History in the Wild podcast: One Influential Film

Blog post and podcast by Danny Casillas

Hi everyone, I’m Danny Casillas and I’m the host of the podcast “One Influential Film.” I’m currently wrapping my undergrad and I’m expected to graduate with two degrees; History and Film and Media Studies. I decided to sign up for Dr. Rhodes’ History in the Wild because I have never made a podcast before and I thought the class was interesting.

Since I’m a movie buff, I decided to make a podcast on films. The podcast focuses on a random movie and I try to explain why historians and movies buffs think that film is important and how it influenced other movies and how it impacted the film industry. Each episode is fairly short; around 8-15 minutes. While doing research for each movie, I learned so much about the behind-the-scenes process of making a film. Not every movie has the same behind-the-scenes process and that’s why I found it interesting.

While I am not the best speaker in the world, I enjoy talking about films to friends and family and I thought it would be cool to make a podcast about films. I hope you enjoyed the first two episodes of “One Influential Film.”

I’ve been both an academic historian and a history podcaster for about six years. I love doing it and I am constantly confronting the inconsistent (and sometimes conflicting) skill sets required for my parallel roles. I chose the topic of history podcasting for my HST 485 History in the Wild course and designed the course to be as collaborative and applicable as possible to their real-world needs. ASU’s humanities students deserve to take courses that harness their passions and natural curiosities so that building a wide variety of skills (our end goal) doesn’t feel like work. The podcasts that resulted from this course exceeded my expectations. –Dr. Marissa Rhodes, professor of HST 485: History in the Wild 


One Influential Film Episode 1

The first episode is about “Tron.” The 1982 film about a video game hacker finding his way out of a video game. Known for being the first film to use CGI throughout the runtime, Tron has impacted film industry with its unique effects and the usage of new technologies. The episode will focus on the creation of Tron and the impact the special effects had on the film industry.


One Influential Film Episode 2

The second episode is about “It Happened One Night,” the 1934 film about a romance between a socialite and washed-up reporter impacted a romantic-comedy genre. The episode would explain the events that led to the creation of the film and the influence it has on films decades after its release.

The proposed logo for One Influential Film
  1. 1. Tagline: The podcast explaining why a specific film is influential.
  2. 2. Title: One Influential Film
  3. 3. Podcast Topic: Historical/ Film Study
  4. 4. Titles and descriptions of your two sample episodes:

    Episode 1: It Happened One Night
    The 1934 film about a romance between a socialite and washed-up reporter impacted a romantic-comedy genre. The episode would explain the events that led to the creation of the film and the influence it has on films decades after its release.

    Episode 2: Tron
    The 1982 film is about a video game hacker finding his way out of a video game. Known for being the first film to use CGI throughout the runtime, Tron has impacted film industry with its unique effects and the usage of new technologies. The episode will focus on the creation of Tron and the impact the special effects had on the film industry.

    5. Topic Ideas for an additional eight episodes: (this question forces you to conceptualize the podcast beyond what you’re producing for the class. At the same time, you’re not actually producing these episodes so have fun with it!)

    Since each episode focuses on a film, I have a few films in mind. One of the films is Get Out and how it immediately started the horror social commentary craze. Another film I have in mind is Spring Breakers and despite not being a fan of the film, I will explain how it put the film studio, A24 on the map. Other films I will talk about are Shrek, X-Men, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Do the Right Thing, Jaws, and 8 ½. I will explain why how those films impacted the film industry forever.

    6. Format & Rationale: (long-form? short-form? random and episodic or are does each episode build on the last? one host? two hosts? guests? Biographical? serious interviews? casual, chatty interviews? Critical reviews of historical works?)
    The format is short-form, around 10-20 minutes. The podcast episodes are random, and it will have 1 host. The podcast is casual, and it is a brief history of the films and events that are related to the film history.

    7. POV/Approach/Style/Voice & Rationale: (From the POV of a novice? From the POV of an expert? Historiographical? Social-justice-oriented? Storytelling-oriented? Serious and scripted narration? Casual and conversational?)

    My approach when it comes to voice and style will be informal. That means it won’t sound like a lecture and it will sound like someone casually talking to the audience. The podcast will be historiographical, and it will focus on a specific subject to keep the episode around 10-15 minutes. The podcast will be causal, and it will not be very serious.

    8. Episode Frequency & Rationale: (weekly? monthly? daily? organized into series or not? Is this a limited series? eg. Biographies of all the Kings of Bohemia or a podcast whose topics are theoretically unlimited? eg. Asian history or maritime history)
    I plan to release an episode bi-weekly at the start. Since the episodes are random, it gives me a week to do enough research on the subject.

    9. About the Host: What will you tell your audience about yourself? Describe your public persona. What is it about your passions and/or experiences that make you a viable founder/host for this podcast? How does your identity shape the kind of podcast you can create? I’m going to tell my audience that I’m a cinephile. I’m currently finishing my two bachelor’s degrees, which are Film & Media Studies and History. I used to make YouTube videos about movies and briefly explained why I liked and disliked the movie. I love doing random research on movies whether it’s the behind-the-scenes of moviemaking or the history of the film.

    10. Target Audience: Who are you targeting as potential listeners? Is there more than one intended audience? Be specific, very specific (ie. no “people who like ___topic of your podcast
    A. Explain why your podcast topic, format, POV/style, episode frequency, and host identity are attractive to your target audience (eg. A short-form daily podcast that gives quick tips to real estate agents works so well because they can listen on their way to show properties)
    The audience members listening to the podcast may learn something new about film history in about 10 minutes. Since the podcast is short, people with a short attention span will enjoy it and learn something new. The podcast is great for people with a short attention span.

    B. Describe two ways you will reach your target demographic (eg. If you are doing a podcast about teaching, you’d target teachers by promoting your pod on an email list subscribed to by teachers).
    I will try to make it appealing to teachers/professors that teach film. I will try to make it as appropriate as I can however, there will some episodes where it may get explicit because of the content of a specific film.

    C. How will you develop a sense of community and belonging among your listeners?
    I will try to connect with each other via social media sites like Reddit. Listeners could put their memes about film or things related to the podcast. I’ll interact with the viewers while interacting with other listeners online.

    D. What kinds of folks do you anticipate will object to or dislike your podcast?
    I anticipate casual cinephiles to disagree with some of my opinions when it comes to films. The only way I could avoid that criticism is by saying that it’s my opinion and it’s O.K. to have opinions. The main criticism I expect from my podcast is the listeners criticizing me for going too vague when it comes to some behind-the-scenes aspects. I may forget to mention an important detail or I may not cover the subject the listener expected me to cover. My podcast won’t go into too much detail when it comes to a movie I’m discussing and some listeners may not like that. When it comes to listeners criticizing the format of the podcast, I’ll try and steer the criticism by mentioning that I won’t explain every single detail about the movie and I will post a couple of articles related to the film that goes into much depth about the behind the scenes and the impact it had on the film industry.

    E. What are some ways you can market your podcast to steer away from folks who expect something different and will be disappointed? (All pods have hate-listeners but it helps to be clear to others what you are and what you aren’t so that they can make an informed choice about whether you are for them without having to listen to lots of episodes)
    I will tell listeners that this podcast is meant for people who want quick information about a random film, and I will put up links on the podcast’s social media pages for more information about the film I discussed. I may also make an episode dedicated to the behind-the-scenes of creating an episode. In that episode, I would talk about how I find my research of a film and me figuring out what information should go on the podcast.

    11. Why is your podcast needed? What does it DO for people? Your intended audience? The discipline of history? The general public? A special group? For this you will need to do some “market research” by looking at what podcasts are available on Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, whichever pod platform you prefer to explore)
    A. How many podcasts currently exist that are similar to yours? Name them.
    There aren’t a lot of podcasts that are focused on older films. Red Letter Media does have videos/podcast dedicated to old bad movies but not on films that are considered influential in the film industry. Most of the film podcasts like Lights, Camera, Barstool and Intercut Podcast focus on newer released films instead of historical films.

    B. Browse some of their reviews on Apple Podcast or another pod platform. What do people like or dislike about podcasts similar to yours?
    People may disagree with my opinions on films. I may say that I enjoyed watching that film and some listeners may disagree by saying that was the worst film they ever watched. It just comes down to taste. Listeners may hate on my opinions of films, and they may also hate how I analyze films.

    C. How do you anticipate that your podcast would fare if the same folks were reviewing your podcast?
    I would anticipate mostly positive reviews when it comes to film analysis, but there may be listeners who disagree with my opinions of films or the lack of depth when it comes to explaining the behind-the-scenes process.

    D. Are there any perceived holes or silences within your podcast’s subcategory that seem like they need to be filled?
    Unlike most film podcasts, the episodes are short-form; around 10-15 minutes. It fills the hole, since there isn’t a ton of short-form podcasts that are about films. It is uncommon for a quick podcast dedicated to film

    E. How does your podcast address a silence or hole in the genre OR what does your podcast do differently than others that are similar?
    Most of the film podcasts are long-form and they could be up to two and a half hours long. The podcast style is different to most film podcasts since the episodes are quick and informative, and it doesn’t overstay its welcome. I will tell them the podcast is dedicated to people who have short attention spans or cinephiles who want a quick history lesson of a film.

    12. What auxiliary components would you launch alongside the podcast? (eg. website, blog, bibliography, show notes, transcripts, Facebook groups, social media)
    A. Explore the auxiliary components created by other podcasts. Feel free to use the podcasts you explored in the first two weeks of the course for this part of the assignment. What kinds of add-ons do they have?
    The other podcasts have a Reddit page filled with memes and discussions. Everyone can interact and have online discussions about films. Other podcasts have websites dedicated where people can see more information about the podcasts.

    B. Which auxiliary components would best suit your podcast and your target audience? Why?
    I plan to make a couple of social media pages, but the most important social media platform I want to focus on is Reddit. On Reddit, listeners could post memes, give out suggestions, or have a discussion of a specific film on my subreddit. I could also put a bibliography and script notes on my subreddit. If my podcast gets a ton of listeners, I’m considering making a website to coincide with the Reddit Page.

    C. How might you make your podcast more accessible for people with disabilities or some other disadvantage that prevents them from accessing your content readily?
    To help people with disabilities I plan to post the episode script on my subreddit. If the website gets created, there will be a page that will lead to the episode script. If the episode contains disturbing content, there will a warning at the very beginning of the episode. One disadvantage that prevents people with disabilities to listen to the podcast is that episode copy will be available on social media that can be confusing to people who have never been on Reddit. But once I have a website ready, the people with disabilities will have easy access to the script.

    13. Describe some of the feedback you received in your peer reviewers and what you did to address these criticisms:
    Some of the criticisms include explaining things for the general audience. For example, I mentioned the Production Code of 1934, but I didn’t explain what it was. Another thing was that I needed to add more details about the film production and the response the film got when it was released.

    14. Describe some of the feedback you received from the instructor and what you did to address those criticisms:
    The only major criticism I received from the instructor and the TA was to make the episode exciting since the rough draft felt like an essay instead of a podcast script. The other criticisms I received were also mentioned in the peer reviews like adding more information or explaining a term.