paraka: A baby wearing headphones and holding a mic (Default)
paraka ([personal profile] paraka) wrote2010-10-05 01:49 pm
Entry tags:

Podfic Thoughts...

I want to take a moment to talk about podfic (are you guys surprised?). Obviously, I'm a little obsessed with it; I love it to pieces. I know it hasn't caught on for a lot of fandoms and it's not every one's thing and that's ok. I'm not going to try and make anyone like it who doesn't.

But, the thing is, I've stumbled across quite a few conversations lately (mostly on LJ and Twitter) where people have been talking about why they don't like podfic. And, again, if you don't like podfic, you don't like podfic, I'm not going to try and convince you otherwise. However one of the reasons I keep seeing cited for not liking podfic is that they can read the fic faster in their heads than the podficer reads out loud.

Which is totally true, however it misses the point of podfic, and that's what I want to talk about. Because, I can read the lyrics of a song much faster (and sometimes with greater understanding) than I can listen to the song. That doesn't mean I'm going to stop listening to music. While the lyrics of a song are really important, they're only one part of a whole.

And the story is a much larger percentage of the whole of a podfic than the lyrics are of a song but my point is that listening to a podfic is a different experience than just reading a fic. Or, at least, as a podficer I hope that my readers are getting more than that. Podfic isn't just a format shift, it's not just an accessibility issue. If it were, you could just use a screen reader and be done with it, it would certainly be a lot less work.

And I get that if you're just sitting there listening to podfic, as you would sit to read, it can seem slow. But I would suggest to people who feel that way, to maybe try listening to it in other ways before giving up on it. Instead of just sitting there, do something while listening. Like knitting, data entry (god, podfic saved my life when I did data entry full time), cooking, cleaning or exercising. One of the biggest appeals of podfic, to me personally, is that it allows me to consume fanfic at times when I can't read.

And, you know, some people appreciate that podfic is slower. I've seen more than one person comment (myself included) that when listening at a slower pace, they pick up the nuances of a story that they missed as they sped through the text.

I guess I just want people to realize that podfic isn't an alternative to fic, it's something very different from it. So yeah, don't feel obligated to like podfic just because you like fic, but please, don't compare the two like they're the same thing either.
feelforfaith: (Default)

[personal profile] feelforfaith 2010-10-12 09:31 pm (UTC)(link)
(here from Metafandom's bookmarks)

One of the biggest appeals of podfic, to me personally, is that it allows me to consume fanfic at times when I can't read.

I agree 100%. Honestly, if I have some free time and want to spend it with fanfic, I will always chose reading over listening to podfic. But I love the fact that I can listen to fanfic during my commute (being stuck in traffic has really gained appeal since I started listening to podfic, lol), while doing house chores, or cooking dinner.

I used to not like podfic, but it wasn't because I thought it was was "slower," but because the couple podfics I tried listening to in my fandom sounded so different (and by extension, "wrong") than they did in my head when I read those stories in print/on screen. However then I listened to some podfics in fandoms I hadn't read anything in before, and that solved the problem, since I wasn't coming to a podfic with preconceived notion of how the story was "supposed" to sound.
deird1: Fred looking pretty and thoughful (Default)

[personal profile] deird1 2010-10-14 03:49 am (UTC)(link)
Although, I'm always surprised when people admit they can't multitask enough to listen to podfic and do other things.

Heck, I can't even singletask listening to podfic.

(I'm an ADDer - and while listening to music helps me get other stuff done, I can't do most things while trying to listen to talk radio. Podfic is even worse: I end up listening to 30 seconds, rewinding the last 10, listening to that again plus another 15 seconds, rewinding the last 10...
Basically, I have to have a visual component to anything I'm listening to. Otherwise it just fades into the background, and I can't keep track of what I'm listening to - and I'm so distracted by trying that I can't do anything else I'm doing at the same time.)
some_stars: (Default)

[personal profile] some_stars 2010-10-14 04:17 pm (UTC)(link)
dropping in from metafandom--I can't multitask with any audio, either. Even with music, I can't listen to it if I'm doing anything more complex than playing a flash game or cooking or taking a walk. Also I just really hate being read to(although I love audioplays)--my mind just drifts off when it can't read at full speed, and then I miss everything, and the voices are never right. So, no podfic for me.
some_stars: (Default)

[personal profile] some_stars 2010-10-19 01:47 am (UTC)(link)
Well, with an audioplay it's so much like watching TV--it's going at the speed it's supposed to go, rather than being slowed down like a regular audiobook is. And you have different actors rather than just one voice(and proper voice acting, not just someone reading the line aloud), and sound effects. Basically it is like TV for me. Whereas an audiobook is like someone reading me a transcript of a TV show with explanatory narration.
jerakeen: (Default)

[personal profile] jerakeen 2010-10-13 06:27 pm (UTC)(link)
Since I am one of the people who don't really listen to podfic and have in the past (two days before this post in fact) said one of the reasons is the pace, I feel kind of awkward. I don't know what kind of conversations you've come across, but I certainly never meant it as a "fanfic is awesome, podfic is not" way. Podfic is awesome. I don't cook or clean or do data entry or anything like that, but if I did, I'm pretty sure podfic would've been a lifesaver. But as it is, the only time I have for listening to something like that is while driving, and I use that time to brainstorm on my WIPs (it works, I don't know why).

My comparison wasn't about podfic vs. fanfic, but about the fact that in my life, I don't have much time for rereads, and if I'm reading a fic for the first time, I'd like to do it in my own pace. That's all.

Sorry if it came across wrong. It certainly wasn't the intention.
jerakeen: (Default)

[personal profile] jerakeen 2010-10-14 03:32 pm (UTC)(link)
Not only because stats are important but also just so podficers know where their works are being archived.

I'll freely admit that I'm not very familiar with podfic etiquette, but in my experience, podfic readers don't ask the authors where they can archive the work, and I tend to assume that they would know about my website if they want to read my work at all, so I've never felt the need (after the first one anyhow) to specifically inform them that I'm archiving a copy. It just seems the natural thing to do - it's basically the same as them posting it to the podfic archive, right? No one ever asked me about that - or it would have occurred to me to reciprocate.

I don't know what you mean by privacy issues, but as someone who keeps her work in very specific places (easy to remove and completely in my control) I had to battle with my own issues when it comes to letting recordings of my fic float around. But it's an awesome thing that people want to record and listen to them, so I told myself to just deal with it, you know? It's basically a collaboration - even if you don't exactly work together - and that's all about compromise in the end.

So. Thanks for the suggestion. I guess I'll update my blanket permission to include these details and email podficcers about it. I certainly wouldn't want to offend anyone.
jerakeen: (Default)

[personal profile] jerakeen 2010-10-15 04:36 am (UTC)(link)
I think you're thinking about podfic as an extension of fic (correct me if I'm wrong) but I consider it a new creation based on a fic. So ownership of the podfic belongs to the podficer. When you give permission to someone to podfic something, you're giving them permission to transform your fic into something new and separate from your fic. So, just as you have complete control over where your creation, the fic in it's text format, is being hosted, so too, does the podficer have control over what happens to their creation, the podfic.

It is a new creation, and I do agree that the reader has a right to archive it wherever. But! It is still based very heavily on my creation - as in, my words, my imagination - and so I assumed I'd have the same right to it.

Which I assumed wrong, I guess.

However there isn't a reciprocal side to that. In order for me to make a podfic, there's no need for you to host it. The onus for that is on the podficer, unless some further discussion has happened.

Wow. This is... I don't even have words for how odd I find this. Though, again, I suppose you're right and I never thought about it.

I'm having mixed feelings about the whole thing now - because like I said, I don't like giving up control over my own work, and from what you're saying, the readers don't think of podfics as a collaboration, which just proves that I shouldn't assume things.

I'm either going to have to alter my blanket permission drastically or just tell people to ask first to prevent misunderstandings like this.

Thank you for taking the time to explain things to me. I really appreciate it.
jerakeen: (Default)

[personal profile] jerakeen 2010-10-15 12:53 pm (UTC)(link)
The defensiveness is mostly due to the fact that I'd just woken up when I read your comment. I did manage to wake up and get over myself since then. :)

It's always a shock to realize you got something wrong. It's okay though. I'm probably going to add a couple of new conditions to my blanket permission for future podfics and be more clear about my boundaries from now on. Better for everyone involved.
jerakeen: (Default)

[personal profile] jerakeen 2010-10-19 06:05 am (UTC)(link)
I think you're being pretty hard on yourself there. Because you've freely admitted that podfic isn't your thing.

I don't like being wrong about things I care about. Now, I may not be a podfic person, but I care about respecting creators' rights in fandom. So I should have put more thought into it.

That said, I think it should be okay now. Like you said in your new post, it is (apparently) a gray area with no clear boundaries, so I did my best to draw them for myself this time around.

By the way, you're the only one who hasn't replied to my PM yet. It really is okay if you don't want me to host it. I can link to your post instead. Just let me know.
jerakeen: (Default)

[personal profile] jerakeen 2010-10-19 02:36 pm (UTC)(link)
Dude, I didn't want to assume things again. :))) I sent that PM to everyone just to make sure. No more doubts, no more gray areas between me and podficcers.

And this is cool, no need to reply to the PM. Thank you.
pandarus: (Default)

[personal profile] pandarus 2010-10-19 04:26 am (UTC)(link)
Chipping in a bit later to say that perhaps it might help to think of a podfic of your story as being in some respects like somebody making art work based on your story? Inasmuchas it has involved hours of their own time and creativity to interpret the form faithfully into a new medium? If an artist wants to make a painting inspired by your story, and you give them the go-ahead, they would not then assume that you would also host said artwork. They'd be unlikely to MIND, but it's their art, and they'd be expecting to host it themselves, rather than expecting you to host it.

I'm a writer, and I'm also a podficcer. When it comes to controlling my own creations, yes, I'd expect to be consulted if somebody wanted to archive one of my stories somewhere, but I wouldn't lose my shit if someone had added my story to an archive somewhere so long as it was credited to me. I'd be kind of pissed, but I wouldn't be WORRIED in the way that I would if somebody cheerfully uploaded one of my podfics to somewhere without my permission. Because, yes, there's one hell of a lot more plausible deniability involved in saying "nope, nope, Pandarus? That's not my name, I don't know WHAT you're talking about! Me, write porn? No siree bob!" than there is about somebody listening to what is quite clearly my voice performing a podfic.

We make ourselves vulnerable in a new way, by doing this. And we aren't taking anything FROM the writer - we always credit the writer, and link to the source text, just as with a short written rec. If anything, we're increasing the number of people who will encounter your story, and recognise your name, and know what you wrote.

I know that some [expletive deleted] person has taken the liberty of uploading various of my podfics to When I first discovered that, I had a bit of a panic attack. I know that the most sensible thing would be to not make podfics, if I want to be sure that this isn't going to come and bite me in the ass, but I love this medium, and I'm good at it, and I know it's brought pleasure to me and to lots of other people. So after a hyperventilatey pause of some days, I decided to just carry on carrying on.

But with podfic, more than with fanvids or with fanfic or blogging, we are putting ourselves at risk of getting in deep shit with employers, friends, family et al if the wrong person takes something the wrong way. We're doing this because we love storytelling, and because we hope that people are sharing the stories within our communities. And, you know, we CAN'T stop people from posting them to, or sticking them on (God forbid) Youtube, or hosting them on their own websites without telling us.

But can you see how this is a more distressing possibility than some fucker stealing the text of a story I wrote and archiving it somewhere under their own name? Because that kind of thing would piss me off massively, but it wouldn't make me worry about losing my job.

In terms of vulnerability, because it's identifiably YOU that's there, your voice, it's more like posting a photo of yourself to share with your friends. The kind of photo that you'd rather not have your boss/client base stumble across.

I don't worry about this with the fic I write. But I do with my recordings.
jerakeen: (Default)

[personal profile] jerakeen 2010-10-19 06:35 am (UTC)(link)
The artwork analogy works in theory, but not in practice, which is apparently what my assumptions were based on. In my circle of the fandom, when someone makes an artwork of my (any author's) story, they usually present it like a gift to the author. And I do host those, all authors do.

But there has been that one time when someone else commissioned a piece of art based on one of my fics, and it wasn't really *for* me. I did ask permission from both the artist and the person who commissioned it.

As for podfic... Last week, I PM'ed everyone who ever recorded one of my fics to ask for (very late) permission, and it turns out I did ask the first couple of them before archiving but not the rest.

What I get from all that is that I didn't think about what any of it meant but went with my gut, and when the first two said "sure" I assumed that was the norm.

Now that I think about it, I understand how frustrating it must be from a podficcer's point of view. I'd never have posted their work elsewhere, my assumptions went as far as my own website - which they all knew about - but it's the principle of the thing, and the reader has no way of knowing what's going through my mind.

While considering this issue, I also realized what giving "blanket" permission meant. I realized I'm not okay with blanket permissions. I had assumed things about what that means as well and didn't bother to clarify where I draw the lines about ownership.

While I'm okay with the podficcer sharing the recording anywhere within fandom, I'm not okay with it getting out of fandom. A blanket permission would mean that the podficcer can enter an e-book reading competition or something with it if they chose to. I'm not saying anyone would, but I don't like the fact that I wouldn't have a say if they did. And what if they decided to charge for downloads?

So I'm glad paraka drew my attention to this. I fixed my permission to clarify just how far it extends and hopefully, there won't be any more misunderstandings from now on.
unsettledink: (Default)

[personal profile] unsettledink 2010-10-14 10:21 am (UTC)(link)
Here from metafandom.

Talk about timing!

I've never been a fan of podfic - in part, I think, because there wasn't much in my fandoms, and it was a hassle with my previous set up to download and transfer. Not worth the effort, in my mind.

But then I started to see podfic in my fandoms, and I downloaded a bit out of curiosity ... and really liked it. And really liked being able to listen to fic while I was cleaning house, or running errands, or driving to work - times when I was sad because of the lack of fandom in my life.

Now I've become fascinated by it, and am in the process of attempting some podfic of my own... (eeep).

I agree with the fact that it really is a different experience. You have to be in the right mindset for it. I will sometimes only half listen to something as I'm doing things - and then I will find myself standing there, rag in one hand staring into space because the story has suddenly grabbed me.

Or, in at least one case, a fic that was utterly soul destroying as words was done as podfic - and it was ten times more devastating. Because I could look away from the page when it got to be too much, but the voice just kept going, relentlessly. It was really rather intense.
constance_b: (Durex)

[personal profile] constance_b 2010-10-14 10:41 am (UTC)(link)
I think the slow pace is what I like about podfic. I read too quickly, I skim sometimes, I'm always rushing to turn the metaphorical page. I'm a big rereader because often I don't get everything the first time around. Podfic forces you to slow down, to take in every sentence one at a time.
It did take me a while to get past the weirdness of hearing male characters read by girls, and to appreciate the fic instead of thinking 'why can't Americans pronounce aluminium correctly' or 'my god, so-and-so sounds so different to what I was expecting' and yeah, I don't think I could listen to podfic while not doing anything else, except maybe while going to sleep. My attention wanders or I bite my nails.
Basically, what you said. I wouldn't listen instead of read, but anything that makes housework less dull has my vote.
darkemeralds: Manga-style avatar of DarkEm with caption Hee (cartoony me)

[personal profile] darkemeralds 2010-10-15 12:16 am (UTC)(link)
Heh. We pronounce aluminum correctly. We just don't pronounce aluminium correctly.
constance_b: (Boys)

[personal profile] constance_b 2010-10-18 08:51 am (UTC)(link)
Can't bloody spell either. Americans!
endeni: (Default)

[personal profile] endeni 2010-10-14 12:11 pm (UTC)(link)
Hi there. I adore podfic too. I especially like listening to podfic while (re-)reading the fic. In fact English is not my native language and I've found that podfic helps me a great deal with pronunciation, which is where I'm weakest. (I don't have a problem with text comprehension and production, but saying it out loud (or understanding something said out loud)? Not so much...) - So yay, I'm learning while having fun! ;)
endeni: (Default)

[personal profile] endeni 2010-10-15 08:13 am (UTC)(link)
Eheh. Well, I also consider that podficcers are from all over the world, so UK accent, USA accent, etc... obviously there isn't an unique, exact pronunciation for everything. But actually, that's kind of fun too: I get to listen and try to guess from where in the world the reader is from. - Which, again, for a non native is not as easy as it seems. :D
princessofgeeks: (Default)

[personal profile] princessofgeeks 2010-10-14 03:00 pm (UTC)(link)
here from metafandom; thank you for the post!

I imagine that people who love any kind of books on tape or audiobooks would love podfic, and of course it's a wonderful thing in terms of accessibility too.

For myself, I don't listen to podfic because i don't want to split my attention. At all. I don't want to listen to fic while vacuuming or doing chores or exercising. I love the immersive, Calgon Take Me Away thing that happens when I read silently. I disappear into the story; I escape. And that's my favorite thing about reading.

i love radio -- I listen to NPR a lot and love getting news and information that way.

But fic? No.

But I'm delighted that other people enjoy it and that it works for them.
pandarus: (Default)

[personal profile] pandarus 2010-10-19 04:36 am (UTC)(link)
I think that the thing is, a lot of people read fanfic for the porn.


Nothing wrong with that, but if you're conceptualising fanfic as a private sex fantasy, then having another person's voice - a person of your own gender too, at that - being involved in your fapping fantasy can probably be a bit of a headfuck. Particularly if you're straight.

I think that's where all this "it's squicky!" stuff comes from. Not the "I don't like podfic" thing - plenty of reasons for that. But finding it squicky? I think that's because they're not interested in narrative and storytelling, they're not thinking of fanfic as being something respectable, with integrity or compassion or what have you. They're parsing it as porn, and the non-porn bits as being lead up to porn. And within that mindset, the intimacy of having somebody read a story to you - somebody knowing what you're getting off to, somebody (presumably) getting off to it with you - is being seen as queer, and intrusive, and threatening.

That's what I think.

'Course, notwithstanding the fact that I do read & write porn, I'm not in it for the porn.

(And, God, the prospect of reading the sexy bits of my stories out loud to people IN PERSON was enough to make me flee screaming, the one time that fannish friends were all "Hey, Fay, read us the sexy girl porn from your story." Literally. Screaming. I'm still blushing at that one. But it's fine with podfic, because I just think of it as like acting, and lose myself in the story. It IS intimate, but still at one remove. In my head. Or something.)
darkemeralds: Photo of a microphone with caption Read Me a Story. (Podfic)

[personal profile] darkemeralds 2010-10-14 07:53 pm (UTC)(link)
Here via [personal profile] avi. I began listening to audiobooks a few years ago and discovered that I could easily absorb very long works that my declining attention span made it impossible for me to read. So podfic was a natural next step.

The barriers to entry for me were the quality gap between pro audiobooks and the podfic I was able to find; a dearth of long podfic; and some technical problems (i.e.,'s proprietary player is easy, fiddling with non-iPod player apps on my non-iPhone is hard).

Podbang seemed to open the floodgates on long podfic, which satisfies my preference for long stories and also bypasses a lot of the fiddly technical problems (download once, hit play, listen for a long, long time!).

What's more, the quality gap has grown so narrow in so many cases that I really don't have far to look for excellent, near-pro listening experiences.

All that said, no matter how terrific the story or the recording, I can't imagine just sitting and listening to a podfic. Podfic serves a very specific convergence of needs: my desire for my kind of stories, my inability to concentrate on reading, and the need to fill mindspace and not go nuts with boredom while doing necessary things that don't occupy my whole attention.
darkemeralds: Photo of a microphone with caption Read Me a Story. (Podfic)

[personal profile] darkemeralds 2010-10-19 04:42 am (UTC)(link)
I'm excited about the leapfrogging effect I've seen happening in podfic in the last couple of years: someone had to break the longfic barrier, then someone realized that the super-longfic barrier wasn't gonna stop them either. Someone accomplished a near-professional degree of editing, and that made a bunch of other people realize what was possible and even improve on it. Someone did some exciting acting, and bam! vocal variety and emoting starts to appear.

While I do NOT want "standards of quality" imposed, ever, in fandom, I'm excited by the self-selected level of quality that people are achieving with podfic. It has challenged me to do better work, and the overall quality seems to be really skyrocketing. The conjunction of a really good reader and a really good story is a thing of considerable beauty.

Oh, and declining attention span is apparently practically epidemic. You and I are not alone. Podfic came along just in time! :D
darkemeralds: Photo of a microphone with caption Read Me a Story. (Podfic)

[personal profile] darkemeralds 2010-10-19 07:10 pm (UTC)(link)
LOL! I can totally relate to your desire to create a statistical analysis of podfic. It would be a really huge wonderful time-sink engrossing project.

And yeah, I was thinking of the over-four-hour productions that are becoming more common. My second ever attempt came in at over nine hours, I think, and the only reason I attempted it was Podbang, and the knowledge that others would be trying it too.

As to attention span, yes! The reason I don't want a Kindle, and would prefer to have an e-reader on my pad-like connected device is so that if I get a little bored reading, I can flip to something else without changing devices. Or, you know, budging.
yourlibrarian: Angel and Lindsey (OTH-WorldTurtle-toraloodle)

Here from metafandom

[personal profile] yourlibrarian 2010-10-15 01:36 am (UTC)(link)
I love having podfic for all the times I can't read, or simply to be able to read more when I'm doing other things. One great thing I've rarely seen mentioned is how podfic can be listened to by more than one person at a time. This is helpful in the car, for example and certainly makes it easier to share fic than having someone else read it.

But I wonder if some of the "I can read it faster" people are not people who are normally reading short fics? I prefer longer fics whether read or listened to and am always thrilled when someone has done a podfic of a Big Bang length fic. Especially if a fic is 5000 words or less, I can also read it faster than taking the time to download, then possibly upload, and then find the fic again to feedback than if I just read it while I had it open. And then there's also the issue that podfic simply can't be found for all fandoms or the types of fic people might want to read so there might be a resistance there to really try it out.
yourlibrarian: Angel and Lindsey (Default)

Re: Here from metafandom

[personal profile] yourlibrarian 2010-10-19 03:52 am (UTC)(link)
It's not quite like watching a vid together, but it could be -- although for a humorous fic there might be a lot of pausing for laughing!

I'm sure it's worse if you listen on an mp3 player.

Yes, I listen on both the computer and mp3 player and I usually prefer to listen to shorter ones on the computer rather than move it into CopyTrans, then sync it, then resync it when I want to delete and transfer new ones.
mresundance: (Sherlock BBC - text)

[personal profile] mresundance 2010-10-15 05:30 am (UTC)(link)
Just wanted to say - sometimes people prefer audio because they have problems with either reading comphrension and the audio helps, or, are like me, and have visual problems which interfere with one's ability to read a written text sometimes.

Podfic provides a certain level of additional accessibility that way.