I am back home (with the con crud boooo) after a whirlwind of a weekend in Birmingham for PodUK!
PodUK last year – its first year – was a very special event for me. I went there as a fan, it was the first time I’d met any podcasters from anywhere, and also friends who I’d got to know through podcast fandoms – mostly through the We Fix Space Junk Discord server – and it was an absolute turning point for me in becoming a podcast creator. At PodUK last year, I’d had an idea that had been going round in my head for a potential fiction podcast for about three weeks, and I came back home with the confidence and inspiration to not only start to write my show, but to audition as a voice actor for other fiction podcasts. When PodUK 2020 was announced back in May last year (I couldn’t believe it was that far back when I saw the date of when I bought my ticket!) I was determined – at least one episode of my podcast would be released by then. On the morning of PodUK 2020, episode 2 of Seren was released.
As well as attending the event as a creator, I was also part of the fantastic Podcasters Promenade! Karin, the creator of Y2K had organised a table for her show, and asked if any cast members would like to join her. So I was there representing Seren, Maddy had The Prickwillow Papers, and Kirsty had her upcoming show Arrivals. Holding the fort were also friends Kathi (who will also be appearing in Seren!) and Steph from Austria. My schedule was very packed, and I’m sorry that I couldn’t spend any more time at the table, but everyone did such an awesome job, and it was such an incredible feeling seeing folks at panels or workshops with one of my badges! Seren was also one of the podcasts featured in the UK audio fiction flyer, which was honestly one of the achievements I’m most proud of in my entire life. It was such an emotional moment when I picked up a flyer and saw my logo!
I was constantly in and out of panels, workshops, and shows all day! I’m a huge fan of King Falls AM, it’s a show that got me through a pretty miserable few months almost two years ago, and I didn’t want to miss out on any of their events. In the morning they held a From Script to Air Workshop, detailing the process they go through from the initial outline of an episode to the finished product. There was quite a surreal moment at the beginning, when the lads asked if anyone had a podcast – the only ones to put our hands up were me and Karin, right in the back of the room! For folks who were thinking of creating a podcast, it was a really useful workshop. I always find how other creators put their shows together really interesting, and King Falls AM is a completely different beast to what I’m doing! I’ve only ever recorded remotely for other shows, and my cast recorded remotely for Seren, so I really enjoyed hearing clips of audio from recording sessions with the entire cast of the show in one room, and seeing the development of that raw audio to the finished episode. In the afternoon there was the Voice Acting with King Falls AM panel, which I found really useful. I don’t have any prior background in acting, so listening to Noah talking about his experiences was really interesting and really helpful. I was also fascinated at how Trent switched from one character to another so effortlessly!
Another workshop I went to was Ella Watts’ Pitching Your Podcast. I’m years off potentially pitching anything to anyone, but I was really keen on the opportunity to learn more about the industry from one of the most knowledgeable people in the indie fiction podcasting scene. Ella’s enthusiasm is contagious, and it made for a really interesting session. As she did last year, she also hosted the Audio Drama Panel in the afternoon, which featured some of the biggest names in audio fiction from all over the world – Kyle and Eric from King Falls AM, KC Wayland from We’re Alive, our table’s own Maddy, Maxamillian John from Definitely Human, and Rusty Quill’s Alex Newall. I was especially glad to see Maddy as a late addition, not only as the only woman on the panel, but also as a solo creator. One of the highlights was Maxamillian casually dropping the return of MarsCorp this summer, much to the amazement of the room!
By late afternoon, I was definitely starting to feel drained, and I was looking forward to sitting in the auditorium for a couple of hours. The Amelia Project is such a delight, and their live show was hilarious! The last event of the day for me was King Falls AM’s Beyond The Falls 2, which was wonderful. I loved seeing the interaction between the guys and the fans, the jokes, the banter, and the incredible improv skills!
After such a busy day, the pub sounded like an extremely good idea. When we arrived upstairs, I was greeted by Karim Kronfli proclaiming, ‘from fan to creator in a year!’, and slightly stunned, I did a mock bow and laughed. The peach cider they had went down very well, and it was great to have a chance to unwind. After releasing episode 2 that morning, I’d been obsessively checking my stats all day, and when I was on my second pint I refreshed them to find that I’d hit exactly 2,000 total listens. I couldn’t believe it. I was in the pub after PodUK, the event that started everything the previous year, and my little podcast had hit 2,000 listens. It felt like everything had come together in the most beautiful way.
It was so lovely seeing so many folks again at PodUK, and meeting others for the first time. The team behind the event have created something truly wonderful, something that means so much to so many people. Not only is it a day full of activities and shows, it’s a chance for the community to come together. I loved being able to be unashamedly enthusiastic about the shows I love, to talk to people who love the same things and understand where I’m coming from. It’s such a beautiful feeling.
Thank you so much to everyone who made PodUK possible. Thank you to everyone who stopped by the table and got some merch, to everyone who said they listened to my show, to Karin for organising the table and the lovely gifts, to Karim for being a rockstar, to Ella and Beth for the UK audio fiction flyers, and to everyone who made the whole weekend so amazing. It was my first podcast event as a creator, and I came home so proud of what I’ve achieved. This community is a wonderful thing, and I’m so proud to be a part of it!