On All 12 Cylinders
The following is an automated transcript from episode 131, with podcast strategist and sound engineer Tanner Campbell.
Tom Gentry: You know, I’ve been talking a lot about Clubhouse on the podcast lately. This is, I guess the fourth interview, maybe the fifth interview I will have recorded on Clubhouse. And I have friends who I’ve met on clubhouse, who also do podcasts. And I’ve met in other rooms who have really had good things to say about you.
And I really appreciate how helpful you have been. I like the rooms that you do, some of the podcast rooms that I’ve dipped into here and there. Um, there’s a lot of talk about monetization and calls to action. And I don’t know, it just seems like a, a lot of bluster kinda, and I, it seems like you and your folks have really gone out of your way to build a community. And I appreciate that.
So why don’t you tell the listeners what it is you do.
Tanner Campbell: Sure. Uh, I, up until very recently was a brick and mortar recording studio owner, uh, in new England and Maine in Portland specifically. And four years prior to that, starting back in, let’s say 2009 or 2010, I got into the podcasting space and over time became a self-taught audio engineer.
So for the past seven years or so, I’ve been producing audio professionally for others as a hired gun, uh, and producing my own content for myself as a artistic creative. And today I spend most of my time helping others there’s to solve the many, many, many problems that come up when you first start podcasting to include monetization is one of those things, but also what microphone do you choose?
How do you use a microphone? Well, does it really matter if your microphone costs $50 or $600? Is there enough of a difference to justify that kind of span. How do you grow your podcast? How do you market it? How do you get people to discover it? Do Facebook ads work? If so, how in the world do we use them?
How do you make a good show? What makes a good podcast trailer? What makes a bad intro? How do you do extra content should be using Patrion, super cast. Should you do something else? All those things that through trial and error and much frustration, I learned as someone who was, who started pretty early, not the earliest.
As some people could start, podcasting started 2005 or 2006, depending on who you ask. Uh, so I only started in 2009, but through that time, I’ve had to learn a lot of hard lessons. And I feel like often failure is the thing that teaches you things. I think it’s also an indication that you’re learning things.
Uh, and so I failed a lot and I view it as somewhat of a, I don’t know, I guess, a community responsibility that I share that wisdom that was very hard to earn over those years with people so that it can attack them from making the same mistakes, the same unnecessary mistakes. They’ll still fail in their own ways.
And that’s it important, but there’s a lot of snake oil out there about what makes a good podcast. What makes good stories, retelling how you monetize. You kind of mentioned that there were other groups that we’re all about, some kind of blustery, and that’s true because the fact of the matter is that, uh, most people who teach how to be successful in podcasting have never been successful themselves.
And I think that’s true in a lot of, probably a lot of industries where there are like coaches of things you offer. I find that coaches are just maybe one step ahead of struggle that you are, and they’ve only got the next step. You right? And they act sometimes more like they, uh, they have a lot more figured out.
TG: Well, and I think, uh, the best ones will tell you that they’re only one step ahead of everyone else.
Tanner: Yeah. Those are, those are the honest ones, right? Yeah.
TG: Yeah. Well, I mean the, the episode I was editing yesterday, which is going to come out on Tuesday, that’s act, she’s a coach, she’s a relationship coach. And she actually said that, you know, my husband and I aren’t perfect. We work on ourselves and we’re one step ahead.
And we try to share what we’ve learned. So I started this in 2019 and it was right about the time that it seems like everybody and their brother started wanting to do a podcast, but you’ve been doing it for 10 years or more. So what was it that attracted you to this medium?
Tanner: I spent a lot, my previous career and even a career that paralleled my career as an audio engineer was that I was an it person.
So I spent a lot of time on service desks, also known as help desk, you know,
AKA technical, technical support, high, your printer’s broken. Well, let me walk you through the process of how to fix it for the 15th time this week. Uh, and so I
was very technically minded and podcasting was at the time I discovered it or that it came across my radar, uh, was something that was technical and cool.
And I was smart enough to figure it out and I wanted to be cool. So I wanted to do a podcast and my girlfriend and I sat in our, uh, Boynton beach apartments, uh, living room, which is really part of the kitchen, right. Was pretty small, uh, with a blue, with a silver blue Yeti. And we started a podcast called the Tanner and Britt at night show, which if you Google, you can still find the remnants of, but there’s no more audio there.
You can see an older picture of us and it was a real thing. It actually existed. Uh, and. We just talked about, I talked about the news cause I was more politically active than as a, as a younger person than I am now. And she talked about things that she would usually be the colorful commendation, she or commentator, she would have the humor side of it.
Uh, and we just kinda joshed around for maybe 10, 12 episodes. And then we stopped doing it. And I think the thing that attracted me to it was that it was just, it was a way to be creative in what was to most people. And certainly to me at that point, a brand new medium and something that I could actually do, because I didn’t really consider myself artistic in any way.
Like, I mean, I had always been pretty good at doodling, but there wasn’t an artist.
TG: Yeah. I’ve seen some of your dooding. I was pretty impressed when you posted it.
Tanner: But, but it’s just doodles, right? Like this, that’s not going to hang in a gallery. Nobody’s going to Ooh. And all about the, you know, I’m, I I’m good at being expressive, but I’ve never felt like there’s been a medium.
That I could truly own and say I was good at this thing, but it felt like when I discovered podcasting that it was technical enough and I could, and I was so good at TAC that it was actually something that I could use to bring out the most expressive parts of myself, which for me is like, I’m a talker.
You can tell all my answers are already. I like to talk. And that’s really, I feel like my art form maybe is communication. Hmm.
TG: So where did you grow up?
Tanner: I was born in Concord General Hospital in Concord, New Hampshire. I grew up in, uh, sugar hill until which is a small town of about 800 people. Uh, and still probably has that many people in it.
Many of them may be the same families. Uh, and my father worked in Portland, Maine. He owned a organization called Orca, the oil recovery corporation of America, which was born after the, uh, Exxon Valdez. And, uh, he invented, um, ways to more efficiently recover oil, uh, oil from spills. I could go into it, but I won’t.
And that company wound up through lack of funding through the 89 90 crash in the market, uh, going bankrupt. And so we moved from sugar hill, New Hampshire. When I was in, I was going into third grade, we moved to Boca Raton, Florida, which, uh, I guess we had somehow gotten comfortable, a comfortable living a lifestyle while well, when my dad owned that business, cause it was quite successful.
And I think one of my parents, or maybe both of them thought, oh, well, Boca will be the place for us. And it was right on the inter-coastal. And of course it was incredibly overpriced for, for a company which had just gone bankrupt. And we didn’t last there very long for obvious reasons. So my parents got divorced.
Uh, there was a pretty bitter custody battle as is the case of many divorces and uh, the long and the short of it. My father got, uh, custody. We wound up going to an attorney friend of his house. And we lived on one half of the house and the attorney friend lived on the other half of the house. And we had some shared areas like the kitchen and the living room of the TV.
And, uh, we just kinda, we lived in that situation for many years while my dad worked as a private investigator, huge departure from what he was doing before. Uh, and also as a, uh, sales technician for fire alarm companies. So if you were building a new high rise, you need somebody to come in and actually sketch out where the fire alarm system would go and what it would cost and what parts would be needed.
So he did that for, I slept in the same bed with my dad and my sisters slept in the same bed together. At one point we could afford her bunk bed, so they got separate pans, but I always slept in the same room as my dad. And after, I don’t know I was going into seventh grade. So it was a number of years. We, well, my dad wound up being able to save enough to buy.
A house in west Lake Worth on Lantana and Jog, near there. Anyway, and we moved into the first home that we’d, that we’d own since, uh, since the 90, 89 90 crash in and bankruptcy of my dad’s business. Uh, and I grew up most of my childhood that I can remember all the friends that I still have that I still communicate with.
It was in west Lake Worth, east Lake Worth, Boynton beach, Palm Beach County, Florida. And we were always fairly poor. I mean, we’re a single, uh, single family income. My dad probably made, I don’t know this for sure, but I think he probably made around as a sales person, there were better years than others. And I think he was between a hundred and 150,000.
Uh, he probably made a year and there were three of us. So we didn’t, uh, we didn’t have a lot, uh, but we had a lot of friends and we had a nice little home. Yeah. That’s where I spent most of my adolescence, I guess I would say that’s where I got into all my trouble. So
TG: that would have been maybe Winston Trails right around that area.
Tanner: Yeah. That’s taken me back. Yeah. Yeah. So
TG: where did you go to high school?
Tanner: I went to high school at Santa Lucius. Oh, wow. Yeah. Yeah.
TG: Awesome. The, uh, the Chiefs, right Santaluces Chiefs,
Tanner: the Santaluces Chiefs. Hey-Oh.
TG: And that’s spelled in a way that nobody would be able to spell it’s S-A-N-T-E-L-U-C-E-S.
Tanner: something like that. I think it’s yeah, I think so. Yeah, it does it Santa Lucia. I actually didn’t spend a lot of time there. I did. I was a terrible student. I had undiagnosed ADHD until I was in my mid thirties, late thirties. And so class was not a great place for me. Unless class was an expressive class, like a photography class art class.
I do pretty good in those classes. Um, and science last, I was always really good in English. I was always really good in, but for the math classes and the history classes, I just couldn’t be more bored and I wanted nothing to do with them. So I actually failed ninth grade and I, my dad said, all right, we got to do something about this.
I, of course was also kind of, uh, I mean, I’m saying of course, because I know, but you don’t. I was a very combative kid. I didn’t get into fist fights, but I did get into fights with my dad. Uh, still don’t really understand the reason why, but we’re both very strong personalities. We’re both probably very similar.
Now, in retrospect, we are very similar. And so we have that, I think fairly common butting of heads between male already figures as fathers, specifically in sons. And, uh, we both came to this moment of clarity, where there was an offering of a military academy, which funnily enough, I had always been afraid to be sent to when I was a kid.
Like it was always something that, that threat. Well, nobody ever used it as one, but I was always afraid of going to a military academy. It seemed very scary to me, but we both came to a moment of clarity. And my first F my first failure in high school, which is the failure of, uh, of ninth grade. And I realized that I could, I probably should do this.
And so there was a military academy that was run by the Palm beach Sheriff’s office, uh, out in Belle Glade, Florida. And, uh, you had to volunteer to go, you couldn’t be sent there. You couldn’t be sentenced there. It was a place for like at-risk teens, teens who, if they couldn’t get on the right path, something worse might happen than the kind of not so bad place that we’re at now.
Uh, and so I wrote an application rather than an essay. They accepted me. I went there, I did a year, uh, did very well. I was promoted to squad leader option for platoon. Pretty highly decorated, which is an odd thing to say, because it sounds like a very military ish thing, but that’s just what they called it.
Every time you did something like improved your grades or improved your mile runs or do better on the obstacle courses or did their version of hell week, you would get like a, you’d get a ribbon and you could wear it on your chest. It was a real military thing. So it was, it was a very structured and I did extremely well in it.
As somebody with undiagnosed ADHD, the structure was, was very necessary, very helpful. Uh, and my grades were like 4.0, it’s like a 4.0 student when I was there. And we figured, okay, well, Tanner has kind, kinda got his shit together. Let’s take him back to Santa Lucius. And then I failed 10th grade. Uh, and so I had, I had done my four years of, of, uh, of high school in a very, in, in not the traditional way.
And so then I went back to military school for another year, graduated with a GED from there. And at that point had developed some relationships, uh, just. In normal goings ons where I was, uh, I could be hired as a freelancer for web design and development, which is really what took me closer and closer to starting a formal career in it is that when I was, you know, 17, 18, 19, I was freelance developing websites for, uh, companies that were probably far larger than I had any business as a 17, 18 or 19 year old designing websites.
TG: Wow. So I have to ask you, what was the name of this school out in Belle
Tanner: Glade, this called the PBSO Eagle academy. So upon the Sheriff’s office Eagle academy, it was, and it was right next to the state penitentiary and the federal prison. And so you couldn’t run, although many people did for which just cane fields everywhere has nowhere to go.
And we would eat the food from the prison, which was surprisingly delicious. We were all huge fans of Salisbury steak. And uh, barbecue chicken day. Those were great days. And then at 10:00 AM, and I think like 3:00 PM, we would have our snack, which is always a government cheese sandwich. So when people make that joke, I know exactly what they mean because I spent years eating those.
TG: Wow. Well, and so if you spent time in that part of the state, then, you know, just how bad it smells when sugar is being processed.
Tanner: Oh yeah. People think like paper mills smell, they don’t know anything about, uh, about the cooking of sugar cane fields. Yeah. It’s bad.
TG: It smells like you walked into a sewage plant that you can’t get out of. It’s terrible. I would have never imagined. Wow.
So tell me about the ADHD thing. So you, around 30, you realized you had it where you formally diagnosed with it.
Tanner: Yeah, I actually had, I don’t recommend anybody do this, but I had a, during the pandemic. So when I say late thirties, I mean, pretty recently about, about a year ago, Um, I’m, I’m now 38.
So this half I was 37, I just realized the, so I own the studio pandemic happened. Of course you can’t in a studio, put people next to each other in a pandemic. Cause they gotta be six feet apart in the whole rooms. Only 10 feet, big, you know, 10 by 10. So it doesn’t work very well. So I lost a lot of clientele business.
We had, we had probably three bankruptcy conversations, uh, with different advisors thinking that, that I was going to be the option, which of course I was like, my dad’s business went bankrupt and man, I can’t let this happen. I can’t let this be the family legacy. Uh, so we didn’t, we ended up being able to transition pretty elegantly, I think, in the long run.
But in the short term loss, a lot of clientele was stuck at home. Couldn’t go into the studio because the building, the studio was located in was also closed. Uh, so I just couldn’t be there. I wasn’t an essential worker of any kind. Thank you. But, uh, so I was at, I was at home and I still had post-production work to do and I could do it, but there was something about the lack of distraction.
In the house that made it very difficult for me to get any work done. Like there was, I’ve always had this habit of, if there’s something important to do, I will put it off to the last minute. I’ll procrastinate, like a maniac. And then at the last minute, I’ll get it done. And that created in my estimation.
I think this is true. It created like a, a reward loop for me. Oh, I can wait last minute and I can get it all done because I’m so super smart and cool and good and great at this thing I do. So it would, it just meant that I would procrastinate everything. And in between the procrastinations, I would have other things that I had procrastinated on.
Right. So it would just be, I’d be constantly like a week behind on things and I be getting them done at the last second. So my whole schedule was really just procrastinated things from the previous month. Right. That was like my daily workload. Um, but you see, but those things were not available to me. In my home with my studio clothes and so many clients gone.
And so what I wound up doing was creating so many additional products just to fill my time and prevent me from having to do the actual work ahead to do. And it was, it was like I went into the, I was like manic and I realized it and my girlfriend realized it. I’m like, I got to do something about this. I have to like, maybe this is an attention issue.
People had kind of joked about it before I joked about it before. And so I called a friend of mine up, uh, whose child is actually ADHD. And I said, look, I think that I might have this thing and I’d like to experiment. And so could I have a couple of, uh, your, your child’s ADHD, right? Uh, and I’m definitely not just a preface.
This I’m not a fun time drug or I don’t smoke weed. I don’t eat shrooms. I don’t drop acid. That’s never been my thing. I’ve done those things a very few times in my lifetime. I’m not a casual drug user. So this was a very uncomfortable, big kind of difficult thing for me to ask, but I, to discover it myself without going to ask for help, maybe, uh, and there was probably some ego involved in that there was probably some not wanting to discuss my problems on a couch with somebody kind of things as well.
I wanted to test the waters before I’d made the decision to go talk to a therapist. And so, uh, they sent me up about a week’s worth of these and, uh, I took them and I, and it literally changed my fucking life. It was, it was as if I had a 12 cylinder Cadillac engine in my brain, and it had been running on four cylinders for my entire life.
And my first reaction to this was I was really upset because no one, when I was a kid struggling in high school, struggling to stay focused, uh, not making it through college because I just couldn’t show up, not getting my work done on time. It made me really upset that, that this had not been discussed before it was in an, it was an extremely emotional, um, realization for me because my whole life may be, could have been very different and potentially much better.
And I’m not someone who usually looks at the past and says, oh, if only I’d done this, I’m not somebody who does that. But in this instance, I did I, and so I said, well, this is clearly an issue. So at that point, uh, I went to a psychiatrist and I said, look, I’ve done this experiment. I know it’s not the way I’m supposed to do it.
This is the effect I’ve had. I tracked all my reactions in such an, a, in a notebook. And so that I could go to the person and actually give them the 4, 1, 1, so to speak on what I’d been through for the past week or so. And they said, okay, well, I’m not going to start you on that particular medicine, because where I say it was Adderall, it was actually Ritalin at first because the one side effect I did have from it was, I had incredibly bad headaches at the end of the day.
And I didn’t like. And so I was prescribed a 20 milligrams of extended release Adderall, and I had the same effect, but without the headaches, the only side effect I get now is an extremely dry mouth. So I have to drink water all day, which is probably good for me anyway. Uh, but since then, it’s just, it’s been able to, I’ve been able to get work done, like religiously.
Somebody gives me something to do. I’m like, all right, let me do this thing. And it’s just done. And that solved a problem that I never even realized it was a problem. Was that even though I was procrastinating things willingly kind of, uh, there was a pretty significant amount of anxiety that I was experiencing as I was like, I gotta work on this thing and I’m not going to, but I got to Abbott.
I’ll just wait. And all that anxiety just kind of disappeared because I was no longer procrastinating things because I could focus on the work and I did have the ability to get through the work. Um, and that really, like I said, kind of changed my life.
TG: Well, I’m sorry you have that experience that it took you so long to recognize it and that none of the adults around you recognized it when you’re a kid, but as somebody who I’m an addictions counselor by day.
And I work with a lot of emerging adult males. I mean, I have a client now who’s like 32 and he was, uh, prescribed Ritalin seven years old. And I mean, it’s so over diagnosed that, it’s shocking for me to hear. And, and one of the few things we can really prove about addiction is that the earlier in your life that you take a substance with the abuse potential, the more likely you are to develop an addiction.
So I see the negative effects of it having been over-diagnosed. A lot,
Tanner: which is bad and that’s bad for everybody. Right. I feel like that hurts everybody who needs it and damages everybody who doesn’t, because I think everybody, at some point has seen a young kid put on Adderall or, uh, or Ritalin and been like, oh, geez.
I mean, would you just watch your kid? This is probably a disciplinary thing. Right? Like, I’m sure we’ve all had that reaction at some point. And it’s a shame when it’s true. And it’s a shame when it’s not,
TG: I’ve heard lots of stories of people being misdiagnosed, but I think you’re the only one who’s ever told me.
You had it. And nobody recognized I don’t. I mean, I guess I’ve met other people who haven’t, maybe hasn’t really taken hold of them until they were adults.
Tanner: Well, I should also say that, like, I’m very, so I’m very stoic in a lot of ways. I’m very, uh, new England Protestant kind of the way I brought it was brought up.
You don’t talk about your problems. I’m not religious. When I say Protestant, I just mean in, in, in re I suppose, morals and work ethic. Uh, but you don’t talk about your problems. You bury your burdens, you bury your cross, they’re yours to bear and you just shut up about it because nobody wants to hear those problems.
Anyway. And to some degree I do still pretty, I do still feel pretty strongly that in most cases, uh, you, you need to work through your own issues. Uh, but as I’ve gotten older, of course that’s changed have softened a bit. And maybe when I’m 80, I’ll completely disagree with myself. Now, as I completely disagree with myself now when I was 20, but yeah, it was just never mental health, of course, in general, I think throughout all of the U S you know, if you were a kid born in the early eighties, late seventies and before.
There was not a lot of discussion about mental health, the way there is like now in the last five years, I feel like I hear the term mental health once a day, almost guaranteed through some medium. It’s a, it’s very, it’s very in the open now and it wasn’t then. And so I think a combination of it just not being acceptable to talk about, and it not being a culturally acceptable to talk about, we’re just conspired against, uh, conspired against anybody ever even suggesting it to me or be me being truly aware that it could be a real thing.
I mean, it’s always a joke you say, right? Like you check the front door to make sure it’s locked twice. And you’re like, oh, I’ve got it on a CD or you’re distracted for a week. And you’re like, I almost have ADHD. Everybody come makes light of it as if it’s not a real thing.
TG: Yeah. Well, and that expression is used by the same token addiction, you know, I’m addicted to brownies.
I hear somebody say that. Where are you sucking digs for brownies? I mean, that’s what addiction really looks like. You know?
Tanner: That’s that Bob Saget moment.
TG: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, well, I’ve heard you also talk about your interest in mythology. And did, did I hear you say you do a podcast on mythology? Is that right? Or, you have?
Tanner: yeah, I do it, I have in the past multiple times. So the first iteration of it was called the legends myths and whiskey podcast. Whiskey was kind of the hook. It was the thing that got people who maybe wouldn’t be interested in mythology to be interested in the show. Uh, and then it became the miss folklore and fairytales podcast.
And currently I’m doing something called an evening with myth on the fireside platform on Tuesdays at 7:00 PM mountain. Uh, and my attraction to that is something that I read. In a Joseph Campbell book, which I want to say the name of that was primitive myth. It was part of a four-part series. And he talks about this.
There’s two reasons I do it, but he talks about this, um, study that was done in the maybe late sixties, early seventies. And it’s about something that’s called imprinting, psychological imprinting. There’s a better name for it, but I can’t remember what it is, but essentially it’s . . .
TG: is that, are we talking about archetypes?
Tanner: It’s very closely related to archetypes. I can’t remember the official term. I wish I had the book in front of me, but it’s on my shelf. So the study was that they would take these newborn checks and they would take this, uh, wooden cutout of a chicken Hawk, a natural predator to chickens. And they would put this cardboard cutout on a string above wherever the baby chickens were and they would pull it across and a baby chicken who had never seen a Hawk in its life would run from the image of the hock as it flew up.
However, if they reversed the image of the Hawk, that is to say made it fly backwards, the chickens would have no response whatsoever. And they were able to replicate this in many species. And so the suggestion that comes out of that from a mythology standpoint is that there is some amount of imprinting for things like, you know, old crones and witches and, uh, you know, in thieves and people who will kill you in hunters and that all of those things will imprint have imprinted something on us to have a reaction that we can’t control, that we have that initial nanosecond, long reaction to that image or to that idea.
And then later on in life, as I was working through some things personally, I found stoicism and there was something about, uh, in the teachings of stoicism within, I can’t remember if it’s from, uh, Seneca or Epictetus or really us, but they talk about a man being different from animals only in. They are the rational animal.
They seem to be the only animals on earth with the ability to think through things, to be rational about the thinking process that is, or maybe even to think at all and reflect. And I think the thing that drew me to stoicism was the idea of this imprinting, that we can’t control these initial reactions because they have become part of how we consider these, uh, these images, the crone, the hunter, et cetera, et cetera, these archetypes, but we can through the power of rationale and through the power of our us being rational animals, uh, we can correct for those initial responses and be better humans.
Uh, and so I do, uh, I do something, I do a podcast about mythology because of that, because I think it’s important to talk through those things. But also because I wrote a paper in college, one of the few things I actually completed, which was something about, I called it a proximity effect, I think.
And I’m sure it had been written about before. And maybe hasn’t been about since, and there’s probably an actual thing about this, but I thought it was smart. And so I wrote this paper and I got a good grade on it. It was about how the closer you are to any population or any individual, the harder it is to stereotype it, the harder it is to make broad generalizations about it, because you’re mixed into it.
And you get the one-on-one and you, you really understand, you understand what’s going on when you’re down in the crowd, better than if you’re perched at the top of a steeple, looking down at the crowd and something about those three things combined made me feel like if I could share stories from cultures, which were not, uh, you know, everyone’s culture and those stories could entertain and inform.
And resonate and maybe touch some of those imprinting things and give the ability to have a conversation about this, this thing. Then you are getting closer to that culture. You’re appreciating that culture, you’re becoming more proximal to that culture. And so then it becomes harder for you to make stereotypes out of it, to, to be, uh, to judge it because you understand it better and you appreciate it more and you’ve been entertained by it.
And so I thought it was a way to bring about some sort of more reasonable conversations to the world, to, to bring a place where people could come and, and stop arguing with each other and maybe become a little bit better for having listened.
TG: Wow. I love it. So I mentioned to you a while back a book called Iron John by Robert Bly.
And if you haven’t picked that up, get it. You’re going to like it. You will definitely love. He talks about, uh, the transition and demanded, uh, he relates it to the fairytale, Iron John, or one of them it’s called Iron Hans and the other one, iron John. But it’s a book that I use a lot in my work that, um, yeah, I really think you’d like it.
You have to check it out.
Tanner: Is Iron Hans originally in Norse? it sounds like it would probably be your high German.
TG: Uh, you know, I mean, one of them is the brothers Graham and the other one’s the Hans Christian Anderson. I can’t remember which is which,
Tanner: oh man, I might be able to blow your mind. There’s this?
Um, there’s this series of books called, um, the, uh, The Facetious Nights of Straparola and it’s a 1500’s-ish, uh, Italian. And it has w within its pages, probably 50 or so original versions of fairytales that then became. Uh, the more fairy tales that we know from the brothers Grimm and from, uh, the German, uh, German literary movement of, I guess, what would have been at that point, maybe the 1650s, 1700’s.
But if you look older than that, so you can see like puss in boots from 1516, but then you can see put some boots from like 1700 and the stories are pretty different. There’s another book that came out of India, that’s called like, oh, God’s called like the treasures and the rainbow road, or something is a very oddly named book.
And I can’t remember what it is, but it has even more original versions of, for example, put some boots, for example, ha uh, Hansel and Gretel like that idea. So, it seems like a lot of those fairytales came from India, moved their way through, uh, through merchants and, and traveling salesmen, uh, to Italy and then came up through, uh, to, to Germany, at least the ideas.
So, it’s very cool to see the I’ve always found it very fun to explore. The transformation and the path that stories have taken to get to whatever form we discovered them in. Cause that’s usually not the original form in whatever form we find choose. Usually not the original. That’s always very fun for me, but something that, uh, Joseph Campbell, who I’ve, who I mentioned before, uh, ha had identified across a lot of stories was that there seemed to be this hero’s journey, this hero cycle.
It was always the same. There is a problem. There is an opportunity for you to engage in the problem. You resisted it, then something forced you to participate in it. Uh, and then you kind of enter this place where you can’t turn back from and you go through these trials and in some of the cycles, you actually metaphorically die in the trial, and you’re resurrected as a stronger person than you’d go.
And you defeat the villain and then you returned to your home, a better person. And that cycle was true across all heroes, all hero tales that had ever been written regardless of the culture, regardless of how far apart they were. And I think it does a lot to unify cultures or regardless of who they are, because we’re all, basically, we’re all exactly the same.
I mean, it might be different colors. We might have different literature in our history, but in truth, like we all have the same concerns. We’re all worried about the same things. We’re all trying to do the same things. There’s a little bit of flex in there, but ultimately, you know, we’re concerned about our wellbeing.
We want to find happiness. We want to take care of our kids. We want to do something and leave our mark on the world. And, and these stories all reflect that no matter who you are, no matter where you’re from, which is another reason that I just love them so much that they, they prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we’re all exactly the same and connected.
TG: Yeah. You know, we really are. And like your, um, your college project, your point, I mean, it’s really a matter of acknowledging it. If we acknowledge it and recognize it, then we feel the connection that already exists. Yeah. You mentioned earlier about sorta the, I think there are a lot of people out there.
Who’ve seen a business opportunity in the podcast world to profit from it. And like when I started to do it, I, I ran into a colleague who I see maybe twice a year. And I was telling her I was doing a podcast and, and she, oh, me too. You know? And, and where I had done probably a half dozen episodes at that point, she had six months earlier hired a podcast coach spent thousands of dollars on equipment, built a room in her basement and hadn’t recorded anything. You know, I don’t, I don’t know if she even has to this day, but so, you know, that was a good lesson for me that, and I’ve done everything on my own. I’ve kept it very simple. I’ve had friends who. I’ve done other podcasts who gave me a little bit of direction and support, but for the most part, I’ve just figured it out on my own.
So, what would you tell somebody who’s thinking about doing a podcast? Where, what would you tell them?
Tanner: don’t do it? No, um, you know, there’s the school of thought that I come from or, or the school of approach that I come from, which is that you just start, and you figure it out. And yeah, I would say that for me to just start and figure it out.
And 2009, 2010, that was a fairly reasonable approach to take. There were not a lot of learning materials out there to do it. And learning by doing, at least for me is the best way to learn. You make your mistakes. You make your failures, you learn from them, you correct. And you get better over time. And there are a lot of people who still give that advice who think that that’s the best way to go.
I think what’s different between 2009 or 10 or even 2005. And today is that your window of figuring it out? I think has shrunk quite a bit. I think if it took your podcast 50 episodes to get a little bit better, sound quality and figure out editing a little faster and et cetera, et cetera. I think there was acceptable in 2010, because everybody sounded like shit in 2010.
Right? But now not only do you, you just have everybody creating podcasts and those who are using, you know, like zoom and their webcam, their built-in webcam microphone, they, they sound terrible. Uh, you have those people and then you have somewhere in better than that. And then you have like professional movie houses who are making podcasts.
I mean, Marvel’s making hi Cass. Disney’s making podcasts, people who have immense team. Decades, maybe centuries of combined experience, a ton of money are getting into this space creating really good content. I mean, Q code creates a mess, amazing audio drama content. It’s incredible. There’s one out there called the Magnus archive. Amazing. These guys are like, they’re making great stuff and they’re backed by a good amount of budget. And it’s not that you have to be that to be making something good. But the consideration now is that there’s two points. One probably at this point million podcasts that that can be found in listened to some of them aren’t active anymore, but they’re still there, there, and there is a limited amount of time that an individual has to give to any, you know, extracurricular.
If it’s listening to a podcast, if it’s hanging out on clubhouse, listening to us talk, uh, if it’s reading a book, there’s a limited amount of free time. And when you only have, let’s call it 10 hours of free time a week. I think that might be being generous for some of us. Let’s say that you want to spend an hour a day or two hours a day listening to a podcast.
Well, you’re gonna become a bit more choosy about the 10 podcasts that you listen to every week, assuming they’re each an hour long and you’re going to have 2.1 million of them to choose from, and you’re going to yeah. Have the ones have really bad audio quality and poor production and bad editing.
You’re going to, those are going to be in there to pick from, and then there are going to be these really pristine, amazing ones that are backed by a lot of dollars and have a lot of flat go into them. Who are you going to pick now? Doubtless, some of us pick a couple of indie ones, but at least some of those larger ones will be, will be the ones that we have in our pocket.
Right. So how I made it, uh, Ted talks, you know, these ones have been around for awhile, the Marvel stuff. You’re going to listen to those. Before you’re going to listen to something that doesn’t sound good. The thing that doesn’t sound good would have to be content-wise so amazing that it would make suffering through the quality worth it.
So, if you’re just starting a podcast today, I would ask you to consider that realize how much competition there is out there and then do your best to make your first episode just decent. It’s already hard enough, just, just to make a decent and some things you can do to make it decent are don’t use your webcam.
Don’t use your built-in microphone. Go buy a microphone. It can be a USB one, and there are pretty affordable ones out there. A really popular one is the Samson Q U2. It’s a $70 mic. Get a pair of headphones too. You’re going to make a hundred dollar invest investment in equipment. So go get those two things.
Spend a hundred bucks. And if you don’t have a hundred dollars to spare. Stop thinking about your podcast. Start focusing on saving a hundred dollars, do that instead because planning and saving that is an action of a kind, you are doing something. So, so plan to save that a hundred bucks plan to make those purchases.
You have started. A lot of people think starting is hitting record and releasing an episode tomorrow, and they’re in a real rush to do it. Uh, and that’s not a great don’t do that. So, save some money, buy those two pieces of equipment. And then after you’ve done that feel free to hit record. However, may be also put a little bit of thought into asking yourself some important questions.
Why am I doing this? What is the effect I want this podcast to have on people who listened to it and how can I make this show in a way that is going to deliver that effect? Am I producing it in a way that’s going to deliver that effect? If you want people to feel. Emotionally moved by the conversations you’re having on your podcast.
Let’s say you’re doing an interview. Very common style. Well, are you doing enough work? Pre-interview to ask good questions. Are you thinking hard enough about the questions you’re going to ask and when you’re done, have you edited it or are you just saying, well, I want it to be raw and I want it to feel natural, which is really kind of a code word to either saying I don’t want to spend the time, or I don’t know how to do that.
And, and I’m afraid to learn. I’m afraid to invest the time to learn, because another thing that, uh, people are becoming less and less tolerant of is, you know, if your podcast raw recording is an hour long and if you edited it, it could become 43 minutes long. You have just electively wasted nearly 20 minutes of your listeners time because you didn’t want to do the edit you’ve taken from them.
Well, 20 minutes, nearly 20 minutes of their precious free time, because you didn’t want to do the editing. So, you could just start there. I mean, you could do it and maybe you’ll find success and maybe everything I’m saying would, would be wrong for you. And you could use your webcam and Zoom, and you could release poor quality and you could just put it out there in the world and it would go viral and it would be amazing and be top one, top 100 podcasts in the next morning, but that’s extremely unlikely.
You’ve got to put a little bit of investment into the equipment. You’ve got to put a little bit of investment into the thought process, and you’ve got to put a little bit of investment and time into the post-production to making things sound like you’re serious and are really intent on delivering that impact and result that you want out of it.
TG: So, what would you say about in terms of subject matter, how someone would arrive at a decision as to what they want to do a podcast.
Tanner: Well, that’s a good question. Um, how do you find out the why and how do you find out the thing you’re trying to deliver? Uh, well, I think that most people probably, they struggle with one of two things or it’s one of two situations, either they know beyond a shadow of the doubt, the thing they want to do, shadow of a doubt, the thing they want to do, or they approach the what, by asking themselves a question they shouldn’t ask themselves, which is what will people like, what could I make that other people would like?
And I don’t think that’s a good question to ask oneself when creating something that you genuinely are going to need to be passionate about, to stick through and to do a good job with, because if somebody likes race cars and you do a podcast about NASCAR and you have absolutely no passion or interest in NASCAR, it would be very difficult for you to produce a good.
And to stick with it when that good show takes, you know, two years to get to a point where it’s paying for itself and maybe covering your car payment is gonna be very hard to stay committed to that. Uh, so I, what I prefer people to do is to explore the things that are most important to them and see if they, I might be able to create within the realm of those things that are important to them.
It’s important to you. Well, social advocacy is important to me. Okay. Well, what kind of show could you create if social advocacy was important to you, would you want to interview people who else it was important to, or would you want interview other people to whom that was important? Would you maybe want to do a monologue storytelling kind of NPR thing?
What do you think would work best for you here to, to take this thing you’re passionate about and turn it into something that can have an impact on us, others and the worry, the worry. When I have that conversation with people, as they’ll say. Yeah, but maybe nobody’s going to be interested in that. And everybody’s interested in NASCAR, which is a terrible example because I don’t think everybody is, but nobody’s in NASCAR.
Everybody’s interested in NASCAR. Uh, so why don’t I just do that instead? And your audience, the greatest thing about podcasts, I think is that your audience finds you and by them listening and finding you, you, it is guaranteed that they like what you’re doing, because otherwise they wouldn’t be there. So, if you create the thing you’re passionate about, and if you put some thought into the, into the audio quality of it and the production value of it and the post-production value of it, and you make it about something, you truly care about those other people who truly care about that thing are going to find it and your audience will find you.
If you build it, they will come kind of thing. Now there’s some caveat to that because you have to do some marketing. There is a lot of competition out there. You have to be kind of savvy and there are ways that you can learn how to do that. Reach out to me, for example, I could give you some tips or something of how to get started with, uh, marketing and things like that.
But I think it’s critically important that whatever your topic be, that it be something that you are truly passionate about and you not worry about whether or not anybody’s going to like it, because I promise you if you’re interested in X, Y, Z, you’re not the only person on earth interested in XYZ, and you’re not the only person interested in XYZ on earth who listens to podcasts.
I mean, there is probably easily a million people in your audience, no matter what your niche is, I don’t care what it is. There are 7 billion people on this planet and some number of billions of them. I think it’s like two or something. Billions of them have an interest in podcasts. I will almost guarantee you that no matter what you make, there’s a potential million-person, strong audience that you could reach and would be interested if you could reach them.
So, I hope I didn’t ramble too much there, but I think that that’s some good starting advice now.
TG: That’s great. It’s actually. A little reassuring because, you know, I had a lot of those things covered when I launched this, I had a vision for it. I will say I did the first episode, like maybe four different times before I came up with one that I wanted to release was really important to me to get a decent sound quality, because there are podcasts that I listened to or stop listening to that I’m really interested in the subject matter.
And it can even be like a news outlet that, that does these. It can be anybody, but if it sounds like it’s recorded and attend can, I don’t want to listen to it. You know, I just don’t, I don’t know. I took that seriously, but the, the why part, I, you know, my purpose in life is to help people and I’ve done that.
In the addiction counseling sort of line for a long time. And I’ve helped people individually. I’ve helped people in groups I’ve helped their families have run facilities. So, my sphere of influence has grown and I wanted to be able to reach more people and I wanted it to be relevant to anyone. So how can I take the lessons that I’ve learned?
What is it that I can kind of distill down from all that and deliver to everyone? What are the things about this that anyone could benefit from? And that’s where I arrived at the concept of personal authenticity, because really, if you’re in the midst of an addiction, you’re faking your way through life.
You are. And I would argue that that’s one of the reasons why you’re engaging in addictive beauty. It’s an existential crisis.
Tanner: but can I respond to that? Cause I think that’s extremely interesting. I have a thought for probably a number of years that there’s of course, a physical component to, uh, an addiction to any substance.
But I think more than a physical component, I would love your insights on this since it’s actually what you do. And I’m just a storyteller and podcaster. I think that more than the, than the physical properties that make drugs, addict addictive, there’s the escapism property of it, which makes it more so addictive.
And I get, I get so frustrated when I hear people talking about how anyone can safely casually use certain drugs. I get very worked up about it because I think that if you are someone who is happy with their lives and happy and content with themselves, it’s probably true that you could casually use drugs.
That’s probably true, but if you’re somebody who’s not happy with your life, by taking drugs, you can become happier for a time. I think it’s much more likely that that drug is going to have an addictive effect on you than if you weren’t using it to escape a life. You weren’t happy with her or, or an identity you weren’t happy with.
TG: Absolutely. I agree wholeheartedly. I mean, I, my own, uh, I’ve been sober for going on 25 years at this point. And, um, I was miserable. I was not happy. I, I made decisions about my life based on what I thought, the people who loved me wanted for me rather than what I really wanted for myself. I betrayed myself.
And I think, I think that really is what it is like if you’re a generally well-adjusted person, um, having a beer is not a big deal, you know, drinking a little bit, maybe even occasionally. Um, tying one on isn’t that big a deal, but if you hate yourself or you hate your life, and there are so many people in this world who are disillusioned, and I feel like really, we all have our own gift to contribute to the world.
And if we’re in tune with who we are, and we’re carrying that out, we’re a lot less likely to be miserable and a lot less likely to want to change the way that we feel. And so, you know, being a dad who has a 15 year old boy, one of the things that has always been really important to me for him is to teach him how to manage his emotional life.
Because if you can’t do that, you’re going to find yourself hurting. And if you can’t manage your emotions, it’s going to come out in an ugly way. Somehow either you’re going to kick your dog or you’re going to get high, or you’re going to treat people like garbage or, you know, whatever. But I think that’s really, really important to be emotionally literate and to be able to have a safe circle of people or trustworthy circle of people around you, who you can talk to about life stuff.
It’s really important. And emotions really are informative. They tell us what we should or shouldn’t do. And we’re in a society where it’s encouraged to ignore all that. Pretend you’re not sad, don’t cry, you know? And just like you were talking about the stigma associated with mental health and how that might’ve affected you as a kid, all that stuff is relevant.
But I agree if you’re happy. You know, I, I do a group with adolescent and young adult males once a week. And they all have been in a rehab facility for like 90 days before they get to me. And then there it’s like a transitional program where they might be for six months and when they get there and I first have them in group, you know, of course I asked them what happened, what brought them there, but the next place I go is what do you want?
What are you into? Because if you can figure out what you want to do with your life, you have to have a reason to want to be clean and sober. If you have an issue with addiction . . .
Tanner: So this is very interesting to me. I hope are we okay to go a little long here because this topic absolutely gets me.
Uh, so I’m, I’m an atheist and I for a time. Was, uh, very active within what, what is called and now I think it’s kind of funny that it is called, uh, atheists, atheist activism. Uh, that is to say, you know, advocating on the part of atheist rights, which seemed strange to me, but now it does, didn’t seem strange then.
And I think one of the things that pardon me from that relationship with that community was that there seemed to be a real desire, uh, for people to assuage people of their rights, faith, to talk them out of it. And as I’ve gotten older and actually as I’ve found a love and appreciation for mythology, it’s, it’s dawned on me that religion for some people is a, it’s an incredibly important thing for them to have.
Um, I, I actually said, uh, fairly recently that the, the, the meat meaning of life or the, yeah, something like the meaning of life is that there, there, just, there isn’t. That’s actually a good thing because it means you can’t be wrong in what you decide is your meaning or purpose of life. And then the secret of life is to realize that there isn’t a meaning.
And if you don’t get there, you can spend a lot of time chasing your own tail and trying to please other people. And so with that in mind, when I see people who have chosen their meaning to be something ecclesiastic or supernatural, I see that as being, it’s so important that someone have that a belief in something, whether it’s a higher power or a purpose, or, uh, maybe they’re God and country, or maybe just God, or, you know, their art or changing the world, that they have to be attached to something.
And to, to intentionally detach someone from something that is that critically important to their psychological well-being seems insanely your response. Uh, if all you’re trying to do is, is, is the case where the atheist, atheist activism in many cases to just kind of like win the argument, which is, which is why I left that community.
And while I’m still an atheist, really don’t really never identify myself as one. And I always even thought it funny that you look at people’s Twitter Biles and their first thing of what they were, it would be like atheist father lover, lover of our arch. You’re like, well, why like, who are you? Who are you shouting at?
TG: Right. That doesn’t surprise me, that you had that experience. Generally, when I meet people who identify as atheist, they have some sort of ax to grind,
Tanner: which to be fair, to be fair to that community. Uh, is because they they’ve done something has happened. Usually there’s, there’s an abuse. There’s pretty significant lie.
This is not common, right? These are these, these are things I think, a more isolated than people might believe that they are, but people who’ve been, you know, abused or brainwashed or those things exist. And when those people come out of those communities, they’re very upset. Uh, and I think they, what’s the old adage that if you’re a hammer or if the only way, you know, how to fix things is to hammer them and everything looks like a nail.
Like I think that they suffer from that to some extent.
TG: And I would say in most cases, in my experience, people with addiction issues also have some sort of issue with, I wouldn’t say religion, but
Tanner: spirituality. Yeah. Well, with identifying what’s the point.
TG: Right, right, right. And, uh, You know, like imagine, and this is not entirely related, but you were talking about the idea of taking that away from someone when there’s such a great need.
We’re attempting to, that’s why all the abuses with within the Catholic church and all that stuff is just so evil because it’s not just an act of abuse. It’s like taking a sacred part of someone’s life and setting it on fire and, and the person might never recover from, but in more subtle ways, I mean, like, uh, out west Utah area, there are a lot of people who have issues around, um, you know, the church of latter day saints.
I mean there, and just being a preacher’s kid, a lot of people have issues with that. And like for me, having grown up in the Catholic church and being the youngest of eight kids, my mom and dad stopped going to church when I was really little. So I was like the only one who didn’t go to Catholic school.
And I felt like on some level I felt like everybody else was a part of this big club that I didn’t, I kind of was in, but I didn’t really, it was a mind. Fuck. You know? So there’s so many issues that can come up around that that can affect a person’s development or their sense of satisfaction in life that I think sort of resolving that for yourself is really, really important, no matter where you are in life and what I believe eventually what I was taught that helped me a lot is it’s okay for me to believe whatever I believe.
I don’t need to believe what someone else believes. And I believe that. Um, you know, I call it God, you know, what else am I going to call it? I think it’s a power in the universe that basically is love. And I know that when I approach things from a place of love, things tend to work out better and, and being that it, it kind of is consistent with the belief that we all have that in us.
I think we all have divinity within us, so, wow. This has gone deep. Hasn’t it? I didn’t expect this Tanner.
Tanner: Yeah. I, I love the refrain when Ricky Gervais used to do it all the time. I said, well, I mean, I have a purpose of my life. It’s just to be happy and enjoy my life. So, you know, there’s your purpose. And I’m like, man, I mean, that’s great for you.
But some people probably have a really difficult time standing at the edge of the universe, staring into the void of meaninglessness and being like, you know what, I’m just going to, uh, I’m just going to enjoy it. And then I’m going to die and nothing’s going to happen. Like some people just aren’t minded that way and you’re really fucking them over by telling them they can’t be,
TG: I really enjoyed talking to you. I knew I would, I was really looking forward to this conversation and I appreciate you taking me up on it. So the last question that I ask of all the guests, if there was a time in your life, when the younger Tanner needed some support, a word of advice, um, encouragement, when would he have needed it most?
And what would you go back and say to him?
Tanner: Oh man, I’m trying to think of the most difficult times. I was homeless for three months. That was pretty difficult. My parents divorce was pretty difficult. There was an actually, no one will sound odd in comparison to those two things. But when I was got it, it was right before, it was probably during the process of my father’s company going bankrupt, which is, I think the reason this happened, but I can’t remember exactly.
We had two dogs. One was a German shepherd named max and the other was an Irish setter named man. Uh, he was masculine, I guess. I don’t know. Uh, he wasn’t at all. He was just really a great dog and there was a day where they had to give the dogs away. And I remember sitting in, uh, the, the bench sitting on the bench in front of the dormer window of my bedroom when we lived in New Hampshire.
Sure. And looking down at, uh, the driveway as the. Guys showed up and took our dogs. And I was, I was the most distraught, I think I had ever been in my entire life because I didn’t, he did not understand why this had to happen. Uh, I didn’t know what the point that at that point we were moving. I didn’t really understand that my father’s bank company had gone bankrupt.
It wasn’t like, like I said, I was probably six or seven, but I wish that nobody came to comfort me in that moment. My sisters were not there. My parents weren’t dealing with the person who was taking our dogs and I wish somebody had been there in that moment. Cause that’s probably, that was probably the saddest moment of my entire life was when that happened.
I still to this day thinking about that, it’s just so sad, even though I understand it now as an adult, uh, I wish somebody had been there in that moment because that was a tough one.
TG: So what would you go back and say to yourself? No.
Tanner: I think I would just give the context and explain the reason, you know, tell the whole story, because I think it took probably maybe another month for us to even be actually moving.
And for me to understand why for me to even be, have been in a position to have the information, to understand why it was happening, just, you know, this is where they’re going. This is what their life will be like. This is why it’s happening. And this is where you’re going. And this is what your life would be like.
Uh, and, you know, try to talk some logic into the, into the immensely emotional reaction I was having in that moment.
TG: So you didn’t get any of that from the people around you?
Tanner: Uh, no. No. When my father worked and owned his business in Maine, we still live in New Hampshire. So our, uh, our family life was such that we had a live in nanny, which sounds very opulent.
Uh wasn’t as opulent as it sounds, but she was there Monday through Friday and my parents would come home Friday evening, uh, just in time for like a full house and family matters and a perfect stranger. And we’d have dinner and then we’d hang out with a family on Saturday. And then my parents would leave again Sunday afternoon, and we wouldn’t see him for a whole other week.
So this happened when I want to say this happened when they weren’t there or when only one of them was there something I can’t remember. Cause I was so just emotionally distraught about it, but, uh, but yeah, there was no real comforting in that moment, uh, or even talking about it after the fact.
TG: Yeah. Well, and as an adult, if you’re putting a kid through that, I know I would feel a lot of shame and probably want to avoid it altogether.
Tanner: Let’s pretend this isn’t happening.
TG: Right. Well, that’s what people do though. You know, it really is. Well, thanks a lot for doing this. I appreciate it.
Tanner: Thank you, man. This has been fun.