Way back in 2006, my cohort Michael "Gabe" Krahulik introduced the Penny Arcade Podcast, "Downloadable Content", thusly:
Sometimes people ask us “how do you guys write the comic?” The answer is that we sit around and look at game news and we talk about it until we start laughing at something. It sounds boring and I think it probably is.
Apparently it wasn't boring
In fact, it turns out "Downloadable Content" was one of the most popular projects we've ever done. People loved the; back when when we put the episodes up on iTunes, they were #1 in Comedy. Of course there was much more to it than "us guys" sitting around looking at news with a mic on. What we thought people would hate - just how nonlinear the comic-creation process is - was what they seemed to like. How conversations would spiral off into space, collect strange minerals, and then return to inform the strips. How "real life" would suddenly come up and influence the topic.
“Downloadable Content” stopped in 2009 because it was always a hobby - Kiko, one of our designers, edited the podcasts in his spare time. He doesn't really have that anymore. We started doing episodes of Penny Arcade: The Series dedicated to the writing process, and while people liked them, they didn't do what DLC did, which was to put you in the room and leave you there. We want to get back to that, in a way you can depend on. We want it to be a regular part of the site, the real deal.
Tell me more
Okay, I will.
Our first Kickstarter was an endeavor that changed how we make Penny Arcade pretty dramatically, and we got a ton of great feedback from it. One thing people were very clear on was that some of our "stretch goals" should have been their own Kickstarters. We figured it out. Or, you figured it out, and then told us. So, this project is for "Downloadable Content" alone, and all stretch goals will either further reward backers or make this specific project better.
For example: The first stretch goal is an original theme song written and performed by myself (Tycho, occasionally also Jerry) and Kris Straub. That’s fresh. The second stretch goal improves a backer reward. If we get super stretchy, or elastic or whatever, we can "enlengthen" this season. And so on.
Here's the basics, though: we need some dedicated recording hardware, and an audio guy to edit the episodes. Together, these things will keep the turnaround smooth and make the process reliable. After pledging, you will also feel good inside. And outside. You'll feel good on your skin.
The content which will be available to download
If funded we'll produce a season of 20 original episodes of "Downloadable Content”, which works out to roughly one episode a week. The first episode will launch immediately after the Kickstarter ends; backers will receive a direct download link to it and all successive episodes. Each episode will be between 20-60 minutes, edited for the soul of wit. Backers get them first, and after two weeks every episode (barring those exclusive to backers) will go up as pay-what-you-want.
We have them. This image will be updated as needed.
Risks and challenges
We’ve done incredibly elaborate projects for years; we’ve got 40 episodes under our belt. We have brutal project managers on-hand who wouldn't even blink at this level of execution. We know how to do this, and do it well. The biggest challenge is the amount of time and other resources required to deliver a quality podcast, which we're itching to dedicate. All we need is to gauge interest, hardware up, and pay the audio guy. This is well within our capability.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We did! This was a stretch goal that people said should have been its own project. We think they were probably right; we learned a lot the first time around.
That's okay - episodes go "pay what you want" two weeks after they air. It's no big.
We basically wanted it to be pay what you want. People have been telling us to make this stuff for years, it was never about the goal. We thought might as well set it at a level where even one backer would get us there. That way, no matter what, we’re committed to creating and delivering a radical new era in podcasting (it will probably be very similar to the previous era).
We’ll figure out a topic together, then. We're smart people, you and I; It won't be hard. If we really can’t figure something else out you can choose a new reward, or we can refund your money.
Honestly, we don't have that content. We did manage to find footage of '08, but '06 is still lost to time.
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