Am I comparing my podcast to the original Star Wars trilogy? Yes.
So, following on from the previous blog post, having listened to one of the early episodes and having a bit of anxious moment about some of the things in there... I decided to pull a George Lucas and go back and change some things. I didn't go full Greedo shoots first, I didn't digitally reintegrate an alien rock band into Jabba's palace... but I didn't stop at simply cleaning up the audio either.
All in all, I had wanted to go back and fix a few things for a very long time now, and having recently purchased some new audio repair software I felt this was a good time to do so. I had not found a rhythm in how to record back then, I did not know some very basic things to make editing easier or create a better sounding end product. But more than that, I had also made some quite strange decisions regarding the tone of the show and I think that stemmed from a lack of confidence about what I wanted the show to be.
I can remember worrying very much that people would simply turn the show off if there wasn't more... excitement. I felt I constantly had to have some kind of background music, or make jokes throughout, or use language more appropriate for a kind of chat show rather than a history podcast. I didn't quite know what the tone of the show should be in these early episodes, and I may have covered up my own lack of knowledge about early Cambodian history with excessive generalisations.
I was most happy with the introductory episode, I think it still stood up really well. I didn't re-record any dialogue for that episode, merely fixed up some background noise issues and some of the pauses between phrases. The two episodes about Angkor however, these are the ones that I remember quite frantically putting together and thinking that people would be bored by, so I took on this kind of... jokey tone. I left the simpsons quote in the first one (after putting it to Twitter and hearing that people actually really liked it) but I re-recorded some things and took out the excessive background music that played over some sections of audio. I did a similar thing in the second episode with the explanation of Zhou Daguan's book, I remember even back then I had already done a re-release after I left in way too much joking about the more salacious things that the Chinese diplomat had included. This whole bit needed work because I think back then I had just taken stuff out, but then kind of referred back to that stuff later, which didn't make sense.
I might continue doing this process in the future. It took me about three and a half days to fix up just three episodes so maybe after the release of the next one I might go back and see if another one or two need anything cleaned up. It is one of the problems with doing this over... what three and a half years? Like you get better at that thing while you do it, but because it is a linear series with a set of episodes that you kind of have to go through one by one, well if those early ones aren't that good then people don't bother continuing with the show.
I had always wanted to have giant Dewback lizards in the background of most episodes, but I just didn't have the time or skill to do so.