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Episode 3.3 — Concept & Content: Day 3


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#1 Earwolf Admin

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 11:01 PM

It's elimination time again, and it isn't getting any easier to say goodbye. Matt, Jesse, and Paul have chosen the three weakest submissions and will ultimately say goodbye to their least favorite. Be sure to let us know on Facebook and the Earwolf Forums what you think of the eight remaining contestants.



#2 Cody Nelson

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 01:23 AM

I'm loving this podcast quite a bit, but I have a gripe. Most of the complaints for Television Zombies were aimed towards the fact that the audio production didn't sound very great. How is that relevant when the competition topic for this week was 'Concept & Content?'

Also, good call on telling Brett (Brent?) off this soon in. If he wants to last at all in this competition, he needs to know he can't bite back at every little piece of criticism, and also he should know better than to attack the one thing that could potentially make him bigger. I want to start listening to Ham Radio, but honestly, if there's anything else like that, I don't really feel the need to. It's in poor taste, and I simply don't find it funny.

Finally, sad to see TCGTE go (Been following since their first episode), but I understand and appreciate where the elimination came from. They have too much of a tendency to go on tangents, and while their stream-of-consciousness material is truly, truly hilarious, it doesn't correlate with the title of the show, and listening to more of it beforehand would've only given you more reason to eliminate them this round.

Great 2nd week, excited to see what the next challenge is!



#3 Gym Sockerman

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 02:44 AM

I'd have to share Cody's concerns about calling people out on audio quality during the content section.
And personal distaste aside, it was upsetting to hear Jesse take swipes at the contestants (Aww, I think you're going to win. Was that too much?) To be fair, there was some valueable advice that he offered, but you can definitely hear all three contestants shut down after recieving advice from Jesse. Maybe it's just something in his tone.
I really don't want this challenge to have a Simon character.
If I'm alone in feeling this, I'll graciously bow out, but the negativity I get from him just really didn't play for me.

Other than than gripe, I've loved this week. Matt Besser and Paul F Tompkins are geniuses and having them on the same show was a spectacular treat.



#4 Naylor

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 05:53 AM

I didn't get that sense from Jesse, he seemed polite enough to me.

Got to say how weird this must be a contestant. Maybe they've talked to some of these people, but imagine being a fan of Besser, Tompkins, and Jesse, then getting a call from them to tell you what's wrong with your podcast.

To be fair to Brett, I do think the criticism of his bit, seemed a little more personal than the other contestants, but then I guess it would be since he's doing a solo podcast. Also as much the ability to take notes is important, I do think it's important that anyone in a creative position is able to stick by their convictions about a piece even when others are telling you something isn't a good idea. On this occasion though he probably did need to be a little more humble and gracious in the face of criticism.



#5 Brendan1326657706

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 05:59 AM

@Gym Sockerman, I felt the same way regarding Jesse Thorn.



#6 Jeff MacDonald

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 06:24 AM

I didn't think Jesse was as mean as people are saying. The comment of "I think you're going to win" was simply just funny, and if hosts of a comedy podcast can't take a joke, then maybe they should look into a different sort of ambition.

Also I wanted to comment on giving the TVZ podcast guff about their audio quality. I do think it is somewhat unfair to judge them on that for the content submission, but if they didn't put them in the bottom three, then they wouldn't have been able to give them the constructive criticism on their audio quality that will definitely effect their chances when a production challenge comes up later. I think putting them in the bottom actually helps them because it gives them more criticism to work with and improve upon. Also, as an aside, I'm a regular listener of TVZ and will be quite excited to see them improve and become the next earwolf podcast.

Lastly, I will be quite upset if the favorites of this challenge end up winning. Totally Laime and Little Dum Dum Club are definitely good podcasts, but it really feels like more of the same because they are both comedians interviewing comedians, which happens to be the same premise as most of the shows on earwolf.



#7 Caroline Anderson

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 07:06 AM

I'd compare judging sound quality in this challenge to judging an outfit on Project Runway based on a big stain. If the stain is big enough, nobody will notice the garment. It's the first thing that draws your eye and needs to be fixed. Plus, it might demonstrate carelessness on the part of the designer which is symptomatic of a larger problem.

I only watched one season of Project Runway, so I'm not sure why I chose that analogy.



#8 Rutabaga

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 07:44 AM

This week had tons of great advice. Jesse’s suggestion of taping individual tracks and then mixing them later sounds like an amazingly simple and good idea that I’d bet a lot of podcasters just never thought of or are too lazy to do. Everyone has a threshold for how bad the audio can be before they turn off a podcast. It will be interesting to see which of the skype based podcasts take his advice to heart and which don’t. If next week TVZ and F+ have almost perfect audio quality, I’ll give them a lot of extra points for effort.

I thought The Hammer’s push back on the criticism was going to get him dismissed this week, but it will be much more interesting to see how he deals with it in the long run. I think he has actually missed the mark the most on the two challenges. Not to say that his performance was bad, but that it seemed like he made huge mistakes that he is better than (though I have never listened to his show), so I look forward to seeing how he does in the other challenges.

Also, I can sort of see the backlash against Totally Laime for being too much of a frontrunner already without being a huge stylistic leap forward for Earwolf, but that two minute clip made me want to listen to that show way more than any other. They have played the game perfectly so far, and it is probably because their show is very good.

All in all I am really enjoying the Earwolf Challenge.



#9 andyradicalpossumtackler

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 07:46 AM

This is turning into a really interesting competition, although I wonder what other themes they'll have for upcoming challenges. But the one podcast that I find unappealing right now is the F Plus. It's an inherently judgmental premise that could turn mean spirited in a hurry. Why do these guys get to decide what's normal? Are hand fetishists hurting anyone? I guess a lot depends on the execution and I'd have to hear more to fully get what they're going for, but it just feels like negative vibe.



#10 Robert Strawsburg

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 08:20 AM

I was really surprised that The Completely Guide to Everything got kicked. After 2 really long sessions of talking to Ham Radio, with a lot of criticism that the other shows haven't received, it seemed like he would go. I recently said in another post how I thought the drama of reality television was missing from this but today that might have changed. I haven't enjoyed Ham Radios pieces at all so far and it almost seemed like he was kept on today as some sort of trouble maker that might cause some more tension.



#11 Ll Cooljay

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 08:25 AM

Very sad to see TCGTE leave! I know that PFT, JT & MB are role models to those guys and it's gotta sting to hear them say that they are not funny or interesting. They were the only reason I decided to listen to this challenge and I expected them to go farther. I'm not a fan of reality shows and I think its pretty obvious that Totally Lame is going to win, so I am going to stop listening now.



#12 Julia Hays

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 08:42 AM

I respectfully disagree with the comments that Jesse Thorn was a 'harsh' judge. I thought both he and Paul offered great, sincere feedback in the most delicate way possible. I appreciate that The Earwolf Challenge is clearly invested in offering positive, constructive criticism and support to the contestants, rather than turning this into a product with a sole purpose of drama, like many reality show programs seem to do.
Though it is true that this week's challenge was content, I think it was just that The Television Zombies were informed of their sound quality issues. The sound quality was so poor in the clip that I found it distracting, but I think the feedback from the judges may help them alleviate that problem in the future.
This was my favorite week of The Earwolf Challenge so far. I haven't tried to listen to all of the contestants' podcasts yet (that would be rather time consuming for the layman), so this challenge was the most that I've heard of each podcast. Basing an opinion on personalities and theme songs is fine, but I really got a sense of each contestant this week. I'm looking forward to next week's challenge and learning a bit more about each of the podcasts and contestants.



#13 Chris Piers

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 08:57 AM

For whatever it's worth, I appreciated the judge's criticism on sound quality (this is Chris from Television Zombies). We went out and upgraded our equipment. Will we be able to learn how to use it and improve fast enough? I don't know. But I found it helpful.

It's interesting being in this competition with the weekly challenges. I feel more like I'm competing against myself and my own abilities than against other people. I sincerely enjoy many of the other contestant's shows and I am not hoping for anyone to fail. I think the guys on The Fort are very funny and I love the concepts of F Plus and Complete Guide to Everything. I'm very envious of the production quality on shows like Ham Radio and Left Handed Radio. The nature of the show is such that ultimately only 1 out of the 10 contestants will win so you can't get too precious with your own work.



#14 Chase Roper

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 09:52 AM

Kudos to Caroline for the Project Runway comparison.



#15 Jeff Ullrich

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 09:58 AM

Lots of things to discuss here...I disagree that Earwolf is all comedians interviewing each other (this is not a bias towards TL or LDDC). There is an interview element on CBB, SBC, WC, PB, GG but not on MD, Eardrop, AN, TAS, HDTGM or The Challenge. Even shows that have interview segments, those are not "Interview" shows. They integrate other comedians on topics like sports and science. So I guess I don't feel like a pure interview show overlaps with our other content.

Regarding Jesse, I didn't sense that and I personally feel like the value of this show, at the end of the day, is that the best podcasters in the world are giving sincere and productive advice for anyone to learn from. Years from now, this show may be part of the study material in how to construct podcasts, radio or even sitcoms.

Finally, regarding the audio quality problem, I agree with the judges. Earwolf maintains a pretty high quality for our shows and since whoever wins will be submitting their shows rather than having us produce them, we need to make sure they can deliver to our standards (not that I ever discussed this with the judges, I haven't spoken to any of the judges about the show). Think of it this way, you can be the best chef in the world, but if you can't get the stove to work, no one will eat your food.

I'm really glad that everyone seems to be enjoying this show, I hope it continues to excite and entertain!



#16 Joel Mandelkorn

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 11:06 AM

I'm enjoying this thread's feedback getting a little passionate! Just like a proper reality show thread should be. Okay - I'm being slightly obnoxious. The feedback on the show online and the show itself is doing a remarkable job balancing the entertaining nature of the reality competition format (fan favorites and contestant critiques, some judge-contestant exchanges and the awkwardness of the competition/eliminations) with the really groundbreaking podcast critique format. Quite a feat. Looking forward to the coming weeks.



#17 JW Buchanan

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 11:35 AM

Was The Complete Guide to Everything's "Mini Bigfoot Butler" bit too close to Paul F. Tompkins' famous "Mini Bear" routine? Maybe! I'm sorry to see them go-- I feel like they and the F Plus have had the hardest time communicating what their show is through short clips. Oh, the vagaries of the reality competition format!



#18 Bucho

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 11:36 AM

Caroline's explanation of the relevance of sound issues was dead on and I'm stoked that TVZ Chris has stepped up to the plate and embraced that constructive criticism. Sound quality is fundamental to audio entertainment and delivering a podcast show with crappy sound is like delivering a TV show with out-of-focus video or a piano recital on an untuned instrument. It's unreasonable to expect the judges to simply ignore the primary element of the medium when that element goes some way to obscuring what they've been brought in to judge.



#19 Bucho

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 11:42 AM

Yeah, good call JW. I've heard Myq Kaplan talk about stand-up contests in a similar way, where a joke guy like him has an advantage over comics who deal in longer form bits because contests start out requiring very short sets. I guess podcasting is the same, in that some shows naturally fit into being able to carve out a two minute section of punchy content while other shows, even if they may actually be more entertaining over the length of a full show, will suffer because of contest format and not because of talent. Then again, I wouldn't change anything about the format of The Challenge, I think they've got it about right and it's entertaining the way it is.



#20 Brendan1326657706

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 12:10 PM

I don't remember ever having heard PFT's "Mini Bear" routine; I'm sure it's excellent.

. . . JW Buchanan from Little Friends of Printmaking, however, I've heard of.