Reflections

PodUK 2020 – Birmingham

 “PodUK is a fun one-day celebration of the UK podcasting fandom scene, held in Birmingham. Live recordings, cosplay, meet n’ greets and more!”

– @teampoduk on Twitter

On 1st February 2020 I had the pleasure of attending my very first convention-type event. Not just in terms of Podcasts but in terms of anything, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I should say that I enjoy many different podcasts however, I can’t say that I’m an avid listener. Although when I do listen I always thoroughly enjoy it. 

I travelled to Birmingham by train with a friend. She’s a long-time listener of a podcast called King Falls AM and introduced it to me. I am only on episode 58 (out of 100). However, when she asked if I’d be interested in going to PodUK I readily agreed.

Three train rides, an overnight stay at a hotel and one taxi on the day, we arrived at Millennium Point.

We stayed at the Premier Inn near New Street Station. I want to say that the staff were so lovely and helpful, the on site restaurant had a variety of different options and the food was honestly delicious. 

First and foremost I should say that there were so many different people there for so many different podcasts. They had stalls set up, you could purchase items but you could also chat with people about their podcasts if something peaked your interest. They also had events running throughout the day including live recordings in the auditorium, workshops and panels.

One of the first things we did upon arrival was look around the stalls. My friend, who has attended conventions before, was amazed by how you got to actually meet the people and actors who create and bring the shows to life at these stalls. I also noticed that they would walk around and have conversations with people throughout the event.

The People’s Polygraph Live

“A podcast featuring a Brit and an Aussie as they try to take each other on in a game of facts and lies!”

– @PplsPolygraph on Twitter

The first event we attended was in the auditorium. The People’s Polygraph hosted by two women, Anna and Jazzy. It was so much fun. It was a live recording of one of their shows. They handed out kazoos for the audience to get involved which made it all the more entertaining. First they did a round of Live Guess Who. One person volunteered from the audience, who the audience and one of the hosts could see. The other host disappeared so as not to know who had been chosen.

Then the audience were asked random questions such as “Does this person seem like a coffee over tea drinker?” When the audience answered no, the host had all the people who seemed like coffee drinkers sit down. A guessing game completely, for the audience and the hosts. She had only two people left standing before making a fatal error. The game was lost, but onto the next one.

Again, this game required some audience participation. Everyone used their kazoos for a condensed game of Trivial Pursuit. Random facts were thrown out in relation to a category (such as Geography, History, Art and Literature, Entertainment etc.) and we had to guess whether this “Fact” was indeed a fact or if it was fiction.

Again, it was so much fun and interactive. The two hosts were fantastic and lovely, it was a great way to start the day.

From Script to Air: A King Falls AM Workshop

“King Falls AM centres on a lonely little mountain town’s late-night AM talk radio show and its paranormal, peculiar happenings and inhabitants.”

– audioboom.com/channel/kingfallsam (@KingFallsAM on Twitter)

When we arrived my friend and I knew we hadn’t managed to get tickets for the workshops or panels. These weren’t tickets you purchased, I think it had more to do with capacity of the rooms. However, on the day my friend was told that there were queues set up for those who hadn’t gotten tickets and if there was still space after the ticket holders went in we could attend as well.

So, we decided to try and it turns out there was space for us and two other fans as well.

I absolutely loved this workshop. The creators of King Falls AM, Kyle Brown and Eric Kimelton, led the workshop along with Noah James and Trent Shumway. They talked about how to take an idea, put the work in and finally have something ready for listeners. 

From idea to outline to writing the script. Then setting up a space to ensure the best quality sound before it even hits an editing software. The voice actors all contributed detailing their different ways of working and when they like to see the script. How at times while recording if something doesn’t work or if they feel like they can do better they’ll make additions or changes, or run through the whole thing again. They talked about effects they use and where to find them and different equipment you could use, especially if you’re just starting out. They went through samples of their work from the raw file, to a dialogue cut to the final edit the listeners hear. 

What was also amazing to see was the passion you could see they all had for the show and their work. Whether it be the writing, the acting or the production, they all had a passion for what they were talking about. It was infectious. 

Voice Acting with King Falls AM

After the workshop we went for lunch and spent some time walking around stalls before we once again found ourselves back in that non-ticket holder queue to attend the Voice Acting with King Falls AM panel. 

There were more people interested in this one, but the room was also bigger and all of us were allowed in to watch it.

This panel also featured Kyle Brown, Eric Kimelton, Noah James and Trent Shumway. 

Again, this was so much fun and so inspiring. The cast of this podcast are naturally funny people and again, what came across the most was the passion for what they do and the creativity surrounding their work and their craft. They gave tips, shared stories and gave advice based on their experiences. 

Once again, it was a lot of fun and interesting. Whether you’re starting a podcast or not, a lot of what they said you could apply directly or indirectly to aspects of your own life. It’s got me thinking about my own creative endeavours (writing, blogging and BookTube to be precise). I’d be lying if I said the idea of a podcast had never crossed my mind, the issue was (and is) that I have no idea what I’d talk about or create for a podcast. To be honest, I still don’t know however, I’d also be lying if I said that yesterday hadn’t inspired me to perhaps think a little harder. 

The Official King Falls AM Meet & Greet

Once the panel was finished the people who had meet and greet tickets stayed in the room, and those without tickets were asked to wait outside for a moment to find out if we could attend afterwards.

While we were waiting outside two ladies had decided to leave and handed us their tickets.

This was a befuddling moment, to say the least however, we were grateful nonetheless.

We waited until near the last anyway. Neither of us had anything for them to sign as they’d signed our purchased scripts and posters earlier in the day when we bought them from their stall. But it was still fun to chat with each of them.

Amelia Project Live

“Amelia is a secret agency that fakes its clients’ deaths, then lets them reappear with a brand new identity!”

– @amelia_podcast (on Twitter)

Next we decided to go to the Amelia Project Live podcast in the auditorium. I’d never heard of this one before but I really enjoyed listening to the episode. 

This episode surrounded a couple about to be married in six hours and evidently loathed each other. It was fun to listen to, the dialogue was very funny and I’m intrigued to listen to more.

King Falls AM: Beyond the Falls 2

“Come listen & meet Kyle, Eric, Thee Noah James, Trent as they talk behind the scenes King Falls AM stories, do a live Lipton Lightening Round and take questions LIVE from the audience!”

– kingfallsam.com/poduk/poduk-2020-general-admission-ticket

Our final event of the day, we went to King Falls AM: Beyond the Falls 2.

It all kicked off with an introduction and a Lipton Lightning Round. As a fairly new listener I had no idea what this was but it was extremely entertaining. The audience seemed to start doing a beat all on their own and then Noah James asked his three co-stars questions, after which they asked him one.

Part of me is still puzzled by the whole thing, but I found it incredibly amusing and I loved it.

They decided to do a bit of improv with the audience. The audience would choose a caller and a reason for calling, with which they would try and create a scene voicing those characters. It was absolutely fantastic.

They also answered a bunch of questions from the audience. As I’ve mentioned before the cast are all naturally funny people and so the answers were not only thoughtful but enjoyable as well.

Not long after that our taxi arrived to take us back to the hotel.

Reflection

The whole day was absolutely fantastic. I got to meet so many different people and hear so many different stories. I don’t know what was happening behind the scenes but from my perspective the entire event ran seamlessly. Everyone was so lovely, from the organisers to the content creators to the fans who attended. 

The whole day was so much fun and incredibly inspiring. 

I said at the beginning that while I enjoy many different podcasts I’m not an avid listener, after yesterday that may change. 

I found out that this event ran in 2019 as well. If they decide to run this again next year then Bring On PodUK2021 because I can hardly wait!

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