Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Blue Hot Gossip Comedy Show 21

The Blue Hot Gossip 2010 Christmas episode.

I know it's late in the month for a Christmas podcast but I almost didn't do this one. I kept getting interrupted and had too many other things to deal with this month. And I had trouble coming up with good music; most of the humorous Christmas music that came out this month wasn't all that funny or suitable.

The next one will most likely be the third anniversary episode in January. I already have an idea for it. Then I'll take a break from it but I can't say for how long. I'll probably give myself a break of a few months then get into a new podcast. Whether I work on this one has much to do with the music I find and the ideas I come up with.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Blue Hot Gossip Comedy Show 20 - Ode to Billy Jones

This is a somewhat special episode featuring the music of Billy Jones. He was a comedy musician back in the 20s and 30s, although much of his work holds up today.

I was initially planning on getting this episode out before Halloween but I was too busy with the 13 Days of Halloween to get it done. The premise is a little different than what I was going to do but it worked out as well just the same. I would have done this a little sooner but I was holding off to today because of the Canadian podcasting five years celebration.

I can't say whether or not I'll get one done for Christmas. It mainly depends upon the music and I'm having trouble can't find anything decent I haven't yet used. Last year's Christmas Calendar for Podcast Ping as well as the Christmas episode used up what old stuff I could find and I've not been too thrilled by the new stuff coming out. In fact it seems that in general most of the stuff from The Fump lately has been a little too serious.

But it's really a matter of whether or not I'll find the time to write the script. I do want to get one done for the 3rd anniversary show in January, but at this point I will probably put the show into hiatus so that I can spend time working on a new podcast. I just can't seem to find the time or energy to work on more than one at a time and I would like the new one to be weekly. I'm hesitant to talk about it now since I may not start it until the spring.

Looking back at my old posts I can see that I've been podcasting for about three-and-a-half years and blogging for six years on December 2nd. Although before blogs I did have web pages with a few articles I had written so in a sense I've been blogging for longer than that. In all, I've been putting material out for about ten years, although the last few years have been the most productive.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Blue Hot Gossip's 13 Days of Halloween - Day 13

So this is the final day of the 13 Days of Halloween. In many ways it seems anti-climactic, at least to me, but it's only because the characters are finally out of the basement. But that doesn't mean they're out of danger.

I could probably have had the characters describing the library yesterday but there's little need. They're were going to be in it for one episode. After such a long ordeal one might expect it to be more climactic but there's little point. After all, it's not like the characters haven't been in a library before and the average public library is far more impressive then a small private one. And they were more interested at that point in just getting their music and leaving.

You'll also notice that I just seemed to jump past their use of the elevator. I had thought of starting the scene with the sound of the elevator but then I would have had to spend time with them stepping out and meeting again with Count Cordova. Their use of the elevator is nothing more than a way to get them from one point to another in a short amount of time. Actually spending time dealing with it would have done nothing more than slow down the story. By just starting at a point after they used the elevator I move right away into the interesting material and the listener automatically assumes they used the elevator.

So there you have it. I can't say if I'll be doing one next year because it depends on a few things. The most important of course is the music. If I only have a few pieces then I can present them in a single episode rather than over 13 days. I'm probably not going to do another story since it's so much work. Instead I'm likely to do what I was thinking of initially for this year and just having a couple of paragraphs of narration with a song. It also depends upon whether I have the time and energy to do it.

I've been planning on getting a new podcast going. I was thinking about doing it this year but I found I just didn't have the time. It seems lately that I can only work on one at a time. I didn't even get anything more done on Podcast Ping. I have been considering putting Blue Hot Gossip on hiatus, mostly to allow me to work on the new podcast, although that wouldn't be until at least next year. I'll also try to get an anniversary episode in.

I'll almost certainly get a Christmas episode in and possibly one before that giving me a total of twenty to twenty-one regular episodes of Blue Hot Gossip. I'm thinking of doing about twenty-five episodes before putting the show on indefinite hiatus. That's about the length of a TV season for a single show. The show has been reasonably popular, at least in the torrents, but since Mininova, the site I've been using, has been slipping so too have my download numbers on it making it less worthwhile.

Come January I'll have been doing the show for about three years. It's been hard to even get it out on a monthly basis and I'm finding it to be more work each episode. It's also hard to go back to something simpler after doing something complex. If I do start a new podcast I'm going to want to spend time on that. But it will probably not be until next summer before I suspend this podcast.

Keep an eye on my blog, The Best Blog In The Unknown Universe, which is now at for more information.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Blue Hot Gossip's 13 Days of Halloween - Day 12

Since this was the first time did a script this long and I was trying to stretch it over 12 days, I probably stretched the story out a little longer than needed. This episode may also not seem quite as climactic or scary, but this was suppose to be a comedy story, not a horror. The scenes are made more to allow for jokes than a proper story. I could have had monsters pop up but the point is that they're locked away in the rooms. It's simply enough of a threat to just know they're down there somewhere. An actual attack breaks the tension because one knows for certain that there's a danger rather than the uncertainty of not knowing. And I do have Edward, who appeared throught the encounters, accompanying them and he's shown an affiliation for playing with sharp objects. And he has a knife. A very sharp knife.

Tomorrow will be the last day. It will be nice to get it posted and finished. It's been a big job and when it's done it will be the bulk of work for the podcast this year. I'll probably just have a couple more after this.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Blue Hot Gossip's 13 Days of Halloween - Day 11

This episode was tricky because of the number of voices I had to do. In doing so many it's easy to forget exactly how I did the voice. Fortunately, I've added voices gradually over time so I'm usually only dealing with one new voice. But I commonly find myself using the wrong voice.

There's a clear separation of voices in this episode which isn't always as apparent. I also did a slight separation for Walt's encounter with the little man and Charlie's encounter with the clown but those don't come across as clearly. The trick helps to distinguish each character as a separate speaker which can compensate for any slip-ups I might make. I also found the echo effect helped a little.

It's like a form of audio 3D. The brain initially hears a voice coming from a different direction and assumes it to be someone else. However, it tends to get weaker with long speaking parts because the brain adjusts within a few seconds. After that point it's only the difference in sound that works. So it works better when the characters are talking in short breaks. A good example of where it doesn't work as well is during the 25th day of the Christmas specials when the Blue Hot Gossip characters are reading a poem. But since I recorded it and I'm familiar with the sound of my voice it's harder for me to be fooled so I don't know how well it plays to other listeners.

There's something similar that happens with the Muppets. If you look at The Muppet Show you'll find times when Kermit, who was voiced by Jim Henson, is speaking with Ralph who is also voiced by Jim Henson yet they're taken as two different characters because we see two characters on screen. Although years of experience also helped him to keep the voices separate when speaking.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blue Hot Gossip's 13 Days of Halloween - Day 10

The title and transition music is just something I made up using a program that allowed me to write sheet music and convert it to a midi. I then re-recorded the midi as a sound file and modified it a bit. I used an organ sound partially because of it's eerie quality and because I previously mentioned that Count Cordova had an organ in his house. It could be assumed that it's the same organ.

While last year I used a clip of music but I wanted something different for this year. I also needed transitional music between Count Cordova's narrative and the story to clearly separate the two, especially when transitioning out of the story otherwise it might seem as if he was appearing out of nowhere. By using something original I didn't have to bother giving credit which helped because I wanted to end the show on the song and not end credits. It would also have seemed repetitive to give credit every time I started the show. Using something original allowed me to avoid that.

The work is only about 20 seconds long, the length of the intro. I may develop it into something more later. I've played with the program only a little before but I do like it because I can play around and try things out while I'm writing with it. Although I'm not really a musician and I'm usually better with lyrics than music. I do play a little guitar, when my fingers decide they want to, but I'm far from professional even when I'm in practice. Still, I might just try coming up with something and sticking it on iTunes. (I'd also likely play it on a podcast as well.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blue Hot Gossip's 13 Days of Halloween - Day 09

There were many firsts for this production for me. It was the first time I've tried such a long story, particularly one stretching over many days. While I do try to keep some sort of consistency to the overall storyline of the show, each episode tends to stand on it's own. It also meant creating and using a new voice which takes a while to develop. And while I did use background for the Blue Hot Gossip 19, that was only the previous episode to this presentation. I also wrote a new piece of music, although that's not the first time I've done that. But I did do some mixing of sounds and sound effects which I haven't done before.

It was the first time I tried mixing up sounds. You'll notice when Al goes into the room he goes from the echoing hallway into a non-echoing room. I didn't feel the need to put background sound into normal rooms and aside from the sound of something like a TV or fan most rooms are fairly quiet. I used this a couple times in other parts which helps to give a feeling that the characters are moving from one place to another.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Blue Hot Gossip's 13 Days of Halloween - Day 08

When using the background sounds I had to be careful not to allow them to overpower the character's dialogue. As such some sounds seem softer than they should as anyone who has tried to record in a moderately crowded room would attest. But this trick is used in entertainment all the time. Most of the time when you see a TV show or movie where the scene takes place on a street all the sounds and even the voices of the actors are mixed in later. If you actually tried to record two people talking on a busy street all you would hear is traffic.

For this episode I used two layers of sound effects. The haunted house sounds are in the background while the footsteps were mixed in with the spoken portion. I didn't want the footsteps to blend in too much to the haunted house sounds or Charlie's mention of them would seem pointless. They had to be distinct enough for someone to notice them apart from the haunted house sounds.

You may notice that I left out the footsteps of the characters in the hallway but I felt they would have distracted too much and made the sound of the footsteps in the haunted house less significant. It would also have been tricky to add footsteps for three people that sounded like they came from those people without putting them into all the other parts of the story as well. And people usually don't tend to pay attention to their own footsteps anyways so I felt I could get away with leaving them out. It's one of those things that I could have added but would have added significantly to the amount of work and I was just trying to keep the sound to the essential effects.

I also make a joke about him talking to himself. Normally, people don't tend to talk to themselves when alone but since I'm not working in a visual medium I needed to convey what was happening. In a movie it's possible to just show the character acting silently or overdub them thinking to themselves. I've run into a few situations in the past where not having the visual element made things a little more difficult and I've had to alter my approach to a scene to allow for that. If you ever heard Orson Well's version of War of the Worlds you'll recall there's one character that tells the story into a tape recorder. This is done to overcome the handicap of having a character with nobody else to talk to. The news broadcast portion of the play also helps with that.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Blue Hot Gossip's 13 Days of Halloween - Day

Day 7 marks the mid-way point in the 13 days. At this point all the real work is done and it's just a matter of uploading. But even that takes time and it tends to be a little boring. It's sort of a marathon since I have to post every day, including weekends. As I discovered in the past, I'm uploading the evening before because it's a little easier than trying to get it all out on the same day and I have time to adjust for server problems.

Last year I was just uploading to the Podcast Ping podcast blog site and Mininova. This year I decided to upload to Demonoid and The Pirate Bay as well. In doing so I wound up uploading slightly different torrents. Since Demonoid requires an extra file that The Pirate Bay doesn't recognize for it's music torrents, I also included the show notes in the Demonoid file.

With Mininova I could use their content distribution service which meant I don't have to maintain a torrent. But Demonoid and The Pirate Bay require one, so I have to try and keep those seeded. Since the activity for those has been fairly low I probably won't bother to keep seeding much past Halloween, although I don't expect a lot of people will be trying to download from them. Mininova's structure makes it easy to find new torrents but neither The Pirate Bay nor Demonoid make the torrents as obvious.

I've also noticed far lower download numbers from Mininova for this year's show than the last. Almost all of this is due to people abandoning Mininova after it went legit last November. This discourages me from bothering to do it next year, but I don't know if I would be able to come up with enough good Halloween music for it. Even amongst non-podsafe music there really isn't a lot of Halloween music around. After Monster Mash the selection gets slim. Although this year's selection actually turned out better than last year's.

But at this point I can't say if I'll do it again or not. The lack of music would be the biggest reason, but there's also a lot of work in doing and posting them. And if I do the work I want to get enough downloads to make it seem worthwhile. It may still be worth doing a Halloween episode, and I likely will even if it turns out to be an hour long, but at this point it's not likely that I'll do another 13 days.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Blue Hot Gossip's 13 Days of Halloween - Day 06

Day 6.

Doing a voice, let alone a new voice, can be difficult. While I might come up with one I like it's not always easy to reproduce it the next day. My throat might be tighter, drier or more congested than when I first did it. And I've got to find the right voice for the character. It's also tricky switching between voices. Eventually, I get use to doing the voice enough so that I can keep it fairly consistent.

I've also got to do a voice that doesn't sound too much like any other. When I first tried to come up with a voice for the new character I was going to use a Peter Lorre type voice but that came across sounding too much like Charlie. What I came up with was something between Walt and Charlie that sounds distinct enough.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Blue Hot Gossip's 13 Days of Halloween - Day 05

Day 5.

I used some background sound on Blue Hot Gossip 19 and decided to use some for this story. I've kept it fairly simple though. The echoes were nothing more than a filter but they do add to the atmosphere. I was only going to use background sound for one part but found it helped to add it to a few other parts as well. All the sounds were ones I found for free on the Internet, although I did modify and mix them a little.

When adding in the sound effects for the doors I had to be careful in most spots to include the sound of the doors closing. This is most significant in this episode because it's related to the story. There is one spot where I didn't bother with the sound of the door closing because it doesn't really matter. It could be assumed that the door is open and it wouldn't make a difference.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Blue Hot Gossip's 13 Days of Halloween - Day 04

Day 4.

I initially wrote the story as one long script then divided it into 12 parts. I planned on doing it as 13 parts but found it would have seemed too stretched out done that way. And there's enough narrative in the first day so that the story isn't really missed.

As the days go on the narrative shortens. I was going to have a paragraph of narrative before the song but found it hard to come up with material. And as it works out it's probably for the better. As the story gets going the narrative isn't really missed.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Blue Hot Gossip's 13 Days of Halloween - Day 03

Writing the script wasn't the only work although it was the first time I've tried such a long story as a script. With the introduction of a new character it meant that on a few episodes I was doing as many as five different voices. This also meant the creation of a new voice which you may notice varies a bit throughout the days. I had much the same problem last year with Count Cordova although I've gotten smoother with that voice this year.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Blue Hot Gossip's 13 Days of Halloween - Day 02

Day 2.

This year I decided to do a story instead of poetry. Had I realized how much work it would be I likely wouldn't have bothered. And if I do one next year I'm likely to just stick to a short narrative before the song. Last year I was able to use a few poems I had already written but this year required a completely new story. However, much of the narrative is shortened, mostly because I found I just didn't have the time to spend. Although the story makes up for it. In comparison, I believe the scripts for each episode are longer.

I'm also trying to torrent it through The Pirate Bay and Demonoid as well as Mininova which I used last year. Since Mininova's traffic has fallen greatly I figured the other sites would help make up for the loss. I don't expect the number of last year's show but I would still like to get about a thousand downloads per episode. It does mean more work to upload and The Pirate Bay doesn't seem to give stats, but it will help to reach a larger audience than just the blog and Mininova alone.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blue Hot Gossip's 13 Days of Halloween - Day 01

Day 1 of Blue Hot Gossip's 13 Days of Halloween.

For the next 13 Days from now until Halloween I will be releasing an episode a day. As I did previously I'm inclined to post them the night before.

For those who haven't listened to The Blue Hot Gossip Comedy Show before, you can find it at The story presented this year uses characters from that show. While the episodes of the show are meant to be independent of each other, it helps to have some familiarity with the show. The first five episodes are loosely structured and are just a collection of short vocal skits with music intermixed. It was about episode six that I got into the current format which was setup by the last skit of episode five. But they're all worth listening to and with less than 20 episodes it doesn't take long to catch up.

While I did this on Podcast Ping last year, I thought I'd do the 13 Days of Halloween on Blue Hot Gossip this year for a few reasons. For one thing, the main character is a Blue Hot Gossip character so it seemed more suitable. I'm also using comedy music and I decided to do a story this year which uses the Blue Hot Gossip characters and setting. Blue Hot Gossip has also been the only podcast I've been doing this year. So it just seemed much more appropriate.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Blue Hot Gossip Comedy Show 19

The boys take to the sea--and get taken.

I've been meaning to do an episode without music for a while. It's not really any less work, in fact it was probably a bit more. I played with the editing a little to adjust for the movement of the characters and added a bit of background sound.

I've already started working on the scripts for the 13 Days of Halloween. I wanted to get episode 19 in because it sets up the story for the 13 Days. Since I expect to be spending the next while working on the Halloween episodes I probably won't be getting another podcast out until then, although I did want to get this one out. Although depending upon how things go, I might just squeeze one in. I do have an idea for one, it's all a matter of whether I find the time.

Last year I did The 13 Days as Podcast Ping episodes but this year I'll be doing them as Blue Hot Gossip episodes. They seem more suited to this show than Podcast Ping. And I haven't dropped Podcast Ping, it's just that I never found the time to work on it this year. I was going to do an audio book but I couldn't decide on the story. And unless I'm ready to do at least an episode a month for it, if not one a week, I'm better off just leaving it as it is.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Blue Hot Gossip Comedy Show 18 - Good News Bad News

This show is about good news and bad news, if you could even call it news.

I've got the script for the next one written but I may extend it a little. The next show is going to be a little different.

I've got the music and an idea for the one after that, but I don't know if I'll be doing it before the 13 Days of Halloween or not. The 13 Days will take a lot of work and I expect to start into it next month, just like I did last year. I'll also get at least a Christmas episode in sometime in December but since I'll be doing the 13 Days I don't know about one in November. So aside from the 13 days I'd be doing another 1-3 episodes for the year depending upon how things go.

I also meant to do a story for Podcast Ping this year but I haven't had the time or energy. I'm also uncertain as to what story I would do. I have been leaning towards continuing with the novel I started, although I still haven't finished writing it and I would prefer to use something I could do completely.

I admit I did edit the Art Linkletter intro a bit, although I didn't add anything that wasn't already there. I just tightened it up a little to make it a bit funnier. Of course the advice still holds true in part, but if there really was a nuclear disaster there would be a little more to worry about. And as the last big blackout showed, people wouldn't follow this advice anyways.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Blue Hot Gossip Comedy Show 17

A little late but here it is:

It's been a little while since the last regular episode. I did take a break for a couple months but as I was going to get back to it I caught a cold which lasted about a month. And as I was getting over that one, I got hit with another one that took a month to recover from. They weren't bad colds, but they made it difficult to do voices. This episode isn't the one I was initially planning on doing (the one for Count Cordova mentioned previously), but I just wanted to get one out. I've got a general idea and some music for the next few episodes, so they shouldn't take as long to come out.

I've also passed the million download mark for all my podcasts collectively, most of it being from Podcast Ping, and the vast majority of it from torrentcasting. Podcast Ping has been around longer and has more episodes, although this podcast does much better on a per episode basis. Blue Hot Gossip does have the highest download for a single episode at over 57,000 downloads. The least downloaded episode of Blue Hot Gossip, excluding today's, has over 3,700 downloads. The average is about 17,000 downloads per episode.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Blue Hot Gossip Comedy Show 16 - Twilight of the New Moon

This show is a little different. It's mainly just music.

I figured it's about time to get back to these but I'm getting over a cold and my voice isn't quite up to it. So I decided to just do a mainly music show. It's probably just as well because the next one I planned to do would probably have little to no music in it. I really would like to do reasonably long episode with just the characters talking. But I've still to write a script for it.

I've also been looking at material to present on Podcast Ping. I would like to start with a few short stories before getting into a proper audio book. I have one short story which I think I'll use, and I have a number of others I could use.

Although based upon how things are going so far this year I may not get around to a proper audio book until next year. I do plan on doing another 13 Days of Halloween this year, although I'll release them as Blue Hot Gossip episodes, but I'm likely to start working on them in August. So I may not have the time to get into a podiobook until next year. But since I don't plan on doing a Christmas calendar again this year, even though I will probably do a Christmas episode for Blue Hot Gossip, I won't be taking a long break after Christmas and I should be able to start into a podio book early next year, if I wait that long.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Blue Hot Gossip Comedy Show 15 - 2 Year Anniversary

This show celebrates the second anniversary of the Blue Hot Gossip Comedy Show.

Although Blue Hot Gossip really started about a month before with The Gossip News, this anniversary is for the comedy show which has pretty much taken over. I didn't bother with the first anniversary because at the time I only had about six episode done and I wasn't certain that I would be continuing the podcast.

I didn't plan on putting five songs into this episode. I initially wrote the script to allow for three songs but after recording it I realized it would be better to allow for the additional breaks. Although the script really worked out to about the same size. It just came out as shorter segments.

I was thinking the anniversary was in February, but that was more for the restructuring of the show. Most of the work on the show I've done in the past year. After the marathon last year I was going to take January off from podcasting but I wanted to get the show out on it's actual anniversary. However, I probably won't do one for February and March will have to wait and see.

I would like to get more comedy into the show and it takes time and inspiration to write scripts. The availability of decent comedy music also limits the show to a monthly show at most. Without The FuMP I probably wouldn't have even continued the show past the first year, although I really want to expand beyond just that source.

You'll also notice that I removed the Podcast Pickle player from the website. I did it when I thought that Podcast Pickle would be completely shutting down. Depending upon how things go with the site I may add it or another player back, although I don't know if anyone actually uses it.