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still kind of a stealthy love ninja ([personal profile] zvi) wrote in [community profile] podficmeta2010-03-01 07:47 pm
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Go! Tell it on the mountain!

[personal profile] fandomfan asks what's so great about podfic?. I'm not sure that it's particularly useful to have that discussion with someone for whom the mere concept hits her embarrassment squick, but, in the more general case, why do you like podfic? Why do you like listening to it, why do you like making it, why do you like manipulating it (if you make covers or podbooks or work on one of the archives), why do you like teaching other people to do it, why do you like discussing it here?

And, even more so, what do you say when someone who doesn't already get it asks these questions?
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[personal profile] fandomfan 2010-03-02 01:03 am (UTC)(link)
Thanks for the link.

I'm really genuinely interested to know what it is that people find so appealing about it. It's one of the few aspects of fandom that's never made sense to me on a gut level, so I really want to hear from the people it works for.

I know there are lots of 'em, so there's got to be something I'm not seeing.
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[personal profile] dodificus 2010-03-02 01:27 am (UTC)(link)
But I think the great thing about fandom is that you don't have to see the point of everything. You don't like podfic and that's ok because there's probably a million other things that you *do* like:)

Personally, I've always loved being read to. By my mum when I was younger, by my sister when I'm sick, I adore it. I always pay more attention to detail when I'm listening to something rather than reading to myself. I find it relaxing and comforting.

Podfic allows me to completely immerse myself in a story, to notice the beautiful turns of phrase, the lush description the snappy back and forth of dialogue. And you'd be amazed at how well a 30 something fangirl from France can end up capturing Rodney Mckay's snappy voice, or a 20 something english fangirl can make me believe I'm listening to Arthur and Merlin.
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[personal profile] anatsuno 2010-03-02 02:03 am (UTC)(link)
aw, I resemble that remark! *grins and hugs*

I'm like you, I love when people tell me stories, always have loved it. Plus, when I read with my eyes, I don't tend to visualise anyway - I hear voices somewhat, yes, but mostly because I am super language oriented, I read the words themselves; I register their rhythms, the way they sound, the prosody of the sentence, the placement of commas, etc. I'm super sensitive to these details - hearing a story actually relieves my brain somewhat from some of the detail work of processing all that written language. It IS relaxing and comforting, for sure. It helps me listen to the story itself rather than the words, somehow - though I keep hearing those too, and I will stop listening to a podfic if/when it has the same 'faults' at the writing level that make me backbutton from the text. Anyway what I meant was, it doesn't shatter any mental construction I have of the world/characters I'm otherwise reading about; it doesn't break a fourth wall or disperse a visualisation, cos I wasn't having those anyway when I was reading.

Hmm. I'm sure I could say more about what I like, but my bed (and my lulling podfic!) is waiting. *g*

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[personal profile] podcath 2010-03-02 02:13 am (UTC)(link)
Your question kinda caught me in a wrong place. It's like asking an mpreg fan (or substitute pretty much any kink here that has as many detractors as it has fans) why they like this really embarrassing and icky and offensive thing. And I guess at that point all we--the mpreg/podfic/name your poison fans --ust have to say is, because we do!

So, I'm not sure what you're looking for when you're asking this question. I can list you all the things that I love about mpreg, all the ways it plays with gender, all the things that bug and trouble me about it. And none of those will make you like it any more.

I love podfic because I love being able to listen to stories in the same way I love listening to audiobooks. It's not like reading. It is much slower--forces you to follow along, paces it for you. It interprets the story for you, and it doesn't work or all stories for me (just like there are mpregs that really bug me :). But when it works, your squick's my kink!!!

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[personal profile] torachan 2010-03-02 03:31 am (UTC)(link)
I don't find podfic embarrassing the way you do, but I am weirded out by the voices. Mainly I don't listen because I far prefer text to audio. I have never liked reading aloud or being read aloud to (as soon as I could read on my own, I never wanted my mom to read to me anymore).
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[personal profile] paraka 2010-03-02 03:50 am (UTC)(link)
I'm really genuinely interested to know what it is that people find so appealing about it.
The biggest thing for me about podfic is it allows me to consume fanfic in places where I'm not generally able to. When I'm at work, cross-referencing, when I'm driving, when I'm standing in line at the grocery store. I love fandom, and I love podfic, so why not try to squeeze it into the boring parts of my day?

And I just went and read your post where you say you get that in theory, but I guess it comes down to everyone has different comfort levels.
You mention that it doesn't sound right to you, or that people interpret things differently than you do and it throws you out. The thing is, if you listen to podfic, you just get used to it. Just like reading fanfic for the first time can be a bit jarring because canon through fandom can have a very different emphasis than what you pick up on your own. Fandom changes how you interact with the source. Podfic does the same, only this time the source is a fanfic and possibly the canon instead of just the canon.

You say that there's no way the podficers can sound like the actors, which is true, however, it's also not really the point. When you hang out with friends and talk about your day, do you make sure to use the same voices as the people you interact with? Is everything you say a performance? No, you're just telling a story. A story about other people, and that's understood by how you tell it. It's the same with podfic.

I know the first time I listened to an American fandom podfic read by an Australian, I'll admit it threw me out of the story for a second but it's just something you get over (or don't and you give up on podfic because it's not for you).

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[personal profile] melannen 2010-03-02 05:14 am (UTC)(link)
Some podfic hits my embarassment squick, too - I think it has to do with just exactly the way the reader is reading and how I feel about the content of the story, and how well the voices work with the story, so I never know for sure if a particular recording's going to hit it until I've started listening.

I do still listen some, though, but it's almost entirely a convenience thing - sometimes I want to read fic but my eyes and/or hands are too occupied to actually read text, and I do like having podfic for that purpose. I know some people find extra value in the art of the recording, but for me, anything that gets in the way of just hearing the words is unnecessary (and often distracting, and far more likely to hit the squick); whereas I've been known to use the (terrible!) built-in text-to-speech program in Windows to read me fic if there's no podfic of a story I'm working through and I have to go audio.

So - yeah, I am so much not the prime audience for podficcers, but I do like it 'cause it's *useful*.
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[personal profile] brimtoast 2010-03-02 04:51 pm (UTC)(link)
I just actually read your post after leaving my comment, and I'd add after that that it seems like you'd probably be more likely to enjoy podfics for stories you haven't already read. Many of the issues you pointed out with podfics seemed to come from the difference between how you interpreted a story when you read it vs. how the reader interpreted the story. So if your first experience of the story was hearing it, that might clear up some of that discomfort for you.

Maybe you have already tried this, but if not, and if you are really trying to enjoy podfics for whatever reason, it might be worth a shot.

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[personal profile] elf 2010-03-03 01:54 am (UTC)(link)
I'm really genuinely interested to know what it is that people find so appealing about it.

Um... why?

I haven't listened to podfic. (Dialup internet. Not friendly to podcasts.) I have listened to audiobooks; I don't like them. Have listened to old-time radio shows; don't like those, either. Am pretty sure I wouldn't like the low end of amateur productions similar to either, and even the high-end is not going to go as smooth or as fast as I want words to enter my brain.

I get that lots of fans are squeeing like crazy over podfic, and the genre is full of new & exciting tech, and more stories, and more participants, and I'm kinda left out of that. Aw.

But I'm not confused that others like it and I don't. And I haven't bothered asking the f'list, "what do you like about podfic" any more than I've asked them "what do you like about SGA" (which I also don't) because I'm pretty sure that, whatever it is, it's *still* not going to appeal to me. And understanding it in the abstract (oh hey yeah, that would be a good character dynamic to play with/wow, hearing a voice for [character] would be cool), isn't going to drag me into the actual squee.

There is NO REASON to ask "why do you like X" unless it's either "I wanna share the squee" (which it doesn't sound like you're likely to do, any more than I am) or "... so I can tell you what's wrong with that because X is icky."

Which you say you weren't doing. And okay, I'm sure you didn't intend. But your post didn't read like "hmm, new fannish squeething everyone's doing; I don't get it; help me flist." It read like "there's this squicky thing people *all over* are doing; how can they *stand* it?" And of course, the answers are likely to be somewhat defensive; you insulted their squeeful hobby. Or you at least said, "I find it horribly ugly and uncomfortable and don't understand how anyone could like it."

there's got to be something I'm not seeing

There is. Different people like different stuff.

Some people like fluff. Some like non-con. Some like long, plotty novels; some like PWP drabbles. Some like comics. Some like fic archives with black backgrounds and gothish fonts and vampire artwork all over the place. Some like printed zines and don't read anything online. Some like meta. Some like detailed concrit. Some like writing to a deadline. Some like collaborations. And some like podfic.

Once you've figured out you *don't* like something, what does it matter why someone else does? It's not like we have squee rationing.

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[identity profile] laurie-ky.livejournal.com 2010-03-02 02:14 am (UTC)(link)
As a listener, to both audio books and podfic, I love to be entertained while I'm driving (and I drive an incredible amount for my job), or while I'm walking or doing chores. I've painted rooms while listening to stories. I've walked many more miles than I would have, because I wanted to listen to more of a podfic.

And when I listened to my very first audiobook, Kim by Kipling, I really listend to the details that when I had read it I had skimmed. It made the story much deeper. And I will skim while reading, and I don't think it's a habit I can break.

Listening to podfic is a leisurely experience for me; I'm not in hurry, I want to take my time.

I don't feel any fourth wall breakage at all when I'm listening. I'm deeply drawn into the story and I very much like listening to really long podfics, many times in fandoms that I haven't even seen the show. I've gotten interested in several fandoms (Due South and SPN) just from listening to the podfics.

As a reader, I'm first of all making the podfics for myself. I re-listen to the ones I've made all the time. And I like learning the technical side of things, and experimenting with sound effects and music. (There is a debate about using music in podfics) I like matching up music that I think invokes a certain mood to go with the story.

(Let me just add right now that I also have started making non music version of my podfics for the benefit of anybody who's interested in something I recorded that doesn't like podfics with music or has difficulty hearing text read over sound effects or music)

I like picking stories from the writers on my flist to podfic. I like doing them as a return favor for my beta. I like recording a story as a gift for a friend.

I like recording my own stories, adding another layer onto the creative work I've done as a writer.

I like to podfic stories in my main fandom, as a way of promoting it.

I like participating in amplificathon, and occasionally, making comments on podficcing as a topic. That's my least favorite part, though. I mostly read this studio to see if I'm doing something that other people are going to object to.

I've always liked to read, and to read outloud. This is another way for me to be creative and it is fulfilling to me.

paraka: A baby wearing headphones and holding a mic (Default)

[personal profile] paraka 2010-03-02 03:35 am (UTC)(link)
I discovered podfic while working part time doing order entry. It was just me, my computer a pile of faxes and some earphones. Podfic turned a boring job into something where I could get paid to consume fanfic, it was awesome!

There were a few things that caught me off guard when I first started listening but I got over them pretty quickly.

When I got into podfic 3 years ago, well, the archive wasn't around. [community profile] amplificathon wasn't around. Sgapodfic was, as well as a podslash I believe but podfic wasn't all that plentiful and it wasn't always easy to find. I quickly found myself running out of things to listen to or relistening to things excessively. So I thought, hey I can do this and tried recording my first podfic. In retrospect, it maybe wasn't the best idea to start off with a fic more than 120,000 words long but my thoughts at the time was I should read something long so it'll take more time to listen to. Yeah.

I never did finish that podfic, and it wasn't until [community profile] amplificathon that I finally finished and posted my own podfic.

So for me, it was definitely about contributing to the community and filling a whole that I saw. Although I'll admit that's changed for me since. I now feel like podfic is my fandom more than any specific show. I find myself looking into more challenging projects. It would be nice if I could finish things, so they can actually be posted :)
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[personal profile] fandomfan 2010-03-02 09:38 am (UTC)(link)
I've listened to Sam/Dean stories because FayJay read them, and I hate SPN.

And funnily enough, I, too, have listened to Sam/Dean stories because FayJay read them. So we both have that same 'follow-a-beloved-author' tendency: you across fandoms, me across media.

This whole discussion is really interesting to me. I love seeing everyone's different reasons for podfic love, and the idea of using podfic to get into stories you might not otherwise stick with is one I hadn't thought of.

It's funny, because I love pro audiobooks, and the idea of being able to listen to someone read to me while driving/working/whatever is definitely appealing. Just doesn't translate to fic for me. Maybe because my attitude towards fic consumption is differently emotionally invested somehow. Like it doesn't make much difference in how I process it if I read or listen to a non-fannish piece of writing, but when I read fanfic, I want to consume it some sort of different way.

Ultimately, I do think the visual/aural learning styles thing comes into it quite significantly, and I'm definitely a visual one on that spectrum. I want the thrill of scrolling down and discovering a particularly beautiful (or a particularly hot) turn of phrase as the dialogue unfolds, and that is a specifically *visual* thrill for me that I wouldn't get from someone else reading.


Thanks for posting this and getting discussion going. And for all your thoughts, too.
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[personal profile] niko 2010-03-02 03:34 pm (UTC)(link)
Just chiming in as another person who's always loved being read to - and reading aloud myself, even more so. In school, my primary means of studying was to go through my notes and *talk* them out to myself. Something about that brain-to-mouth transfer helped fix things in my head much better than reading or listening alone.

It's funny you mentioned audiobooks helping you get through Fellowship of the Ring. What helped me get through them was that I read the books aloud to myself. Now I'm wondering if listening to the recording would have worked just as well for me, or if I needed to actually be *saying* the words to get the impact. Hmmmm... oral vs. aural. :)

Beyond that, just ditto to what everyone else has said about the pluses of podfics. There's a little bit of all of that wrapped up in it for me.
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[personal profile] brimtoast 2010-03-02 04:33 pm (UTC)(link)
I agree with a lot of the earlier reasons, and am also a person who has ALWAYS loved being read to, and still does, even as an adult. There's something wonderfully intimate and social about hearing stories read aloud by someone's voice.

I think during amplirecathon some people discussed that with depressing stories, especially, listening to the podfic made them feel less alone with the story.

Voices also convey the emotions of a story to me in a way that sometimes the words alone won't. Like, I'll get how great or hot or sweet or sad a story is while reading it, but when I listen to that same story I will get *goosebumps* from those same parts. So it's another level of intensity, to me, getting absorbed in a spoken vs. a written story.

I also really like seeing plays, tv shows, movies. I like having things acted for me, and I consider podfic similar to theatre in a lot of ways. Listening to a reader say a phrase or line of dialogue in a way I had never thought of before just delights me.

So. Those are some of the reasons. For me.
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[personal profile] fandomfan 2010-03-02 09:39 pm (UTC)(link)
I think during amplirecathon some people discussed that with depressing stories, especially, listening to the podfic made them feel less alone with the story.

This makes *total* sense to me, and I'd never have thought of it on my own.

There have been plenty of moments with sad/depressing/dark stories where I've felt pretty miserable and isolated by the end of them, and I think you and the original poster are probably right that a human voice 'keeping me company' would likely lessen that feeling.

Thanks for chiming in.
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[personal profile] viklikesfic 2010-03-02 06:01 pm (UTC)(link)
I actually thought it'd hit my embarrassment squick, too. But there are a number of reasons I like it in spite of that. Portability! Definitely. No more printing out fanfiction and reading on the schoolbus like I did back in the midst of time at 13, when anyone could read over my shoulder. Two, I like being read to. It's fun to have a person reading me a story. Three, multitasking. It's hard to read fanfic on the screen while cleaning or cooking. And four, it's just a different experience from reading text. Just as I enjoy audiobooks, but find it completely different from reading a book in my hand, it's fun to see what a story is like in a different format. As for the embarrassment squick, I found that for a moment it was a little weird to hear someone Reading Porn Out Loud, but as the story progressed I stopped noticing the reader so much, or thinking about this person sitting there Reading Porn Out Loud, and the reader became a conduit. I'm sad that unfortunately I don't think I'll ever be a podficcer (I recently tried and found that my voice is too difficult to understand when recorded), but I'll continue to enjoy reading podfic for these reasons.
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[personal profile] copracat 2010-03-02 08:11 pm (UTC)(link)
It makes fanworks more interestingly accessible through audio versions.
aethel: (fraser and ray)

one thing I like about podfic

[personal profile] aethel 2010-03-02 11:04 pm (UTC)(link)
Podfic reminds me of the epiphany I had when I went to a convention: online fandom consists of real people! Er, which I knew already, but nothing beats experiential knowledge. Hearing a real live person read fanfiction out loud to me makes fandom seem more real.
darkemeralds: Photo of a microphone with caption Read Me a Story. (Podfic)

[personal profile] darkemeralds 2010-03-03 01:41 am (UTC)(link)
Like many others here, I've always enjoyed being read to. When I discovered pro-audiobooks a few years ago (the downloadable kind, as distinct from the old "books on tape" which cost a fortune and were hard to come by) I was in heaven, and I began to realize why: I'm a whole lot more auditory--and a lot less attentive--than I ever realized.

With audiobooks--and, by extension, podfic, which I experience in almost precisely the same way--I can "read" while doing something else, whereas I can rarely just read (with my eyes) because I don't have the attention span for it, and this problem grows worse as I get older.

As to the squick factor alluded to...nope. Just don't feel that at all. I like voices. I like the intimacy of hearing my fellow fans reading in their own voices, with their own interpretations. I don't have the faintest issue with hearing Adult-rated fic read aloud (although I find myself self-consciously double-checking that my earphones really are keeping it private in, say, a crowded elevator, because, talk about your classic most-embarrassing-moment!).

I find everything about podfic a real joy, and a huge added dimension of fandom that I can participate in.
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[personal profile] podcath 2010-03-03 02:55 am (UTC)(link)
I find myself self-consciously double-checking that my earphones really are keeping it private OMG, yes :)

I listen on my ipod, so that's not an issue (luckily!), but during podbang I was editing like crazy with my family around. And boy, was I constantly imagining the earplugs pulling out and suddenly my voice filling the room... :)
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[personal profile] fangirlism 2010-03-03 08:12 am (UTC)(link)
I was in heaven, and I began to realize why: I'm a whole lot more auditory--and a lot less attentive--than I ever realized.

THIS. I would have done so much better in my harder college classes if I had had a tape recorder.
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[personal profile] fandomfan 2010-03-03 09:12 am (UTC)(link)
I can "read" while doing something else

This one seems to be coming up a lot, and makes perfect sense to me.

It's funny, because I'm such a visual learner, I'm not able to listen to one thing with any sort of focus and do something else at the same time.

Though I must say I love the concept of listening to your favorite characters doing something R or NC-17 rated while in an office cubicle. Kind of 'stick it to the man' in a pleasing, counterculture way.

Thanks for the input.

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[personal profile] fangirlism 2010-03-03 08:11 am (UTC)(link)
There's also the concept that (while not applying to me personally) it makes fics accessible to those who would otherwise be unable to enjoy them (visually impaired or illiterate).

That's how I explained it to my mother when I had purchased my headset for podficcing.
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[identity profile] scribomania.livejournal.com 2010-03-04 01:19 pm (UTC)(link)
I agree with a lot of the previous commenters: the really awesome thing about podfic is that I can listen to it while commuting to uni or while doing stuff (like cleaning! my flat is so much cleaner since I discovered podfic! it's awesome). But there's another reason that I haven't seen mentioned so far.

While I'm generally less of an aural than a visual person and rather read a fic than listen to it, I've discovered that there are some fics that work better for me when podficced. This is partly because I'm one of those horrible people who have grammar squicks (like, a sentence that begins with a participle clause? it. breaks. my. brain) that bother me a lot when reading but not at all when listening to the same fic. There are other fics that I only like in the podficced version and I have no idea why. This also works the other way round, of course: there are fics that I love, but that don't do anything for me as podfic, and then there are those that I like in both formats. I find this endlessly interesting because - apart from my grammar quirks - I just cannot explain that phenomenon. I mean, it's still the same story, right? Except for how apparently it isn't. So, yeah, what I wanted to say with that is: with podfic I can enjoy stories I probably wouldn't have if I'd only read them and that's totally awesome.