Hard To Say Goodbye: A Reflection on the latter half of ‘Opening Doors’

While I’m definitely upset that Opening Doors has come to an end for now, I’m kind of excited to never have to look at the artwork for it again: when season two rolls around next year, there will – thankfully – be new artwork. But no matter what small hang-ups I had with the podcast, to say I enjoyed the experience of pulling season one together would be an understatement to say the least.

I came up with the concept for the podcast back in May of this year and six months later, I have spent over 100 hours working on creating the 15 hours of content that you can hear over on iTunes and Soundcloud right now. It was a long process and no matter how artistically successful I think it was, I can certainly say that I learned a lot from both the process itself and the people I spoke to, which is exactly what I set out to do. I’m proud of the discussion and thoughts I have provoked in others as well as myself this year, which is also why I’m excited for my next creative project coming in January… but that’s something for later.

I did a blog post talking about the first five episodes of the podcast about a month and a half ago so today – because the series has now come to a close – I thought I’d sit down and complete that summary for those of you who haven’t fully caught up yet. Don’t forget that there are also nine Footnotes episodes available for you to listen to as well featuring some of the best guests that I’ve had on the show this series!

Episode 6 – Does Having a Faith Keep Us Happy?

This episode was probably my favourite episode to record out of the latter five episodes in the series because it was on a topic that I really knew next to nothing about. In the episode, I sat down with my friends Tsamaija and Megan to talk about religion in their families and what religion means to both of them, including why they decide to keep up their faith for themselves and why they think everyone should consider religion in their lives. I found it truly fascinating and one of the best comments I heard someone tell me from the episode was that they’ve never considered that young people from religious families actually enjoy following their faith and for that, I think my job was done with the episode. It was great to know that so many people enjoyed listening to others discuss their faith and why they believe in it and it’s certainly a topic that I look forward to touching on again another time.

Episode 7 – Is Theatre a Dying Art Form?

I could hardly get through this series without mentioning theatre now, could I? I thought it was important to focus on art in one episode this series and theatre was natural progression for me. In the episode, I sat down with theatre blogger Em Jenkins from Oh My Musicals and her sister Meg to discuss why they think the West End might be losing its spark, as well as chatting with theatre vlogger and blogger Rukaya Cesar about her response to the question. I actually enjoyed pulling this episode together for the complete opposite reason to the faith episode: I know a heck of a lot about this topic so when my guests did enlighten me with an idea I’d never considered before, I felt even more grateful for learning from them. It’s an interesting discussion for anyone to listen to for sure, but definitely an episode to catch up on if you’re a fan of the theatre.

Episode 8 – Are Conspiracy Theories a Good Idea?

Okay, I’ll admit that this was probably my most random episode of the series, but I am well and truly obsessed with conspiracy theories and I really wanted to get a discussion going about some of our favourites and whether or not they’re good for us. In the episode, I sat down with my conspiracy theory-obsessed friend Jess who filled me in on all the weird and wacky theories she’s fallen in love with over time, as well as my Auntie Alison who fights her case for why she thinks dabbling in them for anything more than light entertainment is kind of distasteful. This episode was also supported by one of the best parts of Opening Doors in a Footnotes episode with my Aunt where we discussed our shared burning passion for Virtual Reality and its development. Alison is very much involved in the development of the technology over in Sydney and it was great that so many people tuned in and learned a lot about this new thing that they didn’t know before.

Episode 9 – Why Don’t We Want To Grow Up?

I’d been looking forward to recording this episode for weeks and weeks because it was a topic that I hadn’t even given very much thought to for myself. I sat down with YouTube’s Samar Nasseri and Lisa Ronkowski to discuss Samar’s burning passion for Disneyland and Lisa’s love for her career in acting; we talked about how Disneyland is much more appealing to Samar as an adult and to Lisa about how acting is a fantastic way to let go of your inhibitions. I also sat down with my buddy Ellie Mae from LittleEllieMae in this episode to discuss what it’s like to start University and begin to let go of your childhood. as well as sitting down with my little Ellie-Mai to talk about what it’s like to be five years old. As someone who is in their final year of school, it was both exciting and scary to hear all of them give advice and share their experiences and was a lesson well learned for me.

Episode 10 – Who Do We Think We Are?

For the final episode of the first series, there wasn’t a hope in hell that I wasn’t going to go all out, and go all out I did. For the finale, I got back every single guest from the entire series to answer different questions that made them make a deep self-analysis. Along the way, listeners could ask themselves the questions as well, all leading up to the final guest – my Grandma – talking about her life and how she finally caught up with herself and worked out who she is. It was definitely my favourite episode of the series to go back and listen to afterwards (the only episode I’ve gone back and listened to in fact) and I’m very proud of it indeed. If you only were to listen to one episode out of the entire series, I’d most certainly make it this one.

Again, thank you immensely to everyone who has tuned in this series or is planning to do so after reading this blog post. Your support means everything and I look forward to sharing my new project with everyone in the New Year and the second season of Opening Doors in the Spring.

Listen to Opening Doors on iTunes here; listen on Soundcloud here; visit the website for more information over here; and make sure you follow on Twitter at @opendoorscast.

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