War Stories Wraps Up Season One

If memory serves me correctly, War Stories was founded during the centenary ceremony of the Somme. A few weeks prior to that, my co-conspirator, Angry Staff Officer, and I met up to chat (or more likely, to snark) over drinks in Alexandria. And a few weeks before that, we talked about the use and misuse of history with Nate Finney on the Military Writers Guild’s podcast. As of today, season one of the show has closed out and now begins our inter-season planning and writing grind.

We set out with a number of goals in mind for the show, some ambitious, others decidedly not. On a fundamental level, we wanted to bridge the individual narratives of war with the larger historical and contextual picture. Through this model, we hoped that both the history and story-interested listeners of the show would be on level playing fields. On a loftier level, I also think there’s something to this model in getting people to better understand and use history, particularly in the uniquely human endeavor of warfare. I don’t think there’s anything particularly novel or innovative about the method, but that’s not to say that it’s practiced enough.

There were also smaller goals relating to the format of the show and what it would feel like for those listening. There’s something more intimate, or at least potentially intimate, about audio programming. Written words indeed have a massive amount of power over us, but there’s a relationship between storyteller and listener that exists in audio which doesn’t come forth as frequently in writing. The subjects we chose to cover only added to that.

I don’t want to take away from an upcoming article/interview about the show by hashing over many of the same points I always make, but I do want to say that it’s been an absolute pleasure writing, editing, producing, re-editing, re-writing, etc. it. It has fit the multi-disciplinary, humanistic, conflict-driven type of work which I most enjoy. To be sure, there’s a whole lot of work to be done in order to have the show continue improving. We’re a two man team and that meant essentially continuous work in order to keep our schedule, but with a bit of additional planning I think we’ll have more room to play around with additional content and improve production value.

If you’re (somehow) just learning about the show, here are our episodes. If you enjoy it, give us a ‘subscribe’.

 

War Stories Episode Two

This past week, Angry Staff Officer and I released the second episode of our audio show, War Stories. In this episode of the show titled, “Patton at the Saint-Mihiel Salient,” we set the remaining foundation for this season with the story of then Captain George S. Patton’s efforts in developing the AEF’s light tank school and his subsequent exploits on the battlefield of the Saint-Mihiel Salient.

From here, we’ll be advancing to the interwar years and then WWII. As these will have only iterative additions to the underlying platform, we’ll be really drilling down on the most compelling stories we find in a way that shows the progress being made. As always, thanks for listening.

Listen: Online | iTunes | RSS Feed

 

War Stories Launches

If you’ve followed me on Twitter the past six to eight weeks, you’ve probably noticed some cryptic Tweets about a new storytelling/podcast project I’ve been working on alongside Angry Staff Officer. Last week, we announced the show, War Stories, to those outside the small group we asked to serve as beta listeners of the project. I’m pleased to announce that after receiving their feedback and making the necessary edits, we released Episode One on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, etc. yesterday.

Though we’re still getting the hang of doing a more production-intensive show rather than one just focused on cleaning up audio and piecing together a conversation, we’re really pleased with the model that we’ve come up with and we’re eager to continue our first season on armor.

The show itself is a narrative history show centered on telling the stories behind points in the development of warfare. In each season, we’re taking a topic of warfare and picking out key moments and people who exemplify those moments. The central focus in each episode is telling the story of one of those people, but we’re also weaving in contextual details in order to give a solid foundation on which to base your understanding.

If you haven’t listened to the released episode yet, I hope you do and email/Tweet/etc. me on what you thought about it. If you already have, there are a couple requests I have:

  • Share it with a friend/family member/colleague/Tweep — We’re setting this up to be a serious project and we think its model appeals to all sorts of people. Getting it outside of our own networks is a big goal on the administrative side of that.
  • Rate and review it on iTunes — this is another way for us to reach outside our own networks. We have about eight weeks post-launch to maximize the potential real estate that iTunes offers us. We’re obviously going to continue past that time, but steadily increasing listenership, reviews, subscriptions during that time goes a long way.
  • Become a patron of the show on our Patreon — in addition to each script containing 5000-6000 words, we also put a lot of time into producing and developing the show. War Stories will always be free to listeners, but if you’re looking for resource guides and transcripts, bonus episodes, etc., you can get them for as low as $3/month. Shoot me an email and I can send along a sample (one is also on the ‘support’ page on www.warstoriescast.com)

May 2016 Work

As we roll into the sweltering summer months of DC, I’m fortunate enough to participate in a number of cool projects with topics that could not be more diverse (at least in the national security realm). They span theoretical, practical, and analytical topics and will hopefully pave the way for more of the same, even though wearing a suit around town will become even more miserable

The Pen and the Sword

Thursday, May 5th I’ll be recording the fourth episode of the Military Writers Guild podcast, The Pen and the Sword. In this episode, I’ll sit down with Dr. Ajit Maan and John DeRosa, both MWG members who sit in the academic world and examine narratives. Jiji and John both work on The Project for Narrative Braiding, a really cool project out of George Mason University with both theoretical and practical applications for the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

DEF[x]DC

Recently, I was asked to host a writing workshop on behalf of the Military Writers Guild for the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum, a 501(c)(3) organization filled with bright, young military leaders and their civilian counterparts who seek to develop a culture of innovation within the DOD community. I’ll be hosting the workshop alongside Kate Brannen of the Atlantic Council, John Costello of New America, and Claude Berube of the U.S. Naval Institute. The workshop will focus on a set of creative prompts that both expand participants’ writing styles and experience.

ASP Podcast

Finally, on May 16th I’ll sit down with my friends at the American Security Project to discuss the role of the space domain in national security. I became involved in this topic while serving as the government and media affairs officer of ASP, so it’ll be nice to come back to the shop a few years later as an adjunct fellow to discuss where it’s gone since that point.

On the (mis)use of history – The Pen and the Sword

This weekend, I sat down to chat with Nate Finney and Angry Staff Officer about the use and misuse of history in the military and national security professions. There were some really great points, both practical and big-picture, brought up. I also particularly relished the discussion of the latest episode of Hardcore History – a section I knew I wanted to bring up as soon as I heard it on the metro.

The podcast series, in general, is also hitting a bit of a stride (if I may say so myself). Learning the mechanics behind both producing and hosting is not something I would’ve encountered otherwise. Some of the software has a steep learning curve, but I think we’re quickly coming up with a product that is well and above some of the competitors out there.

From here, I’m going to work on creating a more consistent schedule for episodes. It’s been a bit of a worry since the inception of the podcast that I would eventually run out of ideas, or at least have a barely filled hopper. That worry hasn’t exactly gone away, but I’ve become slightly more confident in my ability to get it done.

In any case, here’s the episode. Hope you enjoy!
 

The Podcast Quiver: August 2015

The podcast occupies an almost sacred place in my heart. They are the medium of choice on my walks to and from the gym, as well as during the vast majority of my commute.

Podcasts are a great way for individuals, particularly those with limited free time, to get in-depth information about relevant subjects. Additionally, their surge has paved the way for some brilliant production value.

However, most of the time the podcast series on my iPhone are fleeting. Sometimes, they die out naturally as the oftentimes overworked and underthanked hosts move on to other ventures, other times, the material on the shows becomes stale as the founding vision must either be reworked or suffer from repetitive topics. It’s an impressive venture to keep a great and fresh podcast going. For those of them that accomplish it, I salute them. Others not included in this list are Ask Me Another, Science Vs, Word for Word,  and BackStory

The Standbys

Slate Political Gabfest

Hardcore History

Radiolab

99% Invisible

Working

Up and Comers (at least in my app)

The Orbital Mechanics

Whistlestop

The Ethicists

The Freshmen

War College

Actuality

Here Be Monsters

Lore