Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
admin

Episode 3.3 — Concept & Content: Day 3

Recommended Posts

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.

Share this post


Link to post

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!

Share this post


Link to post

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.

Share this post


Link to post

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.

Share this post


Link to post

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.

Share this post


Link to post

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.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

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.

Share this post


Link to post

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.

Share this post


Link to post

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.

Share this post


Link to post

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.

Share this post


Link to post

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.

Share this post


Link to post

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.

Share this post


Link to post

Kudos to Caroline for the Project Runway comparison.

Share this post


Link to post

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!

Share this post


Link to post

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.

Share this post


Link to post

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!

Share this post


Link to post

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.

Share this post


Link to post

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.

Share this post


Link to post

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.

Share this post


Link to post

This episode boggles the mind. TVZ are simply technically incompetent up to this point, and they don't offer anything unique that hasn't been done before and been done better. Jesse, despite coming off as sounding a bit dickish at times, is absolutely correct when it comes to nice sci-fi podcasts. Spill.com's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen covers sci-fi TV news, episodes, and everything else, with a complete irreverence and - gasp - technical know-how. Not only that, they provide genuinely interesting interviews with everyone from MST3K's Mary Jo Pehl to martial arts stuntmen and local Austin youth filmmakers. I don't want to toot LEOG's horn too hard but they're everything TVZ wants to be but better put together, funnier, and more interesting. TVZ should have gone this week.

The Complete Guide was actually funny. They made me laugh in that two minute clip, and I've never heard anything else from them. Maybe they didn't set it up well enough, maybe their digs at each other weren't "charming" enough for PFT and Jesse. But wow, did the judges drop the ball by letting two inferior podcasts make it and The Guide get eliminated. How the hell does Besser get off giving someone a telling-to about how he "doesn't have the right" and then the judges eliminate someone else entirely. Good god.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

@Fanta - Finally, some controversy on the Forum! Thanks for letting us know what you think.

Share this post


Link to post

@Fanta S.: I don't completely agree with you, but I do feel like Television Zombies hold a huge advantage over the other competitors, which is that their subject matter is so far outside the judges' expertise that they mostly refrain from criticizing them. It may be more reasonable to judge them purely on the comedy aspect of their podcast or their ability to connect with the Earwolf audience at large (who may or may not be sci-fi diehards).

Share this post


Link to post

As disappointing as this must have been for Tim & Tom, it might actually be better for "The Complete Guide To Everything" that they're out this early. In hindsight, their particular podcast had little to gain, and much to lose. It seemed Matt Besser was not prepared to accept that the title & tag line of the show were simple conceits; this was obviously a sticking point which would not have resolved itself even if given more time.

Sure, it would have been nice for TCGTE to gain potential new listeners by being a part of Earwolf, but that being said, they are already doing well independently. "The Earwolf Challenge" undoubtedly gave them some valuable peer feedback, but I don't think it would have been advisable for them to chance alienating their existing fans by greatly altering a format which has worked thus far, just to meet the demands of this competition.

Hopefully the winner of the Earwolf Challenge both deserves the victory, and finds an audience suited to their specific voice.

As for TCGTE, I'll be going to their live show in NYC, at The PIT on 8/4, and if you live around the New York area, you should too. http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/182995

Share this post


Link to post

@JW, I think you may be right about TVZ being outside the judges' expertise. Laid back, informal podcast chat about geeky shows, movies, books, etc. is probably not what they tend to listen to. So maybe they found TVZ to be interestingly niche? I don't know. It's NOT that niche, though, and Jesse called it as such. Maybe Tompkins' knowledge of geeky podcasts extends to simply Nerdist and he doesn't listen to, or hasn't listened to, the wealth of TVZ-like content out there. Which is fine, he's got better shit to do. But there is absolutely nothing special about TVZ that I've heard so far. I know they're trying hard and I don't want to be deprecating considering how politely they've taken on board every criticism offered by the judges so far. But if they've been at this level for THREE YEARS, it's far behind casts like LEOG like I mentioned or others, and I think The Guide should have stuck around longer. They had a voice, TVZ doesn't. At least not that I've heard, or not that I think is appropriate for Earwolf.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×