Film Podcast Compendium
Podcasts are the trendy medium of choice for anyone looking to learn on the go in today's endless hustle and bustle. Serving as free, mini-radio shows in the form of audio files downloaded automatically onto your listening device, the podcast industry has grown into a major source of education, knowledge and entertainment in the space of just a few years.
There's something for everyone; politics, narrative, comedy, music, philosophy and not forgetting the most disconcertingly popular of all podcast genres - true crime!
But as you may know, we're film-crazy here at SYNC.SW, so we're naturally most interested in asking how this relatively new medium can indulge our desire for filmmaking knowledge, practical craft and career advice, up-to-date reviews on new cinema releases, or unabashedly niche recommendations on Lithuanian cinema of the 1950's.
Don't know where to start? Let us recommend a few.
If you have any of your own suggestions, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org - I'm sure there are a few worthwhile podcasts that even we've missed.
BBC Radio 4's weekly film show. This one has a bit of everything: interviews with the biggest stars, discussions and features on both new releases and recommendations from the past (mainstream and independent), plus a healthy smattering of reviews without getting bogged down in too many subjective opinions. All well-presented and produced in that reliably warm Radio 4 manner. Always interesting and insightful, usually contained within a nice 30-40 minute package - a must subscribe for anyone interested in cinema.
The self-labelled 'BBC's Flagship Film Show' has developed a horde of scarily devoted fans - and after a listen or two it's easy to see why. The uniquely boisterous dynamic of the two hosts (they bicker relentlessly) provides a brilliantly entertaining listen each week.
Every single new release is comprehensively reviewed by the quiffed Mark Kermode. Whether he's in love with a new release or damning it with the most voracious of 'Kermodian rants', it's always worth hearing his views. Even if you constantly disagree (I often do), it's clear that Kermode really feels film. His passion and devotion is clear and inspiring, and you don't need to share his opinion to learn from it.
The show is usually around two hours long and the ever-present in-jokes may prove tiresome for some, while the first half hour or so is largely taken up by reading out praise from the listeners, proving rather indulgent on some occasions. However, the depth of knowledge, entertainment level and regular A-list guests make it a very worthwhile subscription.
Entertaining and informative magazine-style podcast hosted by Anna Bogutskaya and Henry Barnes (who used to feature on the sorely-missed Guardian film podcast). A nice balance of features, sometimes exploring other types of screen culture such as gaming, TV and internet media as well as film. Discussions are always lively and insightful - a very worthwhile addition to your collection.
Now we're getting into more practical filmmaking territory!
The official podcast of iFeatures, Creative England's flagship feature film development and funding scheme which has produced many modern successes, including Lady Macbeth and The Levelling. This 8-part series (currently on episode 3 at the time of writing), documents the journeys of 12 sets of filmmaking teams as they develop their feature-length projects, having successfully navigated their way through several rounds of applications to get to this prized stage.
An invaluable podcast in learning about the process of scriptwriting and film development, while proving a unique insight into the challenges faced by emerging filmmakers in attempting to realise their silver-screen dream.
A must listen for anyone on the journey to becoming a filmmaker and especially important for anyone planning to apply for iFeatures (or any scheme) at some point in the future.
Hugely listenable podcast centred around screenwriting and 'everything interesting to screenwriters'. If you see yourself as a writer, it's a must, but such is the depth of knowledge displayed by the two hosts (both working Hollywood screenwriters), anyone interested in filmmaking and storytelling in general will find something from it.
Although the show sometimes gets bogged down in extended US-centric discussions about the Writers Guild of America and other less immediately useful topics for young filmmakers in the UK, it's very much worth it for features like the '3-Page Challenge', in which they dissect a three-page sample of the listener's script entries, with sometimes brutal but always astute honesty.
Another great screenwriting-focused podcast that with plenty of value for those not interested in actual screenwriting as a career. Every episode is an extended interview with the writer of an upcoming film, recorded in front of a live audience just after a showing. Jeff's questions are always well-considered and he is the master of keeping the conversation flowing. You always end up learning something new about the process of storytelling.
He always gives prior warning, but it's worth noting that about three-quarters of the way through each episode the conversation gets into 'spoiler' territory, at which point it's definitely worth pressing pause until you've seen the actual film!
Another interview-focused podcast largely featuring filmmakers, but not exclusively as they sometimes feature other creatives such as novelists and even fashion designers. Host Elvis Mitchell is simply brilliant at getting the most out of his guests, leading discussions that aren't filled with PR-wary soundbites and stock answers. His questions are always thoughtful, engaging and thanks to his treacly vocal tones, really quite relaxing.
You always come away from each episode feeling inspired to think deeply about your own filmmaking craft, as well as having a greater understanding of the art around you.
Delve into this veritable fount of filmmaking knowledge my friends, and again, please send us your own recommendations!