Behind The Scenes Of Our Thip Khao Talk! – 14 Hours of Questions and Editing with Aleena Inthaly
From the desk and makeshift studio of our Chief of Staff, Aleena Inthaly
Q: What is the purpose of the Thip Khao Talk Podcast?
Aleena: The purpose of the Thip Khao Talk Podcast is to open up more dialogue and spaces for discussion about topics and issues that greatly impact communities who are still healing from the aftermath of the Secret War in Laos. This includes the ongoing unexploded ordnance issues and other war legacies that still affect people today. We highlight and amplify individuals and groups impacted by the aftermath and remnants left in Southeast Asia.
I think personally, my team and I have always enjoyed listening to a variety of podcasts and we thought that this would be a fun and engaging way to provide opportunities to record stories that we want to share. Podcasts can be listened to anywhere and everywhere. We wanted to be everywhere all at once and with our listeners wherever they feel most comfortable. We want the stories that we’re amplifying to be played on public transportation, a grocery run, or during a long-distance drive. The possibilities are endless.
We wanted to continue to evolve and further develop our Thip Khao Talk. In response to Zoom fatigue and changes during the COVID-19 era, we wanted to give listeners the flexibility of listening to the stories whenever and wherever they wanted to.
Q: How did the Thip Khao Talk Podcast start?
Aleena: Rewind to 2020 and I remember it was me and our Executive Director brainstorming a new initiative to kickstart in the middle of the COVID-pandemic. I thought to myself, how can we connect with people virtually while recreating what it’d be like to still be in the same room?
In 2020, I was browsing through our Facebook page and came across a virtual talk that Legacies of War hosted at the beginning of 2013 as part of the Voices from Laos Speakers Tour in the U.S. Our Board Member and former Ambassador, Ambassador Douglas Hartwick was the guest speaker, and the panel was called “Thip Khao Talk.” A spark went off in my head and I immediately shared with the team that we need to bring this back! Our Board Member, Adam Thongsavat was the Program Manager for the tour at that time, so I immediately messaged him to invite him to join me and putting together the Thip Khao Talk Committee.
We went straight to work and brought together other Board Members (including Orathai Phommala, Monica Lee) and volunteers (Kasey Chaleunsouk), to form the Thip Khao Talk committee or as I call them, “The Sticky Rice Squad”. Initially, we planned for our Thip Khao Talks to be live streamed panels featured on Facebook Live. Also special shout out to our Innovators Sponsors of our Thip Khao Talks Akin Gump, Mines Advisory Group, and Article 22 for their continued long-term support of the program.
Our first Thip Khao Talk was centered around history, bringing together Honorable Senator Foung Hawj, Quyen Dinh of SEARAC, and Dr. Vinya Sysamouth of CLS, moderated by Legacies board member, Adam Thongsavat, to reflect on the 45th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War-era and discuss the challenges and successes of the Southeast Asian diaspora today.
Q: What’s the process of recording and editing the Thip Khao Talks?
Aleena: Long story short, it’s a really long and tedious process.
An average editing session takes about 10-14 hours for one 20-minute episode. We currently use Adobe Audition and Zoom to conduct the recordings. After recording with the guest speakers, I spend time in Audition listening to the conversation two-three times to slice and dice the dialogue. I think working with the speaker on narration helps drive the format and flow of the story, sort of working backwards to highlight the best pieces of the talk.
I am by no means an editing expert, and prior to working on the Thip Khao Talk podcast, I was an amateur editor of another podcast that me and a friend put together called “The All-Asian American Rejects,” while using similar tools. This has been a process with a huge learning curve, but it’s been worthwhile and incredibly rewarding.
I remain the main editor/producer of the talk, but I do pull in team members to help with editing small clips and sound. The goal is to pass down skills so that everyone on our small team can be well-equipped to edit podcasts together! That being said, we’re still in need of some more professional equipment and hopefully with more public engagement and support from donors and sponsors we will be on our way to securing real studio space with the proper equipment.
Creatively soundproofing my small office with beach towels and heavy curtains can get us only so far. I apologize in advance for the low quality of our podcast, but I can proudly say, we put a lot of effort, heart, and soul into its entire production.
Q: Why is Thip Khao Talk important to Legacies of War’s Mission and how do you see it impacting the public?
Aleena: Stories are meant to be amplified and the stories we are featuring are meant to be listened to. The Thip Khao Talk is another way for history to be preserved. The individuals and communities that we highlight through our talks are everyday people that you may pass by on the street without even noticing. These people are your neighbors, mutual friends, colleagues and more. I think overall what we envisioned to come out of the podcast is a sense of shared history, healing, and hope. These stories and experiences recorded and shared with the greater public are to raise further awareness but also remind humanity that each of us are a part of history and therefore of the power to change it for future generations.
I wanted the podcast to feel familiar, and I want listeners to feel connected in the Legacies community. We all have a voice in history, there just weren’t many microphones to go around and capture all the voices.
In response to the lack of microphones, we created our own.