Using Trello and a Personal Discord Server to manage Podcasting To-Dos.
So, I make a lot of podcasts. Right now I have 4 shows in active production, about 5 in passive production, and many, many more on the back-burner. This isn’t counting shows I don’t run and am just a part of, as a voice actor, sound designer, or writer. I’ve been asked multiple times how I do it, and I’m going to try to answer that. Emphasis on try. But first, a fact about myself. I, as a person, do not relax. I do not stop. I am always up to something. Don’t be like me, okay? Good. With that out of the way, let’s go.
I use a couple of different things to keep track of all my projects. The first is Trello. I have columns here by task. One for writing, one for directing, another for sound design, and a few for voice acting.
Voice acting gets three columns because I need to keep track of what I’ve been cast in but haven’t gotten scripts for (VA Upcoming), what I’m on the hook to record soon (VA Happening, where recurring roles live until they’re finished), and what has been recorded but not released yet (VA in production).
I use the “Custom Fields” power-up to let me keep track of status (“Waiting info”/“in progress”), payment (what I’m being paid and if I’ve been paid it), as well as if I’m currently waiting for information (like scripts). The color labels correspond to if I’ve put the show on my website yet, and what kind of role it is (cameo, supporting, anthology, or leading)
The sound design, writing, and directing columns are arranged differently. I organize cards these cards based on the order I plan to do them, and there’s no moving them from column to column. Ideally, whatever I’m currently working on is at the top of the list. I usually have something in work for each of these — an episode I’m writing, something I’m directing soon, something else I’m sound designing. What I work on depends on my mood (and looming deadlines). Lately it’s been lots and lots of sound design. The card colors aren’t really significant, serving mostly to group things I need done around the same time together.
I also have a personal discord server I use for organization. It’s just me and a handful of bots in here. I have a channel where I make the day’s to do list to keep track of the tasks I need to get done, ideally, on that day. The server also has a reminder channel where I use Reminder Bot to poke me about upcoming deadlines, a calendar channel where I stick my meetings (I also write these on a physical calendar on my fridge because I like redundancy), and a channel to drop links to look at later. This channel is the only thing standing between me and 20 tabs, as I refuse to use bookmarks for short term things. Why? I dunno, I just don’t. In my mind, bookmarks are for things like show google drives that I need to reference often.
I’ve also got channels that mimic the Trello, with list of episodes I need to write/sound design/edit. This serves exactly the same purpose of the Trello. It’s redundant, but for whatever reason I like the simplicity of having an additional text list with everything on it. I only see the sound design stuff when I’m looking at the sound design channel, and it helps me focus. There’s no info about payment, little info about deadline, just show names and episode numbers. I also have a channel where I drop the links to things I need to audition for, and a channel where I drop the scripts to things I need to record. It helps things from getting lost in my email inbox.
I like Discord and Trello because I can use both on my phone and my desktop. Whatever I put on one automatically updates on the other since they’re referencing the same thing. I’ve also got channels for ideas and notes, places I can jot things down while on the go and expand on when I’m on my laptop back home.
Each show I work on has its own dedicated space for production, often a discord server that spills into google sheets and docs. I use that to track the overall production aspect for the shows, pulling singular tasks to my own to do lists. This helps me stay focused — I can worry about the overall production status of a show while I’m looking at that google sheet, but when I’m sitting down to do stuff, I can look at my own lists and see what I need to do next for it.
Managing multiple podcasts mostly comes down to keeping track of lots of little details and making sure I do what I need to do when I need to do it. I love how easy Discord and Trello are to use for this — it’s easy to add stuff, it’s easy to move it around, and it’s easy to remove. If I need a completely new list, I can just make a column in Trello or a channel in Discord and immediately keep track of something else. A task doesn’t have to be or feel important to make a space dedicated to it, I can just do it. And that works for me. And that’s how I make my podcasts. I just do it. And that works for me.