One of the things that I think set The Independent Characters apart from many other shows is that we planned well in advance what we were going to be talking about. This allowed us to prepare for shows that required intensive research well in advance. We never really set ourselves out as the ones trying to be "First" with a story. We would have much rather done a story very well, than be the first one out of the gate. There are only so many people who can be the first ones to break a story to the public. This was never our intention.
It's a marathon, not a sprint.
We have Zach to thank for the idea of putting all of these ideas in one place and then slotting them into specific episodes. In fact many of the ideas for our shows were developed from a massive "brain dump" he did at one point. It was his genius idea to schedule things this way and we carried it on after he left. In retrospect, it makes perfect sense. Being the project manager, I really should have thought of it myself!
We didn't try to be "first" out with a story, we did not really want to cover what everyone else was. Hence our position on "no codex overviews". I like to refer to the time when 5th edition the Necron Codex dropped. The article that used to run on Bell of Lost Souls that week referenced the word "Necron" something like 32 times as every other show scrambled to cover it. I think our show that week was on Imperial Armour Three...
One approach we used was to tell people what the next shows topic was going to be, nearly two weeks in advance of the show releasing. We would announce this on our Facebook page and even include a banner showing who the hosts were going to be for the upcoming show. This got people excited about what was coming up, but additionally it allowed us to put our "stake in the ground" so to speak. It let other shows know what we were going to cover (if they were looking).
It may sound a bit conceited, but I felt very comfortable going head to head with any show out there on a topic of my choosing. What I mean by that is, if we chose the topic, we knew we were going to give it 100%. There were topics we absolutely shied away from, because they weren't our forte. For example: We would have never done a show on the topic of "How to win a GT". That would have been a disaster... though now that I think about it, if I WERE going to do a show like that, I would involve multiple GT winners and pick their brains on-air about how they go about preparing, what their backgrounds are, philosophies on list building, tournament preparation, the list goes on and on. So maybe we SHOULD have done that episode!
Back to my point...
Early on we created a private area of our message boards, accessible only to the IC Staff, where we discuss show topics, ideas, plans, etc. In this area is where we kept, what I considered our "Holy Grail" of Podcasting; the list of upcoming show topics.
Now that the show is shut down, I figured I would share what remains of this list with the general public as I think people might find it interesting, but also other shows may decide to run with some of the ideas. Keep in mind that the ideas are approachable from MANY different ways. I think this was one of our strengths. We would look at each subject from many angles. Often we would talk about what approach we should take well in advance of the actual show recording itself.
So here it is. What could have been. And maybe, what will be at someone elses hand...
Episode 128 - Sanctus Reach Campaign (IA type coverage of this supplement)
Episode 129 - Conflict in Gaming Groups
Episode 130 - Inquisitor
Episode 131 - Shield of Baal Campaign (IA type coverage of this supplement)
Episode 132 - Rogue Trader RPG
Episode 133 - Black Crusade RPG
Episode XX - Only War RPG
Episode XX - Epic Armageddon 40K
Episode XX - Show of Force: Hammer of The Emperor (Astra Militarum)
Episode XX - Show of Force: The Waaagh! (Orks)
Episode XX - Show of Force: Knight Titans (Needs name)
Episode XX - Show of Force: The Great Devourer (Tyranids)
Episode XX - Show of Force: (Dark Eldar)
Episode XX - Show of Force: (Space Wolves)
Episode XX - Show of Force: (Grey Knights)
Episode XX - Introducing Warhammer 40k (Explaining how to get into the game to potential Players)
As you can see that is about six episodes remaining that were already slotted into a schedule. The rest of the list there are items we were going to get to, but had not been scheduled yet.
About once or twice a year, we would sit around and brainstorm topics for upcoming shows. Some of these topics would be full on episodes, while others weren't quite large enough for that and were relegated to smaller segments.
The other problem, as you can probably guess, is that some episodes required a tremendous amount of work up front. Imperial Armour coverage, Show of Force episodes, etc. Those two stand out in my mind specifically because the Imperial Armour coverage requires a tremendous amount of reading and analysis. The Show of Force episodes not only required a lot of reading and research, but also finding specific guests as well as the self-imposed requirement of having actually played at least one game with the army in question!
So to deal with that, we would typically mix shows into the schedule that required a lot of prep work, with shows that required less so. Shows that were more opinion based (From Diapers to Dicebags, Cheating on your Spouse with 40k, What would I do if I ran GW) took much less time to prepare for and so mixing them in was very helpful.
Since we knew we were ending the show, I didn't do a recent brainstorm, so you can see a lot of the remaining topics here are of the "heavy research" variety.
Anyway - have at them those of you in the Podcasting world. I wish you all the best, and I will be listening...