In this episode of Podcast Tactics, you will learn how to launch a podcast to level up in life!
Today’s guest is a film and TV actor whose podcast features conversations and stories with talented people in the show business industry. Listen in to learn how his podcast strengthens his personal and professional development.
What did you get out of this episode? Leave a review at https://www.podchaser.com/PodcastTactics
Listen and Learn More About Create Up with Will Ennis
- Listen: https://createup.podbean.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/createuppodcast/
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxbvBKuIsnqgymLzvUws7Jg
Episode recorded on February 23, 2021.
Music by Valence – Infinite [NCS Release]
James: In this episode of Podcast Tactics, you will learn how to launch a podcast to level up in life.
Hello, I’m James, the host of Podcast Tactics. Today’s guest is a film and TV actor whose podcast features conversations and stories with talented people in the show business industry. Listen in to learn how his podcast strengthens his personal and professional development.
If you want more podcasting tips, tactics and advice. Join the mailing list at PodcastTactics.com to get new episode notifications.
Now let’s get into it.
I have a very special guest with me right now. Film and TV actor Will Ennis from Toronto, Canada. Will, thank you so much for coming on the show!
Will: James. Thanks for having me, man. I’m really excited to be here.
James: So let’s go ahead and dive right in. Let’s talk about your podcast. What’s the name of the show and tell us what it’s all about.
Will: So the podcast is called, “Create Up with Will Ennis”. And it’s all about leveling up in your creative, both in your artistic life and just your life in general. So it’s just, it’s basically self-help and creativity. Two things that like, I really love. And I started during quarantine and just been able to reach out to a number of people.
And everyone I reach out to is someone who. I’m a little bit intimidated by like someone who I feel like has gotten to places that I haven’t gotten to, whether it’s a psychologist, whether it’s another fellow artist, even if it’s in a different genre than one that I do, I still find that they have insights that I want to learn.
And I was like, now’s the time to just reach out, pull the trigger and just like talk, talk to them.
James: That makes perfect sense in your industry, networking like that, getting the edge. I’m imagining it could make a difference. And so connecting with people that are in the same industry is very helpful.
Will: Oh yeah, absolutely.
And I guess like the path of an artist is an uncertain one. So sometimes you make assumptions about what we should do or we follow our instinct, what we should do, but it helps also to have. What I wanted was a library of like soundbites and knowledge from people that I admire. So I decided to record it so anyone could access it.
But I find myself going back to interviews or even just remembering the old interviews and the advice that different guests give. And I even impart that in my personal life to other people, someone starting a venture, I had a friend just starting a TikTok account, and he’s a musician, but he started to try being funny on TikTok and try different part of his personality.
And he was worried. His TikToks weren’t particularly funny yet. I had interviewed this comedian, Dave Merheje and he was talking about finding his voice. And for years experimenting, failing, falling flat. And this is a guy that won the JUNO Award for comedy album of the year. He’s on Emmy nominated shows now like Ramy.
And so I can easily tell my friend. What I heard because I heard it right from the source. It’s not just BS. It’s not just me thinking, this is good advice. It’s saying I’m just a channel for what someone else told me and it’s a legitimate source. So I was just, it’s just, that’s my podcast. Like just looking for these legitimate sources and nuggets of wisdom from people.
I’ve been lucky to do it!
James: I love the notion of having this library of wisdom that you get to tap into. On that note, I have to ask. What is, what’s the nugget that you keep going back to? Is there one that you’re just like, I’m going to re-listen to that?
Will: I actually find it depends on whatever challenges in front of me.
So I like myself. I’m not a comedian, let’s say, but I do find, I love going back to the Dave Merheje interview because he talks a lot about finding his voice and about basically being vulnerable and putting himself out there again and again, to get feedback from an audience or just the public about how it’s translating.
And I find when I’m, when I’m broadcasting the podcast or I’m promoting it or telling someone about it, I’m not always so secure with the package I’m presenting or the brand I’m presenting. But when I analyze comedians or talk with comedians, I appreciate the process. It’s, you’re not this finished product yet.
And there’s a lot of honor in putting yourself out there and not perfect. Not perfectly figured out, not perfectly clever, not perfectly insightful. So I’m more comfortable with like my missteps and my awkwardness now, especially with talking to the comedians, for whatever reason, the comedians really get me.
James: That hit me… It’s hittin’ home with me just because of what I’m up to right now. I mean, there’s a level of vulnerability with me doing this podcast is a new venture for me. I’m definitely gonna, I’m definitely going to listen to that podcast. Cause it sounds like it would speak to me on many levels, especially the notion of finding your voice and being okay with your imperfections and having them out there because that’s okay.
James: I want to talk about the challenges that you’ve experienced with putting your podcast together.
Will: Yeah. There’s a sort of like a editing quality that I really like, like a sound like a mixing quality. And I used to do my, a couple of earlier episodes through an app, through a website called Zencastr, which is great.
And they have, they have a template to mix for you, both channels. So your channel would be one and my channel would be one. Separate audio file, but it’s still not always … I kinda been like to take those mixes and then actually mix them a little bit better, or even chop out. If we have an overlap in our conversation here in the editing process, it might be easier to just drop out what you’re saying so I can get my sentence finished.
And then have you click back in. So learning how to do that was a long process. One of my first interviews, I literally probably took 30 hours to, to edit it, which sounds crazy, but I was just learning, mixing, but since then it, it takes me, I probably put a couple of hours into mixing for sure. But it’s not a stress.
It’s fun. It was, it was gross. Like the first one I did just try, it’s not the first interview I released, but one of the first interviews I did. Oh my God. Like I was like, Oh, I guess I do 10 episodes of this podcast. And then I jump off a cliff because it was so bad to edit, to mix. It was like, Oh my God, it gets easier.
It gets easier. But I think it’s essential for me at least to mix. I love it. Yeah.
James: Thanks for throwing in that. It gets better because like the pit of my stomach dropped out. But for you, I think it’s a reflection on how much you care. Right? Like you. This is important to you. And I think you’re, you want to, you want to do right by the people that you’re interviewing you want to do right.
By your message and do right by your show. It makes sense to me that you would go spend a 30 hour editing session. I could see myself doing that as well so, I totally relate.
Will: Yeah. And it’s. If they all took 30 hours, maybe I would second guess it, but in a way, everyone I’ve asked it to interview. I like I’m not necessarily going for quantity of interviews.
I would like to get better as an interviewer, but I’m okay with a tight season of eight, nine, 10 episodes taking time, living life, doing other things. Like I’ve turned down, not a lot of interviews, but I have turned down some interviews. I’ve only interviewed people I really wanted to talk with. And I’ve only released stuff that I’m really behind.
I do one try to do one every two or three weeks. And for me, it’s not a numbers game. It’s just like the people I really don’t want to talk to. I really lock in and learn them. Like what I don’t know, and try to Polish and put together the nicest moments. Or message for the episode, but it’s, I’m not going to just keep banging them out.
I’ll do you know a series of 10, let’s say, take a break, live life, follow my other pursuits and then come back and really make sure it’s people don’t want to talk about. You want to talk?
James: Yeah, that makes sense.
I’m curious about when you have a recording session, how long is that recording session versus how long the episode ends up being.
Will: It depends. My first two episodes were a bit over an hour, which I really liked. And there was minimal things that I cut and it often just comes down to sometimes it’s like out of respect, like sometimes how articulate or how much a guest is behind their idea, because to be interviewed is a lot. And everyone I interviewed had great stuff to say, but. Not every question is going to land with them or is going to, like, I can tell sometimes if a guest is floundering with their answer or maybe the energy kind of lags or drops, sometimes I’ll even cut stuff that’s good, but it just doesn’t seem to fit the narrative of the entire conversation.
So it’s… If you’re filming a movie, you’re going to leave stuff on the edit on the cutting room floor. So let’s say if I do an hour talk. It depends, but I’ll say maybe 40, 40 minutes, 40 minutes, 45 minutes. I might cut out 15. I have a good example of that. Actually. I had episode coming out on Thursday.
My guest was talking about conspiracy theories, but just as a side interest that he has. And I like when he talks about it, but I introduced the question too early. I hadn’t established who he is. What he’s about is a YouTuber. He’s like a public speaker. Uh, he talks a lot about autism cause he’s, he has autism spectrum disorder and he’s, he has his own business.
He’s doing all this really cool stuff. And as a side interest, he also likes certain conspiracies that we both find pretty interesting, but I think. To build rapport with him. I introduced a question, about conspiracies as like my second question in, and it was just such a jolt because I’m thinking about the listeners.
Like they don’t get who this guy is yet. And now we’re talking about aliens. I’m like, damn dang it. So I cut that and I was about 10 to 12 minutes. It just didn’t make any narrative sense. But near the end, we talked about a little more conspiracies. Once we’d covered who he is, what he does, what’s the meat of like his brand.
Then the dessert was like the other interest like that, like conspiracy. But yeah, I left it interesting and it was interesting, but I left 15 minutes on the cutting room floor.
James: So in that example, were you able to rearrange it to put it at the appropriate spot or you actually did leave it on the cutting room floor?
Will: I left that on the cutting room floor. We talked, we did touch on conspiracies a bit later in the episode, and then to stitch the opening of the interview with the rest of the interview. Minus that part, I cut. I actually rephrased one of my questions to make it seem like there wasn’t a cut between the two parts, if that makes sense.
James: Yeah. Yeah, no, that’s ah, man, you are next level editor here! I’m inspired!
Will: It’s it’s pretty easy. Cause especially if you’re doing video like this, if we have a tight, if you have a title card for this interview, like my face, your face in the title, if you’re going to cut out a section of the video portion, I’ll just I’ll record the audio question I want.
And then just put the title card over our talk. So it just looks like we’re talking and then we’re just branding the episode and then we’re pulling back the title card again, and it’s us talking, but really that whole visual. Putting up that title card again is like an illusion. It’s a distraction. It’s magic.
So people think, Oh, you asked such good questions, but good flow. It’s no, I like the there’s so much going on. There’s so many tricks to make you think it’s all smooth and natural.
James: A good portion of that magic does happen in the editing room. What is the same with movies? Another rewrite of the movie happens inside of the editing room.
Will: Yeah, yeah, yeah, totally. I always think of movie editors as like painters. If you ever edit, do you ever edit video or anything like that?
James: I’m gonna be!
Will: Well, think about the timing, right? If there’s a pause in something like, do you like the pause, the original three second pause, or do you make it two and a half seconds or one second?
And all of a sudden you’re starting to really, I feel like you’re really painting a picture with like pauses and you’re probably, I don’t know how many angles you’re going to use. Probably just my camera, your camera, but yeah. Yeah, you can really shape the story or paint the picture, as I say. Yeah. Yeah.
James: I love that.
I love that. Let’s let’s circle back to your podcast because I want to get into successes that you’ve had as a result of it. Can you share some of those?
Will: Yeah, totally. Okay. So the first person I interviewed a lovely person was Misha Watson. She was she. So she came out as the fourth episode, but she was the first person I interviewed.
And no knock on Misha. Just mixing the first episode. That was the one I was I was talking about, it was just so hard just mixing that first episode, but she’s a host and we know each other from the acting world, but she connected me to a hosting opportunity outside of the podcast to do other things. So she connected me with someone, and we started collaborating on a hosting project, which to be honest, it didn’t really go anywhere.
But. Off the bat, just as my first guest, we had such a good rapport. I was top of mind to her for another gig. So she pulled me into this gig and I was so happy to do it. And a number of those situations have come up where the podcast, it’s just not just a show. It’s also a place to build relationships and network with people. Like we’re networking right now, and if we have a really cool conversation, an added bonus to that is what we get out of the conversation is we’ve recorded it. We can always listen back to it for advice. And it’s there for other people to listen to if they’re going to get value from it too, but there’s so many rewards to doing a podcast because let’s face it.
Like my podcast may never go anywhere, go anywhere traditionally. Like it may not become millions of people listening. It’d be great if it did, but even if it doesn’t, it’s it, that’s not a loss because you’re still impacting people and you’re still connecting with others. Like it could lead to so much more than just a lot of listeners.
I don’t think that’s the ultimate goal. We don’t need a lot of listeners to be satisfied with the podcast, or you don’t have to be only satisfied with your podcast if you have a lot of listeners. There’s so much you learn doing a podcast. And there’s a lot of opportunities that come your way just by talking with people and getting to know them.
James: Yeah, absolutely. So, what do you want people to get out of listening to your show?
Will: I think it’s like the show that I made for me, but I think others can benefit from it too. So if you’re striving to be better, you may not like every single episode, but if you’re striving to be better in a certain area, if you’re an actor just starting out or if you’re like a rapper and you want to know what it’s like for someone in the industry who’s been the industry 30 years. I’d be like, check out the Dan-E-O like podcast I did. He’s been making noise in the history for 30 years. If you’re cleaning up your room right now, throw on the podcast and just let all that knowledge and history flow into you.
Yeah. So basically, and actually I want to go in a direction of self-help as well. So it’s not just artists, but, um, Just about making again, like creating a better life for yourself, but not every episode of Create Up will benefit everyone. You know what I mean? You might only like one out of every 20 let’s say, but I think that there’ll be something in there for everybody.
James: Sure. That’s, that’s a tall order to try to be able to satisfy the, the needs of the whole planet!
Talk to me about how you prepare for your interviews.
Will: Oh man, if it’s an author, I definitely read the book. But I generally, if I reach out to an author, let’s say I’ve read the book first and then on a whim, seeing if I’ve been able to interview them.
But I, I won’t just read the book. I’ll take notes. The book will resonate with me, let’s say so that I’m… for example, I interviewed Robert Glover, and I, I loved his book over the summer. Like I was taking notes cause it was helping me with my relationship. So I was just deep into it. And then I heard about a website called hunter.io where you can, um, enter a website name and it’ll direct you with an email.
That’s connected to that website so that you can then email that address and get in touch with whoever’s behind the website. And then I was like, I, this is like magic. This author who I didn’t think I’d ever be able to talk to is now Zoom-ing with me in an hour. And it was phenomenal. There was a lot more time than an hour for me to prepare for that.
But basically long story short, I will read the book. I’ll go deep on the book. I’ll fall in love with the book before even asking to interview the person, or if they’re a director. I will watch all their movies. I will try to think of the most obvious questions and keep, make the list of as many obvious questions I can as many kind of interesting un-obvious questions as I can and keep rewriting those.
And then eventually when it comes down to the actual interview, I might have four or five questions on the page, which I may or may not look at, but in the prep I’m like thinking of as many as I go. Like sometimes you, you might think of 50 questions for someone. Uh, for some people you might think of 20 and be comfortable with that in prep, but actually on the day, I might have two questions, three or four questions on paper just in case, but I try to keep it just flowing and trust that I’ve studied this person.
I have a curiosity in me. Let’s see where this goes. One downside of that. Sorry to interrupt. One downside of that is often I do a preamble before a question when I’m improvising an interview and I’m not always the most articulate. I always, I don’t always think I make logical sense. So in editing, there’s a good rapport happening with the guest, and they’re saying really cool stuff, but I sometimes feel like a bit of an idiot when I’m asking questions that I haven’t written out my exact questions. You know what I mean? I might think, Oh, that’s phrased weird, but it led to the guest to say this really cool thing. So lovely. But I cringe sometimes at my like improvised questions. They seem a little bit, not always the most logical.
They’re always… sometimes they’re a little abstract.
James: This is funny for me to say this to an actor, but do you feel like that’s part of that inner kind of critic that is just, you hear something and it’s Ooh, I’m cringing. For me or a listener, they might be thinking like, wow, that’s a raw moment. Like he’s really digging deep to come up with this inquiry for this person.
Will: That’s a good insight into it. Yeah. Because I think I am pretty hyper-critical and you’ll notice that in editing, when you start editing your stuff it’s cause it’s like, I noticed when I first started editing. I was like, almost obsessed with trying to make myself sound good. I was insecure. So it’s like, I wanted to make sure I cut out the ums and ahs in my question.
And I cut out ums and ahs in the answers of my guests, but I realized I wasn’t focusing as much on cutting out their ums and ahs. So that just told me, like I was…, I’m pretty insecure, like with this, but as I got on, as I started to do more episodes and edit more, I was like, raw is good. I do try to cut out the ums and ahs equally, but sometimes you just leave them in because it’s…, we’re not robots, but generally you want to make your guests look way better than you.
You want to make sure you’re putting more focus on the guests looking good because we’re there for the guests. And it was… so I am embarrassed to say that. Yeah. In the early days or the beginnings of this project, I was way more focused on how I came across rather than the guests.
James: So this one thing I noted from the Michelle McCleod episode…
You can tell me, “I don’t want to answer it”, but it’s something that I noted as something that was interesting. When you started your podcast, you mentioned during this episode that you were feeling lost. Can you go into that?
Will: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. As a, as an actor, you have an agent and they get you roles, which you audition for, right?
So you basically have these creative producers and writers that want to create these projects, and then you show up to audition for the role. And sometimes you don’t even get in the room for projects that you might resonate with. And sometimes you do, and you screw it up, or you’re not right for it or whatever.
But as, as me personally, I have all this creative energy and I found I was putting it. In the hands of other people. I love to audition and I love to collaborate, but I was like, I have, I legitimately have too much energy in me that I need to be creating as well. What do I want to create? And it was a podcast, because I listen to so many podcasts and I wanted to start producing, creating my own content and it helped me… it really did help me find my voice.
Will: This year has been phenomenal.
James: I get that. Thanks for, you know, diving a little deeper into that. I appreciate hearing that story.
Will: Yeah, no worries!
James: So before we wrap things up, I have one last question for you. What’s the best experience you’ve ever had happen as a result of your podcast?
Will: There’ve been a number of moments that I have clocked and that they’ve stayed with me in subtle ways that make a big difference. So, just certain moments that have happened in the podcast. I ask someone a question that’s really detailed and I feel I have affected them in a good, emotional way that shows that I’ve heard… that I’ve heard and seen their work.
I know their work, I know them. I see them. And I know the impact that it has on them, and for example. And that’s created, I, it seems a bit awkward to say this, but I feel like it’s created or self-esteem in myself for some reason. A handful of moments from producing this podcast. I do feel I walk around like 5% more confident. I know 5% doesn’t sound like a lot, but literally imagine you became five more percent, more confident tomorrow. It’d be subtle, but you’re like, I feel more confident. I feel like I’m a little bit more on purpose. I feel like a little bit more… doing something meaningful. And that’s something I’ve noticed doing this podcast.
Yeah. And there’s just a handful of moments. I don’t know if I get it every episode, there’s been these moments where it’s like “oof”!
James: That’s one of those things where I’m like, I’m putting myself in my future. Am I going to get that? But anyway, so…
Will: I think you definitely will, man. I think you will just putting yourself out there. It’s a risk, but it’s, you’re just offering value, right?
Like people reward you for that. Cause it’s a courageous thing to do. And it’s a loving thing to do because you’re going to put in your time and effort. So I think you will get rewarded for that. I don’t know in what way, but for me. It was just an inner feeling of confidence, kind of self-esteem I found was growing.
Cause it was like, I need to get these people heard. I need to recognize these people, put them out there and help others and just started to feel great.
Will: It felt great.
James: Will, please tell us where can people find out more about you and your podcast?
Will: Oh, okay. Yeah. Well, they can check out @createuppodcast on Instagram, where I have a snippets for the show.
Links to full episodes and we’re on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube Create Up TV. I also do music lessons there for fun. Check it out @createuppodcast.
James: I’d love to keep in touch with you. Maybe catch up down the road with you to see how things are going. If that’s cool with you.
Will: Of course, James, we are a family now… we’re brothers!
We are brothers it’s official. We’re now brothers. No question about it.
James: Thank you so much, Will!
Will: Reach out to me!
James: Okay, I will, man, I will… don’t, see… Now you opened up a Pandora’s box.
Will: Uh oh, okay. I’ll look for the lid, but…!
James: Thank you so much for coming on. It was a pleasure having you. I do appreciate all of your wisdom. I wish you the best of luck for you and your podcast.
Thanks again to Will Ennis!
Check the show notes for links to learn more about Will and the Create Up podcast. Remember to leave a review on Podchaser.com to let me know what you got out of this episode. You’ll find info in the show notes for this, and feel free to make suggestions for what I can do to make this show even better for you.
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