Podlovers Asia Transcript: Danny Koordi of Fabl Productions talks becoming an independent podcast producer in Singapore and taking a leap of faith

Transcripts May 01, 2020

Please enjoy this transcript of my episode with Danny Koordi! Danny is a fulltime podcast producer and founder of Fabl Productions, creating narrative shows for clients and companies who want to convey a message in podcast format. I’ve known Danny since the Asia Podcast Summit last year, and this was a good time to get an update on what he’s up to, building up Fabl Productions and more.

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Danny Koordi: [00:00:00] You know, you’ve just met or you’ve just barely met and you’re able to have these hour long conversations, but like the most interesting or the most personal matters. I think that’s, that is, that to me, I think is incredible. And I think that is sort of something that is often underlooked when people talk about like the benefits of podcasting.

You know, people will share about like Oh, you might be able to get sponsorship or brand awareness. Or this might be a funnel for some, for something, for some product that you’re selling. But I, one thing that is always been a super selling point for me has been the connections that I, I am able to have, or then I’d be able to make a while doing podcasting.

Norman Chella: [00:00:52] Greetings from my underground bunker. This is Norm and welcome to Podlovers Asia. The show where we cover everything and anything related to the Asian podcasting scene, interviewing hosts, producers, and those who have taken a leap of faith into fulltime podcast production. Like my guest for this episode, Danny Koordi.

Danny is a fulltime podcast producer and founder of Fabl Productions, his venture into creating amazing narrative shows for clients and companies who want to convey a message in the most powerful format, and that is podcasts, obviously. I agree. I’ve known Danny for a while. We’d chatted since the time that we met in the Asia podcast summit last year, and this was a good time to get an update and check up on things and how he’s doing, building up Fabl Productions and diving more into his story, his origin story.

In this episode, we talk about how he took a leap of faith from his safe job doing auditing at KPMG to diving into fulltime podcasting. The mindset behind that decision. And what excites him the most about podcasting in general. And he also shares his insights on how clients in Asia think about podcasting from a producer’s perspective.

So it’s nice to hear how he’s been doing, uh, building up Fabl Productions. I’m excited for this. I hope you are too, my friend. So let’s dive into my chat with Danny Koordi of Fabl Productions.

Danny Koordi: [00:02:24] Okay

Norman Chella: [00:02:24] for the time being. That’s why I want to hear more about the fact that you do Screwed Up Moments and you’re working on this full time I believe, right?

Through Fable Productions. You’re on company and you are chugging along and doing all of this despite the Corona virus outbreak. Now, I know we did talk about this just earlier before we started recording, which I think I’m pretty sure you clicked the record button already. Let’s go about this a different angle.

How did you meet up with your first client, the one who is hosting Screwed Up Moments?

Danny Koordi: [00:02:57] In order to tell this story, I have to go a little bit, uh, further back. So, uh, before I was doing Fabl Productions and before I was doing Screwed Up Moments, I was doing this show called the Economical Rice Podcast, and that was the first podcast I ever started.

And basically what that show is, is it was just my passion project to talk about economics right. Yeah, there was a, there was an event that I went to with my wife and it was called the Happiness Film Festival, and it was organized by this, this group, this organization called Happiness Initiative. And we watched this Japanese film and then these two, the cofounders of happiness initiative came on and they told us their story about how.

You know, they were just two people, but they, they want to let us know that it was, you know, incredible work that they put in to organize this entire event. It was a pretty successful event. It was like, you know, the entire film festival, it was eight festivals, like 1500 people showed up. And then as I was going home from that film festival I could think about was, Holy shit.

You know, it’s just two people. Yet they managed to organize this whole thing, right? This massive. It, at least to me from that just 2-person perspective, massive film festival. They managed to pull in like, I don’t know, 30 organizational partners or something like that. And then in my head I was just like, I got to, I’ve got to talk to these guys.

I wanna know how they do it. I want to set up an interview. So I just cold emailed them. Right. And then they replied a week later and they said that,  Hey, Danny sure thing. But the thing is we are going overseas soon for work. Could you do it on this? I think it was like a Thursday morning. It was like a Friday morning.

And at the time I was still at my job. I was working as an auditor with KPMG at the time. So of course, you know, in the morning you have to be at work. But because I really wanted to talk to these guys, I think I told my senior on that week. The night before that hey, I’m going to be coming into work a little bit late tomorrow.

I’ll get the work that I need to do done tonight, overtime tonight, and then tomorrow come in a little bit late. Is that fine? And then there’s my senior was like okay. And the next morning, you know, I dressed up in my, in my work attire. And then I went down to the offices of Happiness Initiative, did the interview with them, and then I got back to my office at around 11:00 AM.

Pretty crazy, crazy shit. Yeah. But that was how I first met them. And then, um, so that, that, that episode turned out pretty well. It was basically talking about, uh, how they sort of pursued this idea of like wanting to improve the wellbeing and happiness of Singapore and turn it into like an organization and how they left their full time jobs to pursue this full time.

And I was like pretty, pretty freaking inspired by it because I, you know, you talk about like podcasting being a passion project or anything being a passion project, right. This was like the quintessential passion project story of like hustling and grinding and like making that dream a reality because on its face it’s like, it seems so idealistic and almost naive, but then.

The, the kind of things they were doing was, was pretty insane. Like they told me, I was asking about their marketing strategy, right? How they promoted the event. And then Simon, one of them says that, Oh, how we promoted it was that, uh, I sent like, I think a thousand Facebook messages. Like, no kidding. He was, he was spamming Facebook messenger to around a thousand people.

He literally got blocked because Facebook thought Facebook thought he was spamming. But once his, uh, what his account got unbanned and he would start to, you know, resend messages again and again and again and again. Yeah. It was, it was really crazy. Yeah. So then how Screwed Up Moments came about was that Screwed Up Moments was actually a live event that they were doing.

So the idea was that. For each event, they would have three speakers come up on stage and then share their story. They would have like a, I think a 20 minute presentation just to share their story of like the worst time in their life. And then you know how they came back from it and after the audience can, can ask them questions.

Right. And then I attended a couple of events and I was always so you know, mind blown by some of the stories that these people sharing, and at the same time, how the audience was so engrossed and so engaged with them. I had never been in such a space before where someone was allowed to be so vulnerable in terms of like the kind of things that we’re sharing.

People were talking about, for instance, there was this one person who survived cancer and then his mother had dementia. And then there was another person who, you know, went through a car accident. There was another person who, who shared that, um, you know, they were emotionally abused and scarred by, by their mom, who was a narcissist.

So it was really raw, vulnerable stuff that you normally wouldn’t hear and people would just audience live audience at the time, which is soaking it up. And so from that experience. When I go home from the experience, you know, number one, the sort of impact to me was that I always felt like it was a punch to the gut because those stories were at times that heavy.

But secondly, in my head, I was like, why isn’t this on a podcast? Because you would think that podcasts were sort of tailor made for sharing these kinds of stories right? And so off I went, you know, next day at work, I started working on this pitch. I started to do up like a presentation and talk about like the benefits of podcasting.

You know how this is going to be a little bit different from what they do as a live show and how, you know, with podcasts now it can be permanently up on the internet where people can have. Better access to it rather than what they were previously doing, where they weren’t documenting, they weren’t recording stories at all.

What they told about the stories was just a short little paragraph on their website. So now with this project, I aim to sort of more fully flesh their stories out and have a sort of permanent place where more people can access them instead of just that live audience on that night. And so thankfully they were really supportive.

Because, uh, you know, after the episode that I did with them for Economical Rice Podcast, they were, they were pretty happy and they were quite excited about, you know, this whole thing about podcasting. And then, um, yeah, as I pitched them the idea of, uh, of Screwed Up Moments, they said yes. And then, uh, we went to plan out the production.

So I took like my entire three week annual leave to plan out the entire production schedule, which means recording everything. And so we got the recording done. And then by September, uh, I already had a sort of plan in mind that I was going to leave my job and then this is something that I could pursue.

And so on September, I think it was like maybe the first or the second I tender my resignation on October the second. I officially left KPMG and on October 3rd, we launched Screwed Up Moments with a live event and then the first episode the next day. So yeah, pretty, pretty crazy. Really crazy story.

Yeah. Yeah. So that’s how Screwed Up Moments came to be. And now we have finished our first season, it was 10 episodes, nine guests, and then one guest at like a two part episode. And then we did like, I think a bunch of like behind the scenes, short episodes to tie in like in between the seasons and now we’re recording for the second season, uh, which I think will be, due…I think we’ll start, we start releasing them around early May-ish.

Norman Chella: [00:10:13] Yeah. Nice. Congrats on finishing up season one.

Danny Koordi: [00:10:16] Yeah, that’s awesome.

Norman Chella: [00:10:17] That’s pretty awesome. I want to ask that transition between handing in the resignation from the beginning of September all the way until October. What was going through your head when you are about to resign from your usual 9-5 at KPMG, which is, you know, a very good safety net to this really, shall we say, risky venture diving into something

Danny Koordi: [00:10:42] The wild West.

Norman Chella: [00:10:44] The wild West, especially in Asia.

Well, more like the wild East, but, um, but what was, what was going through your head, uh, was there a lot of uncertainty? Was there a lot of, uh fear? And the worst happening or anything like that?

Danny Koordi: [00:10:57] Yeah. So tendering my resignation was honestly like the weirdest feeling that I’ve ever had because I had been at this job for like two years, and then, so my day to day schedule, my day to day routines was pretty much revolved around this job.

Right. And then even sometimes during the weekends, I’ve worries about like the work I need to do or what needs to be done, or like the clients I need to meet. So tendering my resignation and that. That final month, and especially that final day was just so weird and so surreal. Um, even even just, uh, pressing the send button on the email where I send my, my resignation letter to my managers, that felt so surreal as well.

I couldn’t do it. I had to ask my, my senior to help me press the button. Just to send the email. Yeah. But, um. Yeah. And, and the final day as well is just like when I, when I returned, like my laptop and my staff pass and everything, and I was going home, it was like 4:00 PM in the middle of the afternoon and my bag just felt so light.

But at the same time, I just felt so weird, is the really, really, really weird feeling. But at the same time, um. My transition, I would say it was not as rough as I think maybe some of the people have it if they take like a, like a direct leap of faith with no clear plan out from the beginning, because this was already something that I had planned for a pretty long while.

And the reason why I said this is because, um, I think in around April, my, my wife, uh, she told me that she had gotten a job offer. She was doing a PhD in nursing at the time, and then she was due to finish at around August right. So at the time she was looking for like job opportunities. And so April she told me that she had got a job offer at John Hopkins in Baltimore.

Right, which is in the United States. So, and then after that call, she told me, she asked me, you know, Hey, so what are you going to do? Are you going to leave your job and come over here? And then I just sat on that for, for like a couple of weeks because I really honestly didn’t know what to do. And, and at that time, the thought of like doing anything related to podcasting fulltime hadn’t even crossed my mind at all.

Right. But I slowly try to approach this idea and then, you know, the whole interaction with Screwed Up Moments and, and, uh, you know, the interactions with Happiness Initiative and how good the meetings when this, that sort of gave me, um, I think more confidence into thinking that actually this could be a sort of opportunity in a sense, right.

Because I didn’t like doing my auditing stuff at all. I was pretty decent at it. I was actually doing well my job getting promoted and stuff, but I really didn’t care for it at all. And then just, just the thought of like spending the next 30 to 40 years of my life doing that same thing over and over again, just just killed me.

So, um, that was why I was, you know. Spending my mornings going out, recording interviews, and then spending time out of my work day to, to work pitches, to, to do up the presentations for, uh, for  Screwed Up Moments. Right. And, and yeah. So by the time I had already left KPMG, I already had this sort of at least a short one runway that I had built.

Right. In terms of like, when I leave my job, at least I, I have, I have something to do, right. I was working on the editing and in the publishing, and this was keeping me pretty involved for like the next few months and at the same time I was already starting to talk to and meet with other potential clients and then getting their shows up and running and so on.

So the transition, it was pretty okay. I was a, I have to say, even though it was pretty weird, I didn’t really have that much time to process how weird it was and how and how crazy this whole wild, wild East podcasting thing was. It wasn’t only until I finished a production for Screwed Up Moments  season one where I had like a week or two, uh, of break to just soak in everything that I was like, Oh shit, what do I do in the next?

Yeah. So, so then that’s where the sort of like, Oh, how can I, you know, increase my branding? What else can I do? How can I reach out? That’s sort of where that next step kicks in. Yeah.

Norman Chella: [00:15:17] Are you currently at that next step right now? Like looking for more people to collaborate with, for it to pitch more shows or produce more shows with people?

Or are you in a, in a situation where it was just good and, yeah. Tell me about that.

Danny Koordi: [00:15:32] Yeah, so, uh, now it’s still definitely in the stage of sort of building up and making the business more sustainable. Cause I have like less than a handful of, of, of clients right now. But, um. Slowly and slowly working on more and more projects, continually meeting more people.

Thankfully, you know, we have things like LinkedIn and then word of mouth spreads around. So you know, I have some, at least some work to tide me over for now, but hopefully in the future we can build it to more of a, of a more sustainable thing. Because right now. My situation is just a, I’m a, I’m, I’m in a bit of a weird spot, right?

Because I, I didn’t come from like a sound engineering background or like a music producer background and I don’t have like my own studio or something. Right. Everything I did was like I pretty much learned from, from from experience did, from scratch, and now I just trying to impart this knowledge and help people get over that debt, that initial hurdle that everyone faces when they’re trying to start up their podcast.

So I have a little bit of flexibility in terms of that. Maybe in the future, if, if I get enough volume in terms of clients, then I can think about like studio, you know, uh, employees and something like that. But yeah, we’re not at that stage yet. No.

Norman Chella: [00:16:52] Like a Fabl studios or a Fabl office in Singapore or something?


Danny Koordi: [00:16:57] yeah. Yeah.

Norman Chella: [00:17:00] Now I want to touch on that leap of faith moment. Uh, I know you told me about the thoughts that you’ve had, how there is a weird transition to go from nine to five full time in a boring place. I mean, I don’t want to, I don’t want to call out the company for being boring, but like from your job at the time, uh, all the way until this interesting industry where.

You know, things can go wrong, but you’re, the clients that you meet with are super interesting. The shows that you work on may vary completely, and I want to impart some sort of wisdom from how you’ve been going through this journey up until now, to someone who may want to take that same leap of faith into podcasting.

Maybe not to the extent to which you are right now, but maybe just as a freelance producer or as someone who wants to help with other podcasts in some way. Do you happen to have any tips or tricks on how to take that leap of faith into something as interesting as podcasting?

Danny Koordi: [00:17:58] I would definitely say if you want to do this full time, definitely.

At least if you’re coming from Southeast Asia, don’t think about the advertising game for now. Because the current climate in Singapore or in Malaysia or Indonesia, at least to me, I don’t think they’re advertiser ready yet. So you know, the, the typical way that podcasts get monetized is that, you know, they build a show, you know, once the show gets large enough, then they get advertisers and sponsors.

That’s how they get paid and stuff. I don’t think we’re at that stage yet, which is why I venture it on this path of the production side instead. But at the same time, um, be willing to learn, you will encounter a lot of different things and a lot of different people and love different obstacles. Every client has their own pain points and their own starting points.

Uh, certainly clients from the US they have a different understanding of what podcasts are compared to clients from Singapore, or from, uh, from Malaysia, right. So you have to sort of adjust, uh, your approach to them. And what your value proposition is to them. And I would say even me myself now, I am still in the learning process.

You know, from time to time I will meet up with random people who are doing podcasting in around Singapore, just to ask them about what got them into podcasting in the first place, and then what they struggle with, what are their pain points. And then from there I figure out like, Oh, this is how I can help them and how I may provide support and so on for Singapore, right.

A lot of the questions I hear about is. It would sound like even the most basic questions. It’s like, how do I even get my podcast online? Right? Yeah. Even these days when you have things like Anchor, which is like one of the most user friendly, I would say, a hosting solutions, right? People can still wonder and people can still ask like, Oh, how do I get a podcast online?

Which I think he was like, you know, just with 10 minutes of Googling and you should be able to figure it out. But at the same time, there’s a lot of information out there which muddies things up, which, and, and that sort of, I think why people have all these sorts of questions because they’re looking for like the best approach, right?

They’re not looking just for a one way. They’re looking for what’s the best way or what would you recommend? And then if it’s your, if you’re talking about an American client and there’ll be talking something a little bit different, they talking about maybe strategy or maybe, you know, how can we monetize shows and stuff.

Like that. So yeah, it’s a, it’s a learning process and be open to sort of face obstacles and be open to adapt and change. But at the same time, enjoy, enjoy the process. I mean, if you, if you didn’t like podcasting, I to know why you would be jumping into it full steam. Yeah. The funny thing that I always hear from, um, from some people in Singapore, you know, in, in Singapore, we have a lot of these like, uh, uh, workshops, right?

Like introductions and podcasting workshops. One common question that we always hear from some random audience member is that, Oh, how can we monetize this? Yeah. And in my head I’m thinking is that if your first priority in starting a podcast is to make money, you’d be better off just working at McDonald’s or, or, uh, you know, doing grab or doing delivery.

Because I think at the outset, at least in the short term, that will get you more money than podcasting for sure. Podcasting is a, is a longterm gain, but at the same time, podcasting offers so many different things that you wouldn’t get from a typical job, I think most jobs wouldn’t offer you the same thing that that podcasting does in the sense that you are able to connect and, and talk to and share stories with, with people that you know you’ve just met or you’ve just barely met and you’re able to have these hour long conversations.

But like the most interesting or the most personal matters. I think that’s, that is that, that to me, I think is incredible and I think that is a sort of a, something that is often underlooked when people talk about like the benefits of podcasting, you know, people will share about like, Oh, you might be able to get sponsorship or brand awareness, or it is my be a funnel for some, for something, for some products you’re selling.

But I, one thing that is always been a super selling point for me has been the connections that I am able to have or that I’m able to make a while doing podcasting. Yeah.

Norman Chella: [00:22:19] Those, um, unmentioned benefits.

Danny Koordi: [00:22:22] The intangibles.

Norman Chella: [00:22:24] Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Those are rarely ever talked about, and I think it seems like at first glance, it’s not really relevant to say an introductory workshop to podcasting.

Mainly because you have a filtered audience when you’re there, right? They’re there to create their own shows or they’re there to find a way to make good use of their time, and sometimes people define that by earning money. I guess that’s why a lot of people have common questions, like, how do we make money?

There’s a lot of that happening across Asia, and I have a strange theory about that. I think it’s because we look at successful podcasters as examples of what we can gain if we were to take up podcasting. But just like how, if you are a YouTuber or an aspiring YouTuber, you look up the most successful YouTubers in the world, they make millions of dollars per year, and then that creates this impression that, Oh, if you yourself make a video, then you would also earn the same amount of money as them.

So this is like earning mindset, uh, when coming into this, this industry, which is essentially, it’s not even an industry, it’s a medium, right? It’s just a way to articulate a message or convey a message. It’s hard to make money off of that unless you’re in for the long term. Like you have Joe Rogan who would make like I think a million plus a year.

That’s 10 years of foundation right there, and I’m not sure if you’ve seen this. Maybe I should send you the link after, but have you seen Joe Rogan’s episode one?

Danny Koordi: [00:23:49] No, no.

Norman Chella: [00:23:50] It’s funny. It’s hilarious. You know what it is? It’s actually like, like his tech messed up, like he didn’t know that it was live.

Danny Koordi: [00:23:59] Oh no.

Norman Chella: [00:23:59] Only in the last three minutes he’s like, Oh shit, I’m live. Oh Hey guys, and it’s just 10 minutes on YouTube, YouTube live or something like that. I’ll just try and find a video somewhere. It’s hilarious then, and he’s, he, he didn’t go in. With a plan to earn $1 million a year. He came into , uh, because he had already defined his voice as one worth listening to, uh, in the podcasting space.

And then he has kept chugging along with that, uh, for the next few years. So I really do respect the fact that you really brought the intangibles because we honestly need to talk more about that. Uh, when it comes to benefits to talking about podcasting in general to the public, and that’s also another story when we have to try to raise awareness about the space.

Danny Koordi: [00:24:46] Yeah. Okay. Can I get just one, one, one more point on there?

You know, the, the, the whole idea of intangibles, right? You can also talk about like the sort of unseen rewards about podcasting as well. And then I, I don’t know if this is the case where you, right, but when I started podcasting, I certainly had that vision in mind of like, Oh, I’m going to hit 1 million downloads.

Like, like within six months, I’m going to have this incredible roller coaster ride, be famous and stuff like that. Right. Of course, within like the first three weeks, you realize, Oh, shit, this is going to be a lot harder than expected. Right. And then, but, but then the, the funny thing is that, um. You know, from time to time.

Occasionally you get these random emails or comments that just mentioned, Oh, Hey, you’re, I love this episode. Or, Hey, your podcast is great. Or, Hey, I love what you’re doing. And it’s so, it’s so weird because, for people who are independent, right, and they don’t have like a strong a media or they weren’t a well known personality beforehand.

This is such a, such a foreign thing to sort of experience. And I never gotten these kinds of messages before whereby people say they appreciate my work, you know, please keep this up. And stuff like that. And especially, I think the first time I met you was at the, the podcasting summit, right? In Singapore last year.

One of the people there actually came up to me and when we, when we introduced, I told them that, Oh, Hey, I do this show called Economical Rice Podcast. And then they were like, Oh, my cousin listens to that. And he told me about, your show. It’s a really good show. I was like, what.

It feels really weird, but at the same time it’s like, you know, this is like validation for, for your work. It’s, it’s a really good feeling and this is the another sort of unseen reward as well. Aside from like making connections and having deep conversations. Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know if you’ve had those Norman.

Norman Chella: [00:26:41] I’ve had a few. Um, mainly, well, not in person. I’ve haven’t had, I haven’t had someone come up to me and talk about my show cause I do multiple shows. So not just Podlovers. Um, . Maybe like one person, one or two people, uh, in person told me in person that they appreciate it. Uh, my shows, and it’s more like Twitter is basically where all the podcasters live and they are pretty open about making comments about other people’s shows, whether they respect them or like them or hate them.

And I’ve had quite a few on Poldlovers, which is great. I do appreciate shout that a few people who actually do take the time to reply and tweet and talk about the show. So

Danny Koordi: [00:27:24] yeah, I mean, so much. I loved, I love the show that you’re doing, Podlovers Asia is certainly, I think, I think the Asian podcasting scene definitely needs someone to sort of go in deeper and talk to who the players are.

So yeah. Kudos to what you’re doing. Thanks for what you’re doing.

Norman Chella: [00:27:39] Thank you. Thank you.

Yeah. It’s also one of the intangible benefits. Uh, you have a show that once it has a certain amount of listeners, it attracts people towards the brand. Uh, and I, I think I’m starting to like understand firsthand what it means to have a brand, like not just my name, but rather this show.

Like this show has this mission and this mission is still active by the number of episodes, and people see this episode, this show, and they’re like, Oh, okay. Someone is trying to bring, for example, the Asian podcasting scene together, which is fantastic because that means that there is this. Potential aggregate community thing that’s happening.

So hopefully I will help out with that, uh, over in due time.

Danny Koordi: [00:28:19] Yeah. You have a responsibility now Norman. Yeah.

Norman Chella: [00:28:25] That’s why, uh, that’s why, uh, that common question of how do you make money off of this thing? It’s been plaguing my mind and, and I’m not talking about this show specifically, I’m talking about like making money in general.

Sustain my livelihood, uh, while I’m helping out with the community, which would be great. Cause I mean, I still want to have food on the table, but I want to make sure that I’m still alive and breathing for this community across Asia. But we’ll see about that. Yeah. Right. I got two questions for you. One is if eyes are windows to the soul, then your podcast playlist is the windows to your thoughts.

So. Danny, what is on your recent podcast listening playlist?

Danny Koordi: [00:29:09] This one’s a little bit funny. Uh, okay. It’s a, it’s Pillars of Youth by Renegade radio. Okay. Um,

Norman Chella: [00:29:18] yeah. Uh. Pillars of Youth. Yeah,

Danny Koordi: [00:29:21] exactly. Yeah. So, so, and, and the reason I got into it was because, uh, you know, during the podcasting summit, right, I was one of the judges, and this was the, one of the shows that I had to sort of judge.

And I thought it was like super underrated because in terms of like the show design and like the structure and like the sort of, the way the hosts interacted and how they dealt with the topic. Oh, it was like top notch. It sounded like a really well done radio produced show. And then I go online and find out.

It’s like, Oh, it’s this bunch of crazy idiots who started Renegade Radio. Yeah. So, so I really love the show. Me and my wife, we normally listen to it on our drives. At the same time, we. There is another aspect to it as well. We tend to make fun of the shows though, because sometimes they’re a little bit outrageous with the things that they say.

Sometimes they go on, sometimes they go on these, on these long rants whereby it almost sounds as if they are their reading, just like Instagram quotes of like these inspirational messages. Me and my wife, I just like, just like, making fun of them, but, but it’s a great show. I loved that show, you know?

And then, um, in terms of, other than that, I have a few that I normally circulate. I’ve been getting into your show a bit more Podlovers Asia. And then, uh, I’ve been listening to a bunch of stuff from Singapore. Uh, you know, my friends, the Longkang Kitty’s they always put out great, hilarious episodes. And, um, but in terms of more.

Sort of a industry staple, I would say. There’s this one show that I always love to recommend and it’s called Anthropocene Reviewed. I don’t know if you’ve heard of that one.

Norman Chella: [00:31:05] And

Danny Koordi: [00:31:06] okay.

Norman Chella: [00:31:06] Spell that for me

Danny Koordi: [00:31:08] Anthroproscene reviewed a. N. T. H. R. O. P. O. S. C. E. N. E. reviewed, so it’s by WNYC.

I think the show. What’s so interesting about the show is that it is minimalist, but at the same time, it is so incredibly well done. So basically they just have a, this guy called John Green. Do you know who John Green is? Yeah. So John Green is this a very pretty famous YA author, right?

So he wrote, um, I think it was The Fault in Our Stars. And he’s, he’s done various other podcasts and he has like a YouTube show and stuff. So he was, I think, brought on to do the show called Anthropocene reviewed. And basically the premise of the show, is that he would write out a script and research just random topics about the human centered age and then read them on a five star scale.

So, okay. So the, so the print, the premise sounds really, really ridiculously simple. And the way to execute the production is, is just him narrating into a microphone. And back then in the earlier seasons, right, they didn’t have like any music at all. Later seasons, they will have like a little bit of a music bed and stuff, but it’s basically just him all the while narrating his thoughts about, about a particular subject.

So you know, some subjects would be like maybe on the topic of whispering some subjects is like the weather. Right? It’s just random ass subjects about anything under the sun, basically. But, but the way he writes and the way he sometimes injects his own personal narrative and, and you know, you know, he researches like all these historical events and stuff like that.

It’s just incredible. And it just blows my mind sometimes because like, you know, when I first started listening to podcasts right. I got into like the very heavily produced stuff like Freakonomics, our Revisionist History, 99% invisible where you have like research teams and when you have like, you know, three or four, you know, experts coming on to, to talk about the particular topic.

But then this, this, uh, Anthroproscene Reviewed, it is like almost on the opposite spectrum where it’s like completely minimalist. It’s just one guy researching a topic, writing a script, reading it out. And it’s amazing, right? Each topic that he does, he, he goes on and on for about like 10 to 15 minutes, but it’s, it’s great.

I love it. I wish I could do something like that. I’m still learning, but, but yeah,

Norman Chella: [00:33:37] You’re going to have to, you’re gonna have to write a book like The Fault in Our Stars, and then get your, get your voice on WNYC.

Danny Koordi: [00:33:46] Yeah.

Norman Chella: [00:33:48] And final question, what would you like to see more of in the Asian podcasting scene?

Danny Koordi: [00:33:55] Oh man, I would definitely love to see more people getting on.

But then getting on in terms of like taking podcasting seriously as a medium and then trying to experiment more with the field because, uh, now when, when I first came into podcasting, right, it was. The year 2017 this was like a mini boom, a sort of prelude to the boom that happened in 2019 where suddenly, I don’t know how many new players came into the Singapore podcasting scene.

People that are never even heard of. Right. But the thing that I always see is that it’s always the same styles repeated ad nauseum. It’s always A interview style, B discussion style, and or, or C just a standard monologue. It’s just these three, formats repeated ad nauseum about any number of topics.

And I mean, it’s, it’s fine to a certain extent, but what I really want to see people do more of is try to push the boundaries in terms of what the medium can provide. And, and this, and this can be in the form of like experimenting with your sound production. This can mean in terms of like playing around with your show’s structure, you know, this can mean like, Oh, all sorts of other things, you know, like, um.

The big sort of news institutions, they’re starting to get into podcasting more these days with Singapore, at least but they’re not experimenting. Uh, at least to the degree that, you know, a publication like the New York Times is experimenting with the Daily, right? The Daily is like a smash hit of a podcast.

I consider that to be like one of the gold standards of podcasting in terms of like the quality that they can produce and how often they can push out the episodes. They do what, five like gold center quality episodes a week. That is insane. You know, like if I did an episode of that quality.

I will, I would require like at least three weeks, right. To research and into edit and piece it all together. They can push out like five of the episodes a week. And that’s insane. But in Singapore, no, we’re just sticking to like the discussion or like the interview format and it’s, it’s incredibly boring.

That’s not that, that is not the thing that’s gonna push the industry forward for me at least. So I’m just hoping that people experiment a whole lot more. Yeah.

Norman Chella: [00:36:18] Alright. Greater experimentation, maybe a little bit more music bed sound designed.

Danny Koordi: [00:36:23] Yeah. I mean, I mean different from it. Yeah. Even like something that you were, you do, you do, you do something called Tempered Fables right?

Norman Chella: [00:36:31] Oh, yes.

Danny Koordi: [00:36:32] Yeah, yeah. Even something like that, I think that will be a step in the right direction because it’s something different and it’s, you know, a different perspective or a different touch to what people normally can do with podcasting. Yeah. Even that could be good work as well.

Norman Chella: [00:36:46] Or do you think it’d be good for someone to dive into like narrative, sound design podcasts as their first show that they produce. Cause I did that and I feel like, I feel like it was a lot to learn the hard way. Cause I think it took me like one month to do episode one and now, I mean now my turnover is a lot faster, but still, Oh my goodness. When I started off with Tempered Fables.


Danny Koordi: [00:37:10] yeah. I mean, I mean definitely the learning curve for that kind of show is a whole lot, a whole lot steeper. But. I would say once you get the hang of it, it’s even a whole lot more rewarding because even with the economical raised pockets, the first podcast I did, right, I experimented the shit out of that show.

Okay. Well, I first started out, it was just me researching on a topic, writing out a script and just reading it into a mic and just some light editing. That was it. But then one year into it, I got bored with the format I wanted to change and then I started doing turning it slowly more and more into a narrative.

Storytelling with like music, with like, you know, different soundclips playing with like more voices weaved in and I even did stuff like I had like I think two audio drama episodes. So I did, I did some, some crazy shit like that.

There was one, there was one episode that I did right that had as a cold open a five minute sequence that like there was like a dream sequence kind of thing. Yeah. So, so there’s a lot of like sound design and experimentation, but, but yeah, it was a whole, it was, it was definitely a lot of work to get into it. But. I can say it’s very rewarding. It’s very fun.

Norman Chella: [00:38:22] Were your listeners okay with that? With you changing formats so much and experimenting.

Danny Koordi: [00:38:25] Ah, yeah. I think they were. I think they were. Okay. Not, not, not that many people respond to me on the Economical Ricepodcast, so I only got only got feedback from the people that are know, which was other podcasts. There is a in, in the, in the local scene at the time.

Yeah. Yeah. I think they appreciated it for, for what I did. But you know, I kept it going though the listeners. There was a, there was a noticeable spike in listeners, so I think, I think it was working. Yeah. Nice. Yeah.

Norman Chella: [00:38:56] All right. Okay. And we are nearing the end of well, the chat now, Danny, where can we find you if we want to talk to you more about either podcasting or what you’re doing with Fabl productions or opportunities, et cetera, et cetera.

Danny Koordi: [00:39:10] Yeah, sure. So I have a website, it’s called Fabl productions.com, and, uh, you can check out some of the work that I’ve done over there. Uh, not all my projects are up there at the moment, but the ones that are already out there, there. And then if you want to reach out to me personally, you can either do so through Facebook, Instagram or even LinkedIn. Yeah. Yeah.

Norman Chella: [00:39:31] Awesome. And of course, links to all your social media and the website will be in the show notes right below. And wait just to check. Right Fable is, there’s no E right? In fable?

Danny Koordi: [00:39:41] Yes. There is no E. Okay.

Norman Chella: [00:39:43] F A B L productions. Okay. So if anyone is Googling, I think it’s best to be like Google. Fabl Productions, Danny, right?

Danny Koordi: [00:39:52] Yeah. You figure it’s a good way to do it though. We’ll get you there.

Norman Chella: [00:39:57] All right, Danny, thank you so much and I’ll talk to you soon.

Danny Koordi: [00:40:00] Thank you, Norman.

Norman Chella: [00:40:02] And that’s it, my chat with Danny Koordi of Fabl Productions. We talked about quite a number of things from his journey through to his time doing fable productions and his thoughts on basically.

Taking a leap of faith and creating your own full time venture into the world of podcasting. It’s fantastic following Danny’s journey in trying to tap into the opportunities that lay ahead of this growing space here in Asia. And I hope that you learned quite a number of things, cause I did. A lot of lessons actually, so I’ll definitely apply it to the show and this brand.

As always, links in the show notes right below for if you want to talk to Danny for anything and everything related to creating an amazing narrative show, podcasting, and anything else in between. As always. That’s it for this episode. If you want to take a look for more information on us, you can always check out our Podchaser link right below where you can give a quick rating and more discussions on our Kyrie, which I will also post right there below.

Take care Norm here, staying safe and the confines of my own house and I will see you in the next episode. Bye bye.

Danny Koordi: [00:41:26] …I’ve always being curious, what is your podcasting story? How did you get into podcasts? I don’t think I’ve ever asked. I don’t even remember. We talked about this.

Norman Chella: [00:41:39] Oh, okay. Um, yeah. Uh, well, you brought up Tempered Fables. Tempered Fables is my first show ever, so, uh, I started in 2017. Uh, I’ve been listening to podcasts for maybe a year or two years before then, but in 2017, uh, I had my, I started my first job.

It was like a full time remote company like FinTech Japanese company here in Malaysia, and on the side I took up the hobby of short story fiction because I was writing answers like that on Quora. So I decided to take that a little bit more seriously, and I drafted a story. There was this, uh, fiction, short story competition that was happening and I was like, okay, this is a good goal.

Let me write a story for it. And I could just send it and at least like, even if I didn’t win, that’s a sign of progress, right? Like, like, Oh, I’ve tried, you know? And right before the deadline, I stopped. I got scared and I said, I didn’t hand in this story. And I was annoyed at myself. I was like, why? Why didn’t I send it in?

And I think it’s because I was scared of being judged or embarrassed or something along those lines.

Danny Koordi: [00:42:49] Yeah.

Norman Chella: [00:42:50] And then I had this idea where if you know those events where there’s someone, uh, narrating a storybook, and then there’s like kids huddling together, listening to the person as they’re narrating, and they’re doing voices and all that.

I really liked that kind of event, so I’ve always wanted to emulate that. Um, so what I did was I decided to narrate my first short story ever. Uh, as an audio file. And I added, I found a free resource for  for songs, uh, sound effects. And then I, you know, mash that all together. And I made a, the first episode and then I realized that there are different ways to basically create what was called a podcast.

Cause I started finding other narrative podcasts and I was like, okay, maybe I can emulate that format. And then. From then on, episode one came up and then I ended up trying to make that like a monthly thing. So every month there was a new episode, and then I went from one month to twice a week, which is insane.

Never doing that again. Yeah, that’s, that’s just stupid of me. I was just really bored right now. I was really bored. I guess that’s why. Um. So that’s two years in. And then last year, uh, I resigned for my full time job to do freelance. Uh, while I was trying to find out different ways to create a business while I was still doing podcasting as a hobby, like still hasn’t became full time yet.

And. Opportunity came to me when I did freelance work for a website, writing an article about podcasting for them. One of those articles was to interview Ling Ling, and that’s how we got connected. And then later on, like a month after Ling Ling reached out to me to see if. She will if I want to help organize the Asia podcast summit.

Um, so I helped out and I became one of the organizers that gave me access to pretty much everyone involved, including guest speakers and you know, like what happened at the. What happened in the back end and all that.

Danny Koordi: [00:44:57] Yeah,

Norman Chella: [00:44:58] So I’m in this unique position where not only do I know more than the average person that bought the podcasting industry, since I’ve read about it, like habitually, anyway, I also help organize the Asia podcast summit and I have access to all these speakers.

So I’m in this position where, okay, what if I create some sort of partner brand thing that can go in parallel with that. And from there I built a Podlovers Asia. Which was supposed to cover the Asian podcasting industry. Since I read up on Podnews and Hotpod and all that, they cover news all over the world, but not Asia.

And one of the reasons why is there’s not enough news. So you barely ever hear news about what’s happening in Asia. And I found that quite sad. So I decided to, since I’m here on the field right now, I can reach out to people immediately. For example, updates from the Asia podcast summit. And then later on that, uh, this show took off and now people are reaching out to me.

So that’s, that’s pretty interesting. Um, so my, yeah, my job is to basically my, this show is my excuse to build the podcast ecosystem here. And it doesn’t matter how I do it, whether it’s just interviewing one person at a time or building this Quora thingy. And yeah, that’s what I’m working on right now.

Danny Koordi: [00:46:16] Yeah, I love it, man. I used to do this side series called podcast spotlight where I would just like, um, interview random people in the Singapore scene just because I wanted other people to know that there are other people out there doing podcasting besides me. Yeah, I did. I did, I think around 15. I don’t know how many, 15-20 or something, but then I just, I just stopped because I was, I was getting ready to do Fabl, but yeah, it seems like you’re picking up the mantle, and I love it.

I was only, I was only covering Singapore at the time, and so I was talking to a bunch of people there, but then, yeah, since you’re doing this, it’s awesome and I am all for it. What were your first inspirations in podcasting is, it’s like, I find it curious that you started doing a narrative, short fiction, short stories.

Norman Chella: [00:47:10] So the first, okay. My, the big three that compelled me to want to start a show is Memory Palace.

Danny Koordi: [00:47:19] Ah, okay.

Norman Chella: [00:47:19] Lore. And LeVar Burton Reads.

Danny Koordi: [00:47:27] Those

Norman Chella: [00:47:28] are high quality, big ass production shows, right? Yeah. You have like Lore, the host is the writer. Yeah, Memory Palace. Nate DiMeo is the writer, and LeVar Burton Reads, he narrates published short stories or books like these are like, you know, Pulitzer prize winners or Nebula prize winners or some shit.

And he has like amazing narrative voice and there’s sound design. So that was my standard, right? That’s how I, I tried to, my episode one was me trying to emulate a combination of all three and. That was my standard ever since then for each and every single episode up until now. Um, but I have to bring it back down to biweekly now, uh, so that I can focus on doing other shows as well,

Since, uh, like you said, we brought up the point of, uh, people experimenting.

I like the fact that there’s formats to experiment with, but in Asia, it’s not sustainable, so I have to like tone down on my frequency on that. So that’s why I have to do the boring interview thing.

Danny Koordi: [00:48:31] Yeah. I thought you came from like No Sleep. The No Sleep podcast or something.

Norman Chella: [00:48:36] Oh, no, no, no, No Sleep. The guys from Renegade, uh, No Sleep is their inspiration.

Danny Koordi: [00:48:43] Ah, yeah, I was, I was hooked on like No Sleep for like a good, I think a month or so. Cause they have such an incredible backlog and you know, they have like so many voice actors and shit so they’re pumping out stuff like crazy. You know, it was always a, there was a period I was just listening to that every single, every single day.

Norman Chella: [00:49:00] Yeah. Like they have a whole team and a whole variety of voices. I’m like, Oh, I’m so jealous. I want to have a. I want to have a group of people that come in and do voices.

That ought to be so cool.

Danny Koordi: [00:49:11] Yeah. Yeah. I came from like Freakonomics and like Planet Money. I tried to emulate that shit. You know, they have like a full team.

I have me. Yeah. So when I would try to do that kind of quality, it took me like I think a good three, four weeks just to put out one episode. And that was when I felt like the strain and stuff. And yeah, I mean. Freaking out. I remember I was doing one episode about bubble tea. Okay. All right. You would think people would want to come on and talk about bubble tea. Right.

I wanted to just talk about like, you know, the culture where it came from, how these people got to know bubble tea, what, what it means to them. So I reached out to a bunch of, these are food bloggers right? And then, then all of them were like, Oh no, it’s okay. It’s okay.

I don’t want to talk. I don’t think I have much to say on the cultural aspect. Uh, come on. You are the culture. Why don’t you talk about it? What the hell? Yeah. That one was a real sort of a low point in terms of like the, the, the stumbling blocks you hit. Yeah.  when you’re trying to create a show like that, it’s annoying. Yeah.

Norman Chella: [00:50:21] I think I’ve reached that point yet. I’m worried about people even after, for example, uh. Cause I, I don’t know how you do pitch pitches to guests. For example, I pitched the outline like in my outreach, so they don’t have to think, right. They just have to provide like, uh, like I’ll facilitate the conversation and everything.

I don’t think like, it’ll be very hard to create a way for them to be on call and say, Oh, I don’t know how to answer it. At least for me. Yeah. But you know, it can get very complicated trying to manage all these different varieties of episodes.

Oh my goodness.

Danny Koordi: [00:51:01] Yeah. I mean, I mean, it kind of depends on what you’re trying to do for that.

For that episode, Ray. So for instance, for my, for my Screwed Up Moments, um, my, my, my whole thing is I’m trying to get them to tell their story so I have to research and to learn more about their story beforehand. And then I sort of have a rough skeleton, a sort of a rough  picture in mind of how they’re going to share the story, where the turning point and so on.

But then in my outreach, I just send them like a brief and then like a general skeleton of like the segments of how I’m going to interview them, so it’s like background, screwed up moment, redemption moment. And then like some general questions that will be inside. But then whenever, when the interview started is like, Oh, you know, when did this happen, how did this happen, tell us more about this, tell us more about this.

So yeah, there are different ways to approach this, but as long as, as long as I think something works, I think that’s good enough.

Norman Chella: [00:51:51] Yeah, there are a lot of, uh, you should, I’m not sure how active you are in Twitter, but, uh, the podcasters, they’re like globally, they’re very, very supportive of each other in terms of trying to give tips on interviewing or trying to give tips and how to do effective sound design.

It’s pretty awesome. So hopefully if we see more and more interesting independent podcasters from Asia coming up, hopefully there’ll be either on Twitter or on LinkedIn or in groups that we manage it’ll have to be fantastic, but yeah, hopefully in the future. Yeah. I just need to know how to make money for the time being.

I don’t know. Maybe in the long run you could do something like what hotpod is doing, with a newsletter and shit since you’re already that guy in the know.

Yeah, I can. Yeah. It’s just that I’m not. I like, I’m okay. I’m an okay writer, but I’m a better speaker. So I’m wondering to do more of multiple quick, short virtual summits and then aggregate experts that I know, bringing them together in, and then that’s a package, right?

Like you can join a virtual summit for free, but then if you want to access the content forever after that weekend, then you have to pay. Right? I think that could be one way to do it. And then just have constant quarterly events, which should be pretty good. That’s, that’s the initial idea I’m thinking of, but I think it’s best that I start doing that after I built the community.

Cause then that’s the best testing ground because maybe no one will join the summit and shit, but at least we have a community to test ideas. So like if, if for example, we have everyone that we know in Singapore join Podlovers Singapore group in Podlovers Asia Quora thingy. Then like it’s just bouncing off ideas.

If you’re moderating that group or if you’re managing that group. Uh, cause there’s no way I will be able to manage all however many countries groups. Um, then we can always test ideas and see how people react to it. Cause I think that’s a good way to increase discussion and discourse on how to build the industry.

Yeah. I’m really excited about this uh, forum thing. I think I should like post it publicly so that I can actually kick my own ass and actually get it done.

Danny Koordi: [00:54:00] At the same time, I think you can get some feedback about maybe like how it should be done or something, I dunno. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.



Norman Chella is the Podcast Rainmaker, Polymath in Progress and a very strange writer. His creative pen name is N.T. Cloever. You can find his words right here.

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