We’d like to introduce you to Sidney Evans, our Audio Editor. When Sidney joined us earlier this year, we gained a man who is equal parts thoughtful, brilliant, and sneakily good at naming podcasts. He’s a mixer of dialogue who cares as much about the quality of content as he does the caliber of audio. For a sound lover, he spends a lot of time being quiet and listening; when he speaks, you better believe something impactful is about to be said. Without further ado, here’s Sidney.
You competed as an NCAA collegiate athlete at Fayetteville State University, where you obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications in 2013. What are some of the lessons you learned in sports that apply to being an audio editor?
Well, the most important thing is that when you put in the work, you get results. The years I worked the hardest in the off-season and did extra work during the season, I had the most success.
The same goes for becoming an audio editor. I’ve joined groups, done free work, watched tutorials, listened to podcasts, applied for dozens of jobs, and emailed people. I literally did everything I could think of to break into the field. I truly believe becoming a part of the FRQNCY team was my reward for putting in the work because I am that passionate about what I do.
Also, having an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses is something that stuck with me as well. When starting here at FRQNCY, I felt my strength was more on the mixing side and I knew I had room for improvement as far as cutting dialogue. After a few months on the team, I can really see the improvement there, with the help of Enna, one of our amazing producers.
Outside of FRQNCY, you have edited & engineered podcasts including Celeste the Therapist Podcast, The Minority Trailblazer Podcast, The Cope for the Culture Podcast and Our Stories Podcast. What are the characteristics of podcasts that you enjoy editing?
First and foremost, I enjoyed editing shows that are recorded using quality equipment and in controlled environments. I think the creators get the most out of my skill set when this happens because it allows me to take quality audio and turn it into exceptional audio. Also, I genuinely enjoy editing intriguing topics where the host has a solid understanding of storytelling. I know that if I enjoyed the content as an audio editor, the intended audience will as well.
What’s one thing you think every audio editor should know when they’re getting started to make them stand out?
Edit as much as possible, figure out a process that works for you, and stick with it. There are so many DAWs, plugins, tutorials, and information available when you begin to learn the craft. You can easily go down that rabbit hole and get caught not actually editing, which I have experienced. Yes, you always want to stay up to date on the tools that allow you to do your job better, but you still have to do the job. And once you have a workflow that works for you, stick with it because that is your foundation. And if need be, you can modify it down the line.
You’re vocal about the benefits of a plant-based diet — and you’re not the only one in the FRQNCY fam. When you start dragging during a marathon editing session, what snack perks you back up?
A lot of my friends call me an old man for this, but my go-to snack is salted peanuts in the shell. I guess it goes back to my youth from playing and attending baseball games. I can effortlessly eat a whole bag without realizing it. They just work for me and I enjoy them.
You got into podcast editing after deciding that pursuing music wasn’t for you. Any regrets about that decision?
Absolutely not. I’m grateful for that experience and glad I was able to pivot instead of just leaving the audio industry all together. It actually allowed me to enjoy music not only as a consumer but as a creator. There’s a lot of talent required to create great music. It gave me an even higher level of appreciation for those who do so exceptionally well.
You once said that podcasters who want to have “Twitter conversations in the form of a podcast” may not have as much longevity as others. Can you speak more to that?
I believe there is truly an art to podcasting. Obviously, the industry has been growing and people are diving in. And some get stuck into taking the mindset and strategy from one medium and applying it to another. To me, that’s not ideal. For every medium you have to figure out the best approach for that one in particular. A Twitter conversation in the form of a podcast would not be compelling enough for me to listen to. I have listened to and edited enough shows to know that it’s a different art form. You have to understand the podcast medium and add your personal flair to it.
If you were stranded on an island with access to only one podcast, what would it be?
In Godfrey We Trust, which is hosted by the comedian Godfrey. I get tons of laughs, get to hear stories from a wide variety of guests, and learn a little bit about the experiences of those who do comedy.
We’d like to introduce you to Jessica Olivier, our Lead Content Strategist. Jessica has been an invaluable part of FRQNCY since its earliest days, when she worked in tandem with Michelle to design our signature approach to concepting podcasts rooted in deep research and ideation (🤯). She is a wealth of insight for anyone looking to concept a podcast that stands out from the millions already out there. To be in Jessica’s presence is to bathe in a light so bright and pure it could be illegal; to work with her is to be guided by a brilliant and relentlessly uplifting supernova. Alright, before we go overboard (too late?), let’s meet this pun-wielding, encouragement-showering, idea-generating force of a woman.
You studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, and film and video at Georgia State University. If podcasting had been offered as a major when you were in school, do you think you would’ve studied it instead?
I have to imagine the musical theatre nerd within me would jump at the opportunity to learn a medium that harnesses the powerful sound of the human voice to tell impactful stories. But I’m not sure I would have studied it instead of theatre or film, I would have probably just found a way to add another major to my plate or something. I studied at multiple schools–the University of Georgia, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and Georgia State University–because I couldn’t seem to slow my hunger to keep moving and learning. Bless my poor parents. They were on the receiving end of many calls that began with, “I think I need to go to a different school now and pursue….(insert some sort of creative path).” Huge shoutout to them for being absolutely supportive every single time.
In the film and television industry, you worked on major productions such as The Vampire Diaries and the Emmy winning Years of Living Dangerously. What’s one of the biggest differences between working in film/TV versus podcasting?
Production is such a fun and creative space, regardless of the medium. But when it comes to television and film production, there is a pretty standard procedure as far as crew positions, scripting, and processes. The medium of podcasting is exciting because it’s still so new that the possibilities are endless. It hasn’t been around long enough to be fully standardized. We are witnessing podcasts start to truly flex their creativity, pushing concepts and formats way outside of the box. And, really, as young as podcasting is, there isn’t even a firmly established box to think outside of. Btw, runners up for this answer are that: 2) there is room for everyone’s perspective and story in podcasting, regardless of how niche and 3) the uniquely intimate experience podcasts offer their audience.
As FRQNCY’s lead content strategist, you take super deep dives into clients’ podcast potential. What’s your safety tip for someone embarking into a long night of podcast-related research?
Oh buddy. Whatever you do, don’t look at the time. Ignore the existence of time completely, in fact. But once you surface from a super deep-dive wormhole, detach completely and do something physical to help process all the information you just took on. A post-research wormhole walk will usually help me transition from intake mode to ideation mode.
As adult theater kids, you and Michelle have been known to break out into spontaneous productions during team meetings. No question here… Just letting the people know.
Us? Never. (Jazz hands)
Outside of work-related endeavours, what are your weirdest hobbies and interests?
You knew to ask about weird interests specifically, huh? I’d start with traveling but I think that’s on 99% of Millennials’ lists. So what else… I enjoy absurdly long walks (like, uh oh, I walked out the door in a pair of sandals and ended up 9 miles from home), writing and reading poetry, all things holidays and festivities–especially Christmas–the occasional existential panic, cooking vegan recipes, my fav hip-hop dance class, and intense forms of cathartic exercise. Michelle can vouch for the fact that I like to rescue wildlife or homeless pets, whether they actually need rescuing or not (like, oops, that turtle I pulled over to rescue is a tied up trash bag). Oh! And believe it or not, when I’m not researching and wormholing for FRQNCY…I like to research and wormhole for…fun. Gulp.
If your sons, Jasper and Felix, had podcasts, what would your recommended strategy be? Bonus points if you include potential names.
Honestly, Jasper and I talk about his different podcast ideas frequently. I think he could have a very successful podcast right now at age 4. If he gives me the thumbs up, it’s on. Jasper’s podcasts would be narrative interview format, so the listener could really get to know his unique perspective and his loveable charm. The overarching subject would be an exploration of engineering and inventions, as he loves learning about that. Loyal listeners would pick up on the subtextual questions framed within the broader topic, and those questions would all be deeply philosophical. The episodes would need to be shorter, since recording sessions would obviously take place during Felix’s nap time.
Felix’s podcast would be a fiction comedy podcast, with all sorts of imaginative and creative characters that interact in a very complex set of storylines. The dialogue would be filled with witty one-liners and acute references that appease his intelligentsia following. It’s going to be quite the production lift, so we will start with a six-episode pilot season. The fame might temporarily change Felix, but he will find his way back to the ground, y’all.
If you were stranded on an island with access to only one podcast, what would it be?
I have listened to 246 podcasts in the last couple of months researching concepts for clients. Between those and having a 3- and 4-year old at home, I have little time for bonus pleasure listening. But honestly? You could bring anything from the FRQNCY lineup to my ol’ deserted island and I would be oh-so happy. I’m really proud of our work.
Joel Byars is a long-time comedian, writer, teacher, and host of Hot Breath!, a comedy-interview podcast with a slant towards education. His teacher-parents clearly rubbed off on him: Joel has dedicated most of his career to teaching comedians how to make a full-time living off of their passion for comedy.
After more than a decade of working in the film and TV industry as a location coordinator, Kalena Boller launched The Credits as a way to introduce the world to the people who work in Georgia’s multibillion-dollar film industry.