BFC Interview: Superego
Jeremy Carter &
A founding member of Superego; He has appeared in numerous Channel 101 shorts, particularly: Ultraforce, Buckle Up! and Time Belt (where he was given the opportunity to play Adolph Hitler as Ricardo Montalbán).
Co-creator of the Superego Podcast as well as editor of the Judge John Hodgman Podcast and select comedy pieces on Public Radio International’sThe Sound of Young America. Matt teaches acting at Long Beach City and Riverside Colleges where he will most likely give you an easy A.
How many hours a week do you put into this? How does it break down?
JC: Superego records once a week for five or six hours. Matt Gourley will then edit those sketches and that takes a lot of time.
MG: …I put in a lot [of] time on the editing, sound design, and graphics for the enhanced podcast. It’s a long but fun month and then when it’s over, I slow down for the first week and fret about how we’ll pull it off again.
How do you prepare for a podcast?
JC: Through the week we are always thinking of characters or ideas, often times based on our personal experiences and we will make a note in our phone. Or we’ll be hanging out with each other and start organically doing a bit.
MG: We show up to a recording session and pitch some simple ideas. Whatever sounds like it has the most potential, we record. We generally use about half of what we lay down. The ideas are always very general, like a character or a basic concept. Never a comic premise.
What does your workspace look like?
JC: Matt’s living room. When we have guests we’ll usually go to Jeff Crocker or Mark McConville’s homes. The latter two live in Los Angeles so it’s more convenient for the guests to go there rather than drive to Long Beach where Matt and I live.
MG: Wherever we go to record, we set up four mics with vocal reflectors on them to keep from having too much microphone bleed. All of this is run into a mic pre amp and compressor/limiter. There are almost always Mother’s Circus Animal cookies present. Other than that, we just keep Jeremy away from the scotch.
What software do you use?
JC: We edit and record everything in Garage Band.
What hardware do you use?
MG: Supercardiod mics with metal and nylon pop filters into a mic preamp – compressor/limiter – firewire converter and finally, a MacBook Pro. Sometimes I use a hammer to hit myself when I’m dealing with coding bugs. I’m self-trained! You can read and see more here: http://www.gosuperego.com/the-superego-sound/
What items are indispensable to your process?
JC: A computer, microphones, good chemistry, and playfulness, Matt’s editing prowess, and Mother’s Circus Animal Cookies.
What is your ideal set-up/workshop space?
JC: Somewhere with little or no street noise. We often have to pause for helicopters and noisy mufflers.
MG: A sound proof studio with isolated vocal booths where we can still hear the nuance of each other’s humor.
How did you get started?
JC: Matt and I had done some Channel 101 shorts. Filming is time consuming and expensive, so we wanted to do something easier.
MG: I took the idea to Jeremy and we pressed record that night on a digital 8-track music recorder.
JC: We didn’t know how this would shake out. We just wanted to do something fun. I would say do something you want to do.
What do you wish someone had told you before you started?
MG: Wait a night before you assume it’s your fault and not iTunes’ fault.
What is your favorite Tip/Trick learned?
MG: A little quality goes a long way and a lot of quality goes all the way.
What do you consider your first real success?
MG: Getting featured on iTunes thanks to Paul F. Tompkins and his involvement.
JC: When we learned that Paul F. Tompkins liked our show and we asked if he’d record with us. He has been great to work with and become a good friend.
What has been one of your biggest failures?
MG: Coming very late to the self promotion party.
JC: We tried to do a talking heads style show at one point, but it was terrible.
Is this your only job? If not, what else do you do?
JC: No, we all have day jobs.
MG: I’m an actor and acting/film editing teacher at Long Beach and Riverside Colleges.
What other opportunities has doing this presented you?
MG: Many wonderful shows and editing opportunities. I’ve since become editor of the Judge John Hodgman podcast.
JC: We have been on the Thrilling Adventure podcast/ live show. We have worked with some great people: Patton Oswalt, Paul F. Tompkins, Colin Hanks, Andy Daly, John Hodgeman, Jason Sudeikis, etc.
How can people get into this field?
JC: Persistence, a computer, and a willingness to be broke forever. All of us started doing improv through ComedySportz long before podcasting existed. Mark describes this as taking the best moments of your improv shows and putting them together for people to enjoy. I’m paraphrasing.
MG: Come up with a worthy concept, record, work like hell to get better, rinse, repeat. Above all, love it.
How do you define success?
JC: As long as you’re enjoying the process and having small rewards along the way that leave you better than when you started, you are successful.
MG: Keeping my standards higher than the average listener. Boy, is that tough sometimes. We have some increasingly smart and discerning fans.
Plugs & Sources
What other sources can you recommend to people?
MG: I can only name my influences, and as far as comedy goes, specifically the Superego brand, it’s the recurring characters of Johnny Carson. Also, the Marx Bros. brand of absurdism.
Any upcoming Projects or Plugs you would like us to relate?
JC: We are working on a country music album based on characters from the podcast. We’ve been at it awhile, but I think it’s going to be fun and not to oversell this thing, but life changing to all who listen.
Any other general comments you would like to include?
MG: I love this quote and try to remember it often. ‘….never hope more than you work.’ – Rita Mae Brown, Thanks!