Rockin’ Libsyn Podcasts: The Slumberland Podcast

You can create audio dramas and host them with Libsyn

This series is all about showcasing Libsyn podcasters. Its sole purpose is to introduce these awesome podcasts to the world as well as share their podcasting insight to empower the community!

Q & A with Tom Mansell from Slumberland

When did you start podcasting?

Three pivotal years for me: in 2006, a guy who I did video and audio projects with, started making great video and audio podcasts. (I sat back and just watched him crank em out.)

That year I bought a Zune (yes, a Zune – never had an iPod.)

For me, I never felt like listening to podcasts while tethered to my laptop. Audio podcasts apparently work best for me as a mobile entertainment. So when I got a Zune, I really started listening to and watching numerous podcasts starting in 2007.

Then in 2008, I took the leap and produced 5 episodes of a music mix podcast with my friend. It was fun, although short-lived. I work in audio / video production so I had the production part down, but it was fun to learn the basics of RSS and blogging, in connection with podcasting as a new medium.

From 2008–2013 I built up a lot of sound recordings and story ideas, not sure what to do with them. Last November I discovered the Night Vale podcast, and that really inspired me. It suddenly hit me: “I can create an audio drama podcast!!” The Slumberland podcast quickly took shape.

Why did you start podcasting?

I started Slumberland podcast because I’ve always enjoyed creating stories, recording nature and urban sounds, performing, and sound editing.

I just love how podcasting combines all of these activities into one project! I like the DIY aspect, the fantastic ability to self-publish, and the immediacy of the medium, thanks to the Internet and all the great work done by people who design the software and services that make podcasting work.

What’s your show about?

Slumberland is a fiction narrative…each episode is a short scene or a sketch, that moves the story along.

It’s the story of a man who arrives in a small town, a completely new environment to him. He’s been hired to record and produce the oral history of this town, so he needs to interview a bunch of people.

But he soon discovers, this island community is a place with a lot of peculiar things going on…it makes his job difficult but fascinating at the same time.

I’m very inspired by TV shows I’ve loved, like Twin Peaks and Lost, so I wanted to tell a story like that. It combines mystery, humor and paranormal as the main genres.

It uses a “found audio” approach to the narrative, kind of the style that Blair Witch Project used with visuals. You’re hearing everything as the main character captures it on his personal sound recorder. I feel this format works well, because I can perform as the main character as much as I want, and then find fun and creative people to perform as the people in this town, each of them getting interviewed, or showing up in some way. I also have a lot of fun changing my voice, so you’ll hear me keep popping up as different characters.

What’s your podcasting set-up? Hardware, software, CMS, etc.

I use a pretty minimal and mobile gear setup because it gives me the most flexibility to work on the show whenever I have a spare moment, regardless of where I am.

I often speak into the built-in omni microphones on my Roland R–05 recorder. I’ve been collecting sounds with Roland recorders since 2005…using the R–1 and R–09 models too…I love ‘em.

The sound portability is great, and the sound quality more than adequate for my show.

If a talent prefers to record in a studio setting, I’ll use a mounted AKG Perception mic. Sometimes a shotgun mic comes in handy to capture some location sounds.

I just try to find quiet rooms, with carpet and furniture to deaden the sound. Later on I mix in ambient sounds from collection, to create the illusion of a scene location. Honestly, I’ve discovered that my parked car is a pretty good sound booth!

I do think actual sound booths are great, but I’m glad I don’t have one because I’d hide in there too much! I enjoy the adventures that come with sort of…guerilla-style podcast producing in everyday places. I did buy a plastic tub and bed foam for the DIY sound booth project, maybe I’ll get that put together some weekend.

I transfer audio files onto my Surface tablet and edit in Adobe Audition. I’ve always loved that program, started using it when it was Cool Edit in 1995.

How have you promoted your podcast?

So far I’ve promoted my podcast via word of mouth to friends and also through some social media. That seems to generate moderate, hit-or-miss results of people finding the show.

If there’s a science to social media, I’m still learning it.

I’ve got the show on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud and other podcast directories. It’s fun figuring this out, and finding an audience. That’s part of the journey.

In real life, I actually don’t know too many people who listen to podcasts, but it’s great seeing podcasts move onto people’s radars, more and more…

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?

The first couple months when I started, I didn’t know much about Libsyn’s services…I’m sure glad Rob Greenlee recommended I check Libsyn out!

It’s so great having a hosting and network company with such awesome support, and one that is actively fostering a community around podcast creators, providing support, and tools that are useful for improving your product and connecting with other people committed to this medium.

How about a story? A story about a little town, where you get to dive into the art of audio? Then you do need to subscribe to Slumberland

If you got the bug to get creative with audio we are happy to support you! host your media with us!

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