As nearly the entire human race continues to undergo differing versions of sheltering in place, finding some form of entertainment has nearly become an art form.
The use of Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services is well-documented. Video games remain a favorite. One popular, but often less-discussed medium, is podcasts: audio programs that can be downloaded directly to your smartphone or tablet. It’s similar to talk radio and there are more than a million from which to choose, covering subjects ranging from popular and common to bizarrely specific.
Hillsborough is home to three such podcasts. Film Buds, Music Buds and You Don’t Need Anyone… Are all the creation of Henry Faherty, who began the Film Buds podcast in June of 2017. His co-host, Chloe Strauss, joined the team after a few episodes and the two have partnered for a majority of its 125 shows. The podcast has more than 2,000 followers and receives strong reviews across the board.
“We do movies of all kinds, and TV, plus we also have local residents on from time to time,” Faherty said. “It’s a weekly movie review. Most of the time we will review a new movie and then an older film that somehow connects to the new one. It might have the same director, same actor or same genre. After that we do any kind of movie or TV news, new movie trailers or anything going on in Hollywood. We also do a listener mail section where listeners have written in through email, or social media and asked us general movie questions, or about anything under the sun. We end it with a segment called ‘picks of the week.’ Essentially, we’ll talk about other things we’ve been watching on our down time. I’ll watch a movie from the 1940s and Chloe will watch the new show on Hulu or something, and we’ll just talk about it in a very open, relaxed way. The whole show feels like a hangout with friends.”
The chemistry between Faherty and Strauss is clearly a strong one. The two met during a recording of one of its early episodes, and they have developed a strong friendship and created a balanced team.
“I tend to not have as much of a filter with what I say,” Strauss said, “and Henry is great about being open to my opinion and the things I have to say.”
It’s a balance that clearly works as some of the podcast’s followers admit they just enjoy the conversation and don’t feel the need to watch the movies or shows being reviewed.
“We sometimes have very easy and open discussions about a comedy, or whatever,” Faherty said, “but then we also have very heated debates about certain issues being tackled in the film. But then we can turn that argument off and be friendly again. We have developed this very good back and forth where the discussion is the discussion. We’ll also have friends of ours on from time to time. It’s like a group of friends hanging out at a coffee shop talking. We can get into the nitty gritty of movies, but also we can have fun just talking about the simple things of why people like movies.”
Faherty and Strauss discovered their love of movies and TV at different stages in their lives.
“It started in my last year of high school,” Faherty said. “I was a huge Lord of the Rings fan growing up. I would always watch the endless hours of behind-the-scenes and ‘bonus’ material that was often included with DVDs. Like how they made the weapons and the sets. So I think there was a certain point where I was doing that so much that I thought ‘maybe I should look more into this.’ I started to see more independent movies. It was then I realized it wasn’t just a casual entertainment part of my life. I also studied film at UNC-Greensboro.”
Strauss’ interest started in her childhood when she spent time at her grandparents’ house watching Turner Classics Movies.
“My early favorites were Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies,” she said.
Though they both profess a love for the independent and off-beat films and TV shows, the podcast is accessible for fans of all genres and types of entertainment. And no two episodes are alike. One week, the two might review a Netflix documentary about Taylor Swift, and then review HBO’s Watchmen the following week.
Film Buds is a long-form podcast with each episode clocking in around two hours.
“I tend to listen to the longer podcasts,” said Faherty, who credits The Film Junk podcast as his inspiration for Film Buds. “When I listen to the shorter ones, I feel like I don’t get to know the hosts very well. I like to get to know them, and that happens more with the longer podcasts. I like to hear the stories about their lives. I feel like I’m catching up with friends.”
Faherty and Strauss’ other podcasts, Music Buds and You Don’t Need Anyone… are less frequent than Film Buds. Music Buds follows a format identical to Film Buds, but covers music the two have listened to. You Don’t Need Anyone… is a shorter podcast discussing art and the artists in a way that reminds the listener that even the most successful artists are regular people.
“That’s more of Henry’s brainchild,” Strauss said of the You Don’t Need Anyone… podcast. “It’s fascinating and he does a really cool job with it.”
Faherty handles much of the editing of the podcasts, the website and the social media. Strauss is in charge of the YouTube channel.
Faherty said the quality of their podcasts has everything to do with the investment of time and in equipment.
“I have a couple of microphones, a sound mixer and a pre-amp, which boosts the volume of the microphone,” he said. “Of course, headphones and then about a dozen different cables. If you want to do it at a professional level you do need to have a fair bit of equipment. But if you’re someone by yourself in your own room you could just do it with a single microphone and your laptop. When we first started, we weren’t using the best equipment and I had very little idea of what it meant to edit. If you listen to one of our first episodes and compare it with our most recent, it’s like night and day.”
Ultimately, Faherty and Strauss would love to be able to make careers out of doing their podcasts. But Faherty admits that doing the podcasts is not about making money.
“If we could do this as a career, that would be amazing,” he said. But we both enjoy doing this so much that even if we had just two listeners every week we would still do it. When we started out, we didn’t have anybody listening, aside from our families and friends. We just want to continue to grow and keep doing it. We’ve been able to adapt to the remote recording. But even in the few times over the years where we’ve had to miss a week — because of illness or whatever — it feels weird not doing it. It’s almost become a necessity for both of us. It’s nice to have a couple of hours to spend talking with a close friend every week.”
You can find each of the podcasts by going to https://www.thefilmbuds.com. The podcasts are available for download through iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and many other platforms.