Sometimes art is more than self-expression or making the world more beautiful. Sometimes art is a method of discovering something about oneself. Art can be used as a process of creating meaning out of the act of creation itself. Such is the case of the genesis of Jordan Smart’s Society & Culture podcast, Smart.
Smart (senior, psychology) has a wide range of interests, including poetry and photography. His new project, Smart, has been taking up most of his artistic focus recently, as he edits and mixes during his free time between his school and work duties. The project began when Smart began questioning his choice to major in Psychology. Instead of being paralyzed by this uncertainty, Smart decided to create the first episode of his podcast, then called The Smart Podcast, in order to explore what others in his situation have done. When asked why the podcast format lent itself to this exploration, Smart responded, “I wanted to create something that could cause dialogue and allow me to be creative and express myself.” Being a private individual, the podcast format also allowed him a level of anonymity, allowing the focus of the show to be more on the content.
Described as having the goal of “Finding the intelligence in life, conversations and connection while taking inspiration from the Golden Age of Radio,” Smart currently has two episodes. In the first episode, entitled “Turning Point,” Smart talks with friends and mentors about their views on this matter in order to come to his own more well-informed conclusion. The episode does an excellent job of dissecting this common problem from multiple sides, providing a helpful discussion for other students dealing with similar issues. In the conclusion to the episode, Smart synthesizes the discussion in an effective and affective way for the listeners.
From the “catharsis” of figuring out this personal issue, Smart’s podcast grew. The second episode of Smart, entitled “The Millennial’s Guide to TV,” discusses the common factors of TV shows which are appealing to Millennials. In the episode, Smart and friends talk about their favorite shows and what they like about them. Smart’s spin on the topic of pointing out why Millennials are drawn to certain shows is very interesting, and the passion Smart and his guests have for the topic is amusing, especially to Millennial listeners with similar tastes in media.
For Smart, the most time-consuming part of the process is “recording in the field and finding the idea of the episode.” The most enjoyable aspect is “editing everything…and looking for sounds that can bolster the story.” He uses Audacity during the mixing process and archival sound effects to complete what he records in the field to apply the Old Time Radio effect that he desires.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of Smart is the apparent influence of Golden Age of Radio shows, which Smart mentions in the “Before Episode 02” update. Some such shows which Smart cites as major influences include Moon River, Dragnet, and Sherlock Holmes. For more recent podcast influences, Smart points to Serial, which sparked his interest in the medium, as well as RadioLab, Revisionist History, Invisibilia, and “anything NPR cooks up.”
Episode Three drops on Wednesday, September 14, and will consider “the treacherous world of dating.” Interested listeners can subscribe to Smart on the iTunes store or a podcast app to be notified of new updates.