They quip, they make gaffes, but most importantly, they get the laughs. Questing in the fruitful future of podcast broadcasting, twelfth-graders Tommy Gilfert and L.J. Valery speak their minds not only to the Pine View community but to the whole world.
Whether on new college personas, work gripes or the latest Dr. Dean test, listeners are treated to a 50 minute conversation with a homebrew of Pine View humor and attitude. Staged as “the Two %,” coinciding with a running gag at the start of each episode, the senior duo fostered the idea after one of their habitual visits to the Denny’s restaurant in Venice.
“The idea was meant to be, let’s just record what we say and even though it’s mutated a little bit, it’s for us to listen to later on one day,” Gilfert said. “It’s really meant to be a natural conversation.”
With no distinguished source of inspiration, according to Gilfert and Valery, they use their own stories and personalities to add gaiety to their discussions online. They speak openly about their thoughts and pasts, both comedic and emotional, making listeners feel as if they are in the same room.
“The reason for that is because we are so open and willing to be very personal about ourselves,” Valery said. “I think when you do that, there is nothing to hide. Some people have the mentality where they need to shelter a certain part of themselves.”
“I would never feel worried myself about saying something about L.J., because I feel we have a good understanding of each other’s boundaries,” Gilfert said. “It’s a healthy dynamic. We don’t have to constantly ask, ‘Can I say this about you?’’
The two took advantage of podcasting, a medium available on almost all audio-streaming platforms, finding an expressive outlet to dedicate time to during their final year at Pine View. As a personal hobby of their own, their content is not limited to a strenuous schedule or filter. However, they aim for a little less than an hour per episode to pace a good listen for their audience.
“Usually we have a concept we want to dedicate the podcast to, for instance if we want to discuss our plans for the future or how the education system is going,” Valery said. “We start off with our little intro bit and then have tangents later on. We always get to the premise whether it’s at the beginning or the end. The structure isn’t formal, we let it flow however it goes.”
“We like to keep it broad enough where there’s a chance that what we are saying could still be connected, even if we acknowledge that it’s tangential,” Gilfert said. “One time we picked philosophy as the major thing and then talked about it whatever sense we wanted to. It has a better capability for a conversation, like banter between two people.”
Conversations can flow from on-campus occurrences, such as the behind the scenes of the Mr. Pine View show where Valery was a contestant, to an ethical argument on the purposelessness of the elderly in society.
Gilfert’s dream for their project is out-of-the-blue recognition. “Primarily, we want to look back on this and be able to enjoy it,” Gilfert said. “But other than that my goal is to have somebody I never met in my life come up to us or leave a comment and be like, ‘I like the podcast,’ I would be fulfilled.”
They plan to continue with their format for the rest of the school year, hoping to release audio at least once every two weeks. Listeners can expect worthwhile content, as well as a cheesy soundboard built-in with claps, boo’s, and Sheldon Cooper, comments from “The Big Bang Theory”. They record in fictitious locations, such as rice fields and other bizarre places. “Our little jokes and gags builds that we have a show with these continuities,” Valery said. “It’s comfortable, but also can be different or changed up, like the premise of a TV show and the plot in each episode.”
Future changes will be more technical than content-oriented. “Improving quality would be the one change. Better sound, better location,” Gilfert said.
While not necessarily a career path for themselves, they encourage others interested in broadcasting or similar fields to try out a podcast and make the best of its benefits.