Marion Abrams - Spartan Up & Grounded ContentDealcasters
There is nothing that Marion Abrams of MadMotion cannot do: she is not just a multiple Emmy-nominated filmmaker – but also oversees some of the world’s best podcasts at Spartan, has her own podcast with Grounded Content and also coaches podcasters in all walks of life.
You’re not only going to fall in love with Marion’s stories – but also the amazing person that she is.
Full Episode Transcript:
Who doesn't love a good story? Do you think you've got good stories? Do you ever wonder if these stories can help you with your business or your life goals, this amazing guest of deal casters does exactly that there's nothing that Marion Abrams cannot do. She's not just a multiple Emmy nominated filmmaker, but also oversees some of the world's best podcasts.
It's Spartan has her own podcast. With branded content and also coaches podcasters in all walks of life. You're not only going to fall in love with Mary Abram's stories, but also the amazing human being that she is smart.
What's up. I feel like such a rock star with that introduction. love the open you guys do. That's so cool. The video, it's really nice. That's fun. When you've got somebody like you, that has a lot of content to choose from and, be able to pepper it in that's. That's awesome.
And we met on clubhouse. Clubhouse comes up every time. The last, I dunno, 10 shows that we've done and it's such a great way to meet people like yourself. But then I saw a video that you did on Instagram. And I was watching it, but of course un-muted and started listening to it. And I was like, wow, that voice, the boy.
That sounds awesome. I wonder if she does voiceovers and then I'm thinking to myself, of course, as a podcaster, as a tech nerd, I'm thinking, what's your set up? What's your Mike? What does she got? Because you had to, you didn't have the camera pointed at the mic like you do now. And then I found out. I speak into the same mic as you.
Why does my voice sound like butter? Like yours? What's the problem. You know what it is craziest thing. And I love telling people this, when I first got into this business, I was so camera shy that when I had to test the mic and say like one, two, three testing, my face would turn bright red. Like I couldn't even get on camera.
And it turns out. And then when I was editing, like years later, I'm editing and I did a scratch track. So for those that don't know, like you're doing an edit and you don't have your professional voiceover yet. And so the editor will just record their voice kind of time things out and they call it a scratch track.
And I did the scratch track and the client came in and she said she didn't recognize my voice. And she said, who did that track? That's the worst sounding narration I've ever heard. So the reason I tell you all that is to say you just gotta practice. Yeah. Put your headsets on doc in the mic, you try some different things.
You try different energy levels, different distance, different sides of the mic, different tone of voice, different energy. And like you figure out what and the great thing is you don't have to go live and no one else has to hear it. You can just plug it into your computer and just get, do those reps.
We talked to yesterday to Tali Shannon, and she equated the microphone as a dumbbell. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. The more you use it, the more reps you go through it, the more you're just more comfortable speaking, you're more comfortable here. Like it's the first time anyone's ever heard their voice speaking anywhere, right?
I'm sure it was horrifying, but. As a, as an editor, you've probably heard your voice a gazillion times. Are you your own worst critic or are you at this point? You're just like so crazy. I've I was able to like, get past a point. There was a point where it was just like, Oh God, it's my voice.
But I've now been helping other people do this for 30 plus years. I don't want to say I'm old, but I'm old. And and I realized it's. A lot of them were really bad at it when they started. And then I work with them and they get really good at it. And all of a sudden I was like, why don't I just do that with myself?
And so now I actually it sounds terrible. I like listening to myself when I have an episode of my show, I'll listen to it like two or three times, I'll be like, yeah, I liked this part. I liked it. Like I enjoy it now. Exactly. And I think a lot of podcasters don't realize that it's not just about some sort of promotion for themselves, but do you feel like.
You've gotten to meet such interesting people, made friends, such a, it's such a social sort of thing. It's such a, it's a smaller pool than I think a lot of people really. Yeah. Yeah. There's definitely, there's like the people that are into podcasting. And one of the things for me has just been like, it attracts.
A diversity of people because the subjects are almost infinite. But there's some kind of unifying thing about these people that they're, they want to express themselves in a way. And it's this mix of creativity and entrepreneurial mindset and independent. There's all these things that kind of work.
And so yeah, I love that. And then with Spartan up. So up until until COVID we recorded all our interviews in person and we've been doing it for eight years and we have something like 650 episodes. We made a lot of people. We met a lot of people. We went a lot of places. We had a lot of a lot of monopods left in taxi cab trunks, and all that stuff.
So all of these people that you've met and yeah, I'm sure like we should get in a Spartan up and unwrap that. Cause I'm super interested in that I'm going to, I'm going to nerd out galore when it comes to that. And the development of there's nothing. A podcast or likes better than someone nerding out on their stuff.
It's always makes me happier. So all of these things, people that are working on this, you probably are too humble to admit, but Spartan up is a massive podcast and it's not just about. If you're someone that doesn't know that casually knows what Spartan races are and it's, the super hyper aggressive, marathon superhuman kind of thing.
It is that, but the podcast is about mindset. And so even if you're not like some, Spartan warrior or whatever, you really can be inspired by a lot of people on this. So I'm curious, like you're working with these people and it was all in person. COVID happens. How afraid or how technologically inclined, where everyone did it just go into the ether and some people just couldn't do it virtually.
They couldn't do it remotely unless it was physical. Or how did that go? So w one of the interesting things is the guy that started Spartan race. He lives in Vermont, which is where I live. And that's how we met many years ago. Like actually before Spartan had started and I had a background in sports television, he was putting on events.
We lived a half a mile apart in a town of 500 people. So it was pretty. And it was inevitable, but he temporarily relocated his family back to the farm in Vermont. So we were able to record a few things there. We did some socially distance stuff. We'd set up the podcast mix outside, put the headphones on, stay 10 feet apart and record.
We did some of that. But if you were to see my early setup, It was like very analog for a digital setup. If that makes sense, start ugly. That's what I'm always like. I just take the stuff I have, and and move it around. And one of the things, the great thing about doing Spartan up was so we would record all the episodes in person.
And the main host is Joe de Sena. He's the founder and CEO of Spartan and. Not only is he a super athlete, but he's also a busy guy he's starting this huge company. And there were moments where we'd be in a taxi cab, he's on a phone call. I've got all my equipment. So everything we had to do, the podcast with, I had to carry with me and I had to carry usually my overnight bag as well, because we never spent more than one night in one place.
So you're off the plane. You're taking a cab from the airport to somebody's office, where you're going to record a podcast and you've never been there before. And And so I'd have, my clothes and my camera and my microwave, like all my stuff. And and he'd be on the phone and he'd be getting out of the taxi and handed me his credit card as he walked away on the phone so I can pay for the cab.
So I'm, trying to pay and get all my stuff and, run it after him with all the equipment. Hence the monopods in the trunk on more than one occasion. But what it did was it was like talk about the dumbbell. It was like, repeat repeat, repeat. Every day could be five, 10, 15 interviews in a day.
A whole bunch of different locations, outdoor on the street in New York city, in an office, on an Island, on a ship, like in a taxi, we've done it all. And so you get to all the equipment becomes an extension of you and it really is. You forget that it's tech, it's just what you do.
You just figure, like what's the best tool for this solution and how do I make it work? And I would imagine having that experience that you did, and now you're working with a lot of other podcasters, right? You were in, and these are podcasts, not necessarily just starters, right? You're working with people that.
Are maybe afraid of or just don't understand like I can't do that. It's outside. It's here. That you can't do that. Guess what, you've done it, you've done it over and over and know how to do it. And again, it just comes back to that. Let's work for the reps.
Let's get yourself used to it. So much of it is people just getting past that so they can work on the content. So do you work with the podcasters on not necessarily all of that tech stuff, but like what they're talking about developing that whole game plan for them.
Here's what I like to tell people. This is a pencil, right? You can't write without a pencil, but nobody thinks that's what makes a writer. So yeah, I need a microphone, but that is not like what it's about. That's not, what's going to make you a great podcaster, yes. I certainly can. My big thing is a couple of things.
One is looking at your goal and when, I mean your goal, like not the big why, the deep, why, but do you want to make money off of this thing? Do you want to have great conversations? Do you want to meet people? Do you want to serve your community? Like, why are you doing it? And what are your resources and do they match, and then once that's all there and sometimes that is, do you buy a $75 mic or do you use a studio or, that's, there's that part of that resources and goals. And then you get into the whole what is the subject? How are you being strategic? How are you choosing guests? How are you working with the guests?
How do you elevate your conversations? To achieve your goals, but also just sound good, have a great conversation. Be interesting to the audience. That's the main thing, right? How do you keep it? Interesting. The other thing I think about is like the, I think there's a misconception generally when someone hears podcasts, they think that they're good.
There's the gazillion podcasts out there. And that there's just, and when we're, when I say podcasts, audio podcasts. So like grounded content obviously is. Is your podcast. I know you do video for the podcast, but I don't know if you necessarily have a video show for the correct. It's actually been really nice doing grounded content, which is more my personal podcast, and just doing audio.
It's actually freeing after 650 episodes of Spartan up, which are every single one is video. It's kinda nice not to have to deal with that, to be honest, to just focus on the conversation. And it's interesting, cause Marion, we know at pod Fest, there was a lot of talk about adding a video component to your podcast.
So I guess you've seen both ends and I think there's still space for both. I don't think it has to be an either or, what are your thoughts on that? Yeah, a hundred percent. For us, we actually get a significant number of views on YouTube. And I think what works on YouTube is different than what works in audio.
But again, for us, I suspect that a lot of people just go to YouTube because they don't want to deal with the podcast player or they don't know about it. It's like everybody knows how to do YouTube. And so I think a lot of people they're not necessarily watching. But they're using it. My kids play a song on, they want to find a song and they don't want to pay Spotify or something.
They open it up on YouTube. They play the song. I suspect a lot of people are just playing the podcast on YouTube, even if they're not focusing on the video. I just think like the more places you can be, you want to be where people are listening and the more places they can find you the better, a hundred percent, I'm a big fan of casting the net as wide as you could go.
It's like when Amazon launched podcasts, And I, you immediately go to the Amazon music player and you go to the web and you see it enemy. And, my nerd mind goes to and I'm comparing it to all these other podcast players. And then I think to myself, Oh, my gosh. Now the phone book just got like inordinately higher, right?
There's an amazing amount of people now that are listening to grounded concept that are listening to Spartan up. And so your reach just goes astronomically up from there. But I agree with you, I think as a podcast or that is maybe just doing pure audio and you want to get up on YouTube. I also think if you can do it relatively easily, repurpose it and just get it up there.
You're going to get some views. But I think the ones that the podcasters that are I don't want to say crushing it on YouTube, seeing some sort of impact on YouTube are the ones that are like saying, okay, I'm going to lean into this on audio and I'm going to lean into this YouTube.
And maybe it's a different version. That's a little more visual. That's luring people into the different avenues. And that's what I liked about like on the latest podcast you did this. Steve what's his last name? I'm sorry. Just this guy was ridiculous. He was hilarious. Oh yeah.
Yeah. You did a video on extincting Sam's yeah. Yeah, he's great. He was great. He's got a book called Bluefishing, which is which is a really cool book. That I should have, I didn't read the whole thing before I finished it after it. I wish I had finished it before. Cause it was so good. The podcast is called grounded content.
I just listened to her interview with Jessa Jessica Cuprimine, who is with she podcasts. It's an amazing. Interview and of course the Spartan up podcast as well, that we've talked about a Spartan race for the mind, which I think is as a killer. Yeah. It's life changing. There's it's so there's this idea that there's a, you're the average of your five best friends, right?
There's that you've heard that, but some of us can't always surround ourselves with the people that maybe are going to lift us up. And that was the idea behind the podcast. We're three days a week. And every time you listen, you're going to be elevated a little bit. And it works on me. Like I listened to it.
I listened to every episode, even if I recorded it, edited, it, produced it, whatever my role was in the episode, listen to everyone and it keeps me. From getting stuck in my own kind of spinning my wheels or getting stuck. It keeps me motivated, keeps me inspired. It gives me little nuggets tips. Like I use it totally.
That's the advantage of a lot of people are like, how can you be a video editor? How can you be an audio editor? How can you edit all of these podcasts? It was like, guess what if you're an entrepreneur, you get to choose your work. And so there's some of these clients that I get to work with, I get done editing a podcast.
I feel awesome. And I don't feel like I just got done with something that was work. It was, and it took a while to get through it, but You hear, even if you hear things over and over again, somehow you're hearing something different that made a hundred percent. So I'm interested if we could go backwards because I know you were massively involved in film and again, you may be too humble, but there's a lot going on with you in terms of what you did with filming.
And I know you were involved in, in, you said sports, so it was skiing probably. And. A lot of what you did filming what happened in Vermont and all of that. What, if you could maybe walk us through a little bit of that, but how did that move into the podcasting space?
I know you touched on, how is Spartan up and everything, but now you've just gotten this huge bug. Are you looking to go back into film or are you still doing a little of that? So what's going on there. Yeah. Yeah. That's, it's a good question. And it's one, I have to think about it a little bit, but look, the thing that I love to do is help people tell stories.
And help people make connections through their stories. And I like to do it with pictures. I like to do it with moving pictures. I like to do it with sound, film is all of them together. Podcast is just the sound. I It's fun and exciting. And honestly, it's probably the only career that would have kept me interested for this as long as it's been.
Because I've done things from standing at the starting line, oh, here's a great one. He used to shoot the the us...
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