Over the last few weeks, AussieTheatre’s Rebecca Grennan has been interviewing various exciting and artistic people in the Australian theatre industry to talk about life in the professional arts industry.
This week we feature an interview with Chicago native, Rich Baker, who is currently playing in the touring company of the famous Improvisation troupe, The Second City. The Second City has developed and fostered comedic talent such as Joan Rivers seen on Fashion Police, John Belushi and 30 Rock’s Tina Fey.
We are very lucky to be speaking to Rich about his podcast “Living The Dream”. Each week, he records and uploads episodes which feature interviews with people from different corners of the entertainment industry -actors, musicians, magicians and even hypnotists. The podcast is fun, funny, informative, and entertaining, as was my interview with him this week…
AussieTheatre: I know most people reading this may have heard of a pod cast but there are people out there who are thinking ‘podcast what?’ Can you simplify what a podcast is and where you can find one?
I think the vast majority of people don’t know what podcasts are.
Podcasts are generally free audio that you can just get, and it’s just like pirate radio was back in the 80’s but it’s legitimate and it’s free and there are podcast for whatever you’re into. There’s probably one about rhinoceroses (I haven’t looked that up)
The reason I started mine was every time I go home and I’m around people who aren’t in the entertainment world they always have a zillion questions about, how do you even be an actor for a living?
I thought you know what- our lives are interesting because they’re different and we’re in the minority and because we do what we did I thought I’m going to get other peoples stories and I’m 27 episodes in and it’s been a lot of fun.
iTunes is where they all are. There’s comedyodcastnetowrk.com too and there’s a bunch of comedy related podcasts. You can find my podcast on iTunes under “Living The Dream.”
It’s the easiest thing in the world. I started out with a simple 100-dollar mp3 player and the audio on the first episodes is not great, and you can literally do it with just that. I have since bought better equipment for about $500.
I use garage band, which came with my computer and I hired someone to write some music for intros and outro, which you don’t have to do. You can edit them however you like.
Podcasts are just one person saying and doing whatever they want to do such as monologues and sometimes it’s interview based. Sometimes it’s sketch comedy and sometimes its panel shows where 4 people are going to talk about sports every week or whatever.
After recording whatever it is you want to include, you can edit it using garage band or logic and then you upload it to the Internet.
Comedypodcastnetwork.com does it all for me. He puts it onto the Internet like magician!
AT: What Marketing Tools Do You Use To Let people know You’re out and about?
There are probably really good marketing ideas but I use Facebook. I have about 1800 friends on Facebook, (if I’ve met you once at a supermarket I’ll friend you), and the reason I do that is to market myself as an actor because ‘you never know!’ I have had the greatest luck with Facebook.
I also have a fan page on Facebook – Living the Dream Fan Page – and I put it on my own page. I have about 100 regular listeners at the moment.
AT: What things have you learnt about the how different people Live The Dream?
Most people need talent and luck. You’ve got to be super prepared have a bunch of songs and be ready and when luck hits you you’ve got to be ready for it. If you’re a comedian you need your tight 5, or if you’re an improviser you’ve got to know all the games.
AT: Hold on Rich, What is the ‘Tight 5’?
As a stand up comedian, (which I don’t do professionally) the tight 5 is the industry term for 5 min of material you can do for an audition. Say I’m a club owner and I say “Bex I’m interested in booking you, but I don’t know yet – so why don’t you do your tight 5 and I’ll judge you based on that”. You do your best kill ‘em-this is my comedy in 5min. Lots of people are cast on that – if you do any talk shows, you need to be ‘spot on’ on time, because it’s live TV.
AT What are the common stories of setbacks you’ve uncovered during your 27 interviews and how have people over come them?
The most common setback I hear is when people count themselves out.
There are many people from Chicago who want to be on Saturday Night Live (SNL) and they think, “Well, I can’t get Saturday Night Live” and count themselves out. But in reality, Saturday Night Live needs people – they don’t need a lot of people- but they need people and who’s to say that YOU can’t and this guy CAN? People need to believe in themselves more.
AT: How have these podcasts helped you in other aspects of your career?
They have helped me to get out of my social awkwardness. I have no problem approaching people now and asking for an interview. It’s also a networking thing – I met a cartoonist in Hawaii- and I don’t think I would’ve gone up to him otherwise, but because I had something to say- I asked him (for an interview) and he agreed. Most people, even people who are famous, I think, love to talk and they love to be interviewed.
AT: What are the plans with the Living The Dream Podcast? World domination or…?
I’m going to scorch the earth with this podcast. (Joke)
Nah I’m going to keep doing it until it’s not interesting for me to do anymore. I love listeners and I want to branch out and when I get back on land. I want to find people of different disciplines in entertainment for e.g. a talent agent who I can’t find on this ship. There are plans to interview a professional wrestler too.
AT: For those people who are sitting on a creative idea, what is the first step you would advise them to take to reach their goals?
I’m not a fan of just saying JUST DO IT – so take the first steps.
Buy a recording device and if you don’t have one and some editing software. If you want to be a standup go to an open mic night. If you want to be a singer buy sheet music.
Take the first steps and if you don’t know the first steps GOOGLE IT. Our parents had to go to the library and search for books, we can do it from our desks and it’s so much easier.