The Ministry of Dice – Behind the Scenes

Ever wondered how Two British Dice Masters players put together a podcast? Yes? Well here’s the post for you.

The process of putting together an episode starts far in advance of us actually sitting down and recording it. Andy & I have a shared Google Drive that we store all our podcast related material, and in there we have a big spreadsheet where we jot down segment ideas and get them in a time table out across the upcoming episodes.

We Facebook message each other A LOT with our ideas to go into that schedule. So much so my Wife briefly thought I might have been having an affair. We’ll message back & forth for days around an idea – what should the segment include? What’s important to discuss? Is it scripted or freestyle? Can we add something funny to it? Eventually we’ll have it bottomed out & ready to “lay to tape”. We fluctuate from the sublime to the ridiculous, and every idea makes it onto our list to be recorded.

Onto the recording then. We get together every Wednesday night over Skype, and I use a free Skype recorder to capture the call. If you’re interested you can find it here:

We generally talk for somewhere between 2-3 hours, depending on how much last minute prep we need to talk through, as well as general chit chat & catching up (and the occasional webcam game here & there too) I record the entire conversation – just in case there’s a good bit of “post credits” material I can snatch. We’ve also jokingly said we’re going to do a Christmas special, where we’re going to use some of the funnier outtakes or include some of our bluer language moments. (Time to get the ‘Bleep’ stock sound out)

We record generic content, that is not affected by a particular moment in time, as and when, and we try to keep a few segments worth of stuff “in the can” lined up for future episodes. We generally keep topical content for the closest Wednesday to publishing the episode, just in case something comes along we wish to speak about in a timely manner. An example of this would be the now famous HXG section, which was recorded when the spoiler dropped and placed in the next nearest episode. (HXG BABY!)

I then start to piece the episode together. I use an app on my iPad called Hokusai to do this, and the first job is to tidy up the content. Largely, the pass at editing involves three considerations:

1. Is the segment too long and need shortening?

2. How bad have we been with our ‘Filler Words’?

3. How much repetition is there?

You can’t tell, but Andy is a prolific ditherer and I repeat myself. A lot. So the editing job can be a bit more time consuming than you might imagine sometimes. There has also been the very rare occasion where I’ve had to make an editorial decision over whether a bit of banter or a joke breaks even our standards of quality & decency. (Which, admittedly, is not the most stringent set of standards.)

Editing with Hokusai on my iPad is super convenient as it allows me to edit on the move – I do quite a bit of train travel with work so I can get my headphones in & crack on with cutting out Andy’s mega-ums & filler words. 😉

Then it’s onto the task of chunking it together, getting the theme tunes/dice transitions added, and picking an outtake from the stash for after ‘God Save the Queen’.

Simple!

we’ve had our challenges – we struggle with sound quality some times & my editing talent can leave a bit to be desired occasionally , but in the grand scheme of things I set myself little incremental improvements now & again to strive for.

So there we go – a little peek behind the counter to see how the sausage is made. Got a question? Maybe a suggestion? Let us know in the comments below…

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One response to “The Ministry of Dice – Behind the Scenes

  1. Think Les Dawson playing piano. He needed to be able to play it really well….before pretending that he could barely hold a tune. This podcast may sound like the shambolic musings of two grizzled dads. Make no mistake though: this must have taken endless hours of fine tuning and prep to achieve the improvisational rough-hewn tone we now have coming in our ears… Happy Christmas Glimmer Twins. Looking forward to the f#!ki%$ outtakes!!

    Liked by 1 person

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