Friday, October 6

Ron Moore On Podcasting And Battlestar Galactica

Source; WebProNews

The ballroom was standing room only at the Podcast and Portable Media Expo, the crowd was electric waiting to hear from two of their idols; first TWiT host Leo Laporte, and topped off with the executive producer of Battlestar Galactica, Ron Moore, who would speak of being called a "podcasting pioneer," how it started and why he loves it.

Editor's Note: SciFi's Battlestar Galactica (Season Three Premieres Friday October 6) is one of the first television shows to actively embrace the podcasting medium, much to the delight of the show's ravenous fans. During an exclusive interview at the Portable Media Expo, BSG executive producer Ron Moore explained how podcasts allow an additional connection to those who follow the show. Do you feel other television and movie productions should embrace podcasting the way BSG has? Let us know in the WebProNews Video Blog.

Moore began his keynote address with surprise that he was asked to speak at the conference. "They said you're sort of a podcasting pioneer, like I have a digital coonskin cap," he said. Moore began podcasting about Battlestar in February of 2005, upon the request of the network, who called the idea "a stunt."

"I said what the hell is a podcast?" They explained it was like a radio broadcast you could download to an iPod or similar device and that they wanted to use it to promote the last five episodes. This is even better. You don't have to go into a studio, you can do it from your house."

Moore was sent a simple digital recorder, a recorder he (jokingly?) said he'd donate to the Podcast Museum. He approached it casually, he said, sitting in his leather chair, drinking scotch and smoking. "When I've done DVD commentary, there's scotch in the recording studio. I thought, I'm at home, I have scotch, smokes. They can't hear me smoking right? Turns out you can hear everything."

When the blogosphere and forum threads got hold of it, he said, Moore was criticized for his lack of professionalism and the audio quality. There would be a phone ringing, garbage trucks grinding outside, kids playing. He was cursing and drinking and smoking, which they said was a bad example for kids.

"I made a rule," said Moore, "podcasts are not for whiners. You have to be tough to listen to podcasts."

But the biggest objections came from the television industry - Moore was being too honest about the production process. He referred to an episode he'd done called "Black Market." Instead of a "PR thing," Moore felt his podcast should go beyond the press kit, to "see how the sausage is made."

"I wasn't fond of [Black Market]. I was disappointed in it. I thought it was really conventional television and I didn't see the point in trying to trick the audience...This show is so cliché, we've exploded the cliché."

He admitted that it was the script that was to blame, and as the head writer for the show, he had to take responsibility for that.

"At the end of the Black Market podcast, I said the only good part of the show was the ending."

For him, the podcast is the final part of producing the episode, a "way to put the show to bed."

"You can sum up the show, what it's about, what went wrong, what went right. It's all very fresh. DVD commentaries are made months or years after. With podcasts, it's still in the moment. You have no reaction before the audience sees it. It's real and natural."

Moore mused about how the Internet gives you a live response, a virtual test ground that goes beyond focus groups. His podcast gives him an opportunity to connect with fans in a very real way. And it gives them a real inside look at the whole process.

"I've recorded writers meetings. I've recorded in the car going to work. I've made threats to take it into production meetings and expose the production heads for the evil people they are."

The point of all this, he said, is that anyone can do this. It shows that you don't need polish or technical knowledge for podcasting. It's all about connections.

"I can never imagine having this kind of connection with my audience a couple of years ago."

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