In tomorrow's episode, I point listeners to this page to check out some more details on our next funding goal. So I guess I better write something up!
I'm a big believer in funding transparency with crowd-sourcing, so I want to lay out a few plans for you and invite feedback. If you're in to reading a bunch, carry on! If not, here's the TL;DR of what I plan to do with the next level of funding, if achieved.
- Cover funding deficit for the first part of the year
- Better mobile microphone setup
- Better studio microphone setup
- Enhanced web services (merchandising, hosting, website)
If you want more details, here we go!
(me, doing the finances of WeMartians)
First thing first - the $65 goal I set forward was calculated to cover all expenses for the podcast for 1 year. Because we're a third of the way through the year, but not every month was at that level, I have a bit of a deficit to cover (I've already made some payments this year). I've calculated it to about $76, after the May payment process which happened today (which knocked $7 off the deficit). That's the first priority to "truly" cover 2017's expenses.
Mobile Recording Setup
LPSC taught me a little about what I liked and didn't like about a mobile recording setup. Some of the lessons I learned
- It needs to be light
- It needs to be something guests don't need to shove their face all over to be heard
- It needs to be something I can activate quickly (I don't want to spend a lot of time digging through bags, plugging stuff in, or doing tests)
The current setup: AudioTechnica ATR2100-USB
This microphone was great because it blocked background noise from the conference really well, but it couldn't be less than about an inch from a guest's face. This made for some awkward interviews where it looked like I was plunging it in to their teeth. I was using it with a tablet, which was kind of awkward to plug in and hold while standing, and all together it was quite heavy so I had to carry a bag around with a lot of weight on it. Basically, it didn't meet a lot of my requirements.
Before I go to the next live event (planning ahead for next year) I'd like to replace it. I haven't decided what this is yet, but either something like this:
or a real simple lapel mic that I could use wirelessly. Both options would probably also require another recording device (like an iPod touch, iPhone, or some other processor). If any of you are audiophiles, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Studio Recording Setup
Today, I'm using a Blue Snowball mic with a pop filter installed. It's pretty good, to be honest, and I don't have a lot of complaints. It looks something like this:
It's really sensitive, so it gets a fullness to my voice that I really like, but it also picks up a lot of background noise. I can get most of it in post, but if you listen really closely, you can hear my cat screaming in another room on like, 90% of my episodes. It also picks up creaks in my chair or if I lean on the desk a little.
I'd like to set something up where I stand to record. It will uncompress my lungs which will help me breathe, and gets me away from chairs and desks. To do this, I'll need a couple pieces of hardware. My thoughts are to get a simple microphone stand that I can adjust, or a reflection filter shield:
(this girl is having a lot of fun and she probably sounds stellar because of that sweet shield)
Once again - if you're an audiophile, I would love to hear your thoughts!
This one is a little open ended, but I'll list a few of my thoughts. First - merchandise.
I'd love to be able to set up a shop for some merchandise. The problem is that these things are a little expensive to run. Some of the costs could be offset by profits from the sales but I would rather keep the prices down, to be honest. As I understand it after some cursory research, I'd need two major components:
1. An e-commerce platform that can transact for me
2. A merchandise supplier, preferably one that is print-to-order so I can avoid inventory management and shipping.
Couple challenges here: I'm not sure on the exact merch I'd want to set up, but I think I'd want it to be pretty diverse (not just T-Shirts). I like the idea of stickers, mission patches, and I'd really love to start making branded 3D glasses for viewing anaglyphs with (like seriously how cool would that be). It's hard to find merch supplier that will cover all that and print/ship everything. The other challenge is integration with my existing website, which is currently hosted by Weebly (But more on that below).
Some of these platforms can charge up to $25/month so I want to make a good decision. It will require more research, and maybe some per-requisite changes to web platforms (see below). Have any experience? I'd love to hear from you.
The podcast is currently hosted through SoundCloud, but I'm not happy with the customization options (zero) with the RSS feed XML. I'd like more control over what is spit out to iTunes and Stitcher. There are also no scheduled upload, so currently, when I release an episode, I have to get up early before work and go put the thing up at that exact moment so I can time it all. Plus, I can't get the code for the embedded player until I post, so I can't do the web post until the first part is done. Needless to say, posting an episode is labour-intensive right now. I renewed SoundCloud last month because I hadn't had time to research, which is ok because it was off-cycle with my website/email/domain, which comes up in December.
I started exploring new options and have not finished my research yet, but I noticed that there are some better integration options with something like blueberry/libsyn if I use it with a Wordpress site. It could make it easier to interact with e-commerce platforms, too. I'm a total newb with this stuff so I really have to research the options but it might be a better choice to scrap all the platforms I have and set up a nice new Wordpress site that I can automate everything with. My ultimate dream is to load everything for a new episode over the weekend, schedule it, and have it auto-fire Tuesday morning at launch, from upload, blog post, to social media sharing. This could include services like Zapier (an automation service) premium which could add fees.
These are my current ideas, but I will continue to research them while I make back the funding deficit from the beginning of the year. I would love to hear your thoughts, though. Do you have a good idea on what I could do with the extra funding that would come with a $150/month patron level? Drop your thoughts in the comments.
- Bonus interview content and occasional "Off the Cuff" monologue audio content
- Orbiter Level Social Media Badge to tell the world you support WeMartians!
- "Red Planet Review" weekly Mars news recap in your private audio RSS feed
- Lander Level Social Media Badge to tell the world you support WeMartians!
- Advance notice for live interviews
- Opportunity to submit questions to interviews and have them read on the show! You'l be a supporter and a contributor!
- Access to the Off-Nominal shared Discord Hangout to discuss Mars and space with other WeMartians and Main Engine Cut Off listeners
- Rover Level Social Media Badge to tell the world you support WeMartians!
- Handwritten thank-you card from Jake with WeMartians stickers
- A permanent 10% discount in the WeMartians store
- Station Level Social Media Badge to tell the world you support WeMartians!
- A permanent 15% discount in the WeMartians store
- Excursion Level Social Media Badge to tell the world you support WeMartians!
- A permanent 25% discount in the WeMartians store
- Base Level Social Media Badge to tell the world you support WeMartians!