Please enjoy our first guest post by Morgan Dolginow, host of The Art of Flow Podcast! Morgan is one of a few people working to share the stories of flow artists with a wider audience in a podcast format. What's special about the podcast format is that it's great for digging deep into topics with guests. Morgan's careful interviews and deep interest in building community result in a refreshing podcast that's always worth checking out. Whether it's a new prop, a flow story, issues affecting the community, or advice on how to build community, I hope you find her reflections on creating the podcast to be an interesting read.
Lessons from creating The Art of Flow Podcast
by Morgan Dolginow
Have you ever had a philosophical and deep conversation about flow arts with someone at a fire or flow jam? Did you find yourself lit up by the exchange, excited to pick up your prop and move, more so than when you began the conversation? Sharing perspectives about flow arts, creative ideas, and why we make art connects us as a community!
When I began to get to know my local flow arts community in the Bay area in 2018, I was commuting long hours each day while listening to podcasts, spending hours at night practicing poi moves, and just learning that there is a community around this hobby I had recently picked up. When I searched up “Flow Arts” podcasts on iTunes and Spotify, nothing showed up. I was searching for more of these conversations about the artform, so I could hear other’s perspectives on what they create, prop history, and the values of the flow community.
So I changed that by starting up The Art of Flow, a free creativity, flow arts, and fire dancing podcast, available for mainstream distribution, that provides inspiration for artists and conversations on the creative process. I've learned countless skills just to get a podcast up and running, but in this post I want to share three lessons that I've learned in the process. I hope these points inspire you in finding ways to connect with your community.
1. Passion opens doors to possibilities.
The passion I had about the podcast was infectious, and as I spoke about the idea to others, I was supported in surprising ways! This is a secret in life: if you speak passionately about something, genuinely, and consistently, people often are willing to help you out.
I thought I would be alone in this project, that no one would care beyond if it was interesting to listen to, but I discovered the opposite. People seemed to want to make it happen and to support in ensuring that it was created in the small ways they could. Sean von Stade from Flowtoys, made it possible for me to begin recording immediately by lending a microphone. The initial artists interviewed would suggest other artists to talk to and help set up virtual introductions. A friend’s brother gave his time to offer podcast advice, providing the names of editing tools, including quality open source options.
The doors to possibilities didn’t just come in the form of support from others, but also in the time I was willing to spend working on the project, willingness to make mistakes and keep going, and new ideas for each episode. Honestly, when I first began I spent more than 18 hours on the first episode, and the sound quality was terrible because I knew nothing about sound editing. But I kept going. (I promise it doesn’t take that long anymore.)
2. Collaboration is key.
I learn something from every episode that I create! Sometimes, it is something about the art of editing and podcast creation itself, but usually the lessons are from the wisdom of the flow community and those that I interview on the episode. When people are given an opportunity to share their flow story, challenges, passions, and ideas to improve our community, I have learned that they take it with gusto and go beyond to places I have never imagined.
A few episodes stand out in particular, because they transformed the way I look at art, collaboration, and the Flow Arts Community.
The “Creative Collaborations'' piece, is an interview in which Brittney Isphording, Kevin LeVezu, and Veronica Stein discuss the magic that can happen when multi-media artistic creations are made. It was interesting to delve into how an artistic creation was made as a collaboration across three different artforms, bodypaint, fire performance, and photography. I was delighted when one of the guest artists pointed out that the podcast extended it further into a collaboration in a fourth artform by digitizing the creative process in audio format! It was also the first time I interviewed multiple people at the same time. I discovered that the conversations became deeper, as each panel member responded to each other’s replies, creating a conversation that was immensely layered and of multiple perspectives. In the future there will be more panels of guest artists speaking on one shared topic on the show, such as in an upcoming episode on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Flow Arts Community.
3. Tech issues will happen, but how you handle them is what matters.
In “Harm Reduction,” Dresden Blue discusses one of the challenges facing the Flow Arts Community, unsafe drug use and lack of proper education on commonly used substances. Dresden also shares her innovations with rope dart tech and how to play well with partners. I learned that we CAN create a safe community for individuals, even those exploring psychedelics or other drugs, as long as we take care to support education and encourage harm reduction. It is why I now ask every guest on the show what issues, problems or challenges they think the Flow Arts Community faces and their ideas on what we can do going forward. The focus of season 2 of the podcast has primarily been on exploring the future of the community while preserving the current memories and wisdom of guests on the show.
The “Harm Reduction” episode is an example of technology issues happening at inopportune timing. It came together quickly, as it was important to release it by a certain date so that it could help promote an upcoming harm reduction workshop, an opportunity for community members that was not limited to those in the Bay Area since it would be streamed online. However, the tech overlords struck and as the episode was halfway edited, I encountered computer issues and editing software problems that delayed the episode release. I learned that even if I could not follow through on releasing it when I had planned, that I was able to convey the pertinent information in other ways to the community. This is the first time I took a short clip from the episode, paired it with an image of Dresden that I had permission to use, and shared it on social media. The response was enthusiastic, people liked the short excerpts! These short clips now are a part of each episode release, making it possible for those without the time to listen to a whole episode to still be inspired by fellow artists and learn new things. I learned to still glean the positive aspects of the obstacles and lean into change.
Check out the Art of Flow Podcast online to hear the episodes and stay up to date with the latest releases! The podcast can also be found and followed on Spotify, iTunes, SoundCloud, Google Play, and Stitcher.
You can support the podcast to earn early access to full-length interviews, submit questions for interviewees, win freebies, and more by becoming a patron here.