There's no question about it - being the one in charge is challenging, especially when you are the only one at the company for the first few years. And, frankly, it can be very easy to get burnt out.
When I started Shway Media (which was called Wafflebutt Media then, more on that later), I had the support of my spouse and that was about it. I was producing a few podcasts out the gate - most notably “America! The Podcast” (a improv political comedy show) and Brews & The 'Boys (a show dedicated to covering the Dallas Cowboys) - which required editing, mixing, and general administration like scheduling the records and getting everything published.
I then got the creative bug and thought it wise to add 3 more shows to the network over the next year. That was my first mistake. I was already working a full time job while I got my company off the ground and like a naive person, I figured I could do it all. Needless to say, I was wrong.
America! The Podcast
“America! The Podcast”, which was supposed to be a bi-weekly show with in-depth interviews on top of the improvised political comedy sketch at the beginning of each episode where I voice two different people (don't tell any hardcore ATP fans). And, once I started adding more shows to the network and my stress increased from covering the political atmosphere at the time, the frequency of the show started to slip. By the next year, I was only able to get around 10 episodes out.
Brews & The 'Boys
As for Brews & The 'Boys, that was a weekly show hosted by Shway Media producer, Michael Sisemore. It went on with him and I for a while, until we added his new co-host, Tom Ryle, when I had officially become too busy. I still mixed and edited the show the best I could, but looking back, I feel I let the quality slip a bit. However, that didn't stop Brews being picked up by SB Nation and Vox Media, but that's also a story for a different time (like season 3 of the video series).
As for the other 3 shows, those were known as “The Schwegcast” (a song writing show), “Bands We Love To Hate” (a music discussion show), and “Dubterfuge” (a dubbed anime discussion show). Aside from “The Schwegcast”, I was mixing and editing all four of these shows - all while I was working full time. I couldn't keep up and became increasingly frustrated and depressed. It simply ended up becoming too much and I was finally burnt out.
When the burnout set in, it was heavy. I did not do a single episode of ATP in 2019, aside from a Christmas episode. On top of that, internal issues at the company forced me to remove “The Schwegcast” from our roster and which in turn had to end “Bands We Love To Hate” - which was a bit of a blessing in disguise, despite the frustration of it all. “Dubterfuge” was still chugging along but becoming difficult to keep a handle on as well. Aside from the day job I still had, I was more or less fully invested in Brews - at least until 2020.
The Pandemic Hit
Once 2020 hit, after doing a new ATP christmas episode, and seeing some guy try and steal the “America! The Podcast” name (yet another long story for later), I was re-energized to continue the show and I went all in with a new format and ended up pivoting to a more history driven show after 45 left office.
Brews & The 'Boys, however, was different. Around May of that year, Michael was showing signs of burnout and a lack of interest in football due to *gestures to the world around us circa 2020*. SB Nation then announced they only wanted to use in-house producers for their shows and attempted to fire me from the show I created. Luckily Michael and Tom had my back and ended their time with the show, thus canceling the 151 episode long “Brews & The 'Boys”.
I was bummed, but knew it was for the best. Michael wasn't happy anymore and Tom had his family. As for me, I was already getting burnt out again and was scared I was about to give up, until I realized I wasn't burnt out on Shway Media, but on my day job. So, I quit and became a consultant and a voice actor. Done. Goodbye mediocre clothing brand, hello to the scary as f*ck creative struggle and hustle.
Flash forward to now. I am now working at Shway Media full time as well as voice acting for shows like the “Dr Who Audio Dramas”, “The Girl Who Fell From Earth”, “America! The Podcast”, and much more. I've also, now that I have learned and struggled, have added new shows to Shway Media and I'm even still editing and mixing it all. Except this time, I've learned the trick. Wanna know what it is?
Get stuff done in advance and don't set meaningless premiere dates.
It's that simple. I mean, still set deadlines, but remember the simple saying, quality over quantity.
I am still scared of getting burnt out. Hell, I am a little burnt out today, honestly, but I still managed to pick up my laptop and write this. Some days it's hard, but as cliche as it sounds, remembering that I love doing this helps keep me going.
I'm so excited to continue to share what I've learned and all of the new shows still in the works. Thanks for reading, listening, and watching. Find me on Instagram and let me know what struggles you are experiencing with your creative pursuits.
Take care and stay passionate.
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