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From Films to Podcasting, Inside the Life of Casefile Producer Mike Migas!

Mike Migas is the producer of the hit podcast Casefile True Crime which was the winner of both Spotify’s Podcast of the Decade and Apple Podcast’s Best of 2016 – 2020.

Mike continues to work on other series from the Casefile Presents network and manages his own brand, Mike Migas Productions, a podcasting resource site packed with courses, educational content, and extremely valuable insights.

Mike is a pioneer of the podcasting industry and we at Podchaser were beyond excited to sit down with him!

To start Mike, would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself?

Hi, I’m Mike (it’s actually Michal), I’m Polish but I have lived in the UK for the last 15 years. I currently work as a podcast producer on Casefile True Crime, and Casefile Presents shows.

My role is in audio post-production, and I also write music for the shows. I also have a blog at mikemigas.com and a small Youtube channel to talk about podcast production elements.

What’s a good example of a typical day for you as a podcast producer? 

After walking my dog, I sit down and check my emails and messages. Most of the team is in Australia, and I live in the UK, so I usually wake up and learn what they were up to a day before.

I start with the most pressing tasks, and once that’s done, I do my work on our main show – that is Casefile. That could be editing, mixing, scoring, or other production work on the episodes.

After that is done, I switch to Casefile Presents shows – the additional projects we have, that we release on the Casefile Presents network.

It will also vary from day-to-day.

After the primary two – Casefile and Casefile Presents tasks are done, I try to find the time to work on my stuff – the website, the Youtube channel, practicing the piano, or watching online courses.

Of course, that’s not the whole day! I take breaks, go to the gym, and have time off, but I structure the days in this way when it comes to working.

  1. 1. Start with Casefile
  2. 2. Then Casefile Presents
  3. 3. Then my own thing

Now can I ask you what a bad day looks like? 

I don’t view the work in terms of good or bad days, instead of in challenges.

If there is an emergency or issue, we try to deal with it straight away as best as we can. I try to enjoy the work and the days as they come, and I believe it’s up to me how I feel.

However! If I could describe a hypothetical lousy day? Well, probably losing my day’s work or archives or something like that!

As a listener of your podcast, it sounds like you’ve had more good days than bad ones — but what lead you down the path of being a podcast producer?”

It was a pure chance.

After completing my studies, I worked at a movie studio as a dialogue editor for a few years.  It was an exciting role working alongside some of the best audio people in the country. However, I knew I wanted a change, and once I left my position, I began freelancing online.

I didn’t know what podcasts were at that time. Still, when I saw the adverts I thought to myself ‘It looks like it’s dialogue editing – that’s what I do’, and unexpectedly I started on this strange journey and after almost six years have a title of ‘podcast producer’.

Casefile is one of the most popular podcasts in the True Crime space, what do you think sets this podcast apart from the hundreds of thousands of other True Crime Podcasts?

I wouldn’t view it in terms of what ‘sets us apart because we never looked at it in this way. However, I could speculate why we were able to achieve what we did and that’s because of the fantastic team that our anonymous host was able to assemble. Everyone genuinely cares and wants to deliver the best to our listeners every time we release an episode.

We don’t cut corners; we look after each other and want to do a good job. I think our listeners can see that.

Plus we had a lot of luck along the way.

How is producing for Casefile different from producing other podcasts, let’s say interview-based shows?

From my limited experience of working on interview-based shows, I can say that the workload is different in terms of post-production.

Pre-production is also different; however, for the interview-style show, you have to do research and come up with questions; for a storytelling show like Casefile, you also have to do a lot of research. Instead of questions, you write a full script.

Post-production is a bit more involved because we also have a musical score apart from just editing the dialogue. So not only do we have to write music for the shows but also mix it with the dialogues, which adds complexity.

And of course, for Casefile Presents shows, we use both interviews and music to build the narrative.

However, there are many similarities too because, in my opinion, it is all about telling a story. It’s just a different way of getting to that goal.

You run a really insightful blog/production company, could you tell us a little bit about mikemigas.com like who could benefit from the content and what can they expect?

I run my blog and Youtube channel after hours for myself and hopefully other people. I find that when I write down or record videos on particular topics, it also helps me learn and get better.

Who can benefit from visiting my site? I hope to offer a unique point of view on podcast production for beginners and people who want to make podcasts sound better. I feel that this space is still so young and exciting to explore, and I want to show people that anyone can have a go, even if it’s just for fun. Not everything has to be a serious business.

Was there any show or figure that really influenced you in your journey into audio?

I wouldn’t say there was just one person or one show that inspired me. 

I started in music, being classically trained on a piano and then learning guitar when I was young. After studying sound, I wanted to work in the video games industry but I worked on movies instead, and now I do podcasts!

Each leg of my journey had amazing people and influences that inspired me and pushed me further – both people that I worked with personally and also great artists, filmmakers, and writers that I admire.

What I do now combines both of my worlds – specialization in post-production and passion for music. I will never be able to fully express my gratitude to our Casefile host and the rest of the team for allowing me to do this work, and hopefully, I can enjoy it for a little bit longer!

What is one of the biggest things you have learned along the way of producing Podcasts/How are you different from when you first started to right now?

There are many, many things that I learned and still learn to this day.

Learning about podcasting and the whole space is fascinating, and I feel it is still early days with more developments and surprises to come. I learn and push myself every day when it comes to the audio side of our shows – putting it all together so that the listener enjoys the final mix.

The work also allows me to work and develop my music writing abilities, and I can also be creative in this way. Plus, working with people worldwide, solving problems together, making mistakes together – it’s all a fantastic learning experience.

And how am I different? Well, once you listen to Episode 1 of the show and the latest one (At the time of this article), which is almost 200, you will hear the difference! We are constantly changing, continually improving, always learning, and that’s what I love most about working on our shows.

What advice would you give to all inspiring podcasters out there?

Think about what you want to do and why you want to do it. Then learn from everything and everyone around you and start doing it.

Make mistakes, then correct them. It’s not easy, but that’s the best way to learn. It’s early days, but the space is changing, so don’t wait any longer. 

It’s not easy, but people will recognize a good story when they hear it. Ultimately it’s all about telling a great story and having people enjoy it. You can have the best gear, the best team, an enormous budget, but if there are no listeners, you don’t have a show. And people will see a fake from miles away.

And of course, there is a lot of luck involved in any venture, but as long as you give it a go and have fun doing it, then, in my opinion, it is still worth it.

Thank you again Mike for sitting down with us and telling us all about your life as a podcast producer! Be sure to follow Mike on Podchaser and listen to Casefile True Crime to hear Mike’s awesome work! And check out his fantastic website at mikemigas.com!