Podcasting is the media platform anyone can create whenever or wherever you feel most comfortable, with friends or by yourself. This is exactly what two teens, Eli Tokash and Owen Shapiro did. Their segue into podcasting began with what most teens do – they grabbed a pair of headphones and turned up the volume. Only thing, it wasn’t to shut out the world around them; for them it was to reach the world by streaming into it.
Meet Eli Tokash and Owen Shapiro!
Each teen podcaster started their own journey into podcasting for different reasons. But they both stand out because their podcasts are made for teens by teens. Their having a fun time producing their podcasts, Eli and Owen are helping inspire themselves and others to reach their dreams and follow new adventures while connecting peers and others along the way.
Inspiration Behind The Podcast
Eli Tokash was 15 years old when he had the idea of creating his podcast, “Take A Bow” “I was listening to all kinds…Sports, True Crime, Hollywood, and even an SAT prep podcast,” Eli shared. Like most people, Eli would be listening to podcasts while doing homework, chores around the house or even in the car. After getting hooked, that’s when Eli decided to make one of his own. First, he started reaching out to other podcasters to help him start this new adventure. “I saw adult friends of mine also starting their own podcasts,” Eli explained. “So, I talked to them and that’s when the ball really got rolling”.
Our other teen podcaster, Owen Shapiro, started his podcast, “Kino Society” in 2020 after writing short Letterboxd reviews for a few years. He says” I think I must have written about a thousand before I started the podcast.” Owen shared. For Owen, his podcast was a pandemic project where he wanted another outlet to express his love for movies and his favorite industry.“When the pandemic started, I decided that I should be doing something else with my love for movies than just writing,” Owen shared. “I wanted to know more about the process of making movies, because I would like to one day be working in the industry”
Choosing Topics To Talk About
Wanting to start a podcast is one thing but finding a topic to talk about can be difficult.
That wasn’t the case for Eli Tokash, the host of the “Take A Bow” podcast, which highlights his love for Broadway, theatre and the Entertainment Industry.“A night at the theatre is the first thing I look forward to when quarantine is over.” Eli said. One of the reasons the “Take A Bow” podcast is so successful is because Eli has been working in the entertainment industry since he was nine years old. You may recognize him as Prescott on the Netflix series “Friends from College,” or from the movie, Benji the Dove.“Having that expertise and unique child experience I thought was interesting and unlike any other podcast out there.” Eli explained.
Like Eli, Owen Shapiro also has a love for entertainment, specifically the film industry. Starting his podcast, “Kino Society,” was his way of educating himself about the career he was most interested in. “Film is what I am most passionate about,” Owen said. “I myself would like to one day break into the industry, so I figure this was my opportunity to discover what goes on behind the scenes and learn as much as I possibly could”.
Opportunities From Podcasting
By creating these podcasts, both Eli and Owen are hoping it opens up future doors.
For Eli, his goal is to attract more opportunities in the entertainment industry, whether it’s broadcasting or in acting. “I think the unique thing about [“Take A Bow” podcast] is connecting with old friends and learning from them with the listeners.” Eli said. Since this actor and podcaster is interested in a variety of areas, Eli would one day like to intertwine them or have multiple podcasts.“I love theatre and TV,” Eli explained. “But I also love sports, specifically hockey. It would be cool to somehow combine the two or have two different ones.”
On the other hand, Owen Shapiro’s goal is to help build his resume to become more attractive to the college admission boards.“I’ve gotten the chance to interview a lot of amazing people on the podcast,” Owen shared. “People like award-winning make-up artist Robert Fitz, who worked on Manchester By The Sea and Suzuki Ingerslev who was the production designer for True Blood". Interviewing industry experts like these has allowed Owen to get a better sense of what goes into making a film or TV series.“Speaking to them has allowed me to have a better understanding of the kinds of jobs that are available in the industry.” Owen explained. “Plus, I hope colleges take a better look at my resume when I am applying next year”.
Recommended Equipment For Teens Starting A Podcast
With so many podcasting products on the market these days, it can become overwhelming picking out which equipment to get started with. Both of our teen podcasters, Eli and Owen agree that having a good quality microphone is key. The best part is that they don’t even have to be super expensive. Eli uses a Blue Yeti microphone with his old Beats headphones, while Owen uses “cheap earbuds.”
For those who are experienced in podcasting and or voice over work, they will always say that having padding in a room to enhance the sound and absorb noises is always a plus. Eli recommends, “getting some foam to help with the quality of the sound.” There are plenty of foam cubes on amazon and “putting it on your walls works.”
Fun Facts On Prepping For Your Podcast
Some podcasters prep for days and others just pop on their headphones and go for it. Making sure you approach your podcast with the right mindset is ever important. Both Eli and Owen have two different approaches which are definitely working for each of them.
Eli tells us, “I’ve noticed my routine is I do all the prep a couple of days before, I have my list of talking points and questions, then I just sleep on it. The morning of, I go for a bike ride, rollerblade, and try to relax my mind, especially on school days, then I focus in about 30 minutes before, write the introduction, and see if I need to change or add anything".
Owen explains “I have to research the guest before they come on, learn as much as possible about them, what movies they worked on or if they won any awards. I use that information on the interviewee to build a set of questions. I like to be prepared and be careful with all the details. Before each recording, I always ask how the person’s name is pronounced, I’ve had a few funny stories there”.
Their Favorite Podcasts
Typically, podcasters enjoy listening to other podcasts, meanwhile some are just focused on the one they are producing.
As Eli had mentioned before, he loves hockey and can’t get enough of the “Spittin Chiclets” podcast. “I used to play travel hockey, myself, and I enjoy hearing what it’s like to be a pro player and reminisce on those times,” Eli shared with excitement. The “Take A Bow” podcast is on the Broadway Podcast Network and Eli enjoys supporting his “friends and hearing everyone’s different takes on similar topics”.
Though, Owen isn’t a frequent podcast listener. “I don’t really listen to many podcasts, ironically,” Owen disclosed.
How Their Life Changed Since Starting A Podcasting
Starting a podcast is a new and exciting project and has changed both teen podcasters lives.
Eli expressed that it has “truly been a blessing to have during quarantine.” It helped him, “keep in touch with people [he’s] worked with and to meet new people while keeping [himself] busy.”
Owen keeps grinding every day. “I have more work to do, but I enjoy it,” he shared. This podcaster also writes movie reviews on his website. Check it out here.
Podcasting On The Road
One of the best things about podcasting, is that a podcast can be recorded from anywhere in the world.
The “Take A Bow” host, Eli, would definitely love to be recording on the red carpet “talking to multiple people for like 5-10 minutes to culminate one full-length podcast episode”.
Since Owen started his podcast in the middle of the pandemic, the thought of taking his show on the road never crossed his mind. After thinking about it, the “Kino Society” host thinks “it would be fun to do it in a movie theater once or perhaps in a Hollywood studio to get the feel of the conversation”.
A Voice For Your Generation
These teen podcasters didn’t start their shows to be a voice for their generation but believe they can inspire their peers.
“I knew I have a unique platform and a lot of people looked up to me,” Eli said. “I also wanted to work hard to provide a platform for others that want to share their stories.”
“I do know that there are a lot of kids just like me who hope to one day make it big in Hollywood” Owen explained. So, he hopes that his podcast can “help inspire them to figure out their passion”.
What is it that attracts teens to dabble in podcasting? Is it the allure that it can be done right in their bedroom or closet; or that they have a voice they want heard? We know that Eli Tokash and Owen Shapiro can attest that being teen podcasters is an experience like no other. It’s one they will continue navigating and streaming through for the many possibilities it offers.