LOS ANGELES PODCAST FESTIVAL
When: 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sept. 23 and noon to 1 a.m. Sept. 24 and 25.
Where: Sofitel Hotel, 8555 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles.
For many, internet podcasts have replaced the warm glow of the radio on dark nights.
Chris Mancini of the podcast Comedy Film Nerds explains that there are several elements contributing to the growing popularity of the online chatfests, including the fact that listeners set their own schedule to listen. As well, podcasters offer conversations that are often untouched by editors or other influences, unlike the kind of talk heard on radio or television. The commentary is unfiltered, which can make it seem like you’re listening in on a conversation.
“There’s almost a voyeuristic element about hearing friends joke around and talk about the things that you’re interested in, so for that very reason it becomes a more personal listening experience and I think that’s part of the appeal,” Mancini said.
A convention and a party
Mancini, along with Comedy Film Nerds cofounder Graham Elwood and Dave Anthony of The Dollop, are producing the Los Angeles Podcast Festival at the Sofitel Hotel in Beverly Hills Sept. 23-25. Part convention, part party, the event was founded in 2012 as an opportunity for podcasters and fans to meet.
“We wanted to set up LA Podcast Fest as a combination of Comic-Con, a comedy festival and a film festival,” Mancini said. “We wanted to take the best parts of each of those things and put them together so the fans can have an amazing experience.”
At the festival, you can watch live podcasts, such as “Welcome to Night Vale,” “Rooster Teeth” and “Criminal,” bring your recording equipment and use the Podcast Lab, attend panels to learn how to do your own podcast or make it better and mingle with other fans and podcasters.
Todd Glass to attend the fest
Los Angeles comedian Todd Glass will be doing his podcast, “The Todd Glass Show,” live 7-8:30 p.m. Sept. 25. He will have special guests and a band.
“It’s like sleep-away camp for three days, and you get to see all these podcasters that you would not normally get to see,” Glass said. “It’s not even like a comedy festival where one show might be a mile away; it’s all condensed. You go from watching a show to walking 100 feet to watch another show. It’s really a lot of fun.”
Glass has been recording his podcast from his home weekly for the past five years. In the course of 2-3 hours, he spends some of the time discussing social issues, but his main focus is “bits, silliness, comedians playing.”
“Comedians act like 11th-graders, but now we can drink and smoke pot,” Glass said. “ Well, I guess they did too, but that’s what you do. My podcast is really just a playground for comedians.”
What makes a podcast good
The secret to a good podcast is spirit, Glass said.
“People tend to like passion,” he said. “Being passionate about what you’re social about, passionate about what you’re silly about, I think the podcasting let’s you do that.
“You write, you direct, you edit,” he added. “And when there’s mistakes, there’s mistakes, but when it’s good, it’s unbelievable.”
Mancini agrees, adding that enthusiasm for a subject is recognized and reciprocated by podcast listeners, and because the podcaster controls the show, the size of the audience doesn’t determine whether it stays on the internet.
Podcasts are still a relatively new medium and it’s spreading to a wide range of genres, including politics, tech, storytelling, gaming, true crime and sports. Mancini said listeners are diverse and tend to tune in to a variety of shows. The festival unites all these differences for three days of camaraderie.
“My favorite part of the festival is the sense of community,” Mancini said. “It always feels like a reunion. We’ve got fans that come every year, we’ve got new fans and we’ve got people that are so excited to be around other podcasters because it’s still a relatively small community when compared to other media. But when we all get together, it’s a very inclusive club.”
If you miss something at the Los Angeles Podcast Festival or cannot attend, it will be available on a pay-per-view live stream for 30 days after the event.
Glass recently taped the pilot for the new series, “Camping With Todd,” in the Angeles National Forest with comedians Eddie Pepitone, Jon Dore and Zach Galifianakis. You can watch it on Verizon’s www.go90.com. On Nov. 5 he will be taping a comedy special in Los Angeles.