On Friday, I took the train down to Brighton to visit John Ramm, knowing the resulting interview would be going out just three days later. This is the fastest I have ever turned around a completed episode, and the outcome bodes well for the future direction of the podcast…
Deciding that John’s interview would be turned around over the course of a very busy weekend was an experiment in moving towards a more responsive model for the podcast, one where I don’t hold on to interviews for a year or more (and occasionally lose them as a result). If I’m to make another series, I want things to evolve in way that not just holds your attention, but also keeps me interested. One direction I’ve already identified is towards a looser interview model, more conversational and less dependent on a list of questions that were mostly conceived of in advance of launching series one. Now this latest test has offered another possibility: that of interviewing actors and releasing the resulting episodes within a matter of days. But why would this be a good thing?
Well, firstly, it would allow the discussions to respond to changing conditions and events in the real world, to reflect on issues affecting the industry in real time. Secondly, the interviews would have an inherent seasonality, and I could experiment more with how I allow this to become a character of the completed episodes.
I haven’t decided where I might take things next, but I know that I want to grow and evolve the idea without losing the essence of what has made the podcast a success. By the time a third series comes about, it looks likely that we’ll have left London for the south coast, and that in itself will mean a need for a new approach. For a start, journeys back into town will be required. Do I make that commute part of the new narrative?
And so I found myself on a train to Brighton to reconnect with an old colleague, whom I hadn’t seen since we work together in the middle of last year, and who has been on my hit list ever since. It just never seems like a good idea to interview another actor while I’m working with them, or worse still, to select one from a company of many more. That said, there were several in that particular cast who would have made for excellent interviews, and at least one other who I’ll be meeting up wth very soon to record a brand new episode.
As I walked to John’s from the station, I wondered what three adjectives I’d use to describe him, and the first that came into my head – as I say in the interview – were: sensitive, empathetic and creative. John Ramm is an actor who is fearlessly playful in the rehearsal room, often contemplative in the green room, and has a grin that warms the dressing room after even the most difficult of audiences. I hope you enjoy listening to our chat, and that some of you get a chance to work with him too. Oh, and I should add that my singular regret on the one was not rolling the recorder earlier and stopping it later; some of the best conversations always seem to happen immediately before and after I press record. If I can work out how to solve that, series 3 will be a cracker!
Finally, before I go, a quick thank you to the listener who donated to my London marathon charity fundraising campaign after last episode’s appeal. So far, I have run 165 miles in training, and raised £136.20 for the Actors’ Children’s Trust. I have a long way to go, in every sense, before I’ll have reached my £1,500 target. If you want to contribute to the campaign, you can donate here. Every little helps.
Again, if you want to send some audio promoting your own marathon fundraising (please don’t record it when you’re running!), send a file – less than 30 seconds in length – to email@example.com
Hopefully I’ll hear from more of you soon…
P.S. You can connect on Runkeeper here.
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Recorded at his home in Brighton on 3rd February 2017. Running Time – 49:22.