7 Things We Can (And Should) Learn From “The Totally Rad Show.”

The Totally Rad Show became my favorite Revision 3 property this weekend. I’ve always enjoyed it but a few things happened in show 52 that made me realize how great, do I dare say “how rad” this show actually is. We’ve all got some things to learn from Alex Albrecht, Jeff Cannata and Dan Trachtenberg. I’ll chat a few of them here.

The show/Podcast (nicknamed “TRS”) is a weekly play where 3 friends chat about “all things rad” that happened that week. They usually cover film and television and often hit comics and video games. Alex, Jeff and Dan are engaging and funny and can keep you attention for the time needed to give their topics the attention they want to give them. Each show starts with a spoof/tribute to a favorite film (it was their tribute to The Muppet Movie of all things that brought me over the top) but he majority of everything else is done in front of greenscreen.

Here are 7 things I learned from the TRS guys in the last 52 episodes.

If done right, you can be a show, not a series of 1-off videos. Episode 52 was in celebration of their first 52 episodes (they do these things weekly). The content was all about what they had done in the last 51 shows – there was very little “new” content other than a walk down memory lane with people who had gone on this trip with them. If TRS had been developed to just shove reviews down as many channels as possible (go ahead, name me one movie review property with their own clips show), you would never have something as fun as this. And, yes, it made me wonder what the next 52 episodes will bring. This should have advertisers salivating.

The right combo of technologies trumps an “old media” million dollar budget every time. I could deconstruct how this show is put together but I won’t. In short, they spent money where they needed to but this is certainly a “low budget” venture that still has a great look and feel to it. Despite the single camera, you never once find yourself hoping for a new shot. This technique has been mastered by properties such as Ninja and Geekbrief but are considerably more impressive when you consider the fact that TRS is usually 60 minutes or so in length each week.

If you want to keep an audience, respect your audience. The spoof/tribute this week was as much a spoof/tribute to the first year history of TRS as it was to The Muppet Movie with the immortal line “Life is a movie, make your own ending” as a reminder of both what the show is about and what the show hopes you might do with your life after the hour is over.

Serve your niche, not everybody’s niche. This flows right from the point above. There is a HUGE segment of the planet, sorry, who won’t get the references in the TRS opening for #52. That doesn’t matter to TRS. And that, dear friends, is why the show is so, wait for it, “totally rad.” I know this is a show for me, not a show they through some “element” in hoping to “catch” some percentage of my demographic.

Passion is as important as production. If these guys didn’t care as much about the topics as they did, they would have lost me with Episode #1. New media is a lot more than getting a pretty face to read your copy.

If you aren’t having fun, start something you can have fun with. This is part of the previous comment but I want to stress, strongly, that as important as passion is, it isn’t always enough. I think we too often forget that in this space with all the “Podcast your passion and the profits will follow” nonsense out there. If the process of Podcasting your passion ain’t fun, you’ll never get past episode #6. These guys have way too much fun.

You audience can be a tremendous part of your content. The TRS team has tightly integrated their audience into their production and content. From user-generated backdrops (will UGB become an industry term?) for their greenscreen work to dedicated a whole segment to answering viewer email, the audience feels like they are part of what is being created – considerably more than PBS ever gets from asking you to send in checks. Your niche will help support anything they help create. They not only helped create TRS, they help continue to make it better.

And a bonus … “Old media” and “new media” can work side by side. I don’t know if TRS will ever end up on a “major” network (and I don’t know if it should – but that’s another posting all together) but I do know that you’ll never see the guys reviewing “new media” content with the same fervor they gave “No Country For Old Men.” This is o.k. and possibly even a great strategy – but that, too is another blog posting.

In all seriousness, give TRS a try. Their style and content might not be to your liking but their mastery of what their trying to accomplish (and their passion for it) is something, as I mentioned in the title for this, that we could all learn a lot from.

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