongly in favor of keeping Escape Pod just the way it is. I quite enjoy Steve’s intros, and I think that they should come before the story. Analog magazine sets a good precedence for this with Stanley Schmidt’s editorials. I often enjoy Mr. Schmidt’s commentary on society and science fiction more than some of the stories, and I can say the same for Steve’s intros. Escape Pod is, after all, a podcast magazine, and it makes perfect sense to lead out with an editorial as print journals often do. Furthermore, mp3 players have a fast forward button, and those who don’t like the editorial can simply skip ahead by about three minutes.

Even if my preferences are in the minority, I implore Steve to continue giving us his insights into storytelling and stories from his own life, even if they come after the main attraction. One of the things that elevates Escape Pod from good to being truly great is the personal touch that Steve brings to each episode.



zZzacha

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Reply #18 on: May 23, 2008, 11:02:14 AM
I'm so glad most listeners have the same thought about the intros and outros as I do: they're great, so keep them the way they are! I agree with stePH: it really does sound like Steve is just talking to some friends, that's what got me hooked in the first place. It gives the podcast a nice intimacy and I really look forward to the next episode, to listen how our EscapePod friend is doing!

Love the format!

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Rain

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Reply #19 on: May 23, 2008, 03:24:08 PM
Slightly off topic, but am i the only one who cant stand the computer voice at the start of each episode? It sounds like something i could make with my old Amiga and it gives a really cheesy and low budget impression of the podcast.

I prefer Escape Pod to keep the format it has had from the start, with the long introes, but its not a huge problem if it changes



wintermute

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Reply #20 on: May 23, 2008, 03:34:04 PM
I think the robot voice fits well with the science-fiction theme. It's a touch of retro-class.

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KSeuss

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Reply #21 on: May 25, 2008, 06:32:52 AM
Maybe this is just my perception, but whether or not the outros have actually been shorter, they seem shorter. This may be because my mind associates the end of the story with the climax of the podcast with the feedback and quote serving as denouement and by that point my thought processes are shutting down.
I strongly prefer keeping Steve's commentary up front where it can (and often has) increased my anticipation for the story without giving anything away. As several others have said already, the intros feel natural; they have a flow. This, in my opinion, adds to the flow of the podcast as a whole. I certainly wouldn't stop listening over a format switch, but I'd hate to see it change.



JoeFitz

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Reply #22 on: May 26, 2008, 01:40:51 AM
One thing that stands out for me about Escape Pod's intros is how natural and unforced Steve's monologue sounds.  He sounds like he's just talking to some friends.

Ditto. Please don't change the format!



Windup

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Reply #23 on: May 26, 2008, 02:40:52 AM

Slightly off topic, but am i the only one who cant stand the computer voice at the start of each episode? It sounds like something i could make with my old Amiga and it gives a really cheesy and low budget impression of the podcast.


I don't know if you're the only one who doesn't like it, but I know that I do.  I think it gives a funny, retro feel that I like.

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nannsbet

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Reply #24 on: May 26, 2008, 10:13:18 PM
so never having felt the need to express my self regarding escape pod and its structure (thoroughly enjoying it to no end), i feel i must set down some type.  i agree that i have really come to enjoy the commentary at the beginning.  the personal insight and the segways really set the mood, like a good quote or a bit of poetry before a story.  this gives such a personal feel and i hope they will resume.  i feel like i just had a really good friend move really far away now that there is only the author intro, and by the end of the story i'm not as keen to listen being busy processing the story in my own head and what it made me feel.  bring back the personality and unique tone of escape pod, please. 



IT_Spook

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Reply #25 on: May 27, 2008, 05:50:31 PM
I'm not a big poster, but I listen every week without fail.

I am all for keeping the intros and outros. I find they are one of the aspects of Escape Pod that sets it apart from others of its type. Plus, Steve always has something to say that either keeps me informed or makes me reflect on some aspect of my life.

Some weeks, when the story doesn't turn my crank, the intro and outros still leave me feeling satisfied.

I just wish I had the smooth delivery Steve has for my own feeble attempts at podcasting. :)

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MacArthurBug

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Reply #26 on: May 28, 2008, 02:14:59 AM
I totally dig Steves EP intros, they've made me feel like I'm being given a story by a friend. I also dig the PP outros (though that man could talk the stock market and I'd listen..mmm) The PC intros are DEFINATLY strained and need some warming up, or a sweeter/softer vocal touch -is it just me or does her voice make anyone else feel jarred?  Maybe I prefer male intro.. humm how terribly biased of me.

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Reply #27 on: May 28, 2008, 06:43:54 PM
I'm a big fan of Steve's Intros and would prefer to keep them as Intros.
There is a certain release I feel after listening to a story- I want to think about it, soak it in.  Give me some creative commons mumbo jumbo and lets be done with it so I can ponder.

I find Steve's commentary extremely insightful and the flashes into his personal life fun and engaging.
The personalization is what makes podcasting cool- it's a real person out there putting this together, not some team at Random House.

Steve may want to consider dividing the episode into "chapters" so those who just want a story and then want out can push forward on their POD and skip the intro, going directly to the story.

I was going to do this with DC but then realized that everyone needs to know about colossal squid findings- it's for their own good.






wintermute

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Reply #28 on: May 28, 2008, 07:19:56 PM
Steve may want to consider dividing the episode into "chapters" so those who just want a story and then want out can push forward on their POD and skip the intro, going directly to the story.
I refer you to my previous comment on the subject.

If there's an mp4 version that's divided into chapters, there must also be an mp3 version that I can listen to without having to transcode.

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Reply #29 on: May 28, 2008, 07:56:04 PM
I'm also a fan of keeping the intros as intros - Steve's commentary is always interesting and he is adept at presenting the story--not explaining or analyzing, but presenting. In a way, it feels like he is welcoming us into a shared story space. By taking a few moments to bridge the gap between our everyday lives and the story, he creates a smoother transition, and a more natural, intimate experience.

I think that's one of the reasons I comment more on EP stories that PsuedoPod or PodCastle - I feel more tied in to EP and I think it is partly due to the intro structure and to Steve's abilities as an essayist and host.

I don't want to diminish Alisdair's outros - which I think are quite good, but because of their placement, they don't create that intimacy of someone saying "Hi - so, you know there's this thing about life that we can all recognize and hey, you know what, here's a story that kind a speaks to that, let's share that together."

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goatkeeper

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Reply #30 on: May 28, 2008, 09:52:09 PM
Steve may want to consider dividing the episode into "chapters" so those who just want a story and then want out can push forward on their POD and skip the intro, going directly to the story.

If there's an mp4 version that's divided into chapters, there must also be an mp3 version that I can listen to without having to transcode.

But you agree the concept of chapters might be worth looking into, so people can skip intros if they just want the story content? you (or your player I should say) just has a problem with MP4 format?
I don't want to derail this, as I know people feel strangely passionate about their players and file formats but I don't run across many players (the most recent versions at least) that don't play MP4 nowadays. It's not really apple/ipod exclusive- winamp, realplayer, windows media player all play them I'm pretty sure.
Granted, if you are boxed in with some sort of phone/device that limits your format, or you just really like Windows 95 or something, it does suck to not be able to get MP4 files, and podcasts should offer an MP3 option as well.  If podcasts really wanna be more accessible they should also offer episodes as .wav formats, so my Grandma can listen.   ;)




wintermute

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Reply #31 on: May 29, 2008, 11:58:32 AM
I don't have a problem with chapters per se, no. Just with people assuming that everyone has a device that supports them. So long as there's an mp3 lowest common denominator*, I'm in favour of people putting out their work in as many alternative codecs as they see fit.

OK, according to this, I can play AACs, which are basically the same thing as MP4s. But I know I've downloaded files with an .m4a (or .m4p? It was a while ago) extension and been unable to play them. I might have to do some research on this point.

*If you can point me to a portable player that can't play MP3s, I'll concede the point about WAVs. But installing a new audio codec on a desktop computer is a lot easier (even for grandmothers!) than doing so on a DAP.

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wintermute

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Reply #32 on: May 29, 2008, 02:22:13 PM
OK, it seems that Rockbox's AAC support is (at best) flaky, that it doesn't support chapter marks, and that no-one's actively working on it. So, yeah, I'm going to have to keep listening to the MP3 version, regardless.

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goatkeeper

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Reply #33 on: May 31, 2008, 03:31:59 AM
To play devil's advocate- you know who's support is "flaky" at best when it comes to publishing basic mp3's rather than AAC or mp4?  iLife (apple).
Hmm...I wonder why that is.
I have a friend who listens to Drabblecast mp4 files with Rockbox, I'll see what he did.
 



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Reply #34 on: May 31, 2008, 01:53:37 PM
I have a friend who listens to Drabblecast mp4 files with Rockbox, I'll see what he did.
I would be very interested to hear. Keep me updated.

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Shotobouv

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Reply #35 on: May 31, 2008, 10:11:19 PM
Going to have to say that I like the intros and outros as long as they are not longer then the story.

Intros should be short and a set up for the story, life comments if they pertain to the story are fine. I know Steve tries to keep the intro short and pertinent to the story.

Outros can be longer, you can always stop listening, with feedback and comments from other episodes. The comments from other episodes, makes me want to check up on the forums, when I have time.



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Reply #36 on: May 31, 2008, 11:08:21 PM
Going to have to say that I like the intros and outros as long as they are not longer then the story.

Intros should be short and a set up for the story, life comments if they pertain to the story are fine. I know Steve tries to keep the intro short and pertinent to the story.

Outros can be longer, you can always stop listening, with feedback and comments from other episodes. The comments from other episodes, makes me want to check up on the forums, when I have time.


I found the format of EP159 "Elites" most agreeable.  The intro was short and to the point, and Steve talked about what was going on in his life (and how it related to the story) in the afterword.

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Reply #37 on: June 02, 2008, 06:48:44 AM
Slightly off topic, but am i the only one who cant stand the computer voice at the start of each episode?
Hey, don't say that. You'll hurt Vicki's feelings!  :(

I was hoping she'd get some cameo roles in some of the stories.

The only thing I can't stand is music in the outro that is not Daikaiju.

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Reply #38 on: June 02, 2008, 01:42:39 PM
The only thing I can't stand is music in the outro that is not Daikaiju.

My iPod is not for music.  I tend to skip songs; I do it all the time when listening to Dani Cutler's podcast.

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jonathanhowell

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Reply #39 on: June 06, 2008, 01:32:08 AM
For me, I think it would work best if there were no "formula" to Escape Pod intros and outros.

The concept of forcing a marching order of "Intro/Meta/Story/Outro/Promo/Quote" would lose some of the spontaneity of the podcast. I enjoy listening to the intro and stretching the topic to lead into the story. I also enjoy a postmortem on the story and how it's relevant to society, Steve's life, soccer balls and ice cream -- whatever. The muse is with Steve and I believe it shouldn't be fettered.

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veganvampire

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Reply #40 on: June 13, 2008, 04:45:31 PM
What I like most about the intros is Steve's sincerity.  He really means what he says, no matter what it's about--I think the intros should stay intros.  When they are "outros" they seem more pushed aside by the credits, feedback, contact info, etc.



goatkeeper

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Reply #41 on: June 25, 2008, 06:56:23 AM

If there's an mp4 version that's divided into chapters, there must also be an mp3 version that I can listen to without having to transcode.

You're the straw that broke the camel's back wintermute.  Drabblecast now has a normal MP3 feed and enhanced AAC feed with chapters/pictures/url's.



wintermute

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Reply #42 on: June 25, 2008, 10:32:46 AM
Wooo! Power to the people ;)

I suppose this means I ought to check it out, now...

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Russell Nash

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Reply #43 on: June 25, 2008, 12:26:45 PM
Back to the outros v. intros discussion.

I really gotta say I like intros better, as long as they don't give away part of the story.  IMO the reason the outros work on PP is that there is no feedback section.  There's a flow from story to outro to begging for money to creative commons to sign off.  I think the feedback would just break that all up and make it too long. 



DKT

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Reply #44 on: June 25, 2008, 03:15:23 PM
Back to the outros v. intros discussion.

I really gotta say I like intros better, as long as they don't give away part of the story.  IMO the reason the outros work on PP is that there is no feedback section.  There's a flow from story to outro to begging for money to creative commons to sign off.  I think the feedback would just break that all up and make it too long. 

Also, I have to say I haven't noticed the stuff from EP intros in the new EP outros.  The EP intros are chopped down, but the EP outros seem relatively the same length.


Liminal

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Reply #45 on: July 02, 2008, 07:52:49 PM
I miss the Intros - I mean, they are still there, but they feel more perfunctory of late.

Why is this thus? What is the reason for this thusness? - Artemus Ward


Clutron

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Reply #46 on: July 08, 2008, 11:07:42 PM
And now for my first forum post ever.....

I vote INTRO's...100%.  I feel like I'm re-stating what has been said already, but the intros really hooked me in to EP.  They have been at least 33% of the reason that I listen week after week.  So please keep them at the beginning and keep them awesome! :)

I partially agree with Rain that the computer voice could be better.  It always seems to come in REALLY loud compared to Steve's volume.  So I usually have to turn my player way down at the start of a story and then crank it when Steve comes on...Maybe this is a problem with my EQ settings?  I should turn down my sexy computer voice booster?

Keep up the good work Steve-0 and EA in general!



DaveUnique

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Reply #47 on: August 13, 2008, 01:46:30 PM
One of the wonderful aspects of EscapePod was an intro that was personable, well-written, relevant to the story yet left the story untouched for us to discover, and often prepared us nicely for the story.  That is an extremely challenging writing assignment yet Steve did it well for most episodes.  The new layout just does not work for me because it can't accomplish everything the original layout could when done right.

I didn't see this thread when I posted my above comment and I think it has already been said better in this thread.  I really enjoyed Steve's Intros.