I live in Atlanta's historic Cabbagetown neighborhood—inside an old, towering red-brick cotton mill built in the 1800s.
When I look east, I see Stone Mountain in the distance. Stone Mountain is where the KKK was reborn, and today it's home to the largest Confederate memorial in America.
When I look west, I see the shining dome of the Georgia State Capitol building. It's covered in gold, mined about 60 miles north of the city.
When I look south, I see several dozen airplanes cruising on the horizon—the traffic coming in and out of the world's busiest airport.
And when I look north, I peer down into the Old Fourth Ward, Dr. King's neighborhood and ground zero for the Civil Rights movement.
Atlanta is most well-known for its monumental role in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
And that's the story I've immersed myself in for the last four years.
It's a story of mobs and martial law.
It's a story of cursed land and lying journalists.
It's a story of refugee camps and robber barons.
It's a story of spy machines and secret vaults.
It's a story of midnight stalkers and deranged doctors.
It's a story so outrageous, so unbelievable, and so scandalous that you wouldn’t believe it, had the city’s newspapers not covered it in daily, Hollywood-style detail.
And to understand Atlanta, you’ve got to understand this true story of a city on the brink of chaos.
Hi, my name is B.T. Harman.
I want to create the greatest podcast of all time, and I'd like you to join me on the journey.
This project started in 2015 when I moved into the heart of Atlanta. I began researching the history of my neighborhood and came across a single sensational story. As I chased that story, I discovered three more unbelievable tales, all happening around the same time. And I uncovered connections between the characters and overlap in the plot lines.
I realized these weren't four separate stories. This was one big story no one had ever told.
I began constructing a master timeline of events. I discovered that they all happened within a 4 1/2 yr span—56 months, to be exact. I knew this story had all the “bones” of a truly epic tale that could be mesmerizing, if told in the right way.
For the last four years, I’ve been reading, researching, and planning how to bring this story to life.
The working title is “56 Months in Atlanta."
That means you can expect a clear beginning, middle, and end. This is not your typical interview-style podcast that goes on forever. It's a big, epic tale, designed to feel less like a podcast and more like a movie.
This is a story about America set in Atlanta. If you live in Manhattan or Santa Fe or Kickapoo, Kansas, you're still going to love this story.
It's hard to capture someone's attention and even harder to keep it. This story is a cinematic thriller filled with seedy saloons, crooked politicians, torch-wielding outlaws, drug peddlers, covert transmissions, unruly courtrooms, smooth-talking spies, and much more. You won't be bored.
This story will be carefully crafted to captivate the listener from the first episode to the last—all while staying true to the historical facts.
This story will be part true crime, part history, and part memoir.
— the mystery of a true crime thriller, plus...
— the forgotten stories of U.S. history, plus...
— the raw commentary of a meaningful memoir.
This will be an unusual storytelling alchemy that podcast fans are going to love.
I know...when you think of podcasts, you don't think of visuals. But even audio-driven stories need a striking visual identity. So, I'm assembling a world-class team of artists, photographers, videographers, and illustrators to help tell this story visually. This will give the story a strong online presence and enable fans to share it more broadly.
The purpose of your average podcast is simply to entertain the listener with some emotion—horror! outrage! laughter!—and then sell a bunch of ads. Listeners of this series will certainly feel the full range of emotions, but the purpose is much deeper than that.
Race plays a major role throughout the story, and it will be a major theme I'll explore.
My (personal) life purpose is to...
"Tell stories that seed the thoughts of a healthy culture."
Our culture is really sick right now. It's sick with political vitriol, online outrage, racial divisions, media manipulation, and epidemics of drugs, loneliness, & declining mental health. I have no intention of fixing any of these problems.
I have every intention of planting some seeds...
And some of those seeds will take root...
And that will cause people to think more healthily about these issues...
And maybe that will bring some new life into this culture you and I participate in every day.
I've been telling stories professionally for 15 years.
For much of that time, I was an executive in the business world, telling the story of a remarkable company with a purpose that impacted millions of kids across America.
More recently, I told a story called Blue Babies Pink.
BBP was my personal story told as a memoir. It launched as a blog in 2016, and since then nearly 200,000 people have read it at bluebabiespink.com.
In 2017, I converted the blog to a podcast, and within a few days, it took off, soaring into the top 50 of all podcasts worldwide and charting at #1 in its category. It was a day I'll never forget!
To date, more than 1.1 million episodes have been downloaded (about 23,000 downloads per episode). That's over 220,000 hours of audio content consumed from a podcast I recorded on a cheap microphone in my closet!
I learned so much from that initial podcasting venture, but the main takeaway was that nothing can stop a story well-told.
Not hasty planning.
Not bad production.
Not bad marketing (or, in my case, NO marketing).
I also know that good planning, good production, and good marketing can all work together to massively amplify a message.
That's the goal of my next podcast venture—to combine the storytelling magic of my first podcast with world-class planning, production, and promotion.
Think about it...
You've got to pay a host, fund their research & travel, hire a producer, pay a sound engineer, hire editors, consult with lawyers, build out a brand identity, mobilize a PR team, craft a social media strategy, invest in paid advertising and much, much more.
This is why it's increasingly difficult for an independent podcaster like me to break into the top tier. It wasn't always this way, but now most of the top shows are produced by large podcasting companies with deep pockets. It's wild to me that what started out as a quirky storytelling niche has blown up into a major genre of modern-day media!
I want this story to compete with the best podcasts on the market.
To do that, I must assemble a kick-ass team...
I'm looking for backers to help me produce the next great podcast series. Will you join me?
I'm looking for supporters who've been a part of my previous storytelling escapades (hello, BBPpl! #soycd).
And I'm also looking for new friends who love good stories, who love history, who love podcasts, and who love seeing independent creators put original, purposeful art into the world.
As I mentioned, I've spent the last four years researching the story and plotting a basic timeline of events. However, a mountain of additional research, writing, recording, and producing still remains to be done.
Towards the end of June, I terminated my remaining consulting contracts to focus on the podcast full-time.
I'll be fully engaged with this project through the end of 2019.
Here's the tentative timeline:
I'm looking to raise $60,000. Funds will be used for...
- Audio production - recording, editing, sound design, etc.
- Design & Illustration - for cover art, social media promotion, website, etc.
- Photography - for website, social media, etc.
- Videography - to produce a high-end video trailer
- Technology - website, email marketing, merch store, etc.
- Legal - for assistance with copyright, fair use, public domain, etc.
- Project manager
- Miscellaneous contractor fees
- Marketing & Advertising - a mix of events, traditional PR, outdoor, paid social, etc.
- B.T. - stipend for 3 mo. living expenses
- Kickstarter fees
- Fulfillment of Kickstarter rewards
- Unaccounted-for expenses
I'm really proud of the rewards available for this Kickstarter! Here are some of my favorites...
- Access to a secret Instagram account where you'll get a front-row seat to my creative process, from concept to launch.
- A beautifully designed print from Rachel Eleanor, one of the top illustrators in Atlanta.
- Ticket to the "ATL Twilight History Tour" - I'll lead a group of backers through some of my favorite neighborhoods near downtown Atlanta. We'll visit sites mentioned in the podcast and finish up at one of Cabbagetown's favorite watering holes.
- VIP tickets to the podcast launch party.
- Choose a favorite quote to include in the podcast script.
- Have yourself sketched into the podcast character map.
- I'll fly you to Atlanta! We'll spend the day together exploring Atlanta history and visiting all the best places the city has to offer.
(Be sure to review the full list of rewards.)
This fall, I want to take America on an adventure.
I created my last podcast alone, but this one's going to be different...
I want YOU to help me create it.
I want YOU to be a part of the journey with me.
I want YOU to watch this process unfold, from start to finish.
I want YOU on my team.
Thanks in advance!
Let's go tell a story,
P.S. — Remember that a Kickstarter is all or nothing! That means that I have to reach 100% of my $60k goal to receive any funds at all. Please give today.
Risks and challenges
This is a low-risk Kickstarter campaign in that this podcast WILL be produced. However, without proper funding the quality of the entire project will suffer, the timeline will be greatly delayed (2020), and the reach will be significantly stunted.
Up to this point, the greatest challenge has been finding the time to commit to this project. My consulting workload has been very heavy thus preventing me from going all-in on this project. However, as mentioned, I have wrapped up all consulting work, and I'm now fully (and aggressively!) moving forward with the creation of 56 Months in Atlanta.
The only real remaining challenge would be a delay in my production schedule due to some external, unforeseen factor.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)